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OCT 25-31, 2012


The Voice supplement › page 21/22/27/28


INSIDE: › 20:20


AHPN to lead



Understanding salt dangers ›


How it change my life?

ANCIENT CHINESE HEALING Exclusive interview with Tuina expert

22 | THE VOICE OCTOBER 25-31, 2012


New campaign set to help African workers in the NHS BART CHAN reports on a new initiative

20:20 Health Professional Network aims “We will share and to bring diverse communities together and reduce inequality develop together HE AFRICAN Health of the campaign is dedicated to tors. Policy Network (AHPN) improving professional oppor“This is an inequality that to make will soon be launch- tunities for Africans who work should be tackled,” he added. ing its new campaign within health and care services. “The 20:20 [Health Profes‘20:20 Health Professional] Network provides an every PROFESSIONALS sional Network’, which seeks unprecedented opportunity for to offer communities the opOne MP who is fully back- healthcare professionals from portunity the come together ing AHPN’s work is Bedford’s black and ethnic minorities to contact and collaborate. Furthermore, Richard Fuller. The Conserva- empower themselves and rethe campaign aims to harness tive politician, and chair for dress the imbalance.” count and the ‘Ubuntu’ spirit, an African the upcoming conference, said: INNOVATIVE ideal of interconnectedness, in “The NHS employs 1.3m people. order to help under-represented One in five is from our counAHPN views its impending redress the communities – making the NHS try’s black and ethnic minority campaign as a platform that more inclusive and effective. communities, and 45 percent of will “enable African and CaribThe campaigns kicks off on all practicing doctors are from bean health workers to play a balance November 12 during an AHPN BME backgrounds. However collaborative role in improving


conference entitled ‘Reducing Inequality – Making Every Contact Count’. The first phase

at the top there are only four black NHS chief executives and only 30 BME executive direc-

their career opportunities and help the NHS to become more reflective of the diverse com-

munities it serves.” It is considered an initiative central to championing equality across the board at the NHS. Francis Kaikumba, AHPN’s chief executive, said the new campaign is “an innovative way for the NHS workforce from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to optimise their contribution. DEVELOPMENT He said: “By joining 20:20, health and care workers will be able to come together in Ubuntu. With professional development in all areas of BME inequality, ranging from local master-classes and workshops to web based learning and professional development tools, we will share and develop together to make every contact count and redress the balance of inequalities.” Also lending their support to the initiative is Yvonne Coghill, the senior programme leader for equality in the NHS. “The NHS is already committed to equality, not least through the 2010 Equality, but through the transformation of the NHS,

the drive for equality needs to be more prominent in decision making”, said Coghill. “The development of a professional network for African NHS workers by AHPN can provide a solid foundation to identify and address development needs, enhance skills and capabilities and provide practical support to deliver meaningful reductions in inequalities”, the equality leader further added. INEQUALITY The campaign incorporates various tools designed to aid black and minority NHS workers realise their full potential. Included is a series of “masterclasses in NHS leadership” that will be hosted across the nation, plus numerous national and regional networking events providing a chance for people to connect and learn from each other. AHPN has claimed its campaign is based on needs analysis, evaluating the most pressing areas of inequality which have damaging consequences on professional and clinical issues.


CARIBBEAN DISH: Ackee and Saltfish

DELICIOUS AFRICAN FOOD: Jollof Rice and chicken

Understanding salt dangers could save your life By Trudy Simpson


EW RESEARCH from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) shows African Caribbean people are twice as likely as whites to have a stroke. However, many are unaware of how their lifestyles can put them at risk. The data shows around one in four African Caribbean adults fail to realise how much salt they should use in their food daily. They are also not as aware as they should be of the relationship between salt, blood pressure, heart disease and strokes, health officials say. “Only 36 percent know the recommended amount of physical activity they need a week to stay healthy is 150 minutes (2.5

hours) of moderate intensity activity,” the BHF says. In addition “African-Caribbeans on average used far more salt than was healthy because less than half of those surveyed (46 percent) know a teaspoon (six grams) of salt a day is the recommended daily allowance.” Worried about the health time bomb facing many in Britain’s black communities, the BHF is urging people to change the way they think about food and health. SIMPLE STEPS But, before you think about packing away the rice and peas and doing away with the dumplings and the jollof, health officials are reassuring black communities that there is a way to keep eating the food you love while getting healthier. BHF’s associate medical director, Dr. Mike Knapton tells

Health Matters how. “There are relatively simple steps that you can take to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and therefore heart disease through diet, physical activity and keeping your weight under control but the awareness of those links were relatively low. UNDERSTAND “If you are not aware of these things you are not going to talk about it or you are not going to do anything about it. We are quite keen at the British Heart Foundation to improve awareness if you like, not to worry people or scare people. We want them to understand what a healthy lifestyle is and how they can reduce their risk so that they live long, healthy decent lives. “I don’t think we are saying that Caribbean food or South Asian food are unhealthy. Ac-

“You need

about six grams of salt in your diet and most of us are eating about 50 percent more than...

OCTOBER 25-31, 2012 THE VOICE | 27

VEGETABLES: Healthy fresh nutrition tually, the foods and the recipes from both areas are quite healthy…but it is how you prepare your food that matters. ALTERNATIVE “So, we would say reduce your fat, salt and sugar content so eating a largely vegetarian diet or making the most of the African Caribbean produce that is now increasingly available in this country. “We are not trying to tell people that they shouldn’t eat their traditional food, it’s how you prepare your foods. “The things to avoid from the African Caribbean side is heavy use of oil and heavy use of salt through things like [seasoning] cubes or stock cubes. If you can find an alternative other than salt to flavour your food [this] is a relatively simple step that you can take…If you are using spices in stock cubes or in prepared mixed spices for flavouring whatever you are cooking, that might have salt in it …but if you use the basic herbs and spices in their natural state, they won’t have any excess salt… “You need about six grams [per day] of salt in your diet and most of us are eating about 50

percent more than, about nine grams. It’s too much salt that is bad for you… “Most of the salt in our diet is not added salt at the table although that will contribute but it comes from pre-prepared foods and overall in western diets, we eat a lot of bread and there is quite a lot of salt in bread. Look on the food label when you buy your bread and see if you can find bread that is a bit lower in salt. AWARENESS “For those people who eat pork…salted pork and salted cod will be an issue so think about that. You need to soak your cod. Certainly bacon for the white population is a big contributor of salt in the diet. “Overall, it’s awareness and having a little look [at food labels] when you shop [and] don’t feel you have to go the whole hog in one day. Take a small step in the right direction and if you feel better for it, you will then be motivated to take the next step. “Small changes will make a big difference.”

” How Greater Health Awareness Changed My Life By Trudy Simpson Lindsay Thompson is a man who loves to cook. His kitchen is one of his favourites places, a platform where he is often whipping up some delicious Caribbean cooking. Like many Caribbean people, the Nottingham resident loves his food to have flavour. So, for years, he added salt and processed spices (aka seasoning) to his dishes, unaware of what the effects of these ingredients would be. Then five-years-ago, Thompson, who was working in an office, went to visit his doctor and got a shock. He had high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease and

stroke, conditions that could kill him if they were left undetected. “I remember feeling rather light headed,” recalls Thompson, who would also feel his pulse racing after meals. CRITICAL The retired civil service and church worker, who now runs the BME Cancer Communities charity with his wife, also recalls “feeling that I’m trembling … I felt no, this can’t be right and that was the point where I went to see the doctor.” His blood pressure was really high. “It was critical really and because of the length of time I had the condition, my heart muscles were thickening as well. They had taken quite a bit so it was not as flexible as before. I found

out that I had had the condition for many years without realising that.” He went on medication to manage his high blood pressure and later made some changes to his lifestyle. “I focused on reducing my intake of salt, increased the amount of water I need to drink and also changed the kind of food that I was eating. I added a lot more greeny, salady stuff to my diet. The major change for me was to reduce salt.” He was maintaining a healthy weight and already getting regular exercise but made efforts to expand his exercise. “I didn’t do any new regime such as going to the gym or anything like that but I am conscious of sometimes leaving the car and walking onto the high

street to do small tasks or getting up early some mornings and just go for a walk to just enjoy (the outdoors) particularly in the summer.” LIFESTYLE He added: “I haven’t had to put in any sort of overactive regime. I just basically keep myself active. I do things around the house such as gardening.” Following new British Heart Foundation (BHF) research, Thompson is inspiring his children to go the healthy route and is urging other black people to get healthier. “You can get used to a certain lifestyle, particularly Afro Caribbeans. We love to have our meats seasoned and so on and we add seasoning to almost everything that we eat not re-

alising that we are compounding the level of salt in our diet,” the father of three said. “I enjoy cooking myself [but] when I recognised that salt was an issue, I had to think, do I find other ways of flavouring but with not so much of the socalled seasonings that we tend to throw into everything.” “What I have found is that having reduced my salt intake, I notice when things do have salt now. My taste has adapted to a lower amount of salt.” He added: “I think Afro Caribbeans, particularly the old generation who were used to their seasonings, need to aware that it can be a potential killer. We need to be aware that we need to treat ourselves differently and eat in an intelligent way.”

¢ For more information, visit:

HEALTHIER: Lindsay Thompson

28 | THE VOICE OCTOBER 25-31, 2012


The Master of Push and Pull

Errol Lynch discusses the ancient Chinese treatment of Tuina and how it has helped a certain £30m striker improve his game

By Bart Chan

MARTIAL ARTS While not exactly painful, Lynch’s powerful hands do, at certain moments, make me flinch – however once the body grows accustomed a sense of relaxation takes sway. The treatment, often carried out in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion and fire cupping, sees the practitioner knead, brush, roll, rub and press energy points between the patient’s joints in order to stimulate blood flow to damaged or weaker areas. After he finishes demonstrating his work, Lynch sits calmly; he says treating a patient helps him relax. I certainly feel better, my back and leg muscles tingle, it is a rejuvenating sensation. “How I first got involved with Tuina was that I studied many other disciplines: martial arts from Japanese karate to Thai boxing and that took me along the oriental route,” says the 47-year-old. “And that took me into complementary medicine.” ACUPUNCTURE He began studying Japanese Shiatsu, and interest pushed him to further delve into the philosophies behind it. “There were many questions I wanted to ask because it was based in TCM. So best to go to China. “And I went to China on an acupuncture study tour that actually introduced Tuina to me; before going to China I had never heard of it.” This was

“I could

take you to dinner, and talk to you about Tuina all day, but...”

1998 in the nation’s capital city, Beijing. Lynch, a father of two young boys, is quietly spoken – he emits a confident stillness while talking. When he arrived in China for the first time and tried his hand at Tuina, his peers were not afraid to tell him the truth. “I wasn’t that good at it so I went back next year, and they said I wasn’t very good either. “And because they told me I wasn’t very good, I went back every single year, twice a year, until they told me I was very good.” Lynch smiles fleetingly; “I’m very competitive and I want to be the best.” Tuina is relatively unknown here – a fact that has helped Lynch make a name for himself in the alternative healing professions. “Within acupuncture there are so many people doing [it], it made it difficult to climb the career ladder, it’s easy to be suppressed, and there are many academics that do acupuncture. “Now Tuina, it’s new [in this country], and the best thing with Tuina it’s not how much you know theoretically, it’s how by how much you can do when your hands are on the patient. So all glass ceilings are removed.” Lynch is a firm believer is doing, not just talking. “I could take you to dinner, and talk to you about Tuina all day, but if I put the patient on

Photo by Bart Chan

I COULD talk to you about it, but it’s much better if I show you,” says Errol Lynch. “Just take off your shoes and jacket.” The Voice acquiesces and experiences a ten-minute treatment of Tuina, a special form of manipulative therapy developed in China in accordance to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles. Tuina translates into English as “push and pull”, and it is obvious why the treatment is called this as Lynch works his strong hands down my back and hamstrings. “This is weak.” He presses my lower back, using his training to sense how the muscles and tissue feel. It is a language of touch. “Your right leg is weaker here.” It is fascinating to have the Tuina practitioner detect something within only a few seconds of manipulating the body.

the bed, that’s when the true skill comes out.” The London born practitioner of Jamaican parentage was able to work on patients two years after that first visit to Beijing. In 2002, Lynch became a teacher of the treatment. He now flies to China two to three times a year, and while there lectures on the subject, sharing notes with other Chinese doctors, practitioners and professors. He is considered a doctor in China, a title that does not transfer to the West. ATHLETES Talk turns to some of the renowned sporting names who come to Lynch for his unique treatment. He sees a wide range of professional athletes, from fighters like Claudio Silva to 400m hurdler and Olympic star Perri Shakes-Drayton. However, the biggest name on his roster is former Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie. Now the main Manchester United forward, Van Persie cost Alex Ferguson a cool £30m, is that a price tag which intimidates Lynch when he lays the Dutch footballer on his treatment table? “I think it depends on the individual,” replies Lynch, “and because Van Persie is a nice guy, he doesn’t come across as a £30m player. He makes you feel very at home and comfortable, whereas I’ve worked with other

big people and their attitude is: ‘look at me, this is what I’m worth, I’m like diamonds, so be careful.’ “Van Persie, when he comes for his treatment, will sit and wait for his turn in a full treatment room. He’ll take his pictures with people and do his tweeting, and he can be quite comical. You know, I take the piss, he takes the piss. He’s never brought up things like, ‘this is me, this is how I am.’” What precisely makes a good practitioner of Tuina? This is a question Lynch wanted to know for himself when he interviewed doctors in China. “The first thing that all of them said was character. HELPING “I didn’t actually expect that as the answer, I expected sensitivity, your hand skills and so on, but after analysing the answer, if you have the right character you’ll excel, because you have the right temperament and you do the work because it’s not financially gained, it’s because you enjoy helping people.” Lynch says qualities of character are to be “Soft, kind, compassionate, non-judgmental. And the ability to treat without prejudice. The idea is disease is disease.” Also, it would be fair to say one has to be a hardworker; Lynch says he works

seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day. It requires much energy to do his job with the patients he treats. “Sometimes my smallest patient may weigh 16st”, he says. “I’d say my power and strength is stronger than most Chinese doctors, just because each day I’m working on bigger people. In China most of the guys, in the early days, are between eight and ten stone, and women less. “In the west, there is more obesity, our guys are larger by diet. So then we [practitioners] have to develop more strength, not because you’re going to the gym and doing weights but because you’re constantly working on bigger people. You develop the power to work on these types of people.” His patients have arguably benefitted from his touch. Van Persie began having treatment from Lynch near the start of the 2011-2012 season; he played all 38 Premier League games for Arsenal, something he had never managed before. Furthermore, the striker finished top scorer in the league – 30 in total, 12 more than his previous best. What makes such a compelling case for using Tuina as a healing treatment is its speed, says Lynch. “By the time you get on the table and get off,

that’s the difference. With some of these other therapists you have to book six treatments, 10 treatments, three months, a year. “We’ve stopped many operations, usually they find us at the end of the road, when they’ve been to their chiropractor, physio, doctor, orthopaedic surgeon; gone through the drugs and then it’s: ‘why don’t you try this at the end.’” NHS Finally, sat on his chair in his Kentish Town clinic, Lynch puts forward the notion that Tuina should become part of the national healthcare agenda. “In China, Tuina is in nearly every hospital, it’s something that’s done near the beginning. I’d also like to turn this around, so people [here] can access Tuina faster, sooner. “It could save the NHS a lot of money.” Lynch does not want to be a secret anymore, and neither does he want his profession being overlooked. Just ask Van Persie what he thinks about the powers of Tuina, a once injuryprone player who is now in the form of his life. ¢ To book a consultation or

treatment with Errol Lynch contact: 07535 464 400 and go to: for further information

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