Valerie Kinzey on Essential Oils and Farm Life


Doterra Wellness Advocate and New River Valley, VA resident Valerie Kinzey sat down with Handshake Media Executive Director, Laurel Sindewald for this episode to share her know-how on essential oils. A newer farm owner, Valerie also had some entertaining stories to share about adjusting to farm life and some very odd chickens. Valerie lives on her farm near Blacksburg, VA with her husband and her three sons.

Valerie Kinzey with her family on their farm

She blogs about her life on a farm on her website, The Enchanted Homestead.

Podcast produced by Laurel Sindewald of Handshake Media.

How Does Handshake Media Price Podcast Channels?


Zoom-H1 by Handshake Media, Inc.

Handshake Media considers a number of variables when we draft an invoice for a new podcast channel. Creating a channel can take a great deal of time depending on how you want your channel to look and what features you want. The start-up fee for creating your channel includes:

  • creating your channel on Libsyn where it is stored or “hosted,”
  • customizing your channel’s appearance with images, logos, and text,
  • customizing where your channel’s RSS feed is sent, such as your website or blog, and
  • setting up an iTunes account and/or syncing your Libsyn account with your iTunes account if you wish to sell your podcast episodes.

We use Libsyn for podcast channel hosting, and storage costs vary depending on:

  • how often you wish to post,
  • how long you want your episodes to be, and
  • whether you want your episodes to be available for download in .mp3 or .wav format (.wav files are much larger than .mp3).

We may need to charge more for episode production and editing if you would like to add music or other elements to your podcast episodes because it will take more time to create each episode.

We drafted an example invoice for how these variables play out in pricing a podcast channel with weekly episodes of up to ten minutes long: Anne Giles Podcast Channel Invoice.

To see prices of all of our available services, visit our Pricing Page! If you have any questions, please feel welcome to contact us.

11 Facts on Women and Addiction

When we look around at the women in our world in the U.S., what are we likely to see with regard to women and addiction – her co-workers, her neighbors, the parents of her children’s friends, women in line at the grocery store? How many of these women abuse drugs or alcohol, how many have addictions, and what’s going on with them if they do have problems and/or addictions?

  1. flower by Nancy BrauerAccording to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, to maintain “low-risk drinking,” women should have no more than 3 drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week. Over 48% of women in the U.S. are at that maximum level of a drink per day.
  2. In the U.S., 15.8 million women aged 18 or older, or 12.9 percent, have used illegal drugs in the past year.
  3. According to the World Health Organization, in developed countries like the U.S., 1 in 12 women develop alcohol dependence during their lives.
  4. Addiction occurs more often in men than in women, but this gap is closing. Also, once women start substance use, they are more likely to develop dependence than men are, a phenomenon known in the scientific community as telescoping.
  5. Women are more likely to experience negative social and physical effects of addiction, and faster, than men.
  6. Women encounter more barriers to treatment for addiction than men do, such as childcare difficulties, social stigma, financial difficulties, and relating to predominantly male staff.
  7. Female smokers have greater health risks than male smokers, including double the risk for heart attack. Research suggests that quitting smoking can be more difficult for women, particularly during the first 14 days of their menstrual cycle (the follicular phase) due to hormonal changes.
  8. Co-occurring disorders are prevalent in women with substance use disorders. 29.7% of women with substance use disorders in a particular study (24,575 individuals) were diagnosed with mood disorders, and 26.2% with anxiety disorders. Additionally, eating disorders co-occur in 40% of women with substance use disorders.
  9. Over 50% of women in the U.S. experience trauma in their lifetimes. Rates of physical or sexual abuse range from 55% to 99% of treatment-seeking women with substance abuse disorders. 20-25% of people who experience trauma develop PTSD, putting them at elevated risk for a substance use disorder, which in turn can exacerbate their PTSD symptoms. Up to 3/4 of people who survive violence or trauma have drinking problems. About 80% of women in treatment for addiction experienced sexual or physical assault in their lifetimes.
  10. Women are especially susceptible to developing alcohol substance use disorders due to lower levels of water in their bodies, higher fat content, and lower levels of the protein that metabolizes alcohol. Women are also, particularly due to slow metabolization of alcohol, more likely to develop health problems due to alcohol use, and faster, than men.
  11. Most of the women who enter substance abuse treatment are mothers. Mothers are more likely to complete and comply with treatment if they retain custody of their children. However, of the women who quit smoking during pregnancy, 65% relapse within 6 months of delivery. Between 2005 and 2009, 1,015 infant deaths per year were caused by smoking tobacco during pregnancy. Overall, risk of stillbirth is 2 to 3 times greater for pregnant women who smoke tobacco or marijuana, take prescription pain relievers, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy. Yet a pregnant woman who withdraws suddenly from alcohol or drug use, legal or illegal, without medical help, puts her baby at risk.

Women may become addicted to substances less often than men, but the consequences are potentially more severe for them when they do. On the whole, this information suggests that women may have better treatment outcomes in programs tailored to the specific challenges of their gender. Mindfulness of child care, menstrual cycles and menopause, treatment of co-occurring disorders, and a prevalence of female treatment providers are some ways in which addictions treatment could be improved to help women.

Photo credit: Nancy Brauer

Laurel Sindewald is Executive Director of Handshake Media, Incorporated, publishers of the free addictions recovery smartphone app, New2Recovery.

Catherine Fae Shares Her Blue Ridge Marathon Experience

The Blue Ridge Marathon is one of the toughest street marathons in the United States. Throughout the 26-mile run, marathoners traverse 7,430 ft of elevation gain/loss. Only 750 intrepid runners are able to participate in a given year. 

Catherine Fae is a master storyteller, and finished the 2016 Blue Ridge Marathon just last week! Listen to her short tale in this episode, set in her lovely home garden with its soothing pond and inquisitive cat. 

Podcast produced by Laurel Sindewald of Handshake Media.

Sarah Beth Jones on How to Empower Others

Sarah Beth Jones

Sarah Beth Jones, the NoBS Biz & Empowerment Coach, spoke at the 2016 Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Conference at The Inn at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia on April 3rd. We recorded her full speech in this podcast episode, on how to empower others by first empowering yourself.

If you would like to sample her speech, we excerpted one of our favorite parts!:

Podcast produced by Laurel Sindewald of Handshake Media.

Laurel Sindewald On the Origins and Purpose of Coffee & Contemplation

 Laurel Sindewald, Executive Director of Handshake Media, shares the story behind her weekly discussion group, Coffee & Contemplation. She also shares one of her favorite aphorisms by Friedrich Nietzsche, The Greatest Weight.

Laurel welcomes drop-in visitors every Saturday from 2:30-3:30 pm, at Lucie Monroe’s in Christiansburg on the first and third Saturdays and at Our Daily Bread in Blacksburg on the second, fourth, and fifth Saturdays. For more information about Coffee & Contemplation, see the post she wrote about it on her blog.

Laurel Sindewald Coffee & Contemplation


Podcast produced by Laurel Sindewald of Handshake Media.

Preface to Phoenix Rising by Anne Giles

What’s a nice girl to do when she discovers she can’t stop drinking? Instructor, counselor, businesswoman, and Handshake Media founder Anne Giles found herself asking just this question. In Phoenix Rising: A Journey of Self-Discovery Through Addiction Recovery, Anne paints vividly the rebirth of her identity as she sorts through the ashes of her past to understand the origins of her addiction, and as she seeks to understand addiction as a larger problem.

In beginning the preface aloud in this episode, Anne is creating an audiobook of Phoenix Rising in much the same way as she created the written book. She first explored her story in a series of blog posts; now she presents her story, Phoenix Rising, in a series of podcasts.

“We don’t know how this story goes,” she writes. Stay tuned for the next episode.

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. . . . .

Podcast of Phoenix Rising: A Journey of Self-Discovery Through Addiction Recovery produced by Laurel Sindewald of Handshake Media.

What the Opioid Epidemic Means in Virginia

In a nation where addiction is slow to be recognized as a disease, “opioid epidemic” sounds almost unbelievable. Surely we have more important diseases to worry about such as cancer, AIDS, and diabetes, right? Yet this year the Obama administration has proposed $1 billion in new funding for treatment and research on treatment to address the opioid epidemic in our country. An estimated 44 people die every day from prescription painkiller overdose in the United States. Since 2008, 115,000 Americans have died of overdose from opioid painkillers.

Named for the receptors on which they act in the brain, opioids are drugs that relieve physical and emotional pain. Opioids include opiates, which is an older term for drugs derived from opium, such as morphine. Common opioids include prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, hydrocodone, Percocet, methadone and Vicodin, as well as drugs like morphine and heroin. Opioids cause a rush of dopamine in the brain, conditioning the brain over time and altering pathways dealing with pleasure, memory, learning, and decision-making.

“The brain is not designed to handle it,” said Dr. Ruben Baler, a scientist with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “It’s an engineering problem.”
Jason Cherkis, “Dying To Be Free,” The Huffington Post

The rise in opioid use in the United States is largely due to unregulated overprescription of painkillers beginning in 1999. Sales of painkillers quadrupled between 1999 and 2010. OxyContin, in particular, hit rural Appalachia hardSouthwest Virginia included. Recent evidence indicates that OxyContin’s effects wear off much faster than pharmaceutical companies claimed. This means that people will need to take the drug more frequently, which is more likely to cause addiction due to repeated behavior.

People in rural Virginia were also at higher risk for addiction in general, in part due to poverty, a known precursor for addiction. Poverty causes people extreme stress and hopelessness, which often results in mental illness. A new study has found that when unemployment rates rise 1%, fatal opioid overdose rates and emergency room visits rise by 3.6% and 7%, respectively.

As state and federal law enforcement began to crack down on prescription and distribution of painkillers, people who were now addicted to painkillers turned to heroin, which is cheaper and in some areas more readily available.
Video by Leah DickScreenshot from the YouTube video by Leah Dick, featured in her post This is what an addict looks like, 2/22/16.

The opioid epidemic is strongly affecting the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2013 there were more drug-related deaths in Virginia per capita than motor vehicle deaths. Two people in Virginia die from prescription opioid and heroin overdose every day according to the 2016 policy brief for the Virginia Senate. Untreated substance challenges cost the state of Virginia more than $600 million annually in health care and public safety expenses. The policy brief also specified that, “Virginia’s Medicaid program spent $26 million on opioid use and misuse in 2013, with $10 million of this spending occurring in Southwest Virginia.” Eighty percent of the 986 drug overdose deaths in Virginia in 2014 were due to prescription opioids and heroin. The Virginia Department of Health syndromic surveillance October 2016 report shows that the rising trend of emergency room visits for opioid overdoses has continued, especially in Southwest Virginia where emergency room visits have risen 71% since September.

Statistics this dire may feel remote, but the opioid epidemic is far from being a distant problem or one isolated to pockets of the population. Opioids penetrate both low and high-income areas, affecting young people, older people (especially ages 55-64), and infants. The opioid epidemic has taken such a hold of Virginia and of America that we will need to address the issue at a community level in order to see much progress.

Latest science informs us that the best approach to treating opioid substance use disorders is medication-assisted therapy (MAT). Suboxone and methadone keep people stable enough in recovery to live more normal lives. Pregnant women who are addicted to opioids are advised to take buprenorphine (Subutex) to stabilize themselves and their babies until delivery. People with substance use disorders are more than twice as likely to stay in treatment and not relapse if they are receiving medication than if they are not. Furthermore, total healthcare costs for people with substance use disorders on methadone are 50 to 62% lower than people not on an MAT program. Unfortunately, access to MAT is currently very limited. Even if every slot available for MAT treatment in the US were filled, over 914,000 would be left without treatment.

Abstinence-based approaches to treating opioid addiction have failed, often resulting in fatal overdose due to lower tolerance following abstinence. Incarceration of people with opioid substance use disorders is also ineffective, and may even impair that person’s ability to recover by putting additional stress on the person. Addiction is known to be a chronic disease of the brain requiring long-term treatment. And to quote NIDA Director, Dr. Nora Volkow, “If we embrace the concept of addiction as a chronic disease…perhaps we will be able to feel empathy for a patient suffering from a disease we call addiction.”

Laurel Sindewald is Executive Director of Handshake Media, Incorporated, publishers of the free addictions recovery smartphone app, New2Recovery.

This post was updated on 5/4/17.