Technology advancements have helped create health and beauty products that would have been considered science fiction just a few years ago. As people start making their New Years' Resolutions - and shop for related items during holiday sales - I wanted to share with my readers information about some such offerings that I consider to be truly "cool tech." I chose these devices from among many that were sent to me for review:

1. Skin Smoothing Laser by illuminage

The Skin Smoothing Laser is a handheld, cordless laser available to consumers that is designed to reduce fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. When used on one's face, the device delivers pulses of laser light to the area below the surface of the skin (the area where wrinkles form), thereby, according to the manufacturer, stimulating the body to generate new collagen fibers, which help support the skin's structure and reduce lines and wrinkles. The person to whom I gave the device to try told me that it worked as promised - noticeably reducing wrinkles after several weeks of usage once per day for five days per week. Not that many years ago such a treatment would have required going the dermatologist and paying many times the cost of this device.

2. Lumo Lift

I mentioned the Lumo Lift in a couple prior articles, and it remains one of my top product picks for posture correction. The small device - less than two inches by an inch - attaches to one's shirt, undershirt, or bra strap with a magnet, and, gently vibrates if the wearer slouches, providing a subtle, but yet noticeable, reminder to correct one's posture. For those who are interested, the device can be synchronized with smartphones via Bluetooth, enabling people to track their posture performance, as well as other health-related information such as steps walked. The Lumo Lift is ideal for addressing upper back posture problems - which for me is the type of slouching that I tend to do when using a smartphone while standing, or while typing at a computer while sitting - and I am sure that I am not alone in this regard.

3. Hair re-growth lasers

Consumers can purchase various hair-growth laser products that deliver light energy to dying hair follicles, and, according to the firms marketing the devices, help revitalize those follicles. By doing so, the lasers stimulate hair growth in areas where hair was thinning. (Note that the devices are not intended to reverse hair loss when follicles are already dead - so these devices work best with thinning hair, not large completely bald patches.) I was sent the Hairmax Ultima 12 - a brush-shaped device with several lasers on it; to use the device a person is supposed to "brush" for several minutes a few times per week. There are people who claim this device has helped them regrow hair - and the firm does supply before and after photos showing significant regrowth. The person who tested it for me did not find it to work for him, but, he admitted that he found brushing inconvenient and did not use it as often as recommended by the manufacturer - which obviously rendered the test ineffective. For many people interested in getting hair regrowth technology the lower cost of the brush versions may be worth the few extra minutes per week, for others, the inconvenience of brushing might be a reason to consider the headband or helmet type devices with similar technology; Hairmax's headband version, for example, is simpler to use and requires a lot less time per session.

4. Posture enhancing shirts

I recently tried a posture enhancing shirt from CorporeWear. These shirts/undershirts offer both compression and apply a small amount of pressure on your upper body to assist a person in keeping his or her shoulders in a proper, healthy position; the shirt I tried definitely helped me to improve my posture. (Note: The shirt I tried is presently sold in Europe; it should be available in the USA soon.)

5. TENS units

As I mentioned my article earlier this year about ways to combat back pain, for those with back pain (or pain in the knees, elbows, shoulders, and many other areas of the body) , TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) and related units can sometimes be a godsend (if used properly).

TENS helps alleviate pain by sending small electrical pulses along nerve strands near the skin, which, at least in theory, helps reduce pain by suppressing the nerves' transmission of pain signals to the brain - signals, without which, of course, humans do not "feel" pain. TENS electrical stimulation is also believed to cause human bodies to produce higher levels of endorphins - chemicals which also help our bodies reduce the level of pain that we feel. There have been conflicting studies about the effectiveness of TENS - some of which strongly discount its efficacy - but many users swear that the technology does deliver at least some level of relief, and, such has been my experience with various units at multiple points in my life.

There are many TENS products on the market - but, recently, Aleve has entered the market with a simple "Direct Therapy" model with all of the parts attaching to one's back rather than requiring wires from the painful location to a control unit. This unit is devoid of some of the features of more robust units - but, for those treating lower back pain, it is simpler to use.

6. Lumo Run

The new Run device from Lumo serves as a virtual coach for runners (and everyone else who runs), tracking body movement and providing feedback - both in real time during a run and afterwards - about how to improve one's form. The benefits of using a device such as the LumoRun - which can sense runners' issues with cadence, bouncing, pelvic rotation, pelvic drops, and braking - are to both avoid injury as well as to improve performance. The person who I asked to try it out found that it worked as expected, and that it provided information about which he otherwise would not have been aware.

7. Pure-Wave CM7 Massager by Pado

I reviewed the Pure-Wave CM7 Massager by Pado earlier this year in my aforementioned piece about treating back pain, and I still consider it a great option for those looking to treat muscle stiffness. The device offers both percussion and vibration - for those of us who suffer from periodic muscle tightness the percussion - which presses and pulsates - can help loosen muscles in the impacted zone, and, thereby, help reduce pain and discomfort. Obviously, the device is not a substitute for physical therapy for those who need the latter, but it does help with more minor cases. The Pure-Wave CM7 comes with multiple heads that can be interchanged in order to optimally target different parts of the body (you probably wouldn't want to massage your scalp or knee, for example, with a head intended for use on the thick muscles on the back), and includes a vibration mode that, according to the instructions, allows the device to be used to treat one's face.

Of course, as always, consult a professional before beginning any health or beauty treatment.