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Choosing the right acupuncturist

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Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the body. It’s used to alleviate pain and treat an assortment of mental, emotional and physical conditions. Here’s how to find the perfect practitioner.

Get recommendations
Let your doctor make a referral or ask friends and family members if they can make a recommendation. Someone who was successfully treated for something similar to what you’re experiencing is a great person to ask.

Talk to them first

A good acupuncturist will listen to your worries, put you at ease and answer any questions you have in a thoughtful, respectful and empathetic manner. It’s a good idea to approach several practitioners before deciding on one.

Ask about their qualifications
Your acupuncturist should be able to show you a diploma from an accredited school and their certification from a local board of acupuncture.

If you’re ready to begin acupuncture treatments, call your local clinic today.

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4 ways seniors can alleviate loneliness

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Are you feeling isolated or flat out lonely? If so, here are four ways to enrich your social life, connect with others and alleviate loneliness.

1. Adopt a pet
Caring for a pet can mitigate feelings of loneliness. If your situation allows for it, welcoming a furry friend into your life could be a great idea. You might even meet other pet owners, especially if you take your animal companion out for a walk from time to time.

2. Leave the house
Venturing outdoors will help you feel better both mentally and physically. Make a habit of running a few errands every day or visiting your local library, movie theater or park. If you’re limited in terms of mobility, leaving the house regularly may require a mobility scooter or going on seniors’ trips with a trusted organization.

3. Join a class or group
Rekindling your interest in an old hobby or adopting a new one can be a great way to push the cobwebs of loneliness away. What’s more, joining clubs and taking classes will allow you to meet new people. If you prefer, there are plenty of courses and groups that cater specifically to seniors.

4. Reach out
There are a number of organizations that help seniors improve their quality of life. Some may be able to provide individual counselling to help you move beyond your loneliness. Additionally, there may be group counselling sessions where you can connect with others going through a similar experience.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to rush anything. The best way to move beyond loneliness is at your own rhythm.

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Mammograms: a key tool in the fight against breast cancer

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October 18, 2019 is National Mammography Day. It’s observed yearly as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of early detection in the fight against breast cancer.

About one in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Although death rates have been declining in recent years, it’s estimated that more than 40,000 women will die of breast cancer in 2019. The best way to prevent cancer and ensure positive outcomes remains early detection and screenings.

Screening mammograms

A mammogram is an X-ray photograph of the breast. It’s one of the most important screening tools available to doctors because it can detect anomalies before they become noticeable through self-exam. This allows healthcare professionals to catch cancer early, thus increasing the chances that the treatments offered will be effective.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women at average risk for breast cancer get screened every year between the ages of 45 and 55. Women 55 and older should get screened every second year, for as long as they’re expected to live another 10 or more years.

Diagnostic mammograms
These allow doctors to get more information about a suspicious lump or other anomaly detected by screening tests. It’s a crucial tool that enables medical professionals to design effective treatment plans and provide the best care possible.

Early detection and prevention have dramatically reduced breast cancer deaths. Being proactive about screening is the most important thing you can do to protect your health. For more information, visit nationalbreastcancer.org or pinkribbon.org.

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4 common skin problems in newborns

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Skin problems in babies are usually benign. To ensure you don’t worry needlessly, here’s what you should know about the four most common skin problems that affect babies.

1. Milia. These small, white bumps usually form on the nose or cheeks. They’re caused by skin flakes obstructing the pores and go away on their own. There’s no way to prevent them and using creams can exacerbate the condition.

2. Eczema. This condition causes red, scaly patches of skin to form and isn’t dangerous. However, it can be very itchy. Over-the-counter creams may help manage symptoms, but the rash usually goes away on its own.

3. Cradle cap. Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, this skin issue typically presents as yellow or red scales or flakes on the scalp. It can also form on the nose, eyelids, eyebrows and under folds of skin in the diaper area and under the arms. It goes away on its own and no treatment is required.

4. Hives. Hives are pink or red bumps, often with a white or yellow center, that look similar to mosquito bites. They’re caused by an allergic reaction or an infection. They go away on their own but adding baking soda or colloidal oatmeal to the baby’s bath will soothe the itching.

Remember that serious conditions are usually accompanied by other symptoms. When in doubt, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

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Elder infantilization: types and how to not do it

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Elder infantilization, or treating seniors as children rather than as fully functioning adults, is a common issue in health care settings and communities across the country. Though in many cases the behavior is unconscious, it’s none the less a form of psychological mistreatment. Here’s what you should know.

Types of infantilizing behaviors
A common form of infantilization is what’s called “elderspeak.” It consists of speaking slowly, loudly and with aa simplified vocabulary. Using diminutives and first-person plural pronouns are other forms of this behavior. In addition to making seniors feel resentful, elderspeak can seriously affect their sense of self-worth and decrease their confidence.

Another common way people infantilize seniors is by ignoring their preferences and making decisions for them. In particular, needlessly opting for medications in the form of syrups and suppositories can be degrading.

In a health care setting, the use of toys, child-like decor and reprimands are all signs of infantilization. A loss of privacy, choice and adult status are also indicators.

What you should do instead
Seniors don’t regress. Overall, they retain the vocabulary and intelligence they’ve developed over the course of their lifetime and can even expand upon it. In most cases, it’s unnecessary to adapt the way you communicate with the seniors in your life.

However, if you’re talking to someone with hearing issues, it’s important to ensure they can see your lips clearly. You can also speak louder if necessary but be sure not to yell.

In the case of seniors with cognitive issues, it may be appropriate to use gestures to clarify your meaning. However, this should be done respectfully.

Most importantly, when relating to the seniors in your life, remember to treat them as autonomous beings who have intelligence, dignity and value.

If you or someone close to you is being infantilized, speak up. Confide in someone you trust.

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Mental illness among teens: what parents should know

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According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, between 20 and 30 percent of adolescents experience a major depressive episode before reaching adulthood. What’s more, suicide is the leading cause of death among American teens.

Potential causes
Pressure to perform in school, stigma about mental illness, unhealthy diets, lack of exercise and poor sleep hygiene can all contribute to mental health issues in teens.

Psychologists also suspect that heavy social network use may increase the incidence of clinical anxiety and depression.

Finally, it’s likely that lack of access to care plays a role in this state of affairs. Approximately 30 percent of teens affected by a mental health issue don’t get the help they need, either by choice or because they lack access to it.

What parents can do
Young people should be taught that asking for help isn’t an admission of failure or weakness. In addition, parents can do these simple things to help teens protect their mental health:

• Minimize the pressure placed on them to perform
• Spend time together as a family
• Provide a healthy diet
• Support a healthy sleep schedule
• Encourage them to get regular exercise
• Enroll them in activities that build confidence and self-esteem

Indicators of psychological distress include agitation, self-denigration, unusual moodiness, sadness and extreme fatigue. A moody teen doesn’t necessarily point to a crisis, but signs of mental illness should never be dismissed.

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How is breast cancer diagnosed?

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It’s impossible to identify breast cancer based on symptoms alone. This is why doctors need to perform a number of tests before issuing a diagnosis. Here are the types of assessment typically used.

Imaging tests
Imaging techniques such as ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diagnostic mammograms are used to examine tissue. These allow doctors to identify and measure the size of tumors. They’re also used to help determine how advanced the cancer is.

Biopsy
A biopsy consists of taking a sample of breast tissue for analysis. It’s the only test that can confirm a cancer diagnosis. Aside from their diagnostic purpose, biopsies are also used to evaluate how fast cancer cells are multiplying, which helps establish a treatment plan.

Laboratory tests
There are many other types of tests than can be run on samples taken during a biopsy. These are used to gather more information about the cancer, such as its type, grade, stage and potential response to different treatments.

Blood tests
Blood tests are used to assess whether other organs are still functioning normally. Certain systemic issues may indicate that the cancer has spread.

Each breast cancer case is different, and doctors may want to perform a series of complementary tests and exams. Cancer is a complex disease, and each of these tests provides your health care team with information they need to effectively treat you.

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Upcoming Events

Oct
22
Tue
10:00 am Acrylic Painting: An Individuali... @ Art in the Valley
Acrylic Painting: An Individuali... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Acrylic Painting: An Individualized Approach @ Art in the Valley
With an emphasis on individuality and creativity, this acrylic painting class welcomes all skill levels. Some concepts we will explore include various paint application techniques, color theory, and composition. Within these basic parameters, we will[...]
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I – Fal... @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I – Fal... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 22 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply washes,[...]
Oct
23
Wed
10:30 am Art Class “Fall is Here” @ Art in the Valley
Art Class “Fall is Here” @ Art in the Valley
Oct 23 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Art Class "Fall is Here" @ Art in the Valley
We are offering classes for children ages 7-12 who would enjoy expressing themselves through art. The students will expand their creative side with drawing, painting and constructing, using various mediums such as acrylic, pastels, watercolor[...]
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Oct 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four session course will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings[...]
Oct
24
Thu
10:30 am Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
Oct 24 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
The forum will provide participants with an overview of U.S. Small Business Administration and USDA/Rural Business Cooperative-Services (RBS)’s financing programs and services.  Participants will have the opportunity to field questions to lenders and learn more[...]
1:30 pm The Fundamentals of Oil Painting... @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 24 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful oil paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with oils necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]
Oct
25
Fri
9:00 am Virginia Department of Veteran S... @ Able Forces Foundation
Virginia Department of Veteran S... @ Able Forces Foundation
Oct 25 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Virginia Department of Veteran Services @ Able Forces Foundation
Able Forces Foundation is hosting Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Virginia Department of Veteran Services, to assist veterans, their spouses, and dependents with questions regarding Veteran benefits and in filing claims[...]
1:30 pm The Fundamentals of Acrylic Pain... @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Acrylic Pain... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 25 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Fundamentals of Acrylic Painting - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful acrylic paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with acrylics necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]
Oct
26
Sat
9:00 am Walk to End Alzheimer’s @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Walk to End Alzheimer’s @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Oct 26 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Walk to End Alzheimer's @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Join the Northern Shenandoah Valley Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s Together, we can provide care and support to improve the lives of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia (including family, friends, and caregivers), and[...]