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Feelgood

Friday, January 29, 2010

Asset management 40 ways to build on the looks you’ve got: 8, 9

GROUP WORK

Cancer-stricken teens take time out to support each other: 4, 5

STRETCH IT

Get glowing results with hot yoga: 11

MORNING GLORY

Eight different brands of porridge put to the test: 12


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Report says meals-on-wheels service is serving up less than the daily vitamin requirement, writes Áilin Quinlan

Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON WELLBEING EVENING: Woman Wellbeing & Wardrobe will be hosted by image consultant Claire Cullinane tonight Friday January 29 at 8pm, at the Radisson Little Island, Co Cork, in aid of the Irish Anaphylaxis Campaign. Tickets cost F10, available on the door. For more details on the Irish Anaphylaxis Campaign call their helpline 0818 300 238 or see irishanaphylaxis.org . DIABETES PROGRAMME: The XPERT programme is a series of free education sessions in Dingle Co Kerry, being by organised HSE community dieticians in conjunction with local GPs. Patients will participate in six, two and a half hour, weekly education sessions and further programmes are planned for other parts of Kerry in 2010. If you are interested in attending the February session in Dingle, contact Carina Corridon, HSE community dietician, at 066-7195681. HEART CLINIC: The Irish Heart Foundation will hold a free blood pressure and cholesterol testing clinics at their office, 42 Penrose Wharf, Cork from 10am-12pm on February 2 and in Midleton at the Family Resource Centre on Wednesday February 3 from 2.30pm-4pm. For details call 021-4505822 or if you have questions about stroke or heart disease contact the Helpline 1890-432787. HAITI EVENT: The Shaolin Wahnam Institute of Ireland will be getting together with other Shaolin schools worldwide on February 7 to do deep relaxation and breathing with anybody who would like to attend in aid of the people of Haiti. The Irish event will be held in the Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney from 2 to 4pm. The suggested donation is F30 but all donations will be gratefully accepted. For more details call Joan Browne on 087-1212249 or visit www.smilefromtheheart.ie. CANCER SEMINAR: In recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Week (January 25 to 31), UPMC Beacon Hospital will host an awareness seminar today, focusing on the early detection and treatment of the disease. Contact muireann.feirteir@beaconhospital.ie or call 01-2935686. The seminar will begin at 1pm and conclude at 1.45pm. FILM FESTIVAL: Oska Bright, the first film festival to be run by, and for, people with disabilities will present a range of short films at axis Ballymun on February 4. Each film will be subtitled in English, audio described for visually impaired people, and interpreted through sign language. This is a free event and open to all but advance booking is necessary on 01-883 2100 or email info@axis-ballymun.ie. ■ Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to koreilly8@gmail.com

Change on the menu

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RADICAL reorganisation of the meals-on-wheels service is necessary because a lack of formal controls and dietetic input means dinners are lacking in nutrition, according to a new report. However, two areas — Galway and Cork — were singled out as particularly good examples of the service. A report carried out for the National Council an Ageing and Older People by researchers at Trinity College said the average meals-on-wheels dinner had below the recommended daily amounts of vitamins C, D and calcium and contributed only 25% of the daily requirement of vitamin C and folate, 21% of calcium and 12% of vitamin D, when it should contain 33% of each. More than one-third of recipients were malnourished, or at risk of it, according to the study, which was originally published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. The lack of official government control meant that the service had developed in an ad hoc way, and was thus more accessible in some counties than in others, said Ciara O’Dwyer, one of the TCD researchers. “The HSE funds a proportion of each meal, but the amount that is funded varies from area to area. It is very much left up to each service to run it themBAD DIET: More than one-third of meals-onselves, and while the HSE does food safe- wheels recipients are malnourished or at risk of ty training, there is no formal or official being in that condition. Picture: iStock

dietetic input. Some meals-on-wheels services buy their meals from hospitals, and in that case there is dietetic input and a menu cycle, and generally the nutrition content would be better,” she said. The services faced enormous logistical problems and required more support, at local and national level. About 15% of services are provided by local authorities, while most are supplied by local community groups and charities, with some financial assistance from the state. “We recommend a reorganisation of the service at a national level,” said O’Dwyer, adding that many recipients were willing to pay more to get a good quality meal. The Cope Service in Galway and the Westgate service in Ballincollig are particularly good examples of well-run services. “They are very good services and very recipient-focused. The combination of nutrition, vitamins and minerals was quite high in the meals they provided. “There was huge variety around the country generally in terms of the nutritional content of meals and Galway and Cork were above average.” Cope in Galway, she said, had particularly demonstrated vision in the organisation of the service: they had a strategic plan which they worked towards, the service was user-focused and it was clear the organisers were trying to implement a people-centred approach.

HEALTH NOTES perceptions of a recent nicotine gum advert that aids in smoking cessation. While nearly all of the smokers (95%) indicated that they’d tried to quit smoking at some point, less than half (47%) were successful. Use of cessation methods such as nicotine gum/nicotine patches ranked high among those who were unsuccessful at quitting smoking, but low among those who successfully beat the habit. For more, log onto www.mediacurves.com.

FROM clothing to candles, DVDs to designer bags, toys to tea sets, Norma Smurfit will hold one of Ireland’s biggest charity sales in the RDS on Sunday, March 7. The aim of the Spring Clean for Charity Sale is to raise funds for Smurfit’s work with homeless and disadvantaged youth in Ireland, as well as to support the Society of St Vincent de Paul. If you’re part of a group such as a book club, soccer team or mother and toddler group, why not get together, take a stall and sell your read books, watched DVDs or unused gifts to the public for a good cause. The charity sale will be open to the public from 11am-5pm in the Serpentine Hall, RDS. Admission: F2. For further info/to register your interest, phone 01-2103860.

LOSE The Blues is a new website aimed at university students experiencing depressive symptoms. Launched by UCC and designed specifically for 18 to 24 year olds who find their mood is low, the site has an online forum which allows users share their experience and offer peer support to each other within a safe environment. It provides information on depression and links to national/international support services and follows up on a study conducted by UCC staff, which found almost 31% of young people have accessed the internet for mental health information, most frequently searching for facts on depression, suicide and self harm. Visit the website at www.losetheblues.ie.

WELL READ: Reading food labels can educate you about maintaining a healthy diet, says Dr Muireann Cullen of the Nutrition & Health Foundation.

Picture: Billy Higgins

ALMOST eight in 10 smokers, who have been successful at quitting the habit, did so by going cold-turkey. The US-based media study of 300 smokers and non-smokers was conducted this month to obtain viewers’

FOOD labels can be your best friend when it comes to managing diet, weight and cholesterol, according to the Nutrition & Health Foundation (NHF), which points to a recent Food Safety Authority of Ireland survey on consumer attitudes to food labels. While one in four shoppers said they always consult food labels, a similar number said they rarely or never do. Those most likely to study the label are people who always do the household grocery shopping, as well as women. “While it’s encouraging that the percentage of consumers who always consult food labels has increased to 25% since 2004, when only 8% said they always consulted food labels, we still need to increase the number of people using labels to help them make better food choices”, says Dr Muireann Cullen of the NHF. For info on good food choices, visit www.nhfireland.ie. Helen O’Callaghan

feelgood@examiner.ie EDITORIAL: Irene Feighan 021-4802292 ADVERTISING: Niamh Kelly 021-4802215

Feelgood

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010


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THE SHAPE I'M IN

Michael Murphy

FEELGOOD

Michael’s news RTÉ newsreader Michael Murphy began writing At Five In The Afternoon, My Battle With Male Cancer, within 10 days of his operation for prostate cancer. “I asked for a laptop to be brought in because I was in such pain from the operation. I totally focused on the book for the first three months of recovery and for three months after — it was certainly something that brought me forward.” The 62-year-old, who says his partner Terry O’Sullivan “carried me through”, believes you have to be “ruthlessly selfish” to recover from cancer. “If you don’t feel up to going out to meet people, you have to listen to your body and your spirit and say ‘I won’t do that’. Maybe for the first time in your life — in this space of recovery — you put yourself first,” says the Dublin-based author who also works as a psychoanalyst. Murphy joined RTÉ in 1971 — he continues to work at the station but on weekends. For more about his book and his battle with cancer, visit www.michaelmurphyauthor.com. What shape are you in? I’m in great form. I had an operation last year to deal with incontinence so I’ve got a bit of pain but I’m above ground and I’ve got nothing to complain about. Do you worry more about your health now? I’ve got no health concerns — I just have to keep a check on the PSA count every six months. What are your healthiest eating habits? I eat a salad for lunch. I find it satisfies the hunger pangs. What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I have a weakness for vanilla ice-cream, particularly if it’s served with apple tart. What would keep you awake at night? Worries about survival, about my own and that of my loved ones — I have visitations of worry at 3.15am. How do you relax? Through writing and listening to music — I’m a great fan of Bach and I’m able to write with his music in the background.

My concept of God has changed over the years but I would say I pray, yes. I like that the word ‘God’ comes from the Irish word ‘guth’, which means ‘voice’ When did you last cry? It was in the hospital after the operation. The grief and the broken-heartedness that cancer causes hit me at that stage. What would you change about your appearance? I’d have liked to be taller. I think tall people have a great advantage. What’s your favourite smell? I remember walking through a field of lavender in the south of France. Whenever I smell lavender it brings that memory back. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Shakespeare — because he’s a master of English — Johann Sebastian Bach and Sigmund Freud. I work as a psychoanalyst, hence my interest in Freud who invented a whole new language for describing the inner life. What are you reading at the moment? The Humbling by Philip Roth — I’m a fan of American writers. What trait do you least like in others? People who aren’t generous of spirit, who are mean-minded. I like people to be well-wishing towards others. What trait do you least like in yourself? I can be impatient, which is a trait I don’t like. I have to take a deep breath and calm down at times. Do you pray? I certainly use those formulas of prayer from childhood. My concept of God has changed over the years but I would say I pray, yes. I like that the word ‘God’ comes from the Irish word ‘guth’, which means ‘voice’. As a broadcaster and in terms of the book I’ve written, it’s all about putting things in words so I’m interested in voice. What would cheer up your day? A smile that extends into the eyes, so that the eyes are also twinkling. Helen O’Callaghan

A DIFFERENT VIEW ON LIFESTYLE Your guide to fitness, health, happiness and lifestyle. Great writers and mentors. Where you come first. Phone: NIAMH KELLY Tel. 021-4802215 Fax 021-4273846 niamh.kelly@examiner.ie

Every Friday. POST OP: Michael Murphy believes you have to be ruthlessly selfish to recover from cancer.

Feelgood

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010

For a different view


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Brave young cancer sufferers are able to swop stories and chill out together thanks to

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a teen charity, writes Sue Leonard

Somewhere to share L

AST November, a knot of glamorous teenagers gathered in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry, Dublin. As they danced the night away, bubbling over with happiness, it was hard to believe they’ve all been seriously ill. Hard to believe that all these young people, members of the teen charity CanTeen, have been through gruelling treatment for cancer. “They are a fantastic group,” says Evelyn Griffith group co-ordinator of CanTeen. “Everyone remarks on it. They’re inclusive too. They look after each other and make sure that new members never feel left out.” Cancer is tough on anyone. But teenagers have additional issues. “There are stresses on all teenagers these days,” says Evelyn. “They are already going through huge changes. Their friends are vital to them, but these teens are stuck in hospital for months. Their friends can’t visit them, and when they get home they’re often unable to go out. They miss out on so much. “Teenagers hate being left

Picture:Nick Bradshaw

Feelgood

out. It’s hard for them to cope with the physical changes from chemotherapy, with the hair loss and with being fat. And when their friends do see them, often they don’t know what to say.” Another problem, Evelyn says, is that teen cancer patients in Ireland don’t have their own specialist units. “They have to be treated either with children or with adults. And if the protocol is best in an adult unit, they may not meet other teenagers with cancer.” That’s where CanTeen comes in. The 230 members, aged from 12 to 25 years old, meet regularly during the year — at activity centres, or for weekends simply to relax. And it’s not all about cancer. “We do have talks about cancer, and how it affects our members, but it’s more about fun. It’s about feeling normal. What really helps our members is talking to each other. They compare the treatments they’ve had. It’s wonderful for them to talk to someone who understands, as only someone who has been through cancer can.” KYLE HAUGH, 19, has attended four CanTeen winter balls. In 2006 he was given just a year to live when he was diagnosed with malignant teratoma — an extremely rare brain tumour. Worse, when he reached Beaumont Hospital, after weeks of tortuous pain, doctors told him if he’d delayed another four hours he would have been dead. “I had brutal headaches for two weeks,” says Kyle.

“The GP said it was migraine, and a 24 hour pressing place ever. But you have great craic. doctor said I’d broken my nose. When I had Everyone knows what you’re talking about. I constant double-vision, and was puking, my have a few good friends in CanTeen. I go and GP said I was faking it, because I wanted to stay with them. It’s given me a whole new get off work. I was doing an apprenticeship at social life.” the time, working as a plasterer.” Now free from his cancer, Kyle still has Luckily, Kyle’s mum sensed that something health issues. He suffers with epilepsy, but he was seriously wrong. She took Kyle to the doesn’t let that daunt him one bit. He’s got hospital in Mullingar, and after a day of wait- big plans. ing around, persuaded staff to perform a scan. “I want to do my Leaving Certificate,” he “My surgery happened at Beaumont Hossays. “I’d like to be a doctor and study oncolpital on June 1, 2006,” says Kyle. “The surogy. I want to be able to say to people: ‘I geon got 98% of the tumour out. I then had know how you feel.’ chemo every week for six weeks. That was “I was a messer. I was taking drugs and my grand. After that I had eight weeks of life was going nowhere. Cancer was the best radiotherapy, just to make sure the tumour thing that happened to me. That’s the truth.” had gone.” It was tough on Kyle. And tough, too, on COLETTE KELLEHER, 16, lived for his family. sport. She played everything from soc“I have two sisters and a cer to camogie. And when, in brother and they’re all 2007, the Limerick younger than me. County camogie team My youngest made the brother was five final, Colette at the time. It took part, even broke his though she’d ■ Cancer is rare in teenagers. An estimated 150 heart to see been off to 200 children and teenagers contract cancer tubes sport for every year in Ireland compared to 22,000 adults. coming three Most of them survive and do well. out of months. ■ The four most common types of cancer in my head. “I’d had teenagers are Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s He appalling Lymphoma; leukaemia, brain cancer and bone freaked. pain below cancer. In the end my knee. I ■ CanTeen Ireland was set up in 1990 for young though, was really people who have, or who have had cancer, and my cancer fed up,” she for their family and friends. They rely on volunbrought us all remembers. teers and on fund-raising. closer. I say, ‘I “My leg was so ■ For more information visit www.canteen.ie love you,’ to my sore that I couldn’t and www.cancer.ie parents whenever sleep. I’d had x-rays I’m going anywhere. and blood tests but nothI’ll kiss them every night. ing showed up. It was, ‘Give I’m not ashamed to do that even it a few more weeks, and see if the when my friends are there.” pain goes away.’ “I went to a physiotherapist, Before he went to CanTeen, Kyle felt isoand he strapped my leg for the match. We lated. won. And that,” she says, “was my last match “I was dreading my first weekend there,” he ever.” says. “I thought it would be the most deColette’s leg didn’t get better. And repeated tests failed to show the problem. “One doctor said I had growing pains. No one was listening to me.” Eventually she saw a doctor in Listowel, who suggested she get to the Cork University Hospital as quickly as possible. That was before Christmas. It was near the end of January, the time of Colette’s Junior Certificate mock exams, before she saw the sports injury consultant there. “When I got my bloods done, the doctor could see how much pain I was in,” says Colette. “I was sweating, and my temperature was up. I had a load of tests — CTs and MRIs — but it was the bone scan that showed up a tumour.” Colette later had a biopsy in Cappagh Hospital, the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Dublin. And it was there that they diagnosed Ewing’s Sarcoma, a malignant tumour of the bone. The treatment that followed in Crumlin was gruelling. “I had six sessions of chemo, then surgery in Cappagh. They took out the tumour, then put in a titanium implant. It goes from below

A rare incidence

My cancer brought us all closer. I say, ‘I love you,’ to my parents whenever I’m going anywhere. I’ll kiss them every night. I’m not ashamed to do that FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010

my thigh to my ankle. It was agonising. After the surgery I had another eight session of chemo. I couldn’t eat. I had a stomach tube in for the whole series of treatments. It was horrible.” Colette missed a year and a half of school. But she joined her class in September, as they had all done a transition year. “Life has been good,” she says. “I’ve joined CanTeen and have been on a weekend away. It’s made me feel normal. The worst thing, for me, was having to give up competitive sport. But I can’t feel sorry for myself when I see people who’ve had amputations. It makes me realise that I’m lucky.” ■ Each year on February 4 The World Health Organisation (WHO) joins with the International Union Against Cancer to promote ways to ease the worldwide burden of cancer. This year’s theme is Cancer can be prevented too. Experts estimate that up to 40% of the 12 million cases of cancer diagnosed each year can be prevented.

Picture:Nick Bradshaw

Feelgood

Turn off the TV for the benefit of your child’s speech development, says Lisa Salmon

Look who’s talking now

I’ve joined CanTeen and have been on a weekend away. It’s made me feel normal. The worst thing, for me, was having to give up competitive sport

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TV droning away in the background as young children play happily nearby is a familiar scene in many homes. Most parents would see nothing wrong with it — not realising that the chattering away of the TV could harm their children’s speech development, even if they’re not actually watching it. New research commissioned by Jean Gross, the first ‘Communication Champion’ for children in Britain, found that almost one in six children have problems learning to talk, with boys facing more difficulties than girls. Nearly a quarter (22%) of boys experience problems with talking and understanding speech, compared to around one in seven (13%) girls. Gross believes part of the problem may stem from the amount of time the TV is left on in homes — figures suggest more than a quarter of families have a TV on either ‘most of the time’ or ‘all the time’. She warns parents that just having the TV on, whether children are watching it or not, makes adults stop talking to them. And it’s that talking which is so crucial to a young child’s language development. Gross says: “Research shows that if the TV is on in the background, the rate of talking by everybody in the room — both children and adults — decreases massively. “The number of words spoken diminishes so children aren’t getting the opportunity to learn from adult role models how to talk.” However, Gross stresses that TV isn’t necessarily bad for children. “The message is that watching a TV programme with your child and talking about it during and after is great — children can learn from television — but it’s the steady background that nobody’s paying any attention to that doesn’t really help. David Burke, the British director of the campaign against TV, White Dot, agrees that many parents seem unaware of the problems having the TV on in the background can cause. “What’s sad is that so often TV is promoted as educational for young children,” says Burke. “But at a young age children need to understand the difference between foreground and background noise, as that’s the beginning not only of hearing and speech, but the ability to control attention. “If you have a child that’s in a room with the TV on all the time, then you’re going to have a child that never learns to

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010

focus on anything. “People will say TV is okay if it’s on in the background, but studies show that exactly the opposite is true.” The key, says Gross, is for parents to pay attention to the way their children are acquiring language, and give them as much help as possible. “All of us expect that our children’s language will develop automatically, and to an extent it will, but as parents we all have to make this important skill as good as we can in children,” she says. “Paying attention to it and thinking how you’re modelling and developing how children talk is just as important as the way you later help them with reading and school.” Talking Point, which is part of I CAN, a charity which supports the development of communication skills in children, has issued a series of tips for parents to develop their child’s speech and language. These include:

■ Give your child quiet times to help them focus on your words — so turn the TV and radio off. ■ Get down to the child’s level and engage their attention before speaking. ■ Make learning language fun by using funny voices, rhymes, noises and singing. ■ Allow your child time to respond. ■ Speak in a lively, animated voice, and use lots of gestures and facial expressions. ■ Use simple, repetitive language and keep sentences short as you talk about what’s happening. ■ Praise your child’s efforts — simply say the correct pronunciation rather than pointing out mistakes. Mary Hartshorne, I CAN’s advisor, says: “It’s not specialist, additional things that need to be done to help children’s language development, it’s things that can easily be built into all sorts of everyday activities.” She says what often happens is that parents don’t think to talk to their children as they’re carrying out normal activities like washing, dressing and shopping. “That’s when the talking and interacting can take place — it’s just about building in talk to whatever you’re doing.” And as for TV, she warns: “Having the noise of the TV constantly on in the background is really distracting. We’re not saying never have the television on, but think about only having it on when you’re watching it.” ■ For more information visit: www.talkingpoint.org.uk


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Brave young cancer sufferers are able to swop stories and chill out together thanks to

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a teen charity, writes Sue Leonard

Somewhere to share L

AST November, a knot of glamorous teenagers gathered in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry, Dublin. As they danced the night away, bubbling over with happiness, it was hard to believe they’ve all been seriously ill. Hard to believe that all these young people, members of the teen charity CanTeen, have been through gruelling treatment for cancer. “They are a fantastic group,” says Evelyn Griffith group co-ordinator of CanTeen. “Everyone remarks on it. They’re inclusive too. They look after each other and make sure that new members never feel left out.” Cancer is tough on anyone. But teenagers have additional issues. “There are stresses on all teenagers these days,” says Evelyn. “They are already going through huge changes. Their friends are vital to them, but these teens are stuck in hospital for months. Their friends can’t visit them, and when they get home they’re often unable to go out. They miss out on so much. “Teenagers hate being left

Picture:Nick Bradshaw

Feelgood

out. It’s hard for them to cope with the physical changes from chemotherapy, with the hair loss and with being fat. And when their friends do see them, often they don’t know what to say.” Another problem, Evelyn says, is that teen cancer patients in Ireland don’t have their own specialist units. “They have to be treated either with children or with adults. And if the protocol is best in an adult unit, they may not meet other teenagers with cancer.” That’s where CanTeen comes in. The 230 members, aged from 12 to 25 years old, meet regularly during the year — at activity centres, or for weekends simply to relax. And it’s not all about cancer. “We do have talks about cancer, and how it affects our members, but it’s more about fun. It’s about feeling normal. What really helps our members is talking to each other. They compare the treatments they’ve had. It’s wonderful for them to talk to someone who understands, as only someone who has been through cancer can.” KYLE HAUGH, 19, has attended four CanTeen winter balls. In 2006 he was given just a year to live when he was diagnosed with malignant teratoma — an extremely rare brain tumour. Worse, when he reached Beaumont Hospital, after weeks of tortuous pain, doctors told him if he’d delayed another four hours he would have been dead. “I had brutal headaches for two weeks,” says Kyle.

“The GP said it was migraine, and a 24 hour pressing place ever. But you have great craic. doctor said I’d broken my nose. When I had Everyone knows what you’re talking about. I constant double-vision, and was puking, my have a few good friends in CanTeen. I go and GP said I was faking it, because I wanted to stay with them. It’s given me a whole new get off work. I was doing an apprenticeship at social life.” the time, working as a plasterer.” Now free from his cancer, Kyle still has Luckily, Kyle’s mum sensed that something health issues. He suffers with epilepsy, but he was seriously wrong. She took Kyle to the doesn’t let that daunt him one bit. He’s got hospital in Mullingar, and after a day of wait- big plans. ing around, persuaded staff to perform a scan. “I want to do my Leaving Certificate,” he “My surgery happened at Beaumont Hossays. “I’d like to be a doctor and study oncolpital on June 1, 2006,” says Kyle. “The surogy. I want to be able to say to people: ‘I geon got 98% of the tumour out. I then had know how you feel.’ chemo every week for six weeks. That was “I was a messer. I was taking drugs and my grand. After that I had eight weeks of life was going nowhere. Cancer was the best radiotherapy, just to make sure the tumour thing that happened to me. That’s the truth.” had gone.” It was tough on Kyle. And tough, too, on COLETTE KELLEHER, 16, lived for his family. sport. She played everything from soc“I have two sisters and a cer to camogie. And when, in brother and they’re all 2007, the Limerick younger than me. County camogie team My youngest made the brother was five final, Colette at the time. It took part, even broke his though she’d ■ Cancer is rare in teenagers. An estimated 150 heart to see been off to 200 children and teenagers contract cancer tubes sport for every year in Ireland compared to 22,000 adults. coming three Most of them survive and do well. out of months. ■ The four most common types of cancer in my head. “I’d had teenagers are Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s He appalling Lymphoma; leukaemia, brain cancer and bone freaked. pain below cancer. In the end my knee. I ■ CanTeen Ireland was set up in 1990 for young though, was really people who have, or who have had cancer, and my cancer fed up,” she for their family and friends. They rely on volunbrought us all remembers. teers and on fund-raising. closer. I say, ‘I “My leg was so ■ For more information visit www.canteen.ie love you,’ to my sore that I couldn’t and www.cancer.ie parents whenever sleep. I’d had x-rays I’m going anywhere. and blood tests but nothI’ll kiss them every night. ing showed up. It was, ‘Give I’m not ashamed to do that even it a few more weeks, and see if the when my friends are there.” pain goes away.’ “I went to a physiotherapist, Before he went to CanTeen, Kyle felt isoand he strapped my leg for the match. We lated. won. And that,” she says, “was my last match “I was dreading my first weekend there,” he ever.” says. “I thought it would be the most deColette’s leg didn’t get better. And repeated tests failed to show the problem. “One doctor said I had growing pains. No one was listening to me.” Eventually she saw a doctor in Listowel, who suggested she get to the Cork University Hospital as quickly as possible. That was before Christmas. It was near the end of January, the time of Colette’s Junior Certificate mock exams, before she saw the sports injury consultant there. “When I got my bloods done, the doctor could see how much pain I was in,” says Colette. “I was sweating, and my temperature was up. I had a load of tests — CTs and MRIs — but it was the bone scan that showed up a tumour.” Colette later had a biopsy in Cappagh Hospital, the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Dublin. And it was there that they diagnosed Ewing’s Sarcoma, a malignant tumour of the bone. The treatment that followed in Crumlin was gruelling. “I had six sessions of chemo, then surgery in Cappagh. They took out the tumour, then put in a titanium implant. It goes from below

A rare incidence

My cancer brought us all closer. I say, ‘I love you,’ to my parents whenever I’m going anywhere. I’ll kiss them every night. I’m not ashamed to do that FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010

my thigh to my ankle. It was agonising. After the surgery I had another eight session of chemo. I couldn’t eat. I had a stomach tube in for the whole series of treatments. It was horrible.” Colette missed a year and a half of school. But she joined her class in September, as they had all done a transition year. “Life has been good,” she says. “I’ve joined CanTeen and have been on a weekend away. It’s made me feel normal. The worst thing, for me, was having to give up competitive sport. But I can’t feel sorry for myself when I see people who’ve had amputations. It makes me realise that I’m lucky.” ■ Each year on February 4 The World Health Organisation (WHO) joins with the International Union Against Cancer to promote ways to ease the worldwide burden of cancer. This year’s theme is Cancer can be prevented too. Experts estimate that up to 40% of the 12 million cases of cancer diagnosed each year can be prevented.

Picture:Nick Bradshaw

Feelgood

Turn off the TV for the benefit of your child’s speech development, says Lisa Salmon

Look who’s talking now

I’ve joined CanTeen and have been on a weekend away. It’s made me feel normal. The worst thing, for me, was having to give up competitive sport

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TV droning away in the background as young children play happily nearby is a familiar scene in many homes. Most parents would see nothing wrong with it — not realising that the chattering away of the TV could harm their children’s speech development, even if they’re not actually watching it. New research commissioned by Jean Gross, the first ‘Communication Champion’ for children in Britain, found that almost one in six children have problems learning to talk, with boys facing more difficulties than girls. Nearly a quarter (22%) of boys experience problems with talking and understanding speech, compared to around one in seven (13%) girls. Gross believes part of the problem may stem from the amount of time the TV is left on in homes — figures suggest more than a quarter of families have a TV on either ‘most of the time’ or ‘all the time’. She warns parents that just having the TV on, whether children are watching it or not, makes adults stop talking to them. And it’s that talking which is so crucial to a young child’s language development. Gross says: “Research shows that if the TV is on in the background, the rate of talking by everybody in the room — both children and adults — decreases massively. “The number of words spoken diminishes so children aren’t getting the opportunity to learn from adult role models how to talk.” However, Gross stresses that TV isn’t necessarily bad for children. “The message is that watching a TV programme with your child and talking about it during and after is great — children can learn from television — but it’s the steady background that nobody’s paying any attention to that doesn’t really help. David Burke, the British director of the campaign against TV, White Dot, agrees that many parents seem unaware of the problems having the TV on in the background can cause. “What’s sad is that so often TV is promoted as educational for young children,” says Burke. “But at a young age children need to understand the difference between foreground and background noise, as that’s the beginning not only of hearing and speech, but the ability to control attention. “If you have a child that’s in a room with the TV on all the time, then you’re going to have a child that never learns to

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010

focus on anything. “People will say TV is okay if it’s on in the background, but studies show that exactly the opposite is true.” The key, says Gross, is for parents to pay attention to the way their children are acquiring language, and give them as much help as possible. “All of us expect that our children’s language will develop automatically, and to an extent it will, but as parents we all have to make this important skill as good as we can in children,” she says. “Paying attention to it and thinking how you’re modelling and developing how children talk is just as important as the way you later help them with reading and school.” Talking Point, which is part of I CAN, a charity which supports the development of communication skills in children, has issued a series of tips for parents to develop their child’s speech and language. These include:

■ Give your child quiet times to help them focus on your words — so turn the TV and radio off. ■ Get down to the child’s level and engage their attention before speaking. ■ Make learning language fun by using funny voices, rhymes, noises and singing. ■ Allow your child time to respond. ■ Speak in a lively, animated voice, and use lots of gestures and facial expressions. ■ Use simple, repetitive language and keep sentences short as you talk about what’s happening. ■ Praise your child’s efforts — simply say the correct pronunciation rather than pointing out mistakes. Mary Hartshorne, I CAN’s advisor, says: “It’s not specialist, additional things that need to be done to help children’s language development, it’s things that can easily be built into all sorts of everyday activities.” She says what often happens is that parents don’t think to talk to their children as they’re carrying out normal activities like washing, dressing and shopping. “That’s when the talking and interacting can take place — it’s just about building in talk to whatever you’re doing.” And as for TV, she warns: “Having the noise of the TV constantly on in the background is really distracting. We’re not saying never have the television on, but think about only having it on when you’re watching it.” ■ For more information visit: www.talkingpoint.org.uk


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Independent adults who do not define themselves by their roles as parents raise confident kids with high self-esteem

The freedom to be you Tony Humphreys

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URTURING and enabling are the two sides of the coin of parenting. For too long, mothers have tended to take on the dual tasks, generally putting more emphasis on the nurturing, while fathers lent a little hand in the enabling of children. Each child will have a different relationship with each parent, determined largely by the quality of the nurturing and enabling shown by the parent, be it mother or father. Parenting is primarily about bringing a child who starts out utterly dependent to a place of independence. The challenge varies as the child progresses from tiny tot to late adolescence. The aim is to establish a strong sense of self, and a confident belief in his or her ability to make progress in all aspects of living. Independence also involves having a solid sense of separateness (seeing oneself as a separate person, emotionally, intellectually and socially solid), while also being empathic, warm, friendly, open, capable of giving and receiving love, and with a value system that is respectful of self and others. This development of a separate identity involves a huge challenge for the child, teenager, and, indeed, even more so for the parent. The parent who lives life through their child does not provide the opportunities for the child to become independent. Co-dependence emerges and will dog the steps of the child as he progresses through his passage to adulthood. Equally, a parent who over-controls a child creates a co-dependence, so the child has to take his cues from her rather than from himself. Difficulty in making decisions for himself will continue to haunt his living, unless he reflects and finds ways of freeing himself from the parent who has dominated him. In highly neglectful situations, where, for reasons of extremely low self-esteem, parents show little or no care or enabling of children — these children will emerge with a similar poor sense of self and see the world as highly dangerous to their well-being. Mothers are beginning to realise that parenting a child to a place of independence can only come about when they themselves have established independence and freed themselves of their fears and insecurities. The word ‘independence’ is best read as reliance and dependence on self, rather than not depending on somebody else. Real in-

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dependence recognises the need for support and co-operation between individuals, but when this is not present or possible, the person who is independent does not judge those who do not co-operate, but returns to the reliance on self. The road to independence is not an easy one for mothers as, traditionally, the demands and expectations have been for them to be there for children, husband, and family of origin. And, in the past, it was permissible for fathers to ‘sow their wild oats’ and to give primacy to their careers, and to continue a ‘bachelor’ life, though married with wife and children (not a mature independence). The notion that women would chart their own waters, or plan their own flight path, was anathema until recent years. Now a growing number of mothers are realising that by empowering themselves they can truly empower their children. The mature parent knows that he or she needs to place equal importance on his or her own life, and on the life of each individual child. Children intuitively pick up the power and independence of their parents and feel safe to follow suit themselves. The future of society always lies with adults, as children have to take their cues from the adults upon whom they are temporarily dependent. The parent who models the worthiness, uniqueness, and freedom to

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live his or her own life passes on a powerful legacy to children and teenagers, who, in turn, will feel power beyond measure to live their own lives. Fathers also need to take on the challenge of true independence and free themselves of being tied to work, success, image, power, status, wealth and golf. When they confuse their sense of worth with any of the foregoing, they do not inspire their children to inhabit their own individuality and to live their own lives. On the contrary, their sons and daughters will be fearful of challenging their father’s dependent behaviours and may, eventually, need to find support outside the family to find independence. ■ Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist and is author of Self-Esteem: the Key to Your Child’s Future.

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For the last three years I have taught the energetic changes that we are presently experiencing which climax with the Winter Solstice 2012. I talked about the economic, and the religious systems as we know them passing away. I spoke about the need to prepare for the biggest energetic changes we have known for the last 26,000 years on the planet. Now the changes are apparent to all. There are water shortage and flooding taking place simultaneously The roads are almost impassable. Yet this is only the tip of the ice-berg of what is to come. The truth will set you free. Join me on Feb 6th to explore the reasons for what is happening and how to get safely through the next two transformative years. The workshop is at my home in Enniskeane and costs €100, which includes lunch and coffee. This workshop, not only could change your future, it could give you one. Teresa Collins, email tercol@eircom.net telephone 086-8102338 web www.teresacollins.com


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ZEN I n Ireland today the health benefits and curative powers of traditional therapies are becoming recognised and valued as never before, and perhaps none more so than the treatments based on massage now available at Zen. Massage therapy, because it is non-invasive and always adapted to meet the specific needs of the individual, can often achieve quite remarkable results. Indeed for many a regular back massage has become an essential part of their general health and fitness programme.

Offering traditional treatments by expert therapists to improve your health, wellbeing and lifestyle

Now the Zen Traditional Thai Massage Therapy Centre has opened at 61 Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork city, bringing a range of excellent treatments within easy reach of both those who already know the value of massage therapy and those who have yet to try its many variations. Kavatee Jisua and her husband, massage and reflexology therapist, Khanakan Thiamarat a highly qualified husband and wife team, are joined in the new Centre by Bo Chanthaboun, manager. All three underwent rigorous training in their native Thailand, where the ancient science of massage in all its forms is taken very seriously in-

deed, and all hold top qualifications from Thailand’s most prestigious academic training establishments as well as being fully certified and accredited in this country. They have worked for some years in Clonakilty, building up a strong and loyal following there, and are now delighted to have opened a centre in Cork so that city residents can take advantage of the benefits of having these treatments available closer to home. Thai massage is one of the branches of Traditional Thai Medicine (TTM), now recognized and regulated by the Thai government, and is widely considered to

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Traditional Thai Massage opens in the centre of Cork City

Husband and wife team of Kavatee Jisua and Khanakan Thiamarat, also Centre Manager, Bo Chanthaboun

Among the different distinctive therapies offered by the Zen Centre as well as traditional Thai massage are: be a medical discipline used for the treatment of a wide variety of ailments. A Royal Thai massage uses a blend of special herbs in hot compresses, giving a relaxing and simultaneously invigorating effect to the body and mind, soothing sore and over-worked muscles, and giving a boost to the body’s energy level. Foot massage can be of huge benefit in easing localised pain but is also widely used to treat discomfort in other parts of the body since it is held that all are interconnected. With our national passion for sport, it’s hardly surprising that sport-related injuries are also a constant problem. It is not always realised, however, that the therapies and treatments offered by qualified and accredited massage therapists can achieve exceptional results. There are many top athletes in Ireland today deeply thankful for the fact that ancient Thai healing techniques are now available here. A substantial part of the business is devoted to the treatment of sports injuries. Your health is priceless. Put yourself and your wellbeing in the hands of skilled professionals. Discover how the Zen Thai Massage Therapy Centre can improve your health today.

MASSAGE THERAPIES Thai Traditional Massage Authentic deep tissue treatment, excellent to relieve muscle stiffness and stress. Helps the body to return to optimum performance and health. 1 hour.........F50 Thai Hot Oil Massage Based on classic Thai Texhniques, Thai Full Body massage helps soothe and relax tired muscles and balances circulation, including a feeling of well being with oil and balm. 1 hour........F50 Thai Back, Shoulder & Neck Massage Thai traditional techniques focusing on the back, shoulders and neck area. Relieves headaches, back. Neck and shoulder tension in the muscles, with oil and balm treatments. 40 minutes......F35 Balinese Massage This message works deeply to soothe damaged tissue and relieve strained muscles and joint pain. Helps boost circulation, reduce stress and re-balance your body. 1 hour..................F50 Foot Reflexology Massaging pressure points in the food, helping to balance the body system, using traditional Thai Oil and balm. Helps increase circulation and relieves tiredness. 40 minutes.......F40

ZEN Traditional Thai Massage, 2nd Floor, 61 Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork. Tel 086-0671671 Open 11am-8pm 7 days or by appointment

Feelgood

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010


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Eat greens, smile more, breathe deeper — some simple changes can leave you looking and feeling younger. And there’s no better time of year to start, says Áilin Quinlan

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ANUARY is almost over and though some of you may be slacking off on new year resolutions made at start of the month, it’s never too late to attempt a younger look — whether through drinking more water, eating berries, updating your make-up or trying the latest laser technology. 1. The De-tox: Absolutely essential at this time of the year, says Bronwyn Malone of the Bronwyn Conroy School of Beauty in Blackrock, Co Dublin. Drink three litres of water a day, she advises. Water supports digestion and the absorption, transportation and use of nutrients and eliminates toxins and wastes from the body, according to the World Health Organisation. Malone also suggests substituting herbal tea for coffee or tea and bathing in Epsom Salts. It’s also good to practise daily body brushing towards the heart — a body brush will only set you back about F5. 2. Have a facial: Have a facial once every four to six weeks, advises Malone — your make-up will sit better, and your skin creams will work better. The facial stimulates blood and lymphatic circulation, transports oxygen and nutrients to the cells and removes toxins. 3. Get your skin mapped: This will guide you as to what products you should be using to slow down the ageing process, advises Careena Galligan, salon director of The Galligan College and Salon of Beauty in Dublin. 4. Check your weight: Try to be the right weight for your height, says dietician Paula Mee. Consult your GP about your body mass index (BMI) and watch your waistline — a wasistline of over 37” for women and more than 40” for men increases the risk of type two diabetes, heart disease and cancer, she warns. 5. Update your hair: An overly severe colour adds years says Malone — go for a softer colour that doesn’t have a harsh effect. Change your hairdresser for a fresh perspective. Cut is equally important — a good hairstyle can do wonders for your looks. 6. Face mask: Invest in a good quality re-hydrating face mask to rejuvenate the skin and keep it in good condition, advises Malone. 7. Practise relaxation: Take time out — sit in front of the fire listening to the coals hiss, meditate, or simply read, says holistic practitioner and nurse Bridget Gardner. Practising deep breathing will also help ease facial lines of stress and worry. 8. Moisturiser: The

Feelgood

ways to make the 40 most of your looks single most effective anti-ageing thing we can do for our skin is to keep it moist, advises Malone: “Drying ages the skin, so keep it moist by drinking lots of water and using a good day and night cream.”

By tackling just a few aspects of your lifestyle and availing of some expert help, if needed, you can age with grace

9. Fruit: Try to eat two portions of fruit a day, including superfruit like berries — strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants raspberries — which fight ageing because they’re high in antioxidants and vitamin C, says Mee. Berries can protect the arteries by reducing the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in the blood and guard against age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s by mopping up free radicals, or toxins, in the body.

20. Have some micro-dermabrasion: This removes the top two layers of damaged skin which is then replaced by healthy new cells, giving the skin a smoother, more attractive look, says Galligan. Costs between F70 and F90 per session.

10. Get rid of wrinkles: Experiencing persistent lines around the cheek and mouth area? Try dermal fillers to plump out the lines. See your dermatologist about some treatment but remember, it’s a temporary effect which lasts about four or five months.

21. Watch alcohol: Limit weekly alcohol intake to under 14 units for women and under 21 for men — excess alcohol makes you gain weight, puts pressure on the liver and leads to skin problems like broken veins.

11. Protect your face: Wear moisturiser or foundation which contains a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 — this protects the skin against harsh weather and sunlight, says Galligan. Always use sunscreen in summer. Better still, combine with a hat and dark glasses. 12. Facial muscles: Toning the muscles of your face can help you keep those youthful looks — check out Eva Fraser’s Facial Fitness, in the form of both book CD form — www.evafraser.com. Alternatively, try Slendertone’s latest offering, the Slendertone Face, which provides muscle toning and improves the contours of the face, says Malone. Available online for about F200-plus. Visit www.slendertone.com. 13. Watch fats: Eat less sausages, rashers, bacon and patés, says dietician Paula Mee and go for more lean protein such as lean pork, chicken and beef which contain amino acids, the building blocks of the skin and crucial for health hair, skin and nails. 14. Microcurrent or non-surgical face lift:

22. Watch your tea: Drink less coffee and more green tea, which is high in antioxidants and much better for your skin than caffeine, says dietician Paula Mee.

Picture: iStock

It can do wonders for jowls, puffy eyes and muscle contours, says Galligan. Course of 10-12 sessions costs between F400 to F500.

treatment can be had in most acupuncture clinics. Start weekly and maintain monthly, she advises.

15. Sleep on a silk, or satin, pillowcase — or snooze on your back: Some say that slippery fabric such as silk or satin drags less on the skin than nylon or cotton, and so helps to prevent wrinkles.

17. Eat wholegrain cereals for breakfast and snacks: Wholegrains promote regular movement of food through the intestines and provide for the friendly bacteria in the gut, says Mee: “This protects the gut wall and prevents the feelings of sluggishness and lack of energy associated with the wrong kind of diet.”

16. Facial acupuncture: “This works on the micro-circulation to achieve a healthy glowing complexion,” says Malone. Costing about F55,

18. Take up yoga: It’s soothing, de-stressing, improves your posture, helps loosen any knots of tension and can be done anywhere. Yoga al-

lows us to breathe deeply, put space between our thoughts and develop more clarity as well as a sense of inner peace, says holistic practitioner and nurse Bridget Gardner. (See page 11) Breathing deeply from the lower abdomen also alkalises the blood, tissue and cells which makes us look younger, she says. 19. Mind the eyes: Start using an eye cream or gel from age 15, says Malone: “Use gel for puffiness and dark circles, and an eye cream at night to rehydrate.”

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010

23. Consider laser resurfacing or intensive pulse light (IPL): This reduces fine lines and wrinkles, skin redness and the number of visible capillaries on your face, says Galligan. It also counteracts the effect of sun damage, such as sun spots. Depending on your skin, you may need between one and six treatments — costs from F70 per session. 24. Eat more oily fish: According to nutrition guru Patrick Holford, the fatty acids they contain have a wide range of benefits from better skin condition to higher energy levels, greater focus and concentration, increased fertility and reduced risk of depression. Failing that, go for a high-grade fish-oil supplement. 25. Eyebrows: Have your eyebrows professionally shaped to accentuate your eyes — and get a tint if you’re going grey, says Malone. Trim them thinner, advises Galligan, because it gives a lift to the eye.

26. Eat your veggies: Vegetables are low in calories, healthy and filling. A survey of 55,000 people showed those who eat five or more servings of vegetables daily are twice as likely to have optimum health than those who don’t eat vegetables, says Patrick Holford. 27. Wear blusher: “Invest in a softer cream blusher with a dewy finish,” says Bronwyn Malone. 28. Teeth: If they’re going yellow, invest in your dentist and expect to pay around F450 for a set of white choppers. “Your dentist will provide you with a custom-made gum shield and syringes of teeth-whitening gel. Your teeth will be four shades whiter within a fortnight,” advises Malone. 29. Use the right shade of lipstick: As we age, we require a softer shade of lipstick. Experiment at the make-up counter and consult the Bobbi Brown Lipstick Wheel. 30. Learn to do your make-up properly: “Most people are in a make-up rut — they are using far too much,” complains Malone. Get a lesson at the beauty counter of a good department store, she says — it’s well worth it. “Fees vary, but generally you’ll pay about F25 and it can be redeemable against products.” 31. Wear a lighter foundation from your late 30s: A fluid foundation will provide coverage, but it also has a light texture which will not emphasise fine lines and wrinkles, says Galligan.

32. Don’t over-diet: If you lose weight too quickly your face will look gaunt. Very strenuous exercise or dieting can affect the elasticity of your face, warns Malone. 33. Give up smoking: It yellows the skin, deprives it of oxygen and the constant pulling on a cigarette can emphasise fine lines around the lips, advises Galligan. 34. Cut out sugar: Sugar is full of empty calories, promotes weight gain and takes the place of more essential nutrients needed for healthy skin hair and nails. 35. Be happy: Spend time doing things that make you happy, says Gardner. You’ll feel better and look better. Aim to smile a bit more. Outer beauty can be boosted by an inner beauty which comes from happiness or a sense of inner peace. 36. Exercise regularly: Anything that gets you moving will improve your circulation. Exercise will encourage blood-flow to the skin and help give it a healthy, youth-enhancing glow. Exercising in the morning gives you an energy boost and clears mental anxiety, explains Gardner. And, if you don’t like walking, join a class — pilates, yoga, dance or aerobics. 37. Have more sex: Sex, says Gardner, is a great way to relax. It helps balance the chakras or energy points in your body. Studies have found that couples who make love frequently look more than 10 years younger than the average adult who has sex less often. The current thinking is that the pleasure derived from sex is a crucial factor in preserving youth. According to Dr Mehmet Oz, Oprah’s favourite physician, having 200 orgasms a year can knock six years off your physiologic age. 38. Meditate: When you meditate you master your breath and your thoughts, you find you become more relaxed, that you have a quietness of mind. If you are in a place of calm or inner peace your smile comes from within — beautiful. 39. Use a matt lip pencil: Outline your lips before applying lipstick to prevent it bleeding into the lines around your mouth, advises Galligan. 40. Botox — the instant fix: Injections of botulinum toxin A will ease wrinkles brought on by frowning or squinting. It’s safe, but results depend greatly on the skill of the practitioner so consult your dermatologist, says Galligan. It can also be expensive — from F300 for one injection. The effects last up to six months.


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Dr Niamh Houston

FAMILY

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Dr Niamh Houston is a GP with a special interest in integrative medicine. If you have a question about your child’s health email it to feelgood@examiner.ie or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork

HAVE you any advice on how to deal with needle phobia? I regularly need to get injections and absolutely dread having them? A. Most people develop a strong feeling of anxiety about having injections or blood tests, so you are not alone. Known as procedural anxiety, it can be controlled. It’s possible to numb the skin before having an injection. There is a topical anaesthetic EMLA which is applied to the skin as a cream or spray and has been used in hospitals for years. This can stop you feeling the sting of an injection so the whole experience is less painful. Distraction techniques can also help. Focus on something to look at on the wall, listen to an iPod/radio or read. Doctors and nurses can help by making you aware of what is going to happen and why. If you would rather not be told, tell your doctor. Also let him or her know that you are feeling anxious about having the injections. You may find it helpful to have someone with you or to lie down when having the injection. The medical term for a needle phobia is belonephobia. With this phobia, the patient will have an intense fear of sharp objects. Even the idea of having a needle fills them with fear and dread. Some sufferers can pass out while having an injection because of their intense anxiety. In some cases this fear of needles leads them to avoid going to their doctor or hospital, even if they are very unwell. One of the most effective ways of dealing with an anxiety or phobia is to understand them. Some people find talking to a psychotherapist can help them get over their deep-seated fear. Q. Does lupus affect children the same way as adults? My daughter is being tested for this after months of complaining of fatigue and joint pains. I remember an aunt who also had lupus — does it run in families? A. Although the exact cause of lupus is unknown, genetics can play a role. It is an autoimmune disease, which means the immune system mistakenly works against the body’s own tissues. Some people have a genetic predisposition to lupus that can be activated by an infection, certain medications, or extreme physical or emotional stress. Lupus can be difficult to diagnose in adults and children — no two people with lupus will have an identical set of complaints, and the symptoms can be mistaken for other more common conditions like juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and infectious mononucleosis.(glandular fever). SLE, or systemic lupus erythematosus, is the most common form of the disease and usually develops in people in their 20s, 30s,

In some cases the fear of needles leads people to avoid going to their doctor or hospital, even if they are very unwell or 40s, though it can present during childhood or adolescence as well. Common symptoms are a rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose (also called a “butterfly” rash because it is shaped like a butterfly), ulcers in the nose or mouth (usually painless) arthritis affecting any of the joints, fatigue, weight loss, muscle aches, swollen glands, hair loss, abdominal pain (sometimes with nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting). Anaemia, a low white cell count, or a low blood cell count, kidney problems, inflammation of the lining around the heart or lungs are other ways lupus can affect the body. There is a blood test for specific proteins called antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and if positive would strongly suggest SLE is present. Nearly 80% of children diagnosed with lupus are girls. If your daughter is found to have this condition, her treatment will focus on controlling her symptoms and preventing flare-ups — times when the disease gets worse. During a sudden outbreak, a person with lupus may feel much more tired, sick, feverish, or achy than usual. Almost all lupus patients take medication such as NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen) daily to help

control inflammation and reduce the risk of flare-ups. Corticosteroids may also be needed. These are not the same steroids that some athletes take, but help to control inflammation. If prescribed, the dosage and side effects will be carefully monitored. Antimalarial drugs often help treat skin rashes and joint pain. For severe organ pain, such as kidney disease, immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclophosphamide are often needed. Children with lupus are prone to the usual childhood illnesses, however a fever, rash or mouth sore may also indicate the beginning of a flare-up. Certain lifestyle changes may help prevent or minimise flare-ups. Sunlight or fluorescent light avoidance (wearing sunscreen and protective clothing) is important for most patients, as photosensitivity can result in a rash. Regular exercise can help prevent fatigue and joint stiffness. A balanced diet and sufficient rest are important for general health and wellbeing. While not curable, the outlook for lupus patients is improving. ■ See for www.lupus.ie for more information and support.

NOTE: The information contained in Dr Houston’s column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor first

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Catherine Shanahan MUM’S WORLD Feelgood

F a woman’s two weapons are cosmetics and tears my daughter has nothing to fear. An Elizabeth Arden flawless finish may yet elude her but for an extemporaneous boohoo she has no peer. Had I foreknowledge of her flair for weeping I may well have called her Margery, as a nod to the medieval moaner Margery Kempe, who, at the age of 40, answered a religious calling and took off on a tour of famous holy sites. After bearing 14 children this 15th century sniveller swapped the marital bed for the spiritual life. She had the “gift of tears” and indulged it with abandon, casting herself as a visionary and not a wife. A psychoanalyst might say hers were tears of deliverance and not the sobs of a woman who had just seen our Lord. Her blubbering and bawling had all the hallmarks of one rejoicing at escape

from an insatiable husband and unwieldly horde. Whatever the reason, her Oscar-winning outpourings were certainly guaranteed to draw a throng. Her theatrics were a showstopper although some had their misgivings and wondered if she’d put the whole thing on. Dearbhail, in a sense, has her own “gift of tears” which she uses as a wily woman should. She can spot a sap a mile off and knows her eyes need only well up to work the sap to her own greater good. Her father is susceptible to every little whimper and does her bidding every single time. He forged a career playing hardball, yet is putty in her hands from the instant he hears that first little whine. Lughaidh remains unmoved unless the vocals get too frantic and hit a note in the upper stratosphere. During a recent meltdown he let out such a roar that he ended

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up almost piercing his own ears. “STOP IT! JUST STOP IT! STOP IT NOW!” he shouted, and, stunned into silence, she did. He looked just as startled when the cries quickly abated, but chuffed that she had done as he had bid. This novel approach to weeping is not one for the textbooks albeit I noted its success. Whether it was the short, sharp shock of her brother’s shout or acquiescence to her peer, really is anybody’s guess. But the temptation now is to summon the shouter whenever the howler hits high doh. Unlike King Canute, it’s in Lughaidh’s gift to halt the tide even if the howler’s in full flow. Doubtless, some of her tears are the upshot of frustration and she is certainly no stranger to laughter. But as the wise man said, a chuckle is infinitely more preferable since there is far less cleaning up to do thereafter.


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Yoga is hot in more ways than one, says a re-balanced Deirdre Reynolds

A stretch in the day

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F YOGA is about deep breathing, soft lighting, ambient music and gentle stretching, then why do I find myself, legs akimbo in the air, turning pink in a sweaty Dublin studio? Whether it’s Ashtanga, Bikram or Iyengar, yoga has become one of the most popular forms of exercise in Ireland. This Sunday, Ireland’s yoga enthusiasts will be out in force for World Yoga Day — a 24-hour, worldwide charity yoga marathon. If you plan on swapping road rage for inner sage this weekend, don’t make the mistake I did. This Zen stuff is serious business. In a sweltering roomful of strangers on a drizzly Thursday night, the form of the Indian discipline I’m test-driving is known as Bikram, after founder, Bikram Choudhury. There’s more to yoga than stretching and scented candles. Bikram, a high-octane edition of the exercise, uses extreme heat to turn its followers into human elastic bands. Baking participants at 40 degrees as they stretch, it’s more commonly called hot yoga — and if you read the glossies, you’ll know Madonna, Britney Spears and George Clooney are fans. “The idea behind Bikram is to recreate the temperature of India, where it was first practiced,” says Anne Leonard, boss of Bikram Yoga, in Harold’s Cross. “The hotter the room gets, the quicker fresh-oxygenated blood is pumped throughout the body. The room temperature traps the body heat inside. So, rather than losing that energy like you do when you workout in a cold room, it helps improve your stretch and sweat out toxins.” The best ad for hot yoga are the toned, glistening limbs that seem to be coming at me from all angles in the packed studio. Despite the celebrity endorsements, hot Yoga isn’t a fad: there are 600 studios worldwide and 3,000 instructors. Four Bikram studios are set to open their doors in Limerick, Cork, and Dublin in the coming six months. “Bikram has lots of celebrity followers in the States,” says Anne, who trained at the Yoga College of India, in LA. “We get a lot of the jet set in our studio,” she says. “Andie McDowell took her first class in Dublin. But most people come in to us because they know a friend or colleague who’s glowing after trying it — not because some celebrity does it.” Muscle flexibility isn’t the only benefit of the red-hot regime. “I have a client who’s convinced he has gotten taller because of Bikram,” she says. “He told me had to adjust his car seat, because his head was hitting off the roof. He hasn’t grown, but because his stomach muscle isn’t slumped anymore, he might stand up to three inches taller.” If you can’t stand the heat, you don’t have to get out of the studio — there’s a style for everyone. “Iyengar, Hatha, Satyananda and Laughter yoga are just some of the styles of yoga that are popular in Ireland,” says yoga therapist, Orla Punch. “So there’s really something to suit everyone. My advice is to think about what you really need, speak to your prospective teacher, and ask if you can try out one class before deciding on a style that suits you. “We live in such a fast-paced world that yoga has become a real antidote. Most forms of exercise contribute to ‘cellular noise,’ while yoga leads to ‘cellular calm’.” But whatever about inner peace, what about those bingo wings, love handles and jiggly thighs: does yoga help you get fit? “Yoga can fall into both categories of fit-

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SWEAT SHOP: Deirdre Reynolds in a hot yoga pose. The studio is heated to 40C to mimic temperatures in India, which helps to improve muscle flexibility. Picture:Maura Hickey ness and well-being,” says Orla, who teaches Iyengar. “It’s not a fat-burning exercise in the strictest sense, but it can boost your overall health. It depends on the student — if an athlete does yoga twice a week, it will really help them stretch out their body and improve their sport, while, for someone who sits at a computer all day, it might simply be a way to improve their posture, clear their head and learn how to breathe properly.” “The real beauty of yoga is that you notice improvements in flexibility, strength and mus-

cle tone almost straight away,” says Orla, who also runs yoga holidays abroad. The acrobatic contortions may soon rival Gaelic football as the nation’s sport of choice — even among men. “I’ve been teaching for 17 years and yoga is huge in Ireland,” Orla says. “The only difference now is the student. When Madonna took up yoga, about 12 years ago, the majority of the students were women in the 20-40 age bracket. But now, men are catching up, especially in the more physical styles, and the average class consists of everything from teenagers up to

people in their ‘70s.” Sweating profusely while balanced precariously on one leg, doing my best Karate Kid, ‘relaxing’ isn’t a word that springs to mind. But after 90 minutes and 26 poses I still haven’t toppled over, so perhaps that’s the biggest achievement of all. ■ The fourth annual World Yoga Day is in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières. For details, see www.worldyogaday.net. For more on hot yoga, see Bikramyoga.ie or call 01-6570061. Contact Orla Punch on www.orlapunchyoga.com, or 087-9340839.

■ Ten reasons why it’s good for you 1. Pumping iron at the gym might build muscle but it won’t improve your range of movement — yoga does both. 2.Yoga uses your own body weight to strengthen bones, warding off osteoporosis in later life. 3. More snooze. Meditative styles of yoga such as Savasana and Pranayama promote relaxation and turbo boost your beauty sleep. 4. It can prevent arthritis — all that jumping up and down from your mat puts joints through their full range of motion. 5. Yoga makes you tall and skinny. No,

not really — but it does improve your posture and strengthen your tummy so there’s no need for those eight-inch heels or giant body-shaping knickers. 6. Spend less time blowing into a tissue — chest-opening positions improve immune function by encouraging lymph drainage and activating the thymus gland. 7. From downward-facing dog to the tree, all those imaginative poses stretch muscles and connective tissue like a catapult — improving flexibility big-time. 8. It’s good for your head as well as your body — the zen exercise helps reduce stress-creating cortisol and uses

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calming breathing techniques that mean you’re less likely to tell your boss where to go. 9. Perfect for couch potatoes — unlike running or spinning, yoga is a low-impact exercise so it’s a great way to ease back into getting fit. 10. Yoga makes you happy. Practising regularly has been shown to boost the happy hormone serotonin and reduce the one that makes us blue, cortisol.


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Wake up to... health D

RIVEN by the recognition of the health benefits, sales of oatmeal in Ireland has increased 100% in the last five years. Flahavans, the largest producer of oatmeal in the country, produces the largest variety of products and 20% of their sales come from convenience products which can be microwaved in the bowl to save on washing up. However, sales and marketing manager John Noonan says that in the last year there has been a resurgence of the traditional product due to its value for money. For everyone except coeliacs, oatmeal has superb health pluses. The main benefit is its fibre, which in oats comes in two valuable types — soluble and insoluble. We need soluble as the nutrients are broken down and absorbed by the body to provide an antidote to cholesterol which clogs up arteries and leads to heart disease and stroke.It’s the ß-glucan in the middle of the oat kernel which helps excrete bile acids and to tackle cholesterol. We need insoluble fibre to keep the gut stimulated and exercised. Oats are packed with antioxidants which keep cells healthy and repair damaged ones. Because oats are low on the glycaemic index, they take a long time to be processed by the body, so insulin is regulated, which is good for diabetics and for those watching weight. The longer we feel full, the less we are tempted to eat, particularly Macroom Oatmeal, 1kg F2.19, Dunnes Stores, health shops. Stone-ground the traditional way and nicely toasted to add flavour, we followed the cooking instructions, adding a little salt, and the result was excellent. Texture is a good mix of creamy and gritty with a satisfyingly natural overall feel and flavour. The label suggests bringing to the boil the night before and allowing to stand overnight, which is the ideal so it can be heated up quickly in the morning. However, we found just over three minutes boiling gave a good result too and it can be microwaved successfully. Good value. Score: 9

Oatilicious Lidl, 270g F1.29 (F4.77 per kg) With 2.3g of fibre in each 27g sachet, the texture is a good blend of smooth and slightly rough. And 99% rolled oats with soya lecithin as stabliser is commendable for a convenience style product. Instructions to microwave work well and the result is a good product with a typically porridge flavour. While the price per packet is low, the price per kilo shows how much we pay for refined, convenience products. Score: 7.5

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Roz Crowley between meals. In their most natural form, oats have plenty of calcium and iron, along with zinc, potassium, magnesium, some vitamin E and a substantial amount of thiamin which helps convert carbohydrates into energy. Unfortunately, processing can destroy these more delicate nutrients and refine the fibre, particularly the insoluble type. If we are watching budgets, the least refined provides best value and as the best taste. Before oats are soft enough to be rolled, the outer husk is removed and then they are steamed. This also helps to quicken their cooking time. How to cook porridge is a matter of taste, some preferring milk, some water, some salt, some sugar. I would prefer to see porridge in the diet than not, so if it takes a little added sweetness in the form of honey or unrefined brown sugar, then serve it that way, or better still, with seasonal or dried fruit. Odlums Organic Oatflakes, 1.5kg F2.95 (F1.96 per kg)

Picture: Getty Images

Ready Brek Original Fine Porridge Oats, 500g F3.31 (F6.62 per kg)

These organic rolled oats had a fresh texture, and a commendable 3.64g fibre in a 40g serving resulted in good texture when we microwaved it and also made it in a saucepan. Low on flavour. Score: 7

With 2.4g fibre, half each of soluble and insoluble, this is one of the most refined of the samples and has the least flavour. Vitamins are added to 60% wholegrain rolled oats and 39% wholegrain oat flour. More like bland baby food and not liked by adult tasters. An expensive product. Score: 4.5

Marks & Spencer Cranberry & Blueberry Porridge, eight sachets of 40g F3.29 (F10.28 per kg)

Flahavan’s Organic Jumbo Oats, 1 kg F2.37

70% oatflakes, sugar, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried cream, maize starch, cranberry and blueberry natural flavourings make for a light porridge. Oats are soft and have some flavour and each sachet delivers 2.8g of fibre, though the texture is quite smooth. Freeze-dried fruits have minimal flavour and their texture is cardboard-like. We found it was just as quick to make in a saucepan as to microwave and allow to stand. Sugars are a high 15.8g when calculated with added semi-skimmed milk. Expensive. Score: 4

Large rolled oats are softer than other samples, with 2.5g fibre per 40g serving, a little lower than other samples. Texture is of regular porridge and benefits from the addition of a little salt to taste. Cooks quickly perhaps due to the soft texture. Fair price. Score: 6.75

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Bunalun Organic Original Oats, 1 kg F1.66, Dunnes These organic rolled oats had a freshness and a good 3.8g fibre in a 40g serving resulting in good texture, both microwaved and made in a saucepan. No great taste, though. Well priced. Score: 7

Flahavan’s Quickoats Strawberry 46g 75c (F16.30 per kg) With 78% wholegrain oats, sugar is next on the list of ingredients with added skimmed milk powder and 3% freeze-dried strawberry pieces. Sugars are a high 17.3 provided by added sugar and sugars from the freeze-dried strawberries which were low on flavour too. However, fibre at 3.59g in the 46g pot (3.12g per 40g) is quite discernible. Boiling water or milk can be added to the carton, so useful for the occasional breakfast at work, but it’s no substitute for proper porridge. Expensive, but not worth it. Score: 2


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State of the nation H

EALTH issues remain a major concern for men with more than half of them admitting that they were either overweight or obese in 2007. That’s according to a recent report, published by the Department of Health and Children, which shows significant trends in health and healthcare over the past decade. The report also showed that, not surprisingly, men have lower rates of GP attendance than women. On the positive side, alcohol consumption has declined from a peak reached in 2001 and smoking has also declined in the years since the introduction of the smoking ban, though consumption has been stubbornly constant in the most recent years. “This report provides further compelling evidence of the need for a more targeted and gender-specific approach to men’s health,” said Dr Noel Richardson of the Centre for Men’s Health Research and Training, Institute of Technology Carlow. In presenting a summary of key trends, the overall picture which emerges is one of population growth and population ageing, of major improvements in health status and life expectancy, and of increasing health service investment and provision. Threats to health gain are also evident particularly in the area of lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption and obesity. Interestingly, suicide overtook motor vehicle accidents

Deirdre O'Flynn

MOSTLY MEN as a principal cause of death in the mid-1990s. However, life expectancy in general has increased from one year below the EU average in 1999 to one year above. “In the space of just 10 years, almost four additional years have been added to life expectancy in Ireland,” said Minister for Health Mary Harney. “Irish males can now expect on average to live until they are 76.8 years while females can expect to live until they are 81.6 years. Death rates from diseases of the circulatory system have decreased by over 40%.” Overall, 83.9% of men and women rate their health as being good or very good and Ireland now has the highest fertility rate in the EU. In a clear warning about our cardio-vascular health, one in 10 Irish adults in Ireland have been diagnosed at some point with high blood pressure. Diseases of the circulatory system and cancer continue to be the major causes of death, but there have been significant reductions in both over the past decade.

■ Copies of the report can be downloaded at www.dohc.ie/publications/health_in_ireland2009.html

One in four Corkonians Cocaine use linked to smokes, says survey sudden cardiac arrest ALMOST one in four (23%) of Co Cork respondents to an online health check admitted they were smokers. That was higher than the number of self-reporting smokers in Co Kerry and Co Tipperary, but lower than Co Waterford, at 27%. The research, by Aviva, revealed that Irish smokers puff an average of 13 cigarettes a day at a cost of F163.80 each month and F2,000 a year. “I urge all smokers to seriously consider quitting this life-threat-

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ening habit and to live a healthier life,” says Dr Stephen Murphy of the Aviva Medical Council. “The risk of lung cancer for a smoker is significant — at least four out of five cases are associated with cigarette smoking. By quitting, the risk of lung cancer falls to the same level as a non-smoker after 15 years.” ■ For tips on how to quit, and details of the Allen Carr Easyway to Stop Smoking programme, visit www.aviva.ie/health

FEELING FULLER: ALMOST 40% (more than 1.2 million) of Irish adults are now overweight and 25% (more than 750,000 people) are obese. A new treatment for mildly to extremely overweight adults and children aged 10 years and over have just come on the market called Obesimed. The active ingredient is a soluble fibre which absorbs large quantities of water and forms a natural substance filling the stomach. This produces a feeling of being satisfied during the meal and afterwards. Obesimed is available from pharmacies; F19.90 for a 45-capsule pack and F49.90 for 135 capsules.

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COCAINE use is linked to a risk of sudden cardiac death, according to a study carried out at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Seville, Spain. “The latest findings confirm the association between cocaine usage and sudden cardiac death and that all users are at risk, including healthy individuals who do not suffer from heart disease,” says Dr Brian Maurer Medical Director of the Irish

Heart Foundation. “The Spanish study showed that even occasional users of small amounts may die as a result. The number of cocaine users appears to be increasing and the risk to Irish and Spanish users is similar.” The Irish Heart Foundation is urging everyone, especially young people, to refrain from using cocaine. Even small amounts taken infrequently are dangerous.

CHECK UP: Health in Ireland: Key Trends 2009 shows that men still have lover rates of GP attendance than women. Picture: iStock

DId you know...

Green tea may offer some protection against lung cancer Source: Shan Medical University, Taiwan

Weight loss for 2010 FIBRE METHOD: “The principle that taking a fibre reduces the sensation of hunger is well documented,” says GP and medical herbalist Dr Dilis Clare, pictured here. “By taking a fibre the hungry feeling and craving for food simply goes. “You must move towards healthier, natural foods and begin to cut out the processed, rubbish junk foods. “You must also take a fresh look at daily exercise. A 35-40 minute brisk walk is a doable objective, even for someone who is overweight.” Dr Clare holds clinics in Galway and at Nadrid House, Coachford, Co Cork. Call 091-583260 or visit healthandherbs.org.

DIET FOOD: Marks & Spencer recently launched its most extensive healthy eating range — Simply Fuller Longer — based on scientific research that shows diets higher in protein result in more effective weight loss. Unlike other high protein diets, carbohydrates are not excluded, and customers are also encouraged to eat vegetables and fruit if they feel in need of a snack. The range has over 40 products including ready prepared meals, sandwiches and salads. It is in stores costing just F2.50 for sandwiches and F4.50 for meals. For more details visit www.marksandspencer.com/health.

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DIET TIPS: M&S nutritionist Claire Hughes also has these tips to help you on your way: ■ Don’t weigh yourself every day as you won’t see your weight changing that quickly. Set yourself a weekly weigh-in time and keep a record. ■ It’s important to include some exercise as part of your new diet regime, which will help you burn more calories and feel better. ■ A number of studies have shown that lack of sleep can increase appetite, so make sure you get plenty of rest. ■ Don’t skip breakfast in an attempt to eat fewer calories. It will leave you feeling hungrier as the day goes on.


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The news on ... Burt’s Bees WITH online shopping fast becoming the new way to buy beauty products (think cheaper prices and less hassle) it’s good to see a new Cork-based Irish store opening up. AuthenticSource.com is packed with all the new desirable names in natural beauty, from the cult classic Balm Balm to Burt’s Bees and organic and mineral make-up range SukiColor. Check it out.

Emily O’Sullivan

If you do your homework you can find great value in cosmetics without scrimping on quality

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E’RE in the grip of the lipstick effect. Splurging money on designer goodies may have typified our spending habits in the boom times, but, as we lurch around in a recessionary hump, women are getting cheaper kicks in the form of more affordable luxuries — cosmetics. Even if you’re opting for a Chanel lipgloss over a Chanel jacket — there are still further bargains to be had in the beauty industry. While major beauty companies are now competitively vying for your attention with high-level advertising campaigns and new spring collections bursting with potential new cult shades (think Chanel’s new Particulaire nail polish for spring/summer), there are also tons of products out there that actually cost very little indeed. We’ve been singing the praises of website eyeslipsface.co.uk for a while now, but if you haven’t been online to browse their stupendously good value range of cosmetics, then check it out now. The stuff isn’t packaged beautifully, and it doesn’t give you the same glamour factor that a top-of-the-range lipstick might, but once it’s on, no one will know the difference. If you’ve been the type of woman that’s been wearing high-end cosmetics for several years and now need to downgrade, going down to the cheaper end of the scale can be daunting. Yes, worse things happen, and it’s only make-up and all that, but in the past opting for cheaper cosmetics could be a little disheartening. But not anymore — downgrading your make-up bag doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on quality. A good place to start on getting yourself up to speed on cheaper brands is investing in a good guide, such as the Beauty Bible Beauty Steals by Sarah Stacey and Josephine Fairley.

TAKE THREE AFFORDABLE MOISTURISERS

Cheap ’n’ chic This is an excellent way of cutting through all the tried-and-tested nonsense necessary with cheaper cosmetics (ie: buy it, try it, hate it, bin it). After all, you won’t have a beauty consultant on hand to guide you through which foundation is right for your skin type, or which shade of blush suits your skin tone. Most products included in the book are under £10 have been tested and recommended by real women who’s descriptive comments are included in a thorough. The book is also an eye-opener into the world of cheaper brands — sure, you might be familiar with Rimmel, Collection 2000, 17 and Maybelline, but what about Danish brand GOSH, or London-based W7 (w7trends.co.uk)? Of course, for years now, beauty types in the know have been mixing and matching cheaper products — Maybelline’s Great Lash has become a cult product, Rimmel’s lipglosses are a smash, Olay’s moisturisers have a loyal caché of followers, and Nivea’s gradual tanner is a favourite for summer. I would never spend a ton of money on lipstick, lipgloss, blush,

eyepencils or mascaras. Not when there’s such a good choice out there at the mid-to-low priced end of the market. Cheaper mascaras have rocketed up in terms of quality, evidenced by the reviews in Beauty Bible Beauty Steals: Maybelline’s Define-A-Lash rocks in with a score of 8.33. Not bad going for a mascara that costs F12.49. If you do have money to splash out on one beauty product, then make it foundation. Cheaper foundations are fine, but they can be touch and go in terms of quality, and they don’t have that sink-into-the-skin effect you get with expensive versions. The highest-rated foundation in the book is Rimmel’s Lasting Finish 16 Hour Mineral-Enriched Foundation, F7.92, but it only scores 6.94. Not bad, but not incredible. L’Oréal and Max Factor boast some new great foundations which are not included in the book, probably because of their recent launches (we’re currently loving Max Factor’s Second Skin, F20.03 and L’Oreal’s True Match Roll On Foundation, F19.99). But for real luxury opt for fluid bases from the likes of Guerlain or Giorgio Armani.

WITH enormous doubt being cast over the value of expensive skincare creams as questions being asked how much a pot of Crème de la Mer actually costs to make, we’re looking to the cheaper end of the market. Budget moisturisers don’t have to mean skin-irritating ingredients and gloopy textures — things are looking up with some excellent little products from well-established companies. Aveeno Ultra Calming Soothing Moisturiser, F11.95. The Aveeno Ultra Calming range won us over when it was initially launched. It’s a great, simple, no-nonsense moisturising range that gives good hydration to the skin without irritation. This light creamy lotion is great for daytime use, while those with drier skin types can opt for the night cream for more intensive moisturisation. Score: 8 Boots Original Beauty Overnight Cream, F11.89. The packaging on this product is great — it looks super-cool on the bathroom shelf with its vintage look, but looks aren’t everything. Thankfully, it delivers a nice cooling effect, leaving the skin well hydrated in the morning. Score: 6 Weleda Wild Rose Day Cream, F14.55. Rose creams work well on the skin — they feel soothing and give great hydration through the day. This rose day cream has a divine scent and is all-natural — it’s more mid-range than budget but a good investment. Score: 8

STUFF WE LIKE Light-Effect Concealer Pen, from F6, by Barbara Daly for Tesco. We’ve just got over a chronic addiction to YSL’s Touche Eclat, but Barbara Daly’s offering is a good replacement — it gives excellent coverage without being cakey on the skin. ELF Candy Shop Lip Tints, F1.70. at eyeslipsface.co.uk. These are lovely little lip tints — great for throwing into your handbag and applying during the day. They’re prettily packaged and feel comfortable on the lips with a good range

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on the eyes. Quite perfect.

satiny smooth pale purple.

Prestige Cosmetics Eyeshadow, F5.14. These little eyeshadows can be used wet and dry. They have a nice texture, a really great range of colours and they won’t do too much damage to your wallet.

Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner, F8.50. Cheaper eyeliners can often have a slightly rough pencilly texture, which can drag delicate skin around the eyes. This one from Revlon has a nice smooth pencil and it’s got good staying power, too.

Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush, F9.03. This is a lovely blusher, the whipped effect means that it really sinks into the skin and gives a light, very pretty flush to the cheeks. It’s great for drier skin types, too.

Bourjois Little Round Pot Eyeshadow, F8.35. Bourjois’s eyeshadows have been a favourite of ours for years and at under a tenner, they’re great value. They last for ages, have a good silky texture and blend well

Essie Spring Collection, F11.99. Chanel may launch the must-have cult shade each year, but Essie’s spring collection is looking pretty hot with us. Lilac is a big shade for summer, so our bet is on Essie Lilacism — a

of colours. And, at only F1.70, you can’t really ask for more.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010


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Q

Megan Sheppard Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to feelgood@examiner.ie or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork

I WAS diagnosed in November as having IgA nephropathy. The specialist says that I cannot expect to get any better, but that the medication (Istin) will help to keep symptoms, such as my blood pressure and nausea, in check. Is there anything natural that you would suggest to help with this condition? A. The main issue with immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy is it causes IgA immune complexes to be deposited by your body into your kidneys, causing damage that typically leads to renal insufficiency. High blood pressure and blood in the urine (either microhaematuria — only visible under a microscope, or gross haematuria — clearly visible to the naked eye) are often the first symptoms associated with this condition. The calcium channel blocker, Istin, will help alleviate your symptoms, but as your specialist has mentioned, it will not address the root cause. It is important that any natural treatments you decide to take are discussed with your specialist, since renal health is crucial to the elimination process. Natural health practitioners often advise a hair mineral analysis test to check for nutritional deficiencies and excesses, since blood mineral levels can appear normal even when an individual is experiencing renal failure. This way you can address nutrient imbalances as they apply to your current personal health status, rather than overloading your already burdened kidneys. It is likely you will benefit from supplementation with magnesium and selenium, but consider having a hair mineral analysis done first, to be sure. It is a good idea to cut salt from your diet, instead replacing it with powdered kelp or kelp flakes. Hydration is also key when it comes to kidney health, so ensure you are drinking enough to help flush your kidneys — filtered or pure water is vital. You can also help to reduce the burden by eliminating all processed foods, along with alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Foods such as celery and cress are good additions to the diet, as are high-antioxidant foods. There is a great deal of research to show that oxidative damage due to free radicals is one of the biggest issues in the progression of IgA nephropathy, so getting high doses of antioxidants through the diet and/or supplementation is essential. Fatty acids are another nutrient that can help to slow the progression of renal insufficiency and even renal disease. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have had a significant effect in helping to prevent the development and progression of renal disease. A number of studies show that a daily dosage of around 1.8-1.9g EPA, and 1.2-1.5g DHA (the specific

A BIT GREEN: Eating celery, which is high in anti-oxidants, contributes to kidney health.

Picture: Getty Images

amount used in each study varied slightly, but the results and benefits were much the same) significantly increased renal health, with lasting results. Kidneys which are already functioning below par do not cope well with animal proteins, so a low-fat vegetarian diet is a wise choice. Exercise at a moderate pace for around 30 minutes each day to help your body do essential repair work. Exercise helps your organs to function well, assists in regulating blood pressure, and is essential for quality sleep — where we do some of our best healing work. If you are interested in herbal medicine, there is certainly some promising research, with a few different herbs, in treating IgA nephropathy. Radix paeoniae alba (white peony root) helps to inhibit the deposits of IgA immune complexes. Cordyceps sinensis, a fungus/mushroom, has been used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine to treat nephritis; and perilla (perilla frutescens), has been shown in vitro to suppress IgA nephropathy by acting on the intestinal mucosal immune system. Q. I have been taking saw palmetto for the past two years as insurance against future problems with the prostate gland. Is this a sensible thing to do, or will I complicate things further, since I don’t have any current issues? I am a 63-year-old

Megan puts the spotlight on:

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T’S often at this time of the year, with January almost over, that our motivation to carry through on New Year resolutions starts to dwindle. Or the resolutions are still patiently waiting on the ever-increasing list of things to do. It can help to put your hopes and dreams into perspective and, rather than aiming for a complete personal overhaul, just start with one simple thing and work from there. Here are three examples of how just one small action can make a big difference to your life. 1. An apple a day This old saying is so well worn that many of us forget to stop and take notice of it. Did you know that by following through on this one, simple daily task you can protect the lungs from toxins, even cigarette smoke? The an-

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tioxidant, quercetin, present in just one daily apple is enough to reduce your risk of cancer by 20%. Eat two apples and you will significantly lower your cholesterol levels.

body, it needn’t be a dull chore. How long can you keep a hula hoop going? You may find you get a full body workout just from laughing so hard.

2. Move it Everybody knows that regular exercise helps with physical fitness, weight loss, fertility, snoring, insomnia, depression, immune functioning, memory, fatigue and a host of other common complaints — it lies at the very foundation of our physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Simply spend 15-30 minutes a day finding a fun way of moving your

3. Be thankful Many self-help methods include the concept of practicing daily gratitude, as do many ancient spiritual belief systems. This is a profound technique for changing the way in which you view yourself, others, and your place in the universe. All you need to do is take the time to sit and take note of at least one thing for which you are truly grateful. It can be something or someone fantastic, or it can even be as straight-forward as acknowledging that today was one of those days that you were simply grateful to reach the end of.

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male and in good health. A. You are doing a very sensible thing, since the evidence suggests that almost all men who live to a healthy age are at risk of developing a problem with their prostate gland. Men aged in the 30-50 age group are considered to have around a 44% rate of prostate issues, men aged from 50-70 years have an increased risk, of 65%, and 80% or more men over the age of 70 will have prostate troubles. Saw palmetto, serenoa repens, which has been clinically proven to be highly effective in treating and preventing prostate problems, should be on every man’s radar from the age of 30 years. Saw palmetto has been suspected in the past to alter PSA (prostate-specific antigen) readings. The PSA test gives an indication of the risk of developing prostate cancer, and saw palmetto was thought to affect the test results by producing a false negative reading. However, a number of randomised clinical trials showed, without a doubt, that saw palmetto does not affect the serum PSA levels, leading researchers to question whether or not the supplements were pure saw palmetto. In short, be sure to buy your supplements from a reliable source. You may also be interested in taking a daily dose of Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, and ripe tomatoes — all of which are strongly indicated in prostate health. An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.

ONE TO WATCH The art of meditation by Matthieu Ricard, Atlantic Books, F15. WRITTEN in crystal clear prose, with every word measured, to read the book is a meditation in itself. Though a Buddhist monk living in the Himalayas for the past 37 years, Ricard does not expect the reader to abandon their worldly commitments and join a monastery. Instead, he suggests finding 30 minutes a day to sit and meditate. Suggestions are given — a five-step visualisation, a simple awareness technique, rejoicing in the happiness of others — but there is no insistence on a particular practice. Most compe — the mind is nothing more than a steam of experiences. Irene Feighan


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