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2900 W 44th Ave
Denver, CO, 80211
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303-242-5701

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. 

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Filtering by Category: Health

The National Institute of Health, Stress Management and Mind Body Approaches

Albert Stern

It is easy to fall into thinking that the federal government of the United States has no interest in alternative medicine. However, there is a department dedicated to researching alternative medicine - the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Later this week the NCCIH will be hosting a twitter-chat about mind-body approaches to stress. The event will feature a variety of guests from the National Institute of Mental HealthNational Institute on AgingOffice on Women’s HealthOsher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, and Stanford Medicine Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab. In addition, the author of 25 Lessons in Mindfulness, Rezvan Ameli, Ph.D will participate. 

This looks to be a fantastic event and a great opportunity to ask questions to industry leading experts. 

The chat begins at 3pm EST on Thursday, Jan 28th.

For full information see this NCCIH page.  

 

 

 

Yoga and the Astonishingly Easy Way to Reduce Health Care Costs

Albert Stern

I have been doing quite a lot of yoga recently. I drifted away from yoga for years but in the last few months rediscovered my love for spending time on the yoga mat. It has been a beautiful way to end 2014. 

I found this amazing study regarding the benefits of yoga and relaxation practices. The Benson-Henry Institute is part of Massachusetts General Hospital. The founder, Dr. Herbert Benson established the scientific basis for the mind/body connection at Harvard Medical School in the 1960's. He realized that reducing stress results in a great number of healthy changes in the body.

Today the Benson-Henry Institute teaches clients relaxation techniques including yoga and meditation. The institute studied their clients who received this training in large retrospective, cohort study focusing on healthcare costs and visits. 

The research found that those who practiced these techniques reduced health care use by 43%! There was a 50% decrease in the need for medical imaging. Plus a 21% decrease in the need for medical procedures. These are amazing numbers! 

The wonderful thing about the work of Benson-Henry Institute is they do not advocate for any one technique to reduce stress. They believe...

"This can be done using any number of meditative techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing, repetitive prayer, qi gong, tai chi, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, jogging, even knitting."

They also offer training for therapists, nurses, counselors and social workers. (Of course, acupuncture and other kinds of bodywork are great techniques for reducing stress too!) 

I love this kind of news! It should spread!

 

 

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It Is a Great Time of Year for Sleeping

Albert Stern

Last night I went to bed super early, about two hours earlier than my typical bed time. It was also the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. I had a long, luxurious, deep sleep. It felt great! This is the time of year, when there is less light and our bodies and brains are programmed to sleep more.

One of the most common things I see with clients, friends, and family are struggles around sleep. Not getting enough. Not being able to sleep. Not making it a priortiy. Too often sleep can seem like the least important part of the day. 

Sleep is hugely important. It keeps us healthy. Protects us from colds. Gives the brain time to problem solve. Sleep helps with metabolism and stress management.

It is a good time to share this TED Talk about sleep. The speaker is Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist. 

(Acupuncture students note what he says about learning and sleep!) 

Also, check out Sarah Fragoso's post over at Everyday Paleo for great tips around getting to sleep. The post includes items such as: 

  • Create a bedtime ritual
  • Exercise (or not.)
  • Blackout the room

There are fifteen tips and all are great for helping prioritize sleep as an important part of our lives! 

This is a great time of year to sleep...so sleep up!

Antibiotic Use in the Meat Industry is Changing How I Think About Eating

Albert Stern

Last month I wrote about the overuse of antibiotics and when it is appropriate to use these drugs. Since that time, there has been a flurry of news stories about new antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria showing up in hospitals and doctor's offices.  

A key thing to appreciate is how much antibiotic medicine goes to the meat industry. The majority of antibiotic use on factory farms is to prevent illness rather than cure a disease. 

This article from Ars Technica does a great job outlining how the meat industry is ignoring calls to cut back on these critical drugs. 

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This is a truly complex issue. There are calls in congress to increase the FDA's ability to regulate the meat industry. 

The entire topic has made me re-exam how I am eating. I eat meat. In the past, I have been more conscious of having a regular number of vegetarian meals each week. I am going to recommit and increase that number moving forward. 

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]