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2900 W 44th Ave
Denver, CO, 80211
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Albert Stern is a healer, artist, and instructor. He practices acupuncture, visceral manipulation, and craniosacral therapy. He creates anatomical illustrations and fine art paintings. He is also an acupuncture instructor and teaches at various schools and facilities. He works with the Lotus Institute of Integrative Medicine and Peak Research Institute. 

Blog

Filtering by Tag: health

Does Being Rare Mean to Be Ignored?

Albert Stern

I try to imagine the following the following: 

I have a health condition that affects every moment of my day. I have good days. I have bad days. I have a diagnosis!

But, I get blank stares because the name is unfamiliar to most people. Most medical doctors are unfamiliar about how to treat me. I never see the disease mentioned in the news. There are no 5k walks to raise money. I walk a unique path of my own.

I have a rare disease. 

I can only imagine how frustrating and isolating this must feel at times. Our culture celebrates the rare and unique in many ways. Unfortunately, we do not have this attitude to those with rare diseases. The 90-second video below illustrates this point in a direct and powerful way. 

No joke. This video is awesome! 

There are over 6,000 rare diseases affecting the lives of millions of people. Rare diseases (sometimes referred to as Orphan Diseases) require research, care, and attention just the same as common diseases. 

Next month, on February 29th, is Rare Disease Day. (Get it?) It is a day designed to focus a spotlight on those affected by these diseases and raise awareness of the needs of this community. 

Perhaps, next month, we can all keep an eye out for Rare Disease Day. Let's not let the rarest ones be invisible. 

Five Ways STAR WARS Teaches Us Acupuncture Theory

Albert Stern

George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, was greatly influenced by Eastern philosophy and culture. Many basic tenets of acupuncture can be seen in these movies. Each item below is a saying from a core acupuncture text paired with a famous statement from the Star Wars movies.

1. "Where Qi Gathers There is Life"

Obi-wan Kenobi states that the Force is the energy of all living things. Like the Force, in traditional acupuncture it is stated, "where Qi gathers there is life." This fact is true in our bodies, on our planet, and in a galaxy far, far way. 

2. “Yin and Yang Struggle to Control Each Other.”

Health depends on a balance of Yin (the cool, passive aspects) and Yang (the warm, active aspects) of the body. One cannot exist without the other. Just like the Light and Dark sides of the Force - the two are always struggling against each other. Yoda states, "There is always two. No more. No Less."

3.  "Mental Irritation Leads to Dysfunction of the Free Flow of Qi"

Yoda states, "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." In acupuncture anger, frustration, and fear damage the flow of Qi. The damaged flow of Qi creates poor health and spirit. Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars, show us Anakin Skywalker succumbing rather dramatically to this very fact. 

4. "Quieting the Spirit Nourishes the Qi."

Yoda and Obi-wan Kenobi teach Luke the importance of a still and quiet mind. Throughout acupuncture, it is stated that a quiet spirit nourishes the Qi.

5.  "Essence is the Root of the Body"

At the heart of both the Force and acupuncture is the notion that we are all more than our physical bodies. Yoda states we are "Luminous Beings". Acupuncture states at our root is "Essence."

Keep an eye out for more acupuncture lessons in the new movie, The Force Awakens! 

May the Force be with you! 

 

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Sources: All images and quotes are trademarked by Lucasfilm Ltd. Acupuncture quotes are derived from Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion Revised Edition and Statements of Fact in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Stronger Thighs. Stronger Brain

Albert Stern

A recent study of twins indicates leg strength directly relates to better long-term cognition.  

It has been widely assumed that exercise helps keep the brain healthy and fight off age-related declines in memory. This month the research journal, Gerontology, published a paper showing leg strength predicting cognitive function as far as ten years out. The study was done with female twins to help eliminate genetic differences. 

"A striking protective relationship was found between muscle fitness (leg power) and both 10-year cognitive change" 

It is unclear if the legs are somehow special in their predictive power. The legs, particularly the thighs, are considered good indicators of overall physical activity. 

The legs are often referred to as the "second heart" due to their ability to help pump blood back up the leg. I cannot help but wonder if this increase in circulation contributes to the cognitive findings published. 

Regardless of the cause it is good news. Go out there and walk, run, bike, yoga, ski, or climb. Either way both your legs... and brain will thank you! 

[Further reading: New York Times]

When and When NOT to Use Antibiotics

Albert Stern

Overuse of antibiotics is a serious and growing issue. Antibiotic resistance bacteria are on the rise. There are no easy solutions to the problem. Antibiotics need to be thought of as a limited resource to be used only when appropriate. 

In the late 90's when I worked in pharmaceutical advertising. My firm had a popular antibiotic as a client. Back then we talked about how MDs would over-prescribe these drugs. One of the larger problems, then and now, is patients asking for and expecting antibiotics from their doctors.  

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has published this straightforward chart to outlining when and when not to use antibiotics. This chart is very useful in keeping track of the appropriate times to use antibiotics. 

They also have a great PDF about antibiotics for parents and one for medical providers. 

Please consider sharing this information.