Photobiomodulation? What is THAT?

Photo” means “light.
“Bio” means “life”
“Modulation” means “a change” in something.

The term, “photobiomodulation” marks the formal acceptance of light therapy into modern conventional medicine. However, the therapy is not new. Research goes back decades and has been published by major universities all over the world. Since medical researchers have started bringing light into the lab, there has been an unending and ever more promising list of conditions that can be treated, prevented, or even reversed with light.

Here is a very short list of common examples, already FDA approved and available:
acne treatment
anti-aging (collagen production & wrinkle reduction)
hair loss prevention & hair regrowth
pain relief
fat loss stem cell production
Here are the types of things in the research stages and clinical trials with light therapy:
Alzheimer’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Heart Attack
Spinal cord injuries & nerve regeneration

It works because our cells contain “chromophores” which literally absorb light. Once the light is absorbed, it sets off a complex group of physical and chemical reactions within the cell. These reactions can and do extend to cells that have not even been exposed to the light.

At The Compass we offer complementary Red Light/Infrared during our Therapy & Relaxation Bodywork Treatments to allow you these additional benefits every session: alleviation of pain alleviation of inflammation stimulating the immune system wound healing tissue regeneration We also offer a PhytoDynamic Skin Therapy which may be added to any facial treatment or as a stand-alone service.

The study of the benefits of red light as a skin care treatment goes back as far as 1903, at which time Niels Finsen won the Nobel Prize in Physiology when he used these wavelengths to speed up the healing of smallpox on the skin and to prevent scarring from occurring.

Research has shown that red, blue, green & amber light therapy can:
Reduce erythema (skin redness)
Improve healing in wounds and lesions
Activate the skin-homing immune system
Rejuvenate skin
Provide photo-aging reversal and anti-inflammatory benefits
Promote fibroblast (collagen) production
Reduce redness and the appearance of scarring
If you have questions about the benefits or safety in using light therapy or just like to talk more to us about it call Krystine (our facility director) to chat anytime. You may also schedule a complementary consultation to discuss your specific needs. 813.402.2089

RNA Intro for those curious

Ribonucleic acid or RNA acts as a messenger between DNA and the protein synthesis complexes known as ribosomes, forms vital portions of ribosomes, and acts as an essential carrier molecule for amino acids to be used in protein synthesis.

RNA is very similar to DNA, but differs in a few important structural details: RNA is single stranded, while DNA is double stranded. Also, RNA nucleotides contain ribose sugars while DNA contains deoxyribose and RNA uses predominantly uracil instead of thymine present in DNA.

RNA is transcribed from DNA by enzymes called RNA polymerases and further processed by other enzymes. RNA serves as the template for translation of genes into proteins, transferring amino acids to the ribosome to form proteins, and also translating the transcript into proteins.

RNA is a polymer with a ribose and phosphate backbone and four different bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil. The first three are the same as those found in DNA, but in RNA thymine is replaced by uracil as the base complementary to adenine.

Uracil is energetically less expensive to produce than thymine, which may account for its use in RNA. Having thymine as the normal base in DNA makes the detection and repair of incipient mutations more effective. Thus uracil is appropriate for RNA, where quantity is important but lifespan is not, whereas thymine is appropriate for DNA where maintaining sequence with high fidelity is more critical.

My Take:
Aren’t you glad I cut out some of the technical jargon? In simpler terms, RNA is a mirror image made from the template of DNA. RNA is used to make proteins that primarily function as enzymes in the body, catalyzing specific chemical reactions.

RNA is also cut into smaller pieces, made into a double helix (microRNA) then transformed into mature mRNA in the cytoplasm of the cell. mRNA directs cell differentiation by inhibiting specific DNA transcription. This allows the body to produce different cells – heart, liver, skin, etc. from the same DNA. RNA is available as a supplement from Standard Process. I use it to improve brain function. It is especially effective for those with short term memory issues or people having difficulty with multi-tasking. A simple test for RNA is to stand on one foot with your arms extended out from your side. Steady yourself, then close your eyes. If you can maintain your balance for several seconds with your eyes closed, your RNA levels are probably adequate. If you fall quickly, then RNA supplementation may be beneficial. It’s a good idea to have someone close by to catch you when you fall.

Bottom Line:
RNA is a fascinating area of study and research into microRNA is currently at a fever pitch. However, practical supplementation of RNA has been available since 1952.

For the love of fur-kids

Animals have a way of bringing joy into our lives and making us smile, no matter your age. About half the households in the U.S. are pet owners because of this.

The holiday season is the most popular time that pets are brought home as gifts. People are well-intentioned when they do this and need to remember it’s a big commitment and responsibility. Training, particularly for dogs, is important to bring out the best in them. They interpret our behavior, understand our energy and will respond to that energy.

My brothers and I had a variety of animals growing up: a rabbit, a bird, a gerbel, and lots of lizards/turtles and a few dogs and cats over the years.

At my home there is a retriever-hound mix (Spooner) and a very handsome DLH tuxedo cat named Charlie (who was adopted through Cat Crusade)and having these pets is a blessing, even when the very senior dog wants to go outside for no reason at 4am. There are many proven health benefits for people, including physical, mental and emotional improvements with pets around. The benefits outweigh any negatives in my opinion.

My fellow animal lovers will agree with these five great reasons to open your home to a furry friend (or any type of pet), and why doing so can be what the doctor ordered.

1. A pet can be your personal trainer. Dogs need to be exercised on a daily basis. A fenced yard really is not enough. Doing activities with them is a treat and movement is healthy for both of you. You can take them walking, hiking, jogging, swimming, and even along for a bike ride. Cats need movement too and that can be through interactive play if they are kept indoors.

2. A pet is good for your heart. Petting an animal has a calming effect and decreases your cortisol level (stress hormone). They fill your heart with love and help reduce risks such as a heart attack – pets can help reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

3. Pets give you a sense of purpose. You establish an emotional bond with them like a family member. Taking care of them does require responsibility and that can give you a sense of value and importance. It also adds a positive focus to your life. An added bonus – allowing your children to help take care of the pets is great way to teach them about empathy along with responsibility.

4. Pets provide companionship. They offer unconditional love, and this can help reduce loneliness and boost your overall mood. Animal-assisted therapy is very popular with nursing homes and hospitals too.

5. Pets are a great way to bond with others. Pets are social facilitators. They provide common ground to interact with others and help develop friendships. There’s the empathy factor in play again. And you can’t neglect a smiling stranger when they ask about your pet. I just had a lovely conversation with a neighbor, whom I have seen but never really spoke with, the other day all about our dogs which lead to other topics. It was delightful to meet someone new.

Remember that animals don’t care about what you have or what you look like. They accept you for who you are. What’s not to love about that? Adopt today, below are a few organizations that need foster and furever homes.

The beauty industry is built on the idea that the path to good skin is paved with expensive topical products. Don’t bother trying to map an alternative route, it taunts, because such a thing does not exist! This is a very effective strategy, and one that has ensured the industry is worth upwards of $532 billion today.

Don’t get it twisted: Topical skincare routines are important, but they’re just one piece of the breakout banishing puzzle. A comforting thought if you’ve tried every product under the sun, but still struggle to keep your disobedient skin in line.

As the largest organ of the body, our skin has a very taxing job of taking care of us. After all, the environment by which our skin lives is incredibly harsh. Think of it like a commune of survivors after a zombie apocalypse. Everyone has a job to keep the facility safe and as comfortable as possible, however it is important that it is well managed because mismanagement can, frankly, bring about an unsafe environment. Our skin’s microbiome (or skin flora/microbiota), like our zombie safe commune, is colonized by symbiotic microorganisms. Be them bacteria, viruses, fungi and/or protozoa—these living organisms strive to live harmoniously together, protecting against the invasion of pathogens, and to strengthen our immune defenses! This environment is also known to be represented in the gut and have mental health implications as well (aka the “brain-gut-skin axis”).

When we think about skincare, we are generally thinking about the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). Most bacteria on the skin are found on the superficial layers of the epidermis and the upper parts of hair follicles. These bacteria can prevent pathogenic organisms from colonizing on the skin surface (by outwitting nutrients, secreting chemicals, or stimulating the immune system.

While many of these organisms are benign at worst and helpful at the best, organisms like Cutibacterium acnes (or C. acnes) formerly Propionibacterium acnes, are long thought to contribute to the inflammatory skin conditions like acne. Found in sebum (oil) rich areas, C. acnes has been shown to be in excess in inflammatory acne where other helpful bacteria are deficient.

A lot of acne is hormonally driven—including the type that plagues teenagers during puberty—but, as Dr. Samer Jaber of Washington Square Dermatology in NYC states*, “When most people talk about [hormonal acne], they’re talking about acne in adult women.” According to a study by the American Academy of Dermatology, roughly 50 percent of women in their 20s and more than 25 percent of women ages 40 to 49 are affected by hormonal acne.

Hormonal acne is generally related to a woman’s menstrual cycle and the fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone that accompany it. Convinced this could be you? To decipher whether the cause of your acne is hormonal, some signs to look out for are cyclical flares each month, dotted along the lower face, jawline and/or around the mouth. These zits are usually deeper, painful pimples (as opposed to blackheads, whiteheads and blocked pores).

Taking a multi-pronged approach is your best bet in saying ‘laters to hormonal acne. ZitSticka KILLA patches aside, a change in diet and the incorporation of key vitamins can help to alleviate hormonal zits. Many evidence-based studies suggest cutting dairy and sugar can help to reduce the frequency and severity of breakouts. According to Anne Chapas, the founder of Union Square Laser Dermatology, “The spikes in blood sugar which arise from eating high-glycemic foods causes oil production, which in turn causes acne… We know that those cause a harmful hormonal environment.”

So far, research has learned that optimum skin health (and gut health) is achieved by improving the biodiversity of the microbiota. Agents like probiotics and prebiotics, when applied to the skin, can help to suppress the growth of acne causing bacteria as well as improve the overall health of the microbiome and its defenses


Probiotics are live microorganisms extracted and isolated from humans and then cultured in a lab for supplementation. They have the capacity to survive in the gut and immune system to enhance the natural environment in the way that  natural good bacteria does. Probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium regulate skin inflammation by working with the gut environment. They also help to promote an overall healthy immune system. Streptococcus thermophilus has shown to improve ceramide production, a lipid molecule known to trap water in the skin, thus strengthening the skin barrier. These can be found in fermented food sources like yogurt, kefir, miso, kombucha, kimchi, and pickles. And if you don’t quite like the acidity component to these foods, supplements like ZitSticka’s SKIN DISCIPLINE provide blended doses of probiotics often supplemented with additional vitamins which help dial down internal inflammation that shows up externally as breakouts.


Prebiotics are the food source for the helpful bacteria in our intestinal tract and skin. Since our digestive system cannot break down prebiotics, they survive only to reach the colon where they can be consumed by the healthy bacteria, helping them grow and thrive. In terms of the skin, they provide a nutrient base for the healthy bacteria! Foods like fiber-rich fruits, veggies, whole grain, starchy potatoes, bananas, onions, asparagus and garlic are where prebiotics are derived.

Just as it is important for your hydration levels to consume actual water, it is equally important for probiotics and prebiotics to be present in your diet as well!

Fun fact: Did you know that stress impairs the normal gut microflora? Psychological stressors can cause intestinal microbes to produce stress related neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, serotonin, and norepinephrine that result in an overarching system inflammation.

I know what you’re thinking: “Here we go, again! ANOTHER beauty fad to add to our shopping lists. When will it end?” And I get it. But, think about it this way: As diverse a species as we are, “healthy” may look a number of ways. The one key factor is that it starts from the inside. Providing our bodies with the nutrients and hydrants to defend ourselves are the means by which we can achieve our healthiest body, most beautiful skin, and our best selves. And now we know that another mechanism we should be mindful of is this wonderful thing called the Microbiome. Beauty, skin-deep.

Want some more tips on taking care of your skin from the inside, out?

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