Author: Missy Sturges
Missy Sturges is the Office Manager at Aria Integrative Health. Her passion for health and wellness was forged by her personal battle with an autoimmune disease. Although her journey to wellness took several years and was met with countless challenges along the way, Missy gained the skills to successfully manage her autoimmune condition holistically. This experience ultimately fueled Missy’s passion for integrative health. Missy obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition, and dedicated four years after college as the Executive Director of a non-profit where she focused on empowering the public to take a proactive approach to their health. Missy was introduced to Aria Integrative Health after moving to Denver from California in 2018. She feels lucky to witness the positive effects the Aria team has on people’s lives on a daily basis. Missy is responsible for strategic planning, program implementation, front office management, and website administration.

Coolsculpting vs. Sculpsure: Which is a better option for you?

On a daily basis, our team receives this question: Is Coolsculpting or Sculpsure a better option for me? We love to educate our clients on this topic, as we understand just how challenging it can be to weed through the conflicting information online. 

We are experts in the world of non-invasive body contouring options. In fact, Owner and Wellness Director, Nick Tvrdik, travels the US throughout the year to educate fellow clinic owners and medical professionals in the field on this matter. But before we delve into which option outshines the other, here is a brief overview of what you can expect from each treatment. 

What is Coolsculpting? 

CoolSculpting is a body contouring option FDA cleared to permanently destroy unwanted fat. This device uses suction to target the tissue between two applicators. Then, liquid nitrogen is cycled through the applicators to freeze the tissue. 

Coolsculpting is commonly used to treat stubborn fat on the stomach, flanks, hips, thighs and chin area. A series of treatments are generally required, and full results can be seen about 3-4 months after their last treatment. Typically, people will see a 20%-25% fat reduction in the treated areas. 

How safe is Coolsculpting?

Although this treatment is considered safe, it does pose a variety of potential side effects ranging from mild to severe. For instance, adipose tissue has a high affinity for cold. Unfortunately, so does the dermis, nervous system, vascular bundles and lymphatic system. This means, coolsculpting not only destroys fat cells, but it may also cause permanent damage to the surrounding tissues. Furthermore, this device does not provide a feathering effect to the outer regions of the treatment area. This means it may lead to a visual appearance of a shark bite or shelving of the skin.

Lastly, a rare but serious side effect that may occur due to Coolsculpting is a condition called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia. This occurs when the body begins producing more fat cells in that area rather than destroying targeted fat in response to the trauma from cryo. Some studies show that as many as 1 in 187 people may develop this condition. It doesn’t go away on its own, and may require liposuction or abdominoplasty to remove the fat cells.

What is Sculpsure? 

Sculpsure is a non-invasive body contouring option FDA approved to permanently destroy fat. This device utilizes state of the art, light-based technology to get rid of stubborn fat that doesn’t go away through diet and exercise alone. A technician applies SculpSure panels directly to the client’s skin to selectively target and destroy fat cells through heat. People most commonly use SculpSure to treat their abs, flanks, hips, legs, back, or chin. 

Generally speaking, people require two to three treatments to ensure optimal results. The full effect occurs at 12 weeks after their final treatment. On average, people experience a 25% decrease in fat per treatment they receive.

How safe is SculpSure

Although both treatment options are proven to be effective methods for non-invasive body contouring, they differ significantly when it comes to potential side effects. For example, SculpSure occasionally causes minor soreness, redness or tingling to the treated area directly after treatment. This typically subsides within two to three days. In rare cases, a small nodule of damaged fat cells may form under this skin. However, massage or z-wave therapy easily breaks up the nodules. 

Why Aria stands behind Sculpsure

Here at Aria, our mission is to help people look and feel their best through providing a combination of best-in-class devices with state of the art technology and a knowledgeable, compassionate staff. We stand behind Sculpsure because not only is it superior to Coolsculpting in terms of technology and treatment outcome, but it’s significantly safer and less invasive to the body. 

Next Steps

Are you interested in learning how we can help you reach your body contouring goals? In addition to SculpSure, we offer a range of body contouring options. This enables us to develop a customized treatment plan ideal for your needs and budget. Contact us to learn more!

Light therapy: an effective non-invasive body sculpting option

Low Level Light Therapy is a proven treatment to optimize athletic performance, lasting fat loss, and improve overall wellness. Learn why!

7 Foods to eat when living with chronic inflammation

Do you struggle with chronic aches and pains? Do you have frequent headaches? What about regular GI discomfort? All of these issues have one thing in common, inflammation. 

In 2000, 125 million Americans were living with health conditions associated with chronic inflammation, and experts anticipate this number to steadily increase over the next 30 years. 

What is inflammation?

Although most people think inflammation is a bad thing, it is a natural protective mechanism produced by the body in response to foreign invaders or injury. 

The immune system is continuously scanning the body for any signs of unusual activity. As soon as an injury or pathogen is identified, the immune system takes action by stimulating an inflammatory response. This enables the body to target and isolate an affected area in the body to fight off harmful chemicals and repair any damage that took place. Simply put, we could not survive without the ability to produce an inflammatory response. 

At what point is inflammation harmful? 

Under normal circumstances, the body stops producing an inflammatory response after it has healed properly. Unfortunately, there are a variety of factors that can prevent this from happening. This includes but is not limited to: 

  • Autoimmunity – This occurs when the immune system becomes dysfunctional and begins attacking its own healthy tissue. 
  • Consuming processed foods – When foods are more heavily processed, they become more difficult to digest, causing added stress on the body. 
  • Excessive alcohol intake – Alcohol is difficult for the body to digest, and must be converted to sugar in the process. Sugars are considered pro-inflammatory.
  • Chronic stress – When we are under chronic stress, our hormone levels begin to shift out of balance. Over time, this can affect the immune system, leading to increased inflammation.
  • Sedentary lifestyle – Our lymphatic system is responsible for clearing toxins from our body. However, unlike our circulatory system, it requires movement to do its job. As a result, inactivity can lead to a buildup of toxins in the body, thus stimulating the immune system to take action. 

What does chronic inflammation feel like?

Millions of Americans are living with chronic inflammation, and many people do not even know it. This is because pain does not always accompany low-grade inflammation. You may simply feel a little run-down and prone to common infections. But before you dismiss chronic inflammation as a legitimate concern, it’s important to understand the damaging effects this has on the body long term.  

When left unmanaged, chronic inflammation is associated with diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cancer. In addition, it’s a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease. (BEEF UP)

How to manage chronic inflammation naturally

An abundance of research has been conducted over the years to better understand how our bodies respond to foods. Now, there is definitive evidence to support that specific foods stimulate a small inflammatory response. In fact, the Inflammatory Food Index was created based on definitive findings to help guide the public to making healthier food choices. 

Top anti-inflammatory foods

Eating anti-inflammatory foods helps support the body by providing proper vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, thereby optimizing our ability to fight infection, minimize chronic pain and inflammation, and optimize your metabolism. 

Here are a few top anti-inflammatory foods to incorporate into your regular dietary routine: 

  • Berries such as blackberries and blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Fatty fish
  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds

Next Steps

Are you interested in learning more about how you can address your chronic pain holistically? The team at Aria offers a variety of therapeutic modalities targeting the inflammatory cycle, ranging from holistic nutrition counseling, bioresonance therapy, BEMER therapy, red light therapy, and more. Jumpstart your health journey today, and contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation!

How bio-electromagnetic therapy may help improve chronic pain

We have all experienced physical pain at some point in our lives. But imagine living with incessant pain that lasts for weeks, months, or even years on end. Regardless of the cause, treatment typically involves rest and a variety of medications to reduce inflammation, discomfort, and muscle tension.

Although this protocol is required to help break the inflammatory cycle and speed up the healing process, often times these medications can lead to stomach complications and addiction risk. But what if there was another way to naturally manage pain without the risk of a variety of side effects? According to a new study, bio-electromagnetic energy regulation therapy (BEMER) may be the answer we have been looking for.

How BEMER therapy works

BEMER therapy may sound complex, but the treatment is simple. Using electromagnetically transmitted signals, BEMER stimulates blood flow to the smallest blood vessels throughout the body by delivering a less powerful, more controlled version of the same electromagnetic energy that underlies each nerve’s natural function.

Dr. Robyn Balden, Medical Scientist and former Anesthesiologist from Cedar Senai, offered insight into how our small blood vessels impact bodily functions:

“When stimulation occurs appropriately in nerve cells responsible for connecting the muscle tissue, we have the ability to flex and extend our muscles. In addition, a thin wall of smooth muscular tissue surrounds most blood vessels, thicker closer to the heart and progressively thinner-walled the further away from the high pressures of the heart’s pulse.

Our blood vessels, nerves, and muscles work together to enable the delivery of the blood’s circulating nutrients, muscle function, and optimal exchange of other gases. This process helps make sure areas that need more blood supply (such as our organs and nerves) are receiving adequate supply.”

What causes decreased circulation to small blood vessels?

There are a variety of factors that lead to decreased blood flow to the small blood vessels, including:

  • stress
  • injury
  • unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits
  • chronic illness

Over time, this can lead to decreased physical and mental performance and an increased risk of illness and chronic pain. 

By increasing circulation to the small blood vessels, research suggests BEMER has the ability to improve immune system function, wound healing, decrease inflammation, and enhance athletic performance.

New research on BEMER therapy for pain management

As BEMER therapy gains recognition for its effects on pain management and injury recovery, research interest is beginning to grow. In a new study, researchers assessed whether it may support those with a specific form of chronic pain, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). This is a common nervous system disorder that leads to chronic nerve pain radiating through the limbs and extremities. CRPS is usually caused from an injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack.

Because BEMER optimizes microcirculation, researchers from this study hypothesized it would improve nerve function in these patients, thereby reducing pain.

A total of 30 patients with complex regional pain syndrome were included in the study. Patients were randomly assigned to the treatment or control group. The treatment group (n=15) received physical therapy along with BEMER treatments for 10 consecutive days, while the control group (n=15) received physical therapy along with placebo BEMER treatments for the same duration.

The researchers evaluated the patient’s pain severity, hand grip strength, and upper limb disability at baseline and after one month.

Study findings

This study found that BEMER therapy significantly improved pain severity, lower limb function, and hand grip strength over time compared to the control group. In addition, there were no adverse side effects from this treatment.

The researchers concluded:

“Data from the present pilot study suggest that BEMER therapy can be indicated, in combination with traditional rehabilitation programs, for the treatment of [complex regional pain syndrome], as it is effective in reducing pain and improving function in the short term of 1 month.”

Final thoughts

Although study is limited by it’s small sample size and short duration, the findings are promising. If you or someone you know is looking for a natural approach to managing nerve pain, BEMER is proving to be a safe and viable alternative to addictive prescription medication. Contact us for your free consultation to learn whether BEMER is the right option for you.

Maria Grazia Benedetti, Lorenzo Cavazzuti, Massimiliano Mosca, Isabella Fusaro & Alessandro Zati (2018): Bio-Electro-Magnetic-Energy-Regulation (BEMER) for the treatment of type I complex regional pain syndrome: A pilot study, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice

Is magnesium an effective tool for managing depression?

Chances are you, or someone you know, has suffered with depression at some point. Although these symptoms typically come and go based on life circumstances, an individual is diagnosed with depressive disorder when sadness becomes persistent or severe enough to interfere with one’s ability to function in day-to-day activities.  

Depression is associated with a variety of behavioral and physiological challenges, including but not limited to:

  • Impaired sleep quality
  • Appetite changes
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Agitation
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of interest in normally pleasurable activities
  • Suicidal thoughts

Although the etiology behind depression is not clearly understood, doctors believe a combination of genetic predisposition, abnormal neurotransmitter activity and psycho-social factors are responsible.

Nutritional support for depression

In cases of persistent or severe depression, treatment typically involves medication and/or psychotherapy. Unfortunately, this disease is difficult to treat and requires an individualized approach. This knowledge has led researchers to look into the role of various micronutrients in depression management.

Magnesium is a great example of a micronutrient important for mental well-being. Why? Well, magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body, and every organ requires magnesium to function properly. In addition, magnesium regulates neurotransmitters and activates the parasympathetic nervous (or the rest and digest) system. In fact, the calming effect of magnesium is so significant that it has been coined “the original chill pill”.

Despite its crucial role in the body, most Americans aren’t getting enough. In fact, magnesium is considered one of the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies in the United States, following closely behind vitamin D deficiency.

A large number of studies have been conducted in an effort to better understand the role of magnesium in mental health. Although research consistently reports an association between magnesium deficiency and depression, clinical trials have yielded conflicting findings. Therefore, researchers recently conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the efficacy of magnesium supplementation in improving depressive symptoms.

New RCT on magnesium & depression

A total of 126 adults with mild to moderate depression from various outpatient primary care clinics were included in this trial. The participants were randomly assigned to take a total of four 500 mg tablets of magnesium chloride per day for either the first or second half of the 12-week trial.

The researchers evaluated the change in depression and anxiety symptoms from baseline to completion of each treatment period. Here is what they found:

  • After two weeks, participants began experiencing improved depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • By the end of the six week treatment, magnesium supplementation significantly improved depression and anxiety scores (p < 0.001).
  • A total of 61% of the participants stated they would continue using magnesium in the future.

The researchers summarized their findings:

“Magnesium is effective for mild-to-moderate depression in adults. It works quickly and is well tolerated without the need for close monitoring for toxicity.”

Final thoughts

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium ranges between 320 – 420 mg per day for the average adult. However, some research suggests adults need anywhere between 500 – 700 mg of magnesium per day to receive the full scope of health benefits from this mineral.  

Although magnesium is considered safe and well tolerated in these doses, it’s always wise to check with your physician prior to introducing this supplement if you have health problems or are taking any medications. Have you found magnesium has helped benefit your health? If so, please reach out to share your experience!


Tarleton, E. et al. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A  randomized clinical trial. PLOS ONE, 2018.

Male infertility: Can vitamin D improve pregnancy sucess?

Consider this scenario: You and your partner are ready to start a family. However, after a year of failed attempts to conceive, you decide to visit a fertility specialist to determine what is preventing your family from growing. The tests come back. You or your partner are diagnosed as infertile.

Unfortunately, this is the reality that over 5 million people face within the United States alone. In addition, according to a new study, male infertility is on the rise. Researchers from this study found sperm counts have declined by nearly 60% over the last 40 years among European, North American and Australian men.

Vitamin D and reproductive health

Vitamin D has developed a reputation for benefiting sexual health; however, is there any merit behind the puns? It turns out, there is.  Research suggests vitamin D status indeed plays an important role in reproductive health. In fact, vitamin D status has been linked with sexual function,  testosterone levels and fertility. In addition, studies have found vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent among men with low semen production, quality and motility, along with lower inhibin B levels.

Embryologist Kez Emeny explained the relevance of inhibin B status on male fertility:

“Inhibin B levels reflect testicular function and Sertoli cell function. Inhibin B levels are reduced in men with infertility problems compared with fertile men. Studies show that inhibin B levels are a more sensitive marker of male factor infertility than other hormones.”

RCT evaluates relationship between vitamin D and male fertility

In an effort to determine whether vitamin D supplementation may improve semen quality and hormonal imbalances among infertile men, researchers from Denmark conducted a triple blinded, randomized controlled trial. Men were included in the study if they were part of a couple diagnosed with infertility due to impaired semen quality, had vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/l) and did not have any serious secondary diseases.

A total of 307 individuals participated in this study. The participants provided two semen samples for analysis, as well as received a blood draw at baseline. The men were randomly assigned to either receive a single dose of 300,000 IU vitamin D3 along with a daily dose of 1,400 IU vitamin D3 and 500 mg of calcium for 150 days, or receive two received a single oil based placebo, followed by a placebo pill for 150 days.

Here is what the researchers found:

  • Average baseline vitamin D status was 14 ng/ml (35 nmol/l).
  • The vitamin D group experienced a 17.2 ng/ml (43 nmol/l) increase in 25(OH)D compared to the 2 ng/ml increase in the placebo group (p < 0.001).
  • There were no cases of vitamin D toxicity.
  • A total of 7.3% of the couples in the vitamin D group achieved pregnancy without assistance from physician; whereas only 2.4% became pregnant in the placebo group.
  • In a subgroup analysis of men with low sperm count (oligozoospermia), the chances of a live birth increased to 35.6% in the vitamin D group, compared to 18.3% in the placebo group (p = 0.04).
  • Serum inhibin B levels were 49 pg/ml higher among the vitamin D group compared to the placebo group (p = 0.021).
  • Serum inhibin B/FSH ratio changes were positively associated with changes in vitamin D status over the 5-month period (p = 0.038).
  • Sperm count tended to be higher in the vitamin D group compared to the placebo group, though this did not reach significance (p = 0.07).

Final thoughts

Due to the safety of vitamin D supplementation, along with its proven impact on reproductive health among both men and women, the team at Aria Integrative Health recommends supplementing with 5,000-10,000 IU (125- 250 mcg) of vitamin D3 per day in order to maintain optimal status (40-60 ng/ml; 100-150 nmol/l).

We offer a range of services in regards to optimizing reproductive health and sexual function in both men and women. Contact us to learn how we can help ensure your health needs are being met!


Jensen, M., MD. et al. Effects of vitamin D supplementation on semen quality, reproductive hormones and live birth rate: a randomized clinical trial. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2017.