Finding the balance between an organic approach to health and beauty verses dancing on the knife’s edge of technology can be tricky. We’ve all seen celebrities who’ve gone too far in their quest for eternal youth, whose appearance is strange and even disturbing. On the other hand, indigenous tribe’s people, aging naturally in a purely organic environment grow weathered from hard living and stress.
Traditional cultures around the world practice forms of body modification, many of these, like neck rings, lip plates and tattoos, are not particularly healthy. Here in the West, technologies are being developed that stimulate our body’s natural systems of repair and cell reproduction, to extend the appearance of youth.
Despite a stream of denials, most celebrities use these procedures to appear youthful. In many ways, this is a Western form of body modification. One could argue that sewing shamanic spells into your skin is somehow more noble than Demi Moore spinning the aging process to appear youthful, but both are examples of cultural expressions of appearance.
Ahimsa is a concept in yogic philosophy which literally means to do no harm, the avoidance of violence. Whether you are a Yakuza covered in so many tattoos that your kidneys fail, a Burmese Kayan woman who has altered the angle of her collarbone or a Hollywood celebrity like Michael Jackson who spent too long under the scalpel, there must be a more benign approach to improving appearance.
So I spoke to Dr. Michelle Reyes MD, the owner and creator of The Med Spot, a full service medical spa that specializes in “non-invasive” cosmetic procedures to give us some insight into the techniques available to improve our appearance as we age without causing physical damage.
DL What got you started in this field?
MR I am an ophthalmologist, so I specialize in the anatomy, physiology and medical and surgical treatment of the eye. In my practice, I often see conditions like crossed eyes and eyelid muscle spasms; people who have very strong squeezing of the eyes. They look like they’re blinking or having a nervous twitch, but it’s really a contraction. Ophthalmologists have been using Botox to suppress these overactive muscles in and around the eyes for decades. So to me it was a great tool, because our muscles can cause us problems if we can’t calm them down. As I expanded my elective practice of refractive surgery in the late 90’s, clients and friends often asked me about various procedures, such as lasers or Botox. I could understand my clients concerns about these types of treatments, because I had some bad experiences with doctors and estheticians too. Once I was even badly burned by a chemical peel. In my early thirties, I was experiencing pigmentation problems from my pregnancies, as well as new onset adult acne. So I became interested in learning these procedures. I’ve always been athletic and health-conscious, so I was looking for a lower maintenance way to soften the aging process. [Read more…]