Darien doctor delves into new and innovative treatments
Dr. Jennifer Jose's goal is simple: keep people alive.
The Darien doctor, who is board certified in internal medicine, believes her goal can be achieved through various means -- from performing yearly physical exams to providing nutritional counseling to giving flu shots to offering facials and massages to the latest trends in cosmetic enhancements.
"I treat the mind, body and soul," she said.
Her practice, Ultimate Solutions, is a medical spa for men and women at 688 Boston Post Road. It is housed in two salmon-colored, side-by-side buildings, one of which is 200 years old, according to the plaque affixed to the porch. Soft music in the background and a flat-screen TV monitor displaying tranquil scenes greet patients in the waiting room. Jose, who has been in Darien for 13 years, opened the medical spa in 2008, after having an office behind the downtown area. She received her medical degree at Virgen Milagrosa University Medical School in the Philippines and did her internship and residency at Stamford Hospital. She also has a master's degree in clinical nutrition from the University of Bridgeport.
The practitioner, who has a handful of support staff, has expanded her internal medicine specialty into the latest trends in cosmetic beauty and weight loss. Ultimate Solutions offers SmartLipo; face, body and skin care; supplements; massage; and the trendy, and somewhat controversial, HCG diet and weight loss program. Offering cosmetic services, said Jose, is a natural progression in treating the whole person.
"It's a stress reliever," she said. "It's not all about the fluff and beauty. It's more about feeling good, bringing up a little bit of your self-esteem."
While internal medicine is her primary focus, she said, she believes that "everybody wants to feel good about themselves" so she added a host of services to relieve stress and build self-esteem.
"Women, mostly women, want to feel good. How nice is it that after you get a pap smear, you go upstairs and get a facial," she said.
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She credits her Philippine medical education with giving her the ability to reach out to provide a more personal experience to her patients, and not just treat his or her condition or malady. "I treat patients from inside and out ... It's about talking to them, looking them in the eye, asking them, `what's going on with you, how's the family, how's everything.' I am not just a doctor to give you a prescription and you're on your way."
She said it is not uncommon for her to hold their hands or hug them.
"The appointment is only secondary," she said, to the "tactile stimulation, which goes a long way" in helping them.
In addition to the traditional medicine, Jose's clients can choose among therapeutic massage and Reiki, which includes meditation, aromatherapy, naturopathy and homeopathy; nutritional supplements, such as Mona Vie acai berry juice and nutraMetrix; facials, peels, mask and acid treatments; laser hair removal; and Botox, which can be performed on a client's lunch hour.
Growing in popularity is SmartLipo, which is laser-assisted liposuction.
"It is the No. 1 most-asked-for procedure in plastic surgery for the last five years," said Jose, who performs it on clients who are under a local anesthetic. The laser melts fat inside the body. Once the fat has been liquefied, a tiny canula is inserted that takes the fat away. The procedure is painless and minimally invasive.
Jose also is busy providing HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, for weight loss. HCG, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for female infertility, is a hormone produced by the human placenta and found in the urine of pregnant women. Jose and two of her staff members have availed themselves of the HCG, a small dose of which is administered by injection or in pill form. According to Jose, she is the only physician in Connecticut offering HCG to her patients. She supervises each patient carefully, providing a team that includes herself, a nutritionist, a life coach and a medical assistant. The average weight loss for women is .4 to 1 pound a day; 1 to 2 pounds for men.
HCG increases metabolism and curbs appetites, according to Jose, who added that it "acts like Pac Man eating away fat." Patients are on a 500-calorie diet while on the HCG regimen and cannot exercise until they conclude the 26- or 43-day program. Their calorie intake then is increased as they maintain their weight, which Jose said is done by eating and living properly. "Sleep early," she tells patients, otherwise they are likely to start eating junk food. Making lifestyle changes is important to maintaining the weight loss.
While HCG is not approved by the FDA for weight loss, the federal agency is aware that health-care professionals prescribe the hormone via injection. The FDA, however, actively targeted numerous over-the-counter HCG products that it believed were illegally marketed. That's why Jose said HCG should be administered by a physician only. "I like the product, because as an internal medicine doctor, it prevents disease" caused by excess weight, she said.
With her practice getting busier every day, Jose, the mother of two adopted children ages 3 and 5, said she has not mapped out any future goals, except to find time for her family. She is content with what she has accomplished thus far.
"I love my practice because I hit all areas," she said. "I cater to everybody."