Last month, I visited Aegle Wellness Center after being in quarantine for 80 plus days. Now more than ever have I been vigilant about my health and so A Day of Total Wellness is something I was excited about.
Prior to my full day at Aegle, I went to get my blood tests done. This is so that my doctors can interpret the result during our consultation. One of the Front Officers of Aegle sent me a reminder and things I need to do prior to blood extraction (fasting, etc.) I think this is one of the things I like about Aegle Wellness Center. They made sure everything is in order the moment I booked my appointment up until after my day of visit.
Aegle Wellness Center—a state-of-the-art health hub that focuses on preventive medicine and holistic health. It’s the Philippines’ first and only facility where the body, mind, and spirit are nurtured and sustained by a world-class medical team and its unique and bespoke wellness services and programs.
My first Aegle Wellness Center experience was April of 2019 at Balaesin. Both Makati & Balesin branches have the same facilities except for the Thalassotherapy.
First I had my Body Composition Analysis. It measures weight, body mass, body fat, visceral fat to name a few. It’s a good tool to use as baseline when it comes to analyzing one’s obesity, muscle-fat, extracellular water, etc. All of which are important to understand the components of one’s body.
Next I did Autonomic Nervous System Stress Response Test. This test determine’s the body’s response to stress. It only takes a few minutes and all I had to do was lie down and take deep breaths.
The herbal pools are currently out of service but the area is open where you can have your meals & coffee/tea.
A Day of Total Wellness at Aegle Wellness Center includes breakfast, three-course lunch and afternoon tea. I had my breakfast smoothie after doing my Body Composition Analysis and Autonomic Nervous System Stress Response Test.
After breakfast I was led by my nurse, Zaza to the Hyperbaric Room.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a medical treatment that helps with the body’s natural healing process by exposing it to 100% pure oxygen inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber
I had to change to their provided shirt and pants which were made of 100% cotton and had to remove all my jewelry.
This is my first time to try the hyperbaric chamber. While its mostly used by divers to decompress or remove bubbles of air from one’s blood vessels, it’s also used to help the body’s natural healing process by exposing it to 100% pure oxygen. Aegle have diabetic clients who does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy–as it helps with faster wound healing.
My oxygen level at 98 before going into the hyperbaric chamber.
I’m not claustrophobic but I was a bit uneasy at first but when I was inside already, it was totally different. I was calm and the chamber doesn’t feel as tight as I imagined it to be. It was relaxing and breathing pure oxygen feels good! It feels like I’ve got so much air in my lungs!
My nurse Zaza was amazing as she was with me throughout. Pressure is at 10 Psi for 30 minutes. I was hoping to take a nap but was too busy watching a movie. I honestly wanted to stay longer as the pure oxygen flowing through my body feels refreshing. I don’t know if this was just a first-timer’s experience or what but it’s something I want to do again.
It’s safe to do Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at least once a month but it would depend on doctor’s recommendation.
My oxygen level was up by 1. Some even reach to 100. This means the body is getting enough oxygen to function properly. Yay!
Next I did was Colon Hydrotherapy. It’s a detox treatment that flushes out toxins from the colon. I’ve done colon cleanse before but this is the first time I’ll do Colon Hydrotherapy. The only difference though is this does all the work for you. It’s a time based (45 minutes in total) treatment where you get a series of pressurized temperature regulated water go to your colon through your anus. You have to hold the water in as long as you can but if the stomach cramps feel too much, you can let your nurse know so she can release water. You’ll have the urge to push (like you’re going to the poop) but that won’t be necessary as the machine will do it for you (kinda takes out the fun in ?ing heehee). This treatment is recommended for those who are experiencing gut issues like constipation or feel the need to ‘cleanse’ the colon.
Colon Hydrotherapy is gentle flushing of the entire colon using fresh pressurized temperature regulated double filtered and UV treated water. This helps maintain gut function and protect your immune system.
Lunch was served right after my treatments. This three-course lunch was customized based on my dietary preference. No gluten nor dairy. I sent my Food Intolerance Test results to one of Aegle’s Nutritionist-Dietitian, Bea.
Bea Diestro, my Aegle Nutrition Coach created a nutrition plan based on my dietary preference. She gave me options as to the calories I can consume when I’m working out and when I’m on recovery. To further make it easy for me to keep track of my nutrition, she gave me food budget– a quick way to measure servings per food group. She also created a meal allowance that I customized based on the dishes I will prepare. I love how precise her explanation is.
Meet Dr. Ellen Agustin, my Mindfulness Coach. The moment I entered her consultation room, I felt very at ease talking to her. Prior to my consult with her, I took the Emotional Stability and DISC Personality tests online. We brushed through my DISC and my Emotional Stability results. The latter where I’m part oft eh 16% who scored high. I opened up to her about how I grew up being self-sufficient and have developed grit at a young age which may have impacted my emotional well-being. We discussed more about motherhood and how I can help give opportunities for my kids to learn more about themselves & be more in tune with their emotions.
45 minutes of consultation is not enough! But I’m so glad that Aegle has included psychology as part of their wellness program. I truly believe that this is an integral part of one’s wellness–having that mind-body connection is so important because one affects the other. Discussing emotions, traumas, thoughts is something everyone should do regularly because if bottled up these can cause stress to the body which in turn can lead to illness.
My Wellness Consultant, Dr. Ben Valdecañas discussed my blood & functional diagnostic results. I was surprised that my blood chemistry was good. I honestly was expecting my glucose to be elevate (because of my family history and because I love sweets). My last blood chemistry, I had borderline high LDL (bad cholesterol) so I was expecting the same result. But I was surprised that my LDL is low and my HDL (good cholesterol) has improved– I owe this eating avocado, nuts and using olive oil more. Dr. Ben proceeded to talk more about my Autonomic Nervous System Balance Test. While my body can adapt well with stress (stress resistance, stress index and fatigue index are all good) my ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) is highly unbalanced. My SNS (Sympathetic Nerve System) is dominant and can cause anxiety, panic, anger and distraction. Continuous imbalanced ANS can cause physical problems and usually it manifest through anxiety or panic attacks. Exactly what I’ve been experiencing during this pandemic. My body easily adapts to stress but at the same time I feel like its always on flight or fight mode. I tend to feel agitated and can easily have a surge of adrenaline rush if the situation calls for it. Which is why Dr. Ben suggested I do activities that can help calm myself and activate my PNS. One of the things I can do is meditate. Something that Dr. Ellen also mentioned I should do. Thankfully, I’ve been practicing meditation for a few months already. Now that I know I need to do it more, I’m thinking of really immersing myself to yoga & meditation so I can further deepen my practice.
My Aegle Pharmacist, Kim Mallari prepared my supplements, I was recommended to take included Vitamin D3, Calcium, Magnesium , Vitamin B, and Melatonin. A customized supplementation plan was given to me. It’s a detailed instruction on when to take each supplements for 30 days. After which an option to re-order the same supplement or have another consultation to see if any modification is needed.
Ending my A Day Of Wellness at Aegle Wellness Center with afternoon tea.
I learned a lot about myself and how I can take charge of my overall wellness at Aegle Wellness Center. I was able to do the treatments based on what my body needs at the same time I was able to talk to experts about my health & wellness concerns.
So glad I was able to do this because now more than ever I’m all in when it comes to taking charge of my health & wellness. I opened up my Instagram for questions related to health & wellness. Here are some of the questions I forwarded to Dr. Ellen & Dr. Ben.
From a medical standpoint, what’s your take on Intermittent Fasting? Is it for anyone who wants to try?
Intermittent fasting is good for anyone who needs to go on caloric restriction for a prescribed goal. Common indications for caloric restriction are weight management, hormonal rebalancing for metabolic syndrome, and regaining natural control of blood sugar in acquired diabetes mellitus. Caloric restriction is defined as limiting one’s calorie intake to just that required by the body based on one’s basal metabolic rate. Caloric restriction is also one of the most proven methods of preserving one’s telomeres and thus has the most impact on longevity. The reason why IF is quite popular is because it fits right into the lifestyle of most people especially those who skip breakfast. But skipping breakfast is also one of the most common causes of slowing metabolism and unwanted weight gain. Therefore, the most medically substantiated and physiologic way of doing intermittent fasting for caloric restriction is to break one’s fast upon arising and start fasting at dusk (e.g., eight-hour feeding from 8am to 4pm and sixteen-hour fast from 4pm to 8am).
If you don’t have any specific vitamin/mineral deficiency, what are the safest/common supplements you can take daily?
It’s almost impossible to find anyone without one single micronutrient deficiency. The human body is in a state of constant repair; cellular and tissue regeneration takes place when we sleep to repair all the wear and tear from the previous day. And not everything the body needs to repair itself we get from our diet no matter how well balanced we think it is. Empirically, I start my patients on what I call the ABCs of supplementation:Vitamin A 1000iu — for neuronal maintenance particularly the large neurons of the senses (e.g., optic nerve for eyesight)Vitamin B complex total of 1000mcg — for nerve repair and DNA maintenanceVitamin C 1000-3000mg — for immune system optimizationVitamin D 3000-5000iu — for calcium absorption; also the most potent naturally occurring antiinflammatory (sunlight is necessary to convert D2 from food to D3; one does not get it from the sun)Vitamin E 400iu — essential partner for vitC in optimizing immune cell functionVitamin ‘F’ for Folic Acid (vitamin B9) — essential for vascular and nervous system repair.
Would you advise removing a particular food group in one’s diet?
Removing one of the macronutrients (or food group) carbohydrates, proteins, and fats from one’s diet is not recommended, if at all completely possible. Most food substances are combinations of all three macronutrients. The human body has need for all three macronutrients depending on the physiologic processes it has to maintain. Most popular macronutrient-eliminating diet is the ketogenic diet which is specifically designed for extremes of health conditions such as cancer (where simple sugars are eliminated to curb cancer cell growth) and severe uncontrolled diabetes.
Is keto diet safe?
Properly prescribed and supervised, ketogenic diet should be safe for specific objectives. Specific parameters are monitored particularly ketone levels in the urine and/or the breath. Once designated thresholds are met (e.g., +2 ketones in the urine), the diet is reversed back to a less ketogenic one such as paleolithic diet, for example. Prolonged ketonuria or ketones in the urine can be toxic to the kidneys and may lead to renal failure.
Are there (free) tests online I can take to assess my mental health? I want to do a consultation but want to validate what I’m feeling first. Is there such a thing?
Yes there are free tests online that will allow you to take a proactive approach to your wellness. The online free tests or quizzes are not meant to diagnose, but rather help you understand whether a certain mental health or relationship issue may be of concern to you. However, if you get a concerning result from the psychology tests online, you shouldn’t automatically believe you have the concern or trait that it is testing for. Only a trained mental health professionals can make an accurate diagnosis using the medical process such as taking information from the various tests and places them in the context of a patient’s symptomatic presentation and history to adequately understand the full scope of the patient’s condition.
Advise for those who are very anxious especially now during a pandemic? Anxiety is all time high. How to lower it?
My input on this is to learn to dissociate oneself from all the negativity around you and focus more firmly on what your goals are, be it from surviving the pandemic on a more positive note to reinventing my business to even be more productive in the new normal. The method by which one can dissociate differs from person to person; I hear some people do that by minimizing their social media exposure.
I know most doctors would advise to lessen stress to strengthen one’s immunity. But in all honesty, how can this be achieved?
It is an established fact that stress lowers one’s immunologic response to a microbial threat. We now have numerous studies in peer-reviewed medical publications that support this. Simply put stress causes the body to go on survival mode (slower metabolism, hibernation levels of immune cell production, less blood flow to blood production centers and more for detoxification organs) when it should be on fight mode (release of inflammatory mediators for healing, increased immune cell production to eliminate any invading microbe, and increased metabolism to fuel these aggressive processes).
I’ve heard of intuitive eating. As a doctor, Is this something you would suggest?
Intuitive eating is one of the survival mechanisms built in the human body; one craves food that can supply the body of what it particularly needs at a given time. Just as we begin to thirst when our body enters into a specific level of dehydration, we crave for carbohydrates in particular when our blood sugar falls to a particular level. I would not recommend this as different individuals have different sensitivities to what our body needs. Basing your diet program on emotion, ‘feel’, and self-interpreted cravings may not only be dangerous but can steer us away further from our nutrition goals.
I know happiness is something we need to create. Can you share tips on how to cultivate it especially during uncertain times?
Happiness is an inside job and not a feeling you get from outside influences. You are the boss over your feelings, and you can not only control how you feel but actually dictate your body how to react. But there is a simple exercise that you can implement in your life today.
Just fake it! Fake it until you make it,
And this has absolutely nothing to do with lying about things or fool everybody around you. It’s not fake, it’s only acting as things are already here. That’s the law of attraction in practice.
Every time you are unhappy or any little negative thought comes up, just fake your happiness. Of course, this tactic works with other parts of your life, too, but just start with happy feelings for now. This is very powerful and so easy to implement. Do this exercise every day. Consistency is always important. (Maybe it helps to read something funny, or how about watching some silly videos?)
This “acted” happiness encourages the output of what we know best as the “happy hormones.” You will start to feel more comfortable after just a few minutes. After a while, using this method, you will see your life turning around to a happier you.
I also have PCOS like you Ms. Jackie, what’s the one thing I should do/change that can help me with managing my symptoms (diet/workout wise?)
PCOS is most commonly caused by hormonal imbalances and its symptoms are aggravated by a person’s inflammatory level; that is why symptoms are seasonal and seem to be related to mental states such as depression. First, have an ultrasound (since this is the basis of diagnosis for PCOS) AND a hormonal profile to see the current status of its severity. Next, take a look at your diet and see if it is choc full of inflammatory food such as gluten, dairy, or any item which causes one to feel bloated after ingestion (the most common immediate symptom of food sensitivity). Then start eliminating inflammatory food and observe the waning of symptoms over a 6 week period.
How often does one need to go for a consult? I am not unhealthy and I don’t do regular checkups but I want to start taking charge of my health & wellness.
Monthly discussions with your doctor can keep most people on track with preventive lifestyle modifications.
I’m skinny fat and want to lose some stubborn fat. What diet should I do?
Most people forget that weight management is still 20-30% exercise. That being said lowering the amount of simple sugars in one’s diet can help most people achieve effective conversion of body fat to skeletal muscle; the main problem in skinny fat people.
Is macro/calorie counting important to stay fit?
Yes. To date, taking consideration of the amount of calories and percentage macronutrients in one’s diet is still the most measurable method of keeping fit and healthy. You’d be surprised at how little you have to tweak these figures to have observable effects on body weight and percentage body fat.
Key to achieve overall health & wellness?
I always tell my patients being genuinely concerned about one’s state of health is half to journey towards wellness. Taking action and consistently committing to it are the other half. The first step is always to sit down and jot on paper two things; one’s daily schedule over a week, and one’s usual meal plans. Then take a look at where you can improve on those two in terms of exercise and shifting to a healthier diet. This is where our professionals, our physicians, nutritionists, and exercise physiologists/physical therapists/personal trainers can help.
I want to improve my emotional wellbeing and I learned meditation helps. Tips on how to start meditating? I feel like I can’t keep still and will get distracted.
The key to meditation is to do nothing. Quiet your mind and let the thoughts pass.
To meditate you sit comfortably and quietly with your eyes closed and effortlessly and silently inside repeat a word or a short phrase called a mantra. Your mantra can be any word, sound, prayer or short phrase you like that is in your native language.
To begin meditating, sit comfortably and quietly and close your eyes. Start by relaxing your muscles, first in your feet, calves, and thighs, and then by shrugging your shoulders and rolling your head and neck around. Then for the first minute sit quietly with your eyes closed and do nothing. During that minute thoughts will come and notice that those thoughts come simply and without any effort. Then after a minute or so, silently inside without moving your tongue or lips, start thinking your mantra in the same simple, effortless way as other thoughts came during that first minute.
Slowly repeat thinking your mantra in that same simple, effortless way for 15-30 minutes. (Choose the amount of time based on what suits you.) As you repeat thinking your mantra, thoughts will come and that’s okay; having thoughts during meditation is natural. When thoughts do come, gently return to thinking your mantra in the same simple, effortless way as thoughts come. At times you may be thinking the mantra unclearly, and that’s okay. At times you may not be thinking the mantra at all but rather it may come as just a faint sense or feeling of the mantra, and that’s okay. And at times thoughts and the mantra may disappear entirely but you are fully aware in silence and stillness, and that’s okay.
During meditation it is important that you not TRY to meditate or make anything happen. Instead you must always relax into effortlessness and let the mantra come in the same simple, effortless way as thoughts come. When you “try to make meditation happen” that will diminish the benefits of meditating, and it can cause pressure in your head or even a headache.
Avoid looking for experiences or signs of progress or failure with your meditation because that hinders meditation. Just be confident that after some time you will start to notice the benefits of meditating during your day. You may be happier, feeling more at ease and calmer, and getting along better with others. You may start noticing these benefits soon, or it may take up to six months of meditating regularly before you start to notice these benefits. So just get in the habit of meditating regularly and then stick with it. And be patient with yourself – if you stop meditating for a day or two, just go back and start meditating again.
With all the diets available, what’s the best diet you can recommend? Vegan, Keto, Paleo?
Your type of diet depends on your health goals and your current state of health. No fad diet can serve the purpose of getting you to a healthier state of life. This is best customized and personalized to tailor-fit your individual journey towards a healthier you. Fad diets can be an entry point or guide especially if one has minimal guidance from a professional. But when one ventures into a diet modification plan, the most important consideration is if your new meal plan are sustainable for you for the rest of your life.
Thank you Dr. Ben and Dr. Ellen for answering these questions! Super helpful for those who want to kickstart their wellness journey. For those of you asking, here’s what’s included in A Day Of Total Wellness at Aegle Wellness Center.
- Blood chemistry – to assess if your organs are functioning at its optimum level
- Hormone profile – to measure the balance of hormones in your body
- 30-day supply of uniquely-formulated supplements based on your body’s needs
- Body Composition Analysis – gives you an overview of your body’s muscle mass, water weight, bone mass, fat mass, and fat percentage and even the visceral fat and the amount of calories you burn while you are at rest
- Autonomic Nervous System Stress Response Test – determines your body’s response to stress, as well as potency and pliability of blood vessels
- Emotional Stability and DISC Personality test – a psychology test where your results shall be discussed with you during your consultation with Aegle’s psychologist and life coach
- Physical-Functional Assessment – to be administered by Aegle’s physiotherapist. Results shall be discussed with you during your fitness consultation
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – A medical treatment that helps with the body’s natural healing process by exposing it to 100% pure oxygen inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber
- Detox Therapy: Choice of Detox IV Drip or Colon Hydrotherapy
- Detox IV Drip – an intravenous process of cleansing your body from within
- Colon Hydrotherapy – gentle flushing of the entire colon using fresh pressurized temperature regulated double filtered and UV treated water. This helps maintain gut function and protect your immune system.
One-on-one wellness conversations with Aegle’s:
- Psychologist and Life Coach
Aegle Wellness Center is located at the 6th floor, The City Club, Ayala Avenue Extension Cor Malugay St. Makati City, Philippines. You can book an appointment online via www.aeglewellnesscenter.com