By Laetitia Clayton -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STEPHENS CITY -- Allure Medical & Wellness is evidence that health and beauty often do go hand in hand.
The practice opened in October to help meet the rising demand for a patented weight-management program that started in 2008 at its sister business, Valley Family & Procedural Medicine.
Allure, which held its grand opening in April, focuses mainly on the weight program but also offers aesthetics, such as skin care products and Botox injections. Valley Family & Procedural Medicine, next door, remains a family practice.
The weight-management program at Allure Medical now boasts about 3,000 patients, said Jacqueline Post, a certified nurse practitioner at the facility. She said the program has grown mostly by word of mouth, based on the success of its members. Patients come from Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and D.C., Post said.
"It's just really blossomed," she said. "We are changing lives here."
There really isn't another program like Allure's in this area, Post said, citing the fact that it's connected with a physician's office, and some people feel more comfortable because of that.
Dr. Charles A. Middelhof, the physician who owns both practices, designed the Charles Middelhof physician-guided weight management program, and Post helped him cultivate Allure's other offerings to cover both health and beauty, with most of the focus on good health.
"We want to reduce stroke risk and heart attack risk," Post said. "Getting healthy is the goal."
The weight-management program starts with blood work and an EKG, she said, and once a patient is cleared physically, they can start the program. Post says it's geared toward anyone 18 and over, and for people who want to lose any amount of weight -- from "5 pounds to hundreds."
The program focuses on changing bad eating habits, exercising and getting healthy, Post said, stressing that it's physician-guided the whole way. She and Middelhof hold sessions with patients in group settings of 16 to 20 people several times a day because of the large number of people now in the program. They counsel their patients on nutrition and also give them exercises to do, she said.
"One-hundred percent of the focus is on nutrition education," Post said, adding that patients who need an extra boost are given medication to enhance energy and suppress appetite. But the medication is not a major component, Post stressed.
It generally takes three months to complete the program, she said, but some people may need to be in it as long as six months. "It takes three months to set new habits," Post said.
The program has been so successful that some of the larger employers in the area are asking Allure to come in to their workplaces to share information about it and talk with employees, she said.
The cost of each visit is about as much as a regular doctor's visit, and Allure will bill most insurances, Post said.
In addition to weight-management, Allure offers a line of skin treatments and products, including Obagi, Latisse, Botox and Juvederm. They are also looking into offering laser treatments in the future.
Post said the practice wanted to expand what it offered, and skin care seemed like a logical choice.
"If you're losing weight and getting healthy," she said, beauty enhancement can make you feel even better.
In addition, Allure offers a B12 shot, called Lipoplex, Post said, which gives you energy and enhances well-being.
You don't have to be a patient to get the injection or the skin care products, she said.
Even though the practice is expanding its offerings, Post said 90 percent of the business is the weight program, and getting patients healthier.
"It's about moderation, not depravation," she said. We make it realistic. We practice what we preach. I wouldn't ask anyone to do something I didn't believe in."
Allure Medical & Wellness is at 640 Warrior Drive, Suite 109, in Stephens City. For more information, call 868-2511 or go online to www.vfpm.net/allure.