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Look & Feel Better at Any Age

Just Ask Loop Wellness Clinic's Patients

Article by Melinda Gipson

Photography by Mary Lanaghan, MJLStudios

Originally published in Leesburg Lifestyle

Bryce Buell       

In his first year of law school, Bryce Buell was randomly stopped by a modeling agent while walking on the street and was strongly encouraged to model because he “had that look.” Deciding to take a year off to pursue what he thought was a sideline, short term job, in actuality, ended up being a very successful modeling career.  So successful, that he never went back to law school. That was 30 years ago.  He has since settled down, parenting two adult girls and a three-year-old son. 

Bryce says he discovered Loop shortly after his son was born because “I felt like I’d lost a step and was looking to see what solutions there might be. I looked into hormone therapy, talked it over with my wife and decided to try it.” He says that, after treatment, “how it manifested in me was that across the board in just every part of my life I was like 10%-15% better. I had a little more energy, a little more motivation. I could better recall things. I just felt mentally sharper.” 

Now three years into his hormone therapy at Loop Wellness, he is motivated and has found consistency with his exercise and regimen that he has begun modeling again. (Check out @brycebuell on Instagram if you’re intrigued!)

He says, “If you’re willing to put in the work at any age, there’s no reason you can’t feel and look great.”

Penny Barry

For Penny Barry, bioidentical hormones and weight loss treatment at Loop Wellness “has been a life changer...Before I came to Monica, I was developing osteoporosis. I had high blood sugar. I was like pre-diabetic. My triglycerides were high. My cholesterol was high.”  Penny was pleased to share, “I just had a physical about a month ago and all my numbers are normal and they haven't been normal in a long time. So, I really mean it, I feel like she's saved my life.” 

Penny struggled with declining energy as well an auto-immune disorder.  A friend recommended Monica, so Penny decided, “I’d tried everything else. I’ll try this too.” She was immediately impressed by how much time Monica took to understand all of her symptoms. “She asked so many questions and did very detailed blood work, and she listened. She really wanted to help and figure out what was wrong with me and make it better.”  Once starting hormone therapy, she states “That has taken away a lot of my autoimmune symptoms... a lot of the inflammation, aches and pains. My osteoporosis has improved…It’s also made me feel better overall. I was exhausted all the time. I still get tired but nothing like I used to, and I used to just have constant joint pain.”

Penny, a school teacher and petite brunette, started gaining weight during COVID, when all her classes became virtual.  She added weight loss therapy to her treatment, and has lost 50 pounds. “That’s a lot for someone who’s 4 ft. 11-1/2 in. tall,” she said.  Recently, she found some older pictures of herself and remarked, “Wow. I look like that person again…My oldest son got married and had some grandkids and I’m now happy I can get down on the floor and play with them!”

Cynthia Cabanillas

Eight months ago and 40 pounds heavier, Cynthia Cabanillas couldn’t wear her favorite Michael Kors boots. Before she discovered Loop Wellness and started bioidentical hormones and weight loss therapy, “I was exhausted mentally, physically, probably emotionally.”

During the pandemic, as the lockdown had begun, Cynthia also had the advent of menopausal symptoms. Loop Wellness owner Monica Unni told her, “You don’t have to feel like this.  We can help!” Cynthia explained. “Within two weeks of starting therapy I no longer felt as if I had hit a wall in the afternoon and had to lay back down.  I was relieved…and within three months, I felt human again!”  The thing that struck her most in hindsight is how many women like herself just take tiredness as a natural consequence of aging. “It doesn’t have to be that way.”

Though she felt much better, inactivity and grief from losing her sister to COVID caused her to put on weight.  That too turned out to be something Loop could address. After a panel of blood tests, she started weight loss therapy that included weekly monitoring of her vitals, weight, and nutrition.

She lost 40 pounds in 8 months, improving how she feels, but most importantly, her health. 

“I have degenerative disc disease and was suffering from nerve pain every day. My (back doctor) told me in December that I was going to have to have surgery to fuse my vertebrae.” She balked, fearing how this would impact her active life with her 13-year-old son.  However, after losing all her weight, “I have no nerve pain at all and I don’t need surgery.” With that kind of outcome, wearing your favorite clothes again is just a bonus!

Mario Palafox

Mario Palafox is an avid cycler, typically doing between 3,000 and 4,000 miles per year. But when he began training for the Armed Forces Cycling Classic, he felt like he’d lost a step. “I started having issues with my muscle recovery,” Mario said. “I was doing all the right things, stretching more, hydrating.” So the first time he came to Loop Wellness he was just looking for an IV with electrolytes to reclaim his pep.

When Monica asked him if he’d ever had his testosterone tested, he said, “No, I never really thought about it.” They set up an appointment to do the blood work and he said his tests showed that his levels were “clinically low.” He commented, “You know, guys are pretty proud, and when I learned my testosterone was low, I took a step back…Then a female friend from yoga said she’d started hormone therapy at Loop Wellness, and said it changed her life.  So by the time I came back here, I’d decided I’m doing that!”

He furthermore decided on bioidentical pellet treatment because “The idea of coming just once or twice a year for treatment really appealed to me.”  Since he’d been in training for a race, “I put it to the test almost immediately,” he said.  Mario bested his own time considerably, reaching a personal best speed of 23 miles an hour during the 63-mile race, finishing among the best in his age group. (He was then 46.) Today at 48, he feels even more fit by adding EmSculpt Neo treatments to help strengthen his core. “Strengthening my core not only helped me with the cycling but it took away my back pain.”

Finally, Mario enthused, he had so much energy, he decided to get a puppy, so he was encouraged to walk even more.

Cindy Willingham

Cindy Willingham positively glows. She’s in love and in a relationship with a wonderful man she met while walking her dog.  She came prepared with pages of notes for our interview, overflowing with enthusiasm and good humor. She thought long and hard about how she wanted to describe what she calls her “journey with Monica,” and finally arrived at the description that “I have transformed into an older version of my younger self.”   She explains, “It's a profound change in my life that she has made; I get teary just talking about it because I've been with her for four years.... No doubt we are all getting older but to have this feeling at my age is incredible. It’s a gift.”

When she first came to Monica, she had trouble sleeping, had started getting hot flashes and sweating, often while working on her dental patients.  Her gynecologist had put her on estrogen, but then retired.  Not knowing where to go and what to do, her trusted aesthetic specialist, Sarah Safa, PA-C of Refined Aesthetics referred her to Monica at Loop.  Cindy recalls her conversation, “go see Monica!  She can help you with hormones…I did and it’s been an amazing experience. She’s passionate and knowledgeable. She cares about me and took the time to explain what was going on and what I needed. I’ve never experienced anything like this.”

Balancing her hormones came first. She said, the process “is physical; it’s mental; both your body and your mind’s energy level are improved. I’m more energetic than my 35-year-old daughter and my 40-year-old daughter-in-law.” Of course, they both have kids and, she remarks sagely, “You can’t out-run a six-year-old, but I can spend the day with them and I’m keeping up!”

Monica Unni, MS, PA-C and Erika Schilling, NP

Monica Unni earned a Masters of Science in Medicine and Physician’s Assistant Studies from Shenandoah University and has more than 20 years of clinical experience.  She spent 17 years in emergency medicine within INOVA Loudoun Hospitals Level 3 trauma center. She’s used that background to branch out into integrative medicine, focusing on hormone health, wellness, and weight loss by opening Loop Wellness Clinic almost 4 years ago.  She is a certified Biote Medical practitioner and has earned “Legacy” status within Biote, distinguishing her as the most experienced provider in the Northern Virginia area for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). 

In addition to BHRT, Monica offers IV nutritional therapy, as well as various weight loss options with direct coaching and one on one guidance.  Loop has state-of-the-art body sculpting equipment that helps enhance up to 30% muscle and reduce up to 25% fat.   The hidden gem of Loop wellness clinic is the Emsella chair, which helps treat urinary frequency/urgency, incontinence, and improves intimate health.

Monica works with Erika Schilling, a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner in midwifery and 26-year Navy Veteran with a doctorate in Nursing Practice. She is even an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, with not only a focus on women’s health, but wellness overall.

Monica and Erika offer a unique experience for all patients that come to Loop.  With an hour consultation, all patients will leave feeling heard and concerns appropriately addressed.  The primary focus for all patients is overall improvement in quality of life.  Monica explains, “Women and men 35 and older can benefit from having their hormones evaluated.  Our focus is helping patients with symptoms that vary from lack of energy, brain fog, forgetfulness, disrupted sleep, changes in lean muscle, joint pains, and for women: hot flashes, and night sweats.  These are all things that hormonally we can look at and see if we can help you.”

Loop Wellness is expanding their offices onto the third-floor of their current building.  The suite will be shared with Sarah Safa, PA-C of Refined Aesthetics.  Together Loop Wellness and Refined Aesthetics have formed the Virginia Anti-Aging Institute. “Our vision is that patients can serve all of their needs aesthetically as well as hormonally – helping them feel better on the inside and look better on the outside.”

Call 571-526-3505 or use the website loopclinic.com to book a consultation.

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