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physical well being of the body. Michelle DeStefano, a Certifi ed Consulting Hypnotist and Licensed Acupuncturist, has been an acupuncturist since 1999. Over time, she has noted an increase in the number of clients whose physical ailments are caused by or aggravated by stress. (More at www. To serve the needs of those clients more effectively, she has transitioned her practice to include hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is a method of treating various conditions by inducing prolonged sleep. It is thought to date back to ancient Roman and Greek civilizations, but it has garnered increasing acceptance over the past 60 years.

Advocates like DeStefano

are particularly interested in its use in pain management and as a means to better manage stress and anxiety. She says, “I specialize in pain management, pre- and post-surgery pain, and stress and anxiety. Millions of dollars are spent on stress related medical issues such as headaches, digestive issues, heart related problems, and anti-anxiety medications. Hypnosis can be instrumental in helping to alleviate these conditions, improving health and reducing medications.” With regards to changing

patterns of behavior in clients, DeStefano says, “Hypnosis is a powerful tool for gaining control of one’s quality of life by helping people to create better health habits, such as creating good exercise routines, improving eating habits, and sleep quality—which is


for any health issue. The self- empowerment that hypnosis offers allows people to enjoy a healthy sense of well being and self esteem and a better quality life experience over all.”

Self-empowerment is a

theme that also echoes in the work of Shell Fischer, founder and director of Mindful Shenandoah Valley (www. Fischer is a well-respected meditation

expert and teacher who offers an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) workshop. The workshops are a part of Valley Health’s new Integrative Care Program, but Fischer also offers a variety of other mindfulness classes and programs, including daylong and residential retreats. The workshop has an interesting history of its own. Fischer explains, “This internationally renowned workshop—featured on the cover of Time Magazine in

2014—was created 35

years ago as a complement to conventional medical management, and it is now offered in more than 700 hospitals throughout the nation.”

Fischer says that workshop is designed

the to

aid participants in the establishment

of their own

“unique mindfulness practice.” The techniques have been proven to reduce, and even eliminate, physical and emotional symptoms that are intensifi ed by stress. She explains, “The workshop has been clinically proven to increase people’s sense of joy, ease, and well-being and can be especially helpful with stress, chronic pain, anxiety, panic, depression, sleep disturbances, high blood pressure, fi bromyalgia, and even cancer treatment and recovery…In essence, what I teach people is how to tap into a powerful inner resource that they can nurture and utilize in the service of helping them to live a more peaceful, ease- fi lled life—one that contains much less pain and stress and which leads to better health in both the short and long term.” Very few people


argue that stress does not have physical impact on the body. Fischer advocates that everyone fi nd resources to help them better control their health and happiness by complementing their existing health care programs with practices that can dramatically impact their health experience.


on Stage at Shepherd University’s Marinoff Theater

(Three workshops are being offered in late January. Check out the calendar of events on her website for details.) For individuals who seek

a “fi rst step” into the work of alternative or complementary health practices, this workshop may be just the thing. For others, simple changes can make a tremendous impact. While engaging in workshops or seeking

the services of

one of the aforementioned individuals, some may consider lifestyle changes such as dietary adjustments or the elimination of products that include non- natural ingredients chemicals.

and/or Crystal Peace, founder of

Peace of Nature, has a very personal experience related to how the elimination of harsh and unnatural chemicals can directly impact one’s condition. Peace’s daughter suffered from excessively dry scalp at a very young age. The condition was unpleasant and uncomfortable, and Peace was determined to fi nd ways to aid her daughter. Her efforts led to the development of a line of natural soaps, skincare products, and hair care items that are made with organic coconut milk and botanically infused oils. When her daughter’s skin started to clear up, she knew she was on the right track. Recognizing that others may be in similar situations, she began offering customers the same solutions that had aided her daughter. The idea that naturally based products can impact health is

common, but it’s particularly of interest in the area of skincare. “The skin is the largest organ of our body and it absorbs about 60 percent of the chemicals we place upon it right into the bloodstream,” Peace says. “It is the absorption of most synthetic ingredients that’s the reason so many suffer from skin irritations and dryness. When we use natural


and products, the skin is able to take in the natural healing properties of the ingredients, allowing it to heal and repair itself over time.” While Peace and providers of similar products cannot directly claim that their goods heal an ailment, user experiences provide compelling evidence that reducing

the body’s

contact with chemical-laden products can impact overall health. (Peace’s products can be purchased from the Black Dog Coffee Company in Shenandoah


Junction, WV or by visiting Whether it’s stress, chronic health conditions, depression, skin conditions, or just a feeling that one is not “100 percent,” people seek answers. For some, complementary and alternative medicine is too far outside their comfort zone. For others, it’s a means to supplement and enhance the care they are receiving from their physician. In either case, the beginning of the year is an ideal time to make an annual assessment of one’s health, to take control, and to identify the services needed to maintain a greater sense of well being. If you believe something’s missing from your health care program, perhaps one of the individuals included herein (or on our list of resources) could help you gain some perspective on how to improve your health for the “long haul.”

STRESSED IN THE VALLEY? Mindfulness Can Help

Te Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction workshop - featured on Time Magazine’s cover in 2014 - is scientifically proven to reduce pain, anxiety, stress, depression, and increase joy, ease, and quality of life.

In partnership with Valley Health’s new Integrative Care Program, we’re offering 3 new 8-week workshops beginning Jan. 25, 29, & 30 in Winchester and Boyce.

Please contact us to learn how this intimate and intensive program can create lifetime change.

Mindful Shenandoah Valley 540-542-6139 •

The Shepherdstown Radio Company presents

THE RUMSEY RADIO HOUR Proceeds to benefit Friends of Shepherdstown Library (FOSL)

Saturday Jan. 17 - 2 pm and 8 pm Sunday Jan. 18 - 2 pm

Tickets (Adults $20 Children $10) from Upcoming Events at or Shepherdstown Public Library (304-876-2783)

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