2018 High and Low Tech Health Products Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

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'Tis the season for lots of gift giving! And I bet many of you already have gifts wrapped and ready to go, but for those of you still searching for the perfect gift for those hard to buy for peeps in your life, here’s a little help in finding a unique, helpful, and health-oriented gift for your loved one this holiday season.

First up are the hot tech gadgets for health for this season. At the top of the list is one of my personal favorites, a health recording device. There are many options, some more popular than others. Apple Watch is huge, and has apps to keep track of everything from steps, to heart rhythm and rate, and data on how well you are sleeping. The Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band does all of that and of course will beep at you if you have been inactive for too long. While the options are numerous, the cost is also up there for the Garmin and the Apple Watch. The FitBit is still available at smaller price points, but it does not have the heart monitoring info that the Apple Watch provides.

This makes other options such as AliveCor’s Kardia device that can attach right to the back of your cell phone more feasible if what you need is data on your heart. A medical-grade EKG strip is available in real time at 30 sec intervals for under $100. The device will tell you immediately if you are in atrial fibrillation, and gives you actionable data to share with your physician. You can also purchase some memory to store your EKG’s and show mutliple rhythm strips to your doctor at your next visit, plus you can pay for a remote physician to read your EKG within 24 hours. All very helpful ideas for a loved one with a heart rate or rhythm problem.

For those of you or your friends and family who hate to wear a fitness monitor to bed, but would like to know how well you are sleeping, there are now devices available that clip to your pillow and allow you to download info to tell you all your sleeping stats. Check out Amazon for the whole bunch of them starting around $100.

The Lumo Lift Posture coach is one of those devices my patients always tease about wanting to help them maintain a neutral spine posture all day long. This device will monitor your posture and give you gentle nudges to improve it throughout the day when posture falters, making it a good idea for those with back pain who are looking to improve their posture in 2019.

DNA testing is all the rage for 2019. One of the more unique products not advertised on TV is the Muhdo DNA test kit that develops your very own fitness and nutrition plan based on your actual genetics. You spit in a test tube and mail it to the company for DNA analysis. In return you will receive information on what nutrients you may be needing, and what type of exercise your body will respond to most based on your specific genetic make-up. Warning: once giving your DNA to any company for testing, it is not protected under privacy laws, meaning your DNA attached to your personal identify may be used, traded, and sold by any DNA testing company for any reason without any regulation limiting their use or requiring your permission.

While TENS devices are no longer covered by health insurance due to the low perceived benefit, it is not stopping the consumer device market from pushing TENS devices like the Pain Pod to those suffering with chronic pain. While it certainly can help, it does not address the source of your pain like medical care like physical therapy or specific surgeries can. But if you are looking for a device that brings your pain down a few degrees on the pain scale, this definitely would fit the bill. Claims that the device will improve your sports performance is most certainly a reach.

Wireless headphones are huge, and they come at all price points this year for the runner in your life, or let’s face it, for anyone who enjoys listening to music on the go. You can spend $199 for the Bose SoundSport Free wireless headphones on Amazon, or Jaybird has many different price points for wireless earphones to get rid of those ear buds constantly falling out and not fitting correctly during a work-out. Check out the reviews for the best fit for your specific application.

For that loved one intent on the perfect smile, the Oral B Genius 9000S connects to an app on your smartphone to warn you if you are brushing too hard, brushing long enough, and reaching everywhere you should. The gadget is intended to enable you to brush your teeth as if your teeth were being cleaned by the dentist.

We researched the latest tech ideas for medication reminders, so your loved ones won’t forget to take their meds. However, research shows the high tech bottles that glow if you miss a dose aren’t any better at reminding us humans to take our meds on time than the traditional daily and weekly pill organizers sold at pharmacies. A better idea? Find an app to set reminders for must-take meds- there are many on the market at very reasonable prices, such as mymedschedule.com that has many other health scheduling and reminder features as well.

Tayeka water bottles are a nice gift at a decent price for that loved one who can't be without water 24-7, but needs to keep it cold for the full 24 hours. Other colorful stainless steel water bottles are available as well at lesser price points.

Another gift that might be perfect for someone like myself who hates the taste of water when not working out, but wants to drink more water throughout the day is the AVOIN Sport Tritan fruit infuser water bottle ($12-15). You can lightly flavor your water all day with real, organic fruit without the turn-off of added chemical sweeteners and calories of sugar laden drinks.

For the kid in all of us who like to ride our bikes in the dark is the Monkey Light LEDs. Available in multiple styles and price points, they improve the safety for those who are biking enthusiasts or commuters in the fall, winter, and spring.

Your loved one is not so tech savvy?  That's okay; there are still many old-school but still very helpful devices available to improve health and safety at home and when out and about. Think about whether they need a new assistive device, accessory for that device, new compression garments, a reacher to prevent falls when picking up items off the floor or twigs in the yard, or a simple home modification that could make their life much easier. Examples would be a basket for a walker, grab bars installed in their shower, an extra handrail for the stairs, treads on stairs, or even an upgrade from a standard cane to a quad cane if their walking ability is diminishing. Better yet, upgrade a device to something even more helpful like the Hurry Cane that won’t fall over and risk your loved one falling as he or she struggles to pick up a standard cane off the floor since they don’t stand up on their own when deserted like the Hurry Cane does. Other out of the box ideas for relatives who do not live close-by are grocery delivery services for the year, meal delivery, house cleaning services, or a homemaker companion to visit weekly.  For loved ones with arthritis, consider purchasing kitchen utensils and hardware tools that are adapted to this population. Many are available at big box retailers, while others may be found on-line at sites such as Aids for Daily Living from Patterson Medical or at Active Forever.

For someone with active neck and back pain, consider some awesome heating or cooling accessories. MotionWorks carries large gel ice packs for $22 that cover the whole low back at once! Also check out heated mattress pads that come with dual temp zones for each side of the bed- no more arguments about room temp and stealing the covers- heated mattress pads are the bomb and really help a sore mid back feel terrific, with reasonable price points in big box stores, wholesale clubs, and Amazon.

For the more active type, outdoor clothing with wicking ability is always appreciated- just grab a gift receipt and purchase from a store nearby in case there are problems with sizing or style. For outdoor runners or even for hardy walkers and for elderly relatives who still like to get out and get the mail in winter but don’t want to fall, consider some type of ice grips or cleats. This nifty invention slings over running or walking shoes to help prevent any slips and falls even on the most treacherous terrain. They are available at Walgreens and some other big box retailers and on-line.

You can think outside the box for this group too by considering new adventure sports accessories such as snow shoes, scuba diving lessons, or gift certificates for a new fitness class in town. MotionWorks also offers Running Evaluations for the runner who is recovering from an injury, hoping to improve their stride, or is hoping to prevent an injury in the coming year. For the adult of any age, a massage gift certificate is always appreciated and contributes to overall feelings of wellness and relaxation.

Finally, stop by our clinic to check out our other health products and gadgets designed to make you and your loved ones’ life better. A Theracane ($35) is a great tool for those of us who carry increased muscle tension in our necks and shoulders from all of that office/copmuter work all day, while an exercise ball ($25) is a very multi-dimensional work-out and rehab gift for all levels allowing awesome stretching, strengthening, and full body stabilization activities right at home. Foam rollers also make a great gift.  MotionWorks carries the original version that everyone loves, versatile for all uses, for just $25.  Foam rollers are a great tool for working out tight muscles and backs and can even be a great tool for treating neck pain and tension headaches!

Vasyli off the shelf orthotics ($50) are also an option for everyone on your list, with a huge selection of styles and sizes to fit in every type of shoe, from heels and dress shoes to soccer and football cleats and track spikes. And for the avid runner or triathlete, check out our MotionWorks dri-fit socks ($10)- we get rave reviews at the comfort level and blister protection and they sure would make this athlete happy (hint, hint)!

Whew! If you are still struggling for the perfect gift idea, keep in mind that MotionWorks also offers out of pocket Urgent Headache Care program that retails at $250. If your loved one frequents the ER several times per year, this really would be the gift of health without the narcotics and disappointment as headaches tend to come back before you even get home from the ER. Stop by MotionWorks today for a gift certificate or to pick up any of the above listed items. We are open weekdays from 8am-4:30pm, and some evenings later as well throughout the month of December (call ahead for late hours)!