Category Archives: Health

Stretching with Lucas Rockwood

I’ve been trying to get back into shape and recently I’ve turned to Lucas Rockwood, a well respected yoga trainer who offers several online training classes, including his his 21-Day Hip Opener Challenge. Each class only takes about 15 minutes but is harder than it sounds. I’m often covered in a sheen of sweat after holding these stretches for up to 5 minutes at a time.

The program is not intended to be a workout. Lucas describes it as a supplement to whatever you’re doing so I will often do this after going for a walk or run or after working out with my trainer. However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t used the 15 minute stretching class as my “workout” for the day. I’ve noticed the class has helped my posture and my lower back feels stronger.

Because of the winter, I’ll be looking for creative ways to workout indoors. I’m open to suggestions / ideas to do my best to stay fit and somewhat active from my home so I don’t need to go to public gyms while the coronavirus is on the rise.

ISO Nutrition app suggestions

realm health and fitness tips from kyle

After months of little to no physical activity through the spring and summer Sergio had enough of my life as a couch potato and gifted me a series of workout sessions with my former trainer who has opened a private gym. I’ll write more about that in the near future. Although I thought I was going to die after my first week back in the gym, I am happy to be working out again. I’ve not seen any change in my weight or physique, but over the past two weeks I have noticed that I’m sleeping better, I have more energy and my attitude has changed.

I am looking for an easy to use nutrition app

Although I’m not about to give up my lifelong love affair with wine and other treats like french fries and ice cream, I would like to find and use an app to help me track what I eat. I’m not interested in Weight Watchers or apps that are tied to weight loss / management programs. I’d prefer something that is independent and lets me track my own progress without any pressure to sign up or join programs. I plan to use this in conjunction with the workout app my trainer uses, Train Heroic, and MapMyRun, which I use to track my cardio.

WonderSpray: Your very own portable butt shower

This past weekend Sergio had me in stitches laughing so hard watching this promotional video for the WonderSpray, the world’s first portable butt shower.  The product isn’t what I find funny – rather it is the ‘cheeky’ way these inventors have opted to market their product. Their tagline is a good example of what I mean, “Revolutionizing the way people poop one clean bum at a time” – OMG.

I’m more than a little intrigued by the WonderSpray’s “Wonder” mode. If anyone happens to have this product, please explain the experience. The video describes the various settings saying, “Perfect for at home or on-the-go. Comes with multiple pressurized water jets with 4 different settings from light to wonder mode. AND trust us, you’ve got to experience the “Wonder” mode!!!

You have to check out the WonderSpray launch video (below).

If you want to try the product, check out their kickstarter page where they’ve already raised nearly $300,000 from more than 2,700 people.

WonderSpray – The World’s First Portable Butt Shower

Science doesn’t give a f*ck what you believe

Lately, public health and health policy has become politicized. There are several reasons this has happened in my opinion, but I’d rather not dwell on it and focus more on the fact that science – unlike political science – doesn’t give a [insert explative of your choosing here] what you believe.

I cannot believe that I feel compelled to write that no matter how strongly you believe in individual freedoms or conspiracy theories about wearing masks and social distancing, you are not impervious to the coronavirus. But it seems like there is a large segment of our society that has embraced the notion that if you say something often enough (no matter how wildly inaccurate) it must be true. A good example of this is President Trump’s insistance that the virus will go away if we stop testing for coronavirus.

“If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any” President Donald Trump (June 15, 2020)

Placing faith in political and religious leaders over the recommendations of scientists and medical professionals will not protect you, your loved ones or your communities. Following health guidelines as outlined by the medical community is both a personal and civic responsibility that supercedes personal preferences and inconveniences. To put it more simply, SCIENCE  >  YOUR BELIEFS.

Some states say it’s time to open

covidThe state of Georgia has earned widespread criticism, after Gov. Brian Kemp said businesses like gyms, hair salons, and barber shops could open this past Friday, April 24 with theaters and restaurants to open tomorrow on April 27.

I’d like to use this post to encourage a little social activism on your part. If you think Gov. Kemp’s actions are reckless then speak up, regardless of where you live. Call the Georgia State Govenor’s Mansion to arrange a tour like Professa Cross shares below.

Click  on the image to enlarge if it is difficult to read – it’s worth your time.

If you are unsure when a specific state will be lifting their “stay-at-home” orders this site has a listing of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, here.  I’ve included a  list of states that say they will lift ‘stay-at-home’ requests this week. For some states with low infection rates localized in a defined area that may make sense, but the data shows that isn’t the case for all the states listed below.

Alabama – Thursday, April 30
6,000+ cases / 164 deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Alaska – Opened April 21
300+ cases / 9 deaths – considered defined, details here.

Arizona – Thursday, April 30
6,000+ cases / 273 deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Colorado – Monday, April 27 (Denver stay-at-home remains)
6,000+ cases / 670+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Florida – Thursday, April 30
30,000+ cases / 1,000+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Idaho – Thursday, April 30
1,870+ cases / 50+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Indiana – Friday, May 1
14,000+ cases / 78+ deaths – undetermined, details here.

Louisiana – Friday, May 1
26,500+ cases / 1,600+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Mississippi – Monday, April 27
5,700+ cases / 220+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Montana – Monday, April 27
440+ cases / 14 deaths – considered defined, details here.

Nevada – Thursday, April 30
4,500+ cases / 200+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

Ohio – Friday, May 1
15,500+ cases / 700+ deaths – considered defined, details here.

Tennessee – Thursday, April 30
9,000+ cases / 175+ deaths – considered defined, details here.

Texas – Thursday, April 30
23,700+ cases / 600+ deaths – considered widespread, details here.

SOURCE for case counts and deaths

FDA eases blood donation policy targeting gay men (sort of)

Thursday April 2nd the U.S. government (sort of) eased restrictions that previously forbid gay men and several other groups from making blood donations.  The FDA’s policy change is not absolute, meaning the guidance for male donors who would have been deferred for having sex with another man has changed the recommended deferral period from 12 months to 3 months. For sexually active gay men, which describes every gay man I know – this change although welcome still falls short. You can read the details about the new policy which aims to allow tens of thousands more Americans to give blood here.

The change in policy is due to canceled blood drives, that have decimated donations to the American Red Cross and other nonprofits that provide most of the blood supply in the country.

For those of you who are not sexually active gay men, consider contacting your local American Red Cross. To learn more and or to schedule a blood donation at Boston’s American Red Cross donation center call 1-800-RED CROSS or go online to schedule a time to donate, here.

What to do this week: March 16-22

coronavirus, covid-19, gay humorWhen phrases like “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” become a part of our vernacular and are trending on social media, you know that something is up.

Many meetings, events and programs last week made last minute decisions to cancel so I’m going to take a hiatus from publishing events this week and suggest a prolonged “Netflix-n-Chill” approach while we ride out COVID-19.

Below you’ll find an easy to follow guide on how to wash your hands since that seems to be among the best ways to prevent the spread. For more information about symptoms related to Coronavirus, visit this CDC site.

Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Coronavirus rant: Calm the f*ck down

Calm DownI’m veering from my usual topic and string of man candy posts for a momentary rant about our nation’s  response to COVID-19.  Guidance from the White House has been erratic at best, and I attribute the President’s failure to lead as the main reason for so much misinformation and general hysteria. After all Trump has gone from accusing Democrats and media of fear mongering and exaggerating, even suggesting this was a hoax and mortality rates shared by the World Health Organization as not that serious to implementing travel bans and declaring a national emergency. 

Due in large part to Trump’s failure to lead, there has been  a run on items like hand sanitizers and some are hoarding items like paper towels and toilet paper. Take 1-minute (well really 1:20) to listen to Judy Woodruff who closed the Friday night News Hour with a far more sane response than I’ve heard come from our President and a far more compassionate response that I hope will appeal to your better senses. Perhaps the White House can take cues from Judy and others in the media who have provided similar messages to help bring the nation together.

Fenway Health PrEP@Home study needs you

truvada, sexual healthFenway Health is recruiting people for a new medical study called PrEP@Home that involves testing a mobile app for men on PrEP to evaluate the effectiveness while minimizing the need for in-person follow up at clinics.

FENWAY HEALTH STUDY – EARN UP TO $240

Eligible participants should be between the ages of 18 – 49, HIV negative, assigned male at birth and interested in taking PrEP. Eligible participants will be eligible to receive up to $240 for completing all study procedures.

Interested? Call 617.927.6448 or click here to learn more: PrEP@Home.

Boston free summer fitness series

Boston Moves, Summer fitness programsStarting earlier this month on June 4th, Boston Parks launched their annual summer fitness series. Due to past success and interest the city is expanding the program this year and will offer 30 classes per week through September 29th.

Free fitness classes take place in the morning and evenings and include a variety of options like yoga, zumba and bootcamp. All classes take place outdoors in Boston’s parks around the city. The full calendar of activities can be found here: bphc.org/summerfitness.

You can follow what is happening and get updates by following @HealthyBoston.

Medical group forms to help connect LGBTQ community with wellness providers

Handsome, hunk, hairy, furry, doctorFew things are more important than taking care of your health and for that reason I touch upon the topic occasionally. A few years back I wrote the post, Many LGBT patients feel alienated by their health providersA few years after my post I shared the US News & World Report article, How to Come Out to Your Doctor as an LGBT Patient, which explained why this is important: the type of preventative care you should receive – esp if you are sexually active; questions you may want to ask your doctor; and most importantly for those who are not out to their health care providers – how to start the conversation.

So when I was recently contacted by Lighthouse, a network of LGBTQ affirming health and wellness providers, I knew I’d want to share this. According to the release I received, Lighthouse is a group of NYC-based providers who have devoted our careers to caring for LGBTQ+ patients. They are currently up and running in New York City and are expanding rapidly to serve the LGBTQ+ community nationwide.

For more information you can check out their blog at blog.lighthouse.lgbt or visit their website at www.lighthouse.lgbt.

BosGuy reviews G2O Spa & Salon

Boston spa, massageG2O Spa and Salon on Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood has been operating (initially under the name Giuliano Spa) since 1994, and it has been at its current location (278 Newbury Street) since 2010.

The full service spa offers all the traditional services you would associate with a spa and salon as well as several unique treatments you won’t find at other spas in Boston but for this post I want to focus on my 1-hour full body massage.

I will start with my only criticism of the entire spa experience – the somewhat chaotic surroundings on their ground floor where you first enter and pay before leaving. Fortunately once you leave the ground floor all the noise and chaos goes away. The facilities are excellent and I especially appreciate their spacious  men’s locker, which have private showers (which I used after my massage).

My masseur Bill Engvall met me as I came out of the men’s locker room and brought me down to the third floor.  After a quick consultation, he left the room so I could slip off my G20 robe and sandals and get onto the heated bed. I had mentioned to Bill I spend a lot of time hunched over my laptop at a desk job so he focused on my neck and lower back.

Boston spaI feel like every masseur has their own technique but I evaluate a massage based on how attentive they are to areas that need attention and ultimately how refreshed / relaxed I feel after the massage concludes. Bill did a great job and while I was showering off the massage oils, I noticed a marked improvement with my arms and shoulders flexibility. Even better I slept deeply and woke up uncharacteristically refreshed and less grumpy than usual.

A 60-minute massage at G2O starts at $125 and a 90-minute massage starts at $175 and while this may not be something you can do regularly, it is a wonderful treat especially in the winter when the air is so dry and it is so cold out.

BosGuy Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Awesome.

G2O Spa & Salon
(617) 262-2220
278 Newbury Street (thru the end of 2017)

NOTE: In January G2O will leave 278 Newbury Street and expand into space above the Tannery on Exeter Street. One assumes the new space will be even nicer. I look forward to visiting it in the new year and sharing an updated review.

Other Spa Reviews
Miniluxe 60-minute pedicure a.k.a. “foot facial”
étant 30-minute aromatherapy hand & foot massage
bliss spa Boston 75-minute massage a.k.a. “blissage”
Cabral Wellness Institute massage
étant 60-minuteSwedish massage

Massage at étant makes for a great holiday gift

south end spaétant is a neighborhood spa that has been in the South End since 1998, and I recently reviewed the spa when I took my father there for a 30-minute aromatherapy hand and foot massage for the two of us (you can read all about it here). As I said in my review, although 30-minute massage isn’t cheap, it is a more affordable option than a full body massage, making it a great treat if you’re on a budget. However, for those who are looking for more pampering étant offers an array of massage therapies in addition to facials, waxing, etc… On this particular trip I opted for a 1-hour Swedish Full Body Aromatherapy Massage ($120/60-minutes or $160/90-minutes).

A massage makes for a great gift for that hard to buy guy

There is something wonderfully relaxing about walking into a spa. The entire mood inside seems light years away from the hustle and bustle happening outside its doors and walking into étant is no exception. Jeanne greeted me with a smile as I walked up to the reception desk and offered me some water while I waited. A few minutes later my massage therapist, John Koran, walked in, introduced himself and guided me to the room for my massage. In less than 10-minutes I was on the massage table. With each knot that John worked out of my shoulders and back I started to relax more and more until I realized I had dozed off (something I tend to do off and on throughout any good massage I receive).

It is hard to describe how good I feel, mind, body and soul after a quality massage. If you’ve never had a massage I’d really encourage you to try it; and if it has been a while use the holiday season as an excuse to pamper yourself. étant provides consistently quality service and has a professional staff. My only critique is that I wish they had larger facilities that included saunas, lockers and showers for after a massage, but check it out and decide for yourself. étant is located at 524 Tremont Street in the South End and online at etant.com.

BosGuy Rating: 4 out of 5 stars, Awesome.

Other Spa Reviews
bliss spa Boston 75-minute massage a.k.a. “blissage”
Miniluxe 60-minute pedicure a.k.a. “foot facial”
Cabral Wellness Institute massage

BosGuy reviews étant in South End

étant is a neighborhood spa that has been in the South End since 1998. Over the years I have been there to get a massage and always enjoyed the professionalism and quality of their service. However, I do prefer to be able to shower after getting a full body massage and because they don’t have facilities to wash, I have in the past opted to go to other spas outside of my neighborhood.

The final week of September I took time off from work to spend part of the day with my father. My father has some circulation issues with his feet so I scheduled a thirty-minute aromatherapy hand & foot massage for the two of us; and asked the masseurs to focus on our feet. I’m not certain if my father has ever had a massage of any kind – let alone one that focuses on just the feet. He may have been a little nervous before starting but Keith Maddy (who worked on my father) was a pro because when my father emerged from his room he looked very relaxed and maybe even a little surprised by how much he enjoyed himself.

My masseur, Keelon Andrews, did an exceptional job, finding pressure points on the top, bottom and sides of my feet and even massaging my shins, which were surprisingly sore. The combination of the scented face mask, relaxing music and Keelon’s strong hands was magical and after it was done I was doubly grateful for the unseasonably warm weather that allowed us to walk out of étant wearing sandals. While the 30-minute massage isn’t cheap, it is a more affordable option than a full body massage, making it a great treat if you’re on a budget.

étant is a neighborhood spa with great staff. If they could increase their space and possibly expand to offer more facilities (e.g. saunas, showers, etc), they could be a destination spa in the city.

étant is located at 524 Tremont Street in the South End and can be found online at etant.com.

étant Aromatherapy Hand & Foot Massage 30-minutes, $65
with paraffin treatment forty-five minutes, $80

BosGuy Rating: 4 out of 5 stars, Awesome.

Other Spa Reviews
bliss spa Boston 75-minute massage a.k.a. “blissage”
Miniluxe 60-minute pedicure a.k.a. “foot facial”
Cabral Wellness Institute massage

Study suggests PrEP can be taken as needed to avoid HIV

gilead, co-pay cardEarlier this month Huffington Post Queer Voices published findings from a  study of gay and bisexual men where researchers found that taking four doses of PrEP around the time of sexual activity cut the risk of being diagnosed with HIV by 97 percent.  

The 361 men in the new study were enrolled from France and Canada after the completion of the IPERGAY trial. They were told to take two doses of Truvada between two and 24 hours before sex, another dose 24 hours later and a fourth dose 24 hours after that.

Taking PrEP is a personal decision and one you should discuss with your primary care physician. This is yet another example of how important it can be for sexually active gay men to have access to doctors familiar with LGBTQ health issues. Fortunately here in Boston Fenway Health and the South End Associates are two excellent medical practices gay men can access.

You can read the full article on Huffington Post here.