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Feelgood

Friday, October 14, 2011

Get it together

Picture: iStockphoto

TERAPROOF:User:jaycarcioneDate:12/10/2011Time:16:53:58Edition:14/10/2011FeelgoodXH1410Page:1

Emotional Focused Therapy brings back that loving feeling: 8, 9

EXTRA VISION

Compelling accounts from people who experienced premonitions: 4, 5

MOVING AHEAD

Operation stops epileptic seizures in young woman: 6

CRUNCH TIME

Eight brands of granola put to the test: 12


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2 News front Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON ■ BREAST HEALTH: Women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 42% by being more active, drinking less alcohol and having a better diet. That is the latest advice from the World Cancer Research Fund and the message of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this October. The Anna Livia Mile takes place on Breast Health Day, tomorrow Saturday October 15 in Dublin at 11am. The walk starts on the riverside at The O2, North Wall Quay and ends at the Grand Canal Dock, where the Plurabelle Paddlers, (www.plurabellepaddlers.com) Dragon Boat Team, will meet walkers. Europa Donna Ireland is inviting women to organise an awareness-raising event involving some form of enjoyable physical activity tomorrow. For more information, visit www.europadonnaireland.ie. ■ CANCER INFORMATION: This October, the Marie Keating Foundation is calling on everyone to Look After Your Girls — learn about breast cancer and then to talk to the women in your lives about it. The Foundation's Mobile Information Units will be travelling across the country this month. Locations include CH Chemist, The Mall, Tralee, Co Kerry, tomorrow from 11am to 3pm and The Maritime Hotel, Bantry next Tuesday at 8pm. Free breast cancer information packs are also available from www.mariekeating.ie or by calling 01-6283726. ■ COUNSELLING DAY: The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) will host a free Open Day for the public in the Round Room, Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2 tomorrow, between 11am and 4pm. The event aims to explain the benefits of talking therapies. Visit www.iacp.ie for more information. ■ MALLOW AWARE: The Mallow Aware support group is two years old this October and meets on the first and third Thursday of each month in Le Cheile Family Resource Centre, Fair Street, Mallow, Co Cork, at 8pm. All meetings are open, confidential and facilitated by trained volunteers. For more details on nationwide support groups visit www.aware.ie; Aware's lo-Call Helpline is 1890 303 302. ■ FEASTA BIA: Féasta Bia this weekend will celebrate artisan food in the Atlantic Way Region — Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Galway and Mayo. The celebrations will include six food trails across the region, tasting sessions, special Food for Kids sessions and tree-planting ceremonies. Visit www.feastabia.com ■ REMEMBRANCE SERVICE: Cork University Maternity Hospital will hold its annual Service of Remembrance tonight, at 7.30pm in St Joseph's Church (SMA), Wilton, for anyone who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss. During the service there will be an opportunity to light a candle in memory of each baby and write an inscription in the Book of Remembrance. Contact Daniel Nuzum, at 021-4920500. . ● Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to koreilly8@gmail.com

FeelgoodMag

Feelgood

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Seán O’Connor may need to wear a hearing aid, but he is determined not to let it hold him back, says Arlene Harris

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EÁN O’Connor is a keen sportsman. At 12 years of age he enjoys football and soccer, and after a medically-imposed break from hurling, is keen to get reacquainted with his hurley. Being interested in sport doesn’t make this Cork boy unusual but what sets him apart from his friends is his determination to succeed despite being hard of hearing. Diagnosed with a hearing problem at four years of age, Sean spent years trying to keep up with his class, but when he received a top-notch hearing aid last year, his life changed for the better and his cheerful outlook has earned him the Youth Award in the first ever award ceremony from the Irish Deaf Society and Hidden Hearing. “I’ve had problems hearing since I was two years old and used to find it really difficult to understand what people were saying, particularly when I started school,” says Sean. “I got a hearing aid when I was eight, but it wasn’t great and I would have to keep changing places in class to get as close to the teacher as possible so I could listen to what she was saying. “I also used to play a lot of sport, but had to give it up because I couldn’t hear orders from the coach and was in danger of getting hurt. “But then I got an upgraded aid and it’s made a huge difference to my confidence — my hearing is better, I don’t have to keep following the teacher around the place

and I am back into all my sports, apart from hurling, which I’m going to join when the new season starts.” Despite having to wear a hearing aid during his early childhood years, Sean (who has a seven-year-old sister called Victoria) isn’t self conscious or unduly worried about the future, instead he is confident and delighted to be receiving an award for his positive nature. “I cried when I got my first hearing aid,” he admits. “But then I decided to just get on with it. There is no point worrying about people making fun of you because if you are like that they will always find some reason to laugh at you. “Now I’ve no problem wearing the hearing aid and because I’m like that, everyone else totally accepts it. But having said that, I can’t believe I am getting an award — I’m thrilled about it and never thought when my mother entered me into the competition that I would get picked. It’s a great feeling. “We’ve all got something we could be worrying about, so the best thing any of us can do is just make the most of the good things in our lives.”

POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Seán O’Connor’s can-do attitude, despite being hard of hearing, has helped him to win a special award. Picture: Denis Scannell

● The Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards will be presented to winners in various categories on Monday, October 17. For more information visit www.irishdeafsociety.ie

HEALTH NOTES TEAM PLAYERS: Mental Health Ireland CEO, Brian Howard with Paula Prunty, National Games Development Officer, Cumann Peil Gael na mBan, and Gaelic4Mothers players, from left, Judith Rogan, Geraldine Burke, Siobhan McCarthy and Sinead Hamill, at the launch of the Gaelic4Mothers and Building Resilience Together initiatives.

MENTAL Health Ireland (MHI) and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) have joined forces to promote mental health awareness. The LGFA and MHI will be increasing awareness of mental health issues and preventative steps through Gaelic4Mothers & Others, and Building Resilience Together. The aim is to improve participants well-being by helping them to stay connected with family, friends and community. New research shows that over a third (39%) of Irish women aged 18-24 have never performed a breast check. The Be Breast Aware: Have a Feel Day campaign will dedicate Thursday next to remind young women to conduct a breast self-exam. A special Have a Feel Day Facebook page will provide a step-by-step video on how to complete a breast check. For further information visit www.breastcancerireland.com

Avail of a will consultation for just €50 with your local solicitor, and leave a life-changing legacy. My Legacy, a joint initiative of over 60 Irish charities, including Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Irish Heart Foundation, the Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Hospice Foundation, have launched Best Will in the World Week which takes place from Monday October 17 to Friday October 21. During this week, the public can visit a local participating solicitor to have a will drawn up www.irishexaminer.com www.irishexaminer.com

Picture: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

or updated for just €50 and leave a legacy to their favourite charity in their will. For more information see: www.mylegacy.ie. The Irish Kidney Association’s Run for a Life, will take place on Sunday, October 23, to highlight and promote organ donation. Those participating in the Fun Run can walk, jog or run in either a 3.4km, 6.7km or 10km event in Park West, Dublin 12, starting at noon. There will also be an option to enter a team of three in a 3 x 3.3km team relay race. For further details see www.runforalife.ie

www.irishexaminer.com feelgood@examiner.ie

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

The 15th Baboró International Arts Festival for Children in Galway runs from October 16 to 23. There is something for every child in the varied programme which includes dance, theatre, puppetry, film, storytelling, music, literature events, visual arts and craft exhibitions, workshops and discussions. The Festival’s special opening is titled Priceless, an outdoor installation along Quay Street on Sunday October 16, presented by Das Papiertheater from Germany. For details see: www.baboro.ie/whatson

Editorial: 021 4802 292

Advertising: 021 4802 215


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In Profile

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THE SHAPE I'M IN

Derek Landy

An open book W

RITING the hugely popular Skulduggery Pleasant series of children’s books was never part of a grand career plan, says Dublin-born author and screenwriter Derek Landy. “It just happened. Sometimes an idea occurs and you know immediately who it’s for. Skulduggery just happened to be aimed at young people. It wasn’t as if I had the idea for a skeleton detective and I searched around for a name. The name came first and that suggested who the character would be — the name told me everything I needed to know.” The 36-year-old, who lives in Rush, Co Dublin, won the coveted Red House Children’s Book Award for the first book in the series and he also won the senior Irish Children’s Book Award in 2009 and 2010. Two of his screenplays have been made into films — the IFTA nominated Boy Eats Girl stars Samantha Mumba. With Children’s Book Festival running until end of October — activities are running in libraries, schools and art centres — Derek is looking forward to meeting some of his young fans. “Everything about the festival is fun,” he says. The sixth book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series — Death Bringer — will be out shortly. ● Visit www.childrensbooksireland.ie or www.childrenslaureate.ie. What shape are you in? I’m not in my best shape. Just this morning, I was sent a photo of me in college and I realised that once I was slim, which was startling. I do exercise — I train in self-defence. I have a black belt in Karate, but I hadn’t trained in six years. Sometime last year I figured my life was too comfortable, so I decided to do a form of Krav Maga — the most street-level form of self-defence out there. Do you have any health concerns? Apart from injuries sustained in training, I was in hospital for the first time a few months ago with an inflamed appendix. It was pretty horrible. They cleared it up and left it in. I was in for a week and hated it. I’ve been just fine since then.

What trait do you least like in others? It sounds corny but dishonour is a big thing for me in terms of what I don’t like. I surround myself with honourable people. What trait do you least like in yourself? I sometimes wish I was more grown up. Most of my friends are married or are about to be, or have kids. They’re setting themselves the life they’re going to continue with. I have pretty much sacrificed all of that to get where I am. It would be nice to have some of what they have, but — to me at the moment — it’s a pretty scary prospect. Do you pray? I don’t.

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What would cheer up your day? A smile from a certain someone. Helen O’Callaghan

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TAKE CONTROL: Derek Landy felt his life was too comfortable so he took up Krav Maga, a commando form of self-defence. Picture: Marc O’Sullivan

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What are your healthiest eating habits? Just salads. I also go through phases of eating lots of fruit.

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What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Either a pizza or a can of coke — I’ll very likely have the two together.

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What would keep you awake at night? Nothing — I don’t really stress about deadlines or reviews or anything. I’m very good at sleeping. How do you relax? I watch a movie or play a video game. I don’t go on holiday — I just stop work. I sit for a few hours or play with my nieces. I’ve got four nieces aged between seven and 20 months. Playing with a set of twins isn’t exactly relaxing though.

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Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? I’d invite Joe R Lansdale, a Texan crime writer, Mark Millar, a Scottish comic writer, and actress Alexis Bledel — she’s adorable. When did you last cry? When I was told my dog had cancer. I was told this last year. She had an operation and she’s fine. They were wasted tears! What’s your favourite smell? Freshly-washed hair.

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What would you change about your appearance? The weight I can take off myself with a little effort. I’d like to be two inches taller though.

Feelgood

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011


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Premonitions can be warnings about accidents and even death.

The Male paranormal health

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Colette Sheridan speaks to some who have experienced these phenomena

SEEING IS BELIEVING LAST WORD: Steve Jobs appears during a keynote address at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, June 2011. Picture:AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File

What would you say? THE commencement speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford University in 2005 is regarded as one of the most powerful ever delivered. It spans his personal and professional life, giving a rare insight into the man behind the multi-billion dollar Apple empire. During the speech he referred to his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer a year earlier, the cancer that claimed his life last week. So what would you say in your commencement speech? Please send us 300 words on your philosophy for a full and rewarding life to feelgood@examiner.ie by Friday October 21, along with a contact number. We will publish what we believe to be the best three on November 4.

Irene Feighan, Feelgood editor When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs, Standford University, 2005.

Feelgood

AFTER LIFE: Following the publication of his bestselling book Going Home, author Colm Keane was inundated with letters from people who had near-death experiences and those who had developed the ability to see ahead. Picture:Nick Bradshaw

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OW often do you feel something bad will happen? You may have dreamt of a future event or had a gut instinct that an illness, death or car crash was about to happen. Then, chillingly, it does. Last week, ex-Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh died suddenly aged 40. In what can only be described as a premonition, he tweeted on September 26: “dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today. [sic]”. In his latest book, Forewarned, Colm Keane explores premonitions and predictive dreams, talking to people who seem to have heightened intuition or an ability to foretell. Keane says that after the publication of his bestselling book on near-death experiences, Going Home, two years ago, he was inundated with letters from people who had the experience. “Some of the people who had been through near-death experiences, and others, wrote of an ability they had developed to see ahead.” People have been reluctant to talk about

near-death experiences or premonitions for fear of being ridiculed, Keane says. His book gave “people a conduit. They got in touch with me, telling me about experiences that they’d never talked about to their families.” Keane says there is scientific evidence to back up stories about near-death experiences and premonitions, challenging our long-held views on reality. He also says that working on this fascinating subject matter has affected his view of life. Four years ago, Keane and his wife, RTÉ news reporter, Una O’Hagan, lost their only child, Sean, to cancer when he was 20 years old. Keane, who describes himself as “a lukewarm Catholic,” is confident that he will meet Sean in the after-life. “I would have had no great belief in life after death. But certainly, what I’ve been doing in the last few years has opened my eyes to what happens to us at the point of death. All the people who come back from a near-death experience have no fear of death. They look forward to it,” he says “In my own case, it’s not that I want death

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

to happen in ten minutes time or anything, but I now believe that I’ll go through a wonderful journey and that there will be some sort of reconciliation with my son. I feel privileged to have spoken to people who’ve gone through their experiences. They all talked about a life review done in the presence of a superior being. It’s like the day of judgement. There is great forgiveness. The experience, which is common throughout all cultures, predates religion. It’s where religion came from.” In his latest book, Keane interviewed more than 30 people who have experienced premonitions and dreams that predicted the future. Denise O’Doherty, from Co Kerry, recalls what happened at the moment her grandfather died. The event took place in the mid-1990s when she was aged 11. O’Doherty grandfather came to stay in her family home, for the first time, and slept in her sister’s bedroom. His wife was in hospital.

There was no sign that he was unwell. At as he drove to Ballinasloe, Co Galway. 11am break time in school, O’Doherty sud“I was passing a garage and there was a big denly had a thought. She wondered: “What sign blocking the exit. I suddenly saw a car would happen if my granddad died in my sis- coming out from the garage really, really ter’s bedroom? Wouldn’t that be awful? It was fast,” he says. a very vivid thought. It was strange, because The driver didn’t check if there was anyone being so young I wouldn’t have been thinkcoming his way. “Trying not to hit it, I ing about death. It jammed on the brakes knocked me sideways.” and I didn’t hit the car. After lunchtime, the I nearly did but I had local priest came into braked on time. I then the classroom and drove on,” he says. spoke to the teacher. Seconds later, Mark’s “I later found out sister started crying. She that he was talking explained that earlier he about my granddad, had driven down a clear although nothing was road with nothing said to me at the wrong. time,” she says. “She saw me jam on O’Doherty thought Máiréad had a vivid the brakes, for no reait was odd that her fa- dream. She looked son, in the middle of ther came to the the road,” he says. She school later that day to perfect in the dream but then said Mark had take her home. come to a stop, put the then saw what looked “He told me that my car back in first gear and granddad had died that like knuckles around her drove slowly. Then, sudmorning,” she says. denly, a car flew out neck Eventually, O’Dofrom the side of the herty found out that road. But that was her grandfather had about ten seconds or died just before 11am, so later. not in the bedroom but “What had hapin the kitchen. pened was that I had “But he had died, and seen the car before it his death took place at ever came out on the the same time I was road. I saw it ten secthinking about him,” onds earlier, before she says. the whole thing hapO’Doherty reflected pened. I didn’t even that “maybe it haprealise this. It was onpened to me because I ly after she said it to was young. You always What had happened was me that I realised what hear that children are had gone on. I know that I had seen the car more open to things if I had kept driving, I like this. And even would have crashed before it ever came out though what occurred on the road. I saw it ten into the car at an awwasn’t good, it was nice ful pace,” he says. to know I was thinking seconds earlier, before Mark told his sister about him when he that he had these forethe whole thing happened was dying,” she says. warnings all the time. She was the first perMark (who doesn’t son he told. want to give his full name), from Co Westmeath, has had forewarnings of many future Máiréad (who also doesn’t want to give her events. full name), from Co Cork, had a chilling The first one he had in the presence of dream of being violently assaulted. It came to somebody else happened about ten years ago. her one Sunday night in 2010. She was living His sister was in the passenger seat of his car in England with her partner at the time. The

couple had gone to bed. Máiréad looked perfect in the dream but then saw what looked like knuckles around her neck. “It was like two hands tightly wrapped around the neck area, with the fingers like rings. It seemed I had a huge ring-chain all the way around and it was tight,” she says. Máiréad knew she couldn’t breathe. She was limp, as if her body was dead. She then had what she calls ‘knowingness.’ She told herself that she couldn’t breathe so she had to surrender. “When I surrendered, I woke up and felt ‘that was a strange dream.’ But there was still no emotion whatsoever. It wasn’t like a nightmare or anything. I was completely dissociated,” she says. A week later, Máiréad and her partner had an argument. Unlike other arguments, this time Máiréad’s partner flipped. She recalls his hands being around her throat. “I couldn’t breathe and my whole body was limp,” she says. The line from her dream came to her — ‘surrender. It’s okay.’ Máiréad ‘floated’ outside of herself after thinking she had taken her last breath. She came to, an hour and a half later, surrounded by blood. The police and an ambulance arrived and Máiréad’s partner was taken away. In hospital, with her face encrusted with blood, she felt she was in an incredibly peaceful place. “All I knew was that I had to go back to Ireland,” she says. She says she “definitely” saw the event before it happened. It was a forewarning. She returned to Ireland shortly afterwards. ■ Forewarned: Extraordinary Irish Stories of Premonitions and Dreams by Colm Keane, Capel Island, €14.99.

Maybe the premonition happened to me because I was young. You always hear that children are more open to things like this. And even though what occurred wasn’t good, it was nice to know I was thinking about him when he was dying — Denise O’Doherty

Feelgood

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

A DEATH FORETOLD: Denise O’Doherty, when aged 11, ‘foresaw’ her grandfather’s death. Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan


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Premonitions can be warnings about accidents and even death.

The Male paranormal health

XH - V2

5

Colette Sheridan speaks to some who have experienced these phenomena

SEEING IS BELIEVING LAST WORD: Steve Jobs appears during a keynote address at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, June 2011. Picture:AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File

What would you say? THE commencement speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford University in 2005 is regarded as one of the most powerful ever delivered. It spans his personal and professional life, giving a rare insight into the man behind the multi-billion dollar Apple empire. During the speech he referred to his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer a year earlier, the cancer that claimed his life last week. So what would you say in your commencement speech? Please send us 300 words on your philosophy for a full and rewarding life to feelgood@examiner.ie by Friday October 21, along with a contact number. We will publish what we believe to be the best three on November 4.

Irene Feighan, Feelgood editor When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs, Standford University, 2005.

Feelgood

AFTER LIFE: Following the publication of his bestselling book Going Home, author Colm Keane was inundated with letters from people who had near-death experiences and those who had developed the ability to see ahead. Picture:Nick Bradshaw

H

OW often do you feel something bad will happen? You may have dreamt of a future event or had a gut instinct that an illness, death or car crash was about to happen. Then, chillingly, it does. Last week, ex-Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh died suddenly aged 40. In what can only be described as a premonition, he tweeted on September 26: “dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today. [sic]”. In his latest book, Forewarned, Colm Keane explores premonitions and predictive dreams, talking to people who seem to have heightened intuition or an ability to foretell. Keane says that after the publication of his bestselling book on near-death experiences, Going Home, two years ago, he was inundated with letters from people who had the experience. “Some of the people who had been through near-death experiences, and others, wrote of an ability they had developed to see ahead.” People have been reluctant to talk about

near-death experiences or premonitions for fear of being ridiculed, Keane says. His book gave “people a conduit. They got in touch with me, telling me about experiences that they’d never talked about to their families.” Keane says there is scientific evidence to back up stories about near-death experiences and premonitions, challenging our long-held views on reality. He also says that working on this fascinating subject matter has affected his view of life. Four years ago, Keane and his wife, RTÉ news reporter, Una O’Hagan, lost their only child, Sean, to cancer when he was 20 years old. Keane, who describes himself as “a lukewarm Catholic,” is confident that he will meet Sean in the after-life. “I would have had no great belief in life after death. But certainly, what I’ve been doing in the last few years has opened my eyes to what happens to us at the point of death. All the people who come back from a near-death experience have no fear of death. They look forward to it,” he says “In my own case, it’s not that I want death

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

to happen in ten minutes time or anything, but I now believe that I’ll go through a wonderful journey and that there will be some sort of reconciliation with my son. I feel privileged to have spoken to people who’ve gone through their experiences. They all talked about a life review done in the presence of a superior being. It’s like the day of judgement. There is great forgiveness. The experience, which is common throughout all cultures, predates religion. It’s where religion came from.” In his latest book, Keane interviewed more than 30 people who have experienced premonitions and dreams that predicted the future. Denise O’Doherty, from Co Kerry, recalls what happened at the moment her grandfather died. The event took place in the mid-1990s when she was aged 11. O’Doherty grandfather came to stay in her family home, for the first time, and slept in her sister’s bedroom. His wife was in hospital.

There was no sign that he was unwell. At as he drove to Ballinasloe, Co Galway. 11am break time in school, O’Doherty sud“I was passing a garage and there was a big denly had a thought. She wondered: “What sign blocking the exit. I suddenly saw a car would happen if my granddad died in my sis- coming out from the garage really, really ter’s bedroom? Wouldn’t that be awful? It was fast,” he says. a very vivid thought. It was strange, because The driver didn’t check if there was anyone being so young I wouldn’t have been thinkcoming his way. “Trying not to hit it, I ing about death. It jammed on the brakes knocked me sideways.” and I didn’t hit the car. After lunchtime, the I nearly did but I had local priest came into braked on time. I then the classroom and drove on,” he says. spoke to the teacher. Seconds later, Mark’s “I later found out sister started crying. She that he was talking explained that earlier he about my granddad, had driven down a clear although nothing was road with nothing said to me at the wrong. time,” she says. “She saw me jam on O’Doherty thought Máiréad had a vivid the brakes, for no reait was odd that her fa- dream. She looked son, in the middle of ther came to the the road,” he says. She school later that day to perfect in the dream but then said Mark had take her home. come to a stop, put the then saw what looked “He told me that my car back in first gear and granddad had died that like knuckles around her drove slowly. Then, sudmorning,” she says. denly, a car flew out neck Eventually, O’Dofrom the side of the herty found out that road. But that was her grandfather had about ten seconds or died just before 11am, so later. not in the bedroom but “What had hapin the kitchen. pened was that I had “But he had died, and seen the car before it his death took place at ever came out on the the same time I was road. I saw it ten secthinking about him,” onds earlier, before she says. the whole thing hapO’Doherty reflected pened. I didn’t even that “maybe it haprealise this. It was onpened to me because I ly after she said it to was young. You always What had happened was me that I realised what hear that children are had gone on. I know that I had seen the car more open to things if I had kept driving, I like this. And even would have crashed before it ever came out though what occurred on the road. I saw it ten into the car at an awwasn’t good, it was nice ful pace,” he says. to know I was thinking seconds earlier, before Mark told his sister about him when he that he had these forethe whole thing happened was dying,” she says. warnings all the time. She was the first perMark (who doesn’t son he told. want to give his full name), from Co Westmeath, has had forewarnings of many future Máiréad (who also doesn’t want to give her events. full name), from Co Cork, had a chilling The first one he had in the presence of dream of being violently assaulted. It came to somebody else happened about ten years ago. her one Sunday night in 2010. She was living His sister was in the passenger seat of his car in England with her partner at the time. The

couple had gone to bed. Máiréad looked perfect in the dream but then saw what looked like knuckles around her neck. “It was like two hands tightly wrapped around the neck area, with the fingers like rings. It seemed I had a huge ring-chain all the way around and it was tight,” she says. Máiréad knew she couldn’t breathe. She was limp, as if her body was dead. She then had what she calls ‘knowingness.’ She told herself that she couldn’t breathe so she had to surrender. “When I surrendered, I woke up and felt ‘that was a strange dream.’ But there was still no emotion whatsoever. It wasn’t like a nightmare or anything. I was completely dissociated,” she says. A week later, Máiréad and her partner had an argument. Unlike other arguments, this time Máiréad’s partner flipped. She recalls his hands being around her throat. “I couldn’t breathe and my whole body was limp,” she says. The line from her dream came to her — ‘surrender. It’s okay.’ Máiréad ‘floated’ outside of herself after thinking she had taken her last breath. She came to, an hour and a half later, surrounded by blood. The police and an ambulance arrived and Máiréad’s partner was taken away. In hospital, with her face encrusted with blood, she felt she was in an incredibly peaceful place. “All I knew was that I had to go back to Ireland,” she says. She says she “definitely” saw the event before it happened. It was a forewarning. She returned to Ireland shortly afterwards. ■ Forewarned: Extraordinary Irish Stories of Premonitions and Dreams by Colm Keane, Capel Island, €14.99.

Maybe the premonition happened to me because I was young. You always hear that children are more open to things like this. And even though what occurred wasn’t good, it was nice to know I was thinking about him when he was dying — Denise O’Doherty

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

A DEATH FORETOLD: Denise O’Doherty, when aged 11, ‘foresaw’ her grandfather’s death. Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan


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6 Challenging times

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Following radical surgery to remove scarring on her brain, epilepsy sufferer Miriad Kavanagh hasn’t had a seizure for over four years, writes Arlene Harris

Regaining control

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HEN Miriad Kavanagh was born 31-years-ago, she was the apple of her parents’ eye and seemed to be in perfect health. But at 12 months old, she had a seizure — followed by another one four weeks later. The occurrence of these convulsions was worrying for her family and although doctors knew something was wrong, she wasn’t diagnosed with epilepsy until she was four — and suffered daily convulsions (complex partial seizures) for the following 25 years. However, four years ago she decided to have brain surgery — a decision which changed her life forever. “I’ve probably had epilepsy since birth but it wasn’t until I was one that I had my first convulsion,” she says. “They became fairly regular after that and when I was diagnosed at four, I was put on a concoction of medication to try and control the seizures. But they weren’t successfully controlled and when I started school, I had lots of seizures, sometimes up to three or four in a day.” Not only did the Wicklow girl have to cope with the physical aspect of epilepsy, but her confidence and schoolwork also suffered. “Because of the nature of epilepsy, no one could predict when I would have a seizure so I was always anxious as a child,” she admits. “My lack of confidence led to bullying and I found it difficult to concentrate on work, particularly maths which I hated with a passion. As I got older, I became more aware of the onset of a seizure — if I was tired or upset, didn’t eat properly or forgot to take medication, I would get a strange taste in my mouth which always happened before a seizure. Then a few minutes later I would go into a trance where I was totally unaware of what was going on around me and either lost the ability to talk or would babble like a baby. “So you can imagine I was very nervous that this would happen when I was around people, particularly at school.” Despite her condition, Miriad carried on as best as she could, while her medication allowed her to lead a fairly normal life. But when she reached adulthood, she realised that she would not be allowed to drive and would find it difficult to hold down a normal job — so she toyed with the idea of having brain surgery. “I got through my childhood and my teens but epilepsy had such a control over my life that I decided I would look into surgery,” she says. “Then I collapsed one evening at home and had no recollection whatsoever of the incident — it was a very scary experience and I knew something had to be done as I seemed to be getting worse instead of better.” So at 26 years of age, Miriad was admitted to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where she underwent an operation to remove the scarring on her brain which was causing the seizures. Her family was very worried, but she was determined to change her life for the better. “I had a series of tests which showed that I was likely to be a successful candidate for brain surgery,” she says. “So I decided to go for it — my parents knew this was something I had to do, but my brothers were very nervous about it and wanted to discharge me be-

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Epilepsy in focus NEUROSURGEON Donnacha O’Brien explains epilepsy: 1. It is a clinical condition due to sudden abnormal discharges of electrical activity in the brain. 2. There are two main types — focal and generalised. 3. Surgery is generally employed for focal epilepsy and medical (anti-convulsant) treatment for generalised epilepsy. 4. Sometimes patients with focal epilepsy also take anti-convulsants. Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) can be employed for generalised epilepsy as a treatment in conjunction with medical treatment. 5. Surgery for focal epilepsy involves a complex multidisciplinary team evaluation with a whole series of investigations to localise the seizure focus. It involves neurosurgery to resect it via an image guided craniotomy. 6. I do approximately 40 resections for focal epilepsy per year at the National Neurosurgical Department in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin and also 40 VNS cases per year. 7. The seizure cure rate for focal epilepsy is 70% as compared to 5% cure with continuing medical therapy with refractory epilepsy.

NEW LEASE ON LIFE: Miriad Kavanagh says “when the first month passed without a seizure, I knew that I had made the right decision.” Picture: Nick Bradshaw fore I went into theatre. But my mind was made up and although I was really scared, I knew this was my only chance to live a seizure-free life. “And I am happy to say that it worked. The operation was successful, thanks to my surgeon Donnacha O’Brien. And when the first month passed without a seizure, I knew that I had made the right decision. “All-in-all it took about six months to recover from the operation — I had been on a complete high before it and was very emotional and depressed for quite some time after. But now I am completely recovered and haven’t had a seizure for over four years. “I have a whole new lease of life — I can drive, I bought my first house and have a

great job as a customer service representative. Not everyone is suited to this type of surgery so I was one of the lucky ones and feel totally and utterly blessed with the outcome.” Aaron Maher (17) also has epilepsy and has an average of three seizures a month. His condition is somewhat controlled by medication but unless he is seizure-free for a year, he won’t fulfil his lifetime ambition of becoming a paramedic. “Aaron was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 11,” says his mother, Audrey. “He is on medication which controls the frequency, but he still has a couple every month and they are very frightening to watch, particularly for someone who has no experience. “He has always wanted to be a paramedic

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

and joined the Order of Malta when he was nine years old. But he won’t be accepted unless something can be done about his condition. So if he doesn’t find the right balance of medication in the next few years, then perhaps he will consider surgery. “There is an awful stigma attached to epilepsy,” says the Dublin woman. “Aaron wears a bracelet with his medical details on it, but if he collapsed in the street, most people would think he was on drink or drugs. So if there was more awareness of the condition, someone might call an ambulance instead of crossing the street.” ● Miriad and Aaron’s stories can be seen on Living With Epilepsy which will be shown on RTÉ One on Thursday, October 20, at 8.30pm.


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Psychology The use of drugs as the predominant treatment for mental illness is wrong and damaging

A crazy idea Tony Humphreys

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ROM my earliest days as a clinical psychologist, I never believed that individuals became mentally ill — the concept of mental illness or insanity never made sense to me. I worked in British and Irish psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric community services that were run on the premise that people’s troubled and troublesome behaviours had a biological/biochemical basis and clinical psychology was seen as offering support (not therapy) to individuals to accept the hopeless and incurable reality of their mental illness. In the face of considerable pressure to conform, I refused to cooperate and gradually established psycho-social clinics separate from those of psychiatry. Eventually, I left the psychiatric services and set up in private practice and continue to work with people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bi-polar depression, personality disorder, endogenous depression, attention-deficit disorder (ADD), attention disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD) and other such hypothetical conditions. I can always trace the origins of the person’s ‘problems in living’ back to childhood traumas that have continued unresolved into adulthood. Much of what underpinned such distressing behaviours as paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, bi-polar depression or obsessive-compulsive behaviours was buried in the unconscious mind of these distressed individuals, a necessary and creative hiding of aspects of themselves that had been violated. After 30 years of practice, my conviction has deepened and I am so often in awe of how individuals who have suffered harsh abandonment and overwhelming disempowerment manage to survive and find ways of not only reducing the threats to their wellbeing, but also, symbolically — through their presenting symptoms — communicating precisely their terror of exhibiting some or any aspects of their real self. In the ’50s and ’60s there had been a movement within psychiatry away from the notion of mental illness and towards seeing individuals as having ‘problems in living’. The latter phrase was coined by Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist, who, along with other psychiatrists, believed that a medical model for people’s deep emotional distress had ‘outlived its usefulness’ and it was no longer accurate to talk about people having a mental illness. A parallel phenomenon was also happen-

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ing, and this was the development of drugs to treat the so-called mental illnesses and also the emergence of a new theory that people’s mental illnesses were caused by chemical imbalances. For example, it was thought that depression was due to a depletion of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine or serotonin and schizophrenia due to low levels of dopamine. As a result of these chemical imbalance theories, there developed an unhealthy relationship between psychiatry and the drug companies and the manufacture of drugs to deal with nearly every human emotional problem became a multi-billion dollar and euro industry. The thoughts of Thomas Szasz were forgotten and it appeared that psychiatry was now even more strongly established as a medical profession. All of this would have been welcome if the theory was substantiated and if the chemical properties in the multiple drugs relieved the undoubted human misery that individuals endured. After nearly 50 years of research into the chemical-imbalance theory of mental illness there exists a “ton of data indicating that the chemical-imbalance theory is simply wrong” (Kirsch, 2009). What is equally devastating for the profession of psychiatry is that there’s another ton of research showing that the drugs don’t work, but what works are the promises about the drugs’ therapeutic effects and the clients’ own expectations — known as the placebo effect. People who are truly interested in the wellbeing of people who experience seriously debilitating ‘problems in living’ would do well, along with Kirsch’s book, to read other relevant recent publications that convincingly indicate that the chemical-imbalance theory is dead in the water and the effectiveness of all the drugs used in psychiatry is illusory (see book list below). Psychiatrists and governments have an urgent responsibility to review the situation and look for a new paradigm that is strongly supported by research evidence and works in practice. Such a paradigm already exists — psychotherapy. I will write more on this next week.

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Tel: 021 4802265 lori.fraser@examiner.ie

ROOT CAUSE: The origins of a person’s ‘problems in living’ can be traced back to childhood traumas which had continued unresolved into adulthood. Picture: iStock

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Bentall, Richard (2009): Doctoring the Mind, Why Psychiatric Treatments Fail, London, Penguin. Carlat, Daniel (2010): Unhinged, The Trouble with Psychiatry — A Doctor’s Revelations about a Profession in Crisis, New York, Free Press. Kirsch, Irving (2009): The Emperor’s New Drugs — Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, London, The Bodley Head. Whitaker, Robert (2010): Anatomy of an Epidemic, New York, Crown Publishers. Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist/author, national and international speaker. His recent book with co-author Helen Ruddle, Relationship, Relationship, Relationship: The Heart of a Mature Society is relevant to today’s topic, www.tonyhumphreys.ie

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011


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Cover story

Relationships

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Is your relationship suffering from the impact of the recession? Emotional Focused Therapy offers couples a successful approach to working things out, Rachel Borrill reports

If you can create that safe, loving bond, then the other parts of the relationship, the negotiation part, the problem solving part, the caretaking part, the sexual part, they all come into line because people are in an emotional balance with each other

LET’S TALK R

ELATIONSHIPS are hard at the ship — where you can say to your partner EFT. He had best of times. But in the current ‘Are you there for me ?’ and the reply is emailed me and economic climate the number of ‘Yes,’ and it is believed. said ‘We have marriages under severe strain is increasing “But if you can create that safe, Show mutual respect. a big probrapidly, according to Accord, the Catholic loving bond, then the other parts of lem here, all Marriage Care Service. the relationship — the negotiation You might have very our guys “Our statistics show that compared to the part, the problem solving part, the after 9/11, first six months in 2007, we have seen a 66% caretaking part, the sexual part — different views about all their increase this year of couples asking us for help. they all come into line because marriages And a 10% increase from 2010,” says Jane Ferpeople are in an emotional balance life, but try to are breakguson, Accord’s co-director of counselling. with each other,’’ she says. ing up, and “More often than not a relationship can Not surprisingly most relationcompromise and when the already be in trouble, but then on top of it to ships do get stuck in some kind of rut marriages have these financial difficulties — well, it can over the years. Often couples have the understand each other break up they cause the marriage to break same old argument time and time are having meltup,’’ again. They know exactly which butdowns and they For many couples tons to press, to annoy and hurt their can’t deal with the stress.’ therapy is often their partner. We’ve all been enjoying an “The last attempt in savevening out, and witnessed other feedback I am getting back from them is great. Keep the spark of ing their relationcouples bickering over the smallest When you can face problems together – ‘Let’s ship, but does it little thing. talk about how scared we both are, let’s talk romance alive. work? Dr Sue But in her Emotionally Focused about how we can help each other, here, let’s Johnson, an EnTherapy self-help book Hold Me talk about how we can reassure each other’ — Always express your glish-born couTight – Seven Conversations for a If you can start doing that, you can face almost ples therapist Life-Time of Love, Dr Johnson any problem together, you are a team. But try feelings to your now living in insists it doesn’t have to be like facing almost anything as an island, it becomes Canada, is one of that. almost insurmountable,” she says. partner, try to make the creators of “For all of us, the person we love Currently there are very few Emotionally Emotionally Fothe most in the world, the one who Focused trained therapists in Ireland, however, them feel special cused Couple Theracan send us soaring joyfully into space, that will hopefully soon change following the py which has been is also the person who can send us success of a special EFT workshop in Dublin proven to have a 75% crashing back down to earth. All it takes is a last weekend, organised by the Family Therasuccess rate, and has been deslight turning away of the head, or a flip, carepist Association. scribed as the “most successful approach to less remark,’’ she says. Mara Delacy, a family therapist who attended creating loving relationships.’’ Instead, she suggests couples need to recogthe “Unfortunately, when the stress hits a relanise their “demon dialogues’’ their negative workshop, said they tionship, we are aware how much we need that cycle, their endless arguments, and make that are now planning support and when it becomes apparent that we the “bad guy’’ rather than either of them. for Gail can’t get it from our partner. You get that “If a relationship is really bad, I make a Palmer, one horrible double whammy where people are bit of a joke and say, ‘Why don’t you try of Dr Johnterribly stressed and then they start to realise Be faithful. Trust is one and treat your wife more like the way son’s colthat they don’t feel connected to their partner you treat your dog? You look leagues, and their marriage begins to suffer,’’ says Dr of the basic foundations into your dog’s eyes when you come to come Johnson. home. You touch your dog, you to Dublin According to Dr Johnson, the message of of any relationship; stroke your dog, you use a soft voice next Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT) is simple. to your dog. Your dog responds to spring The emotions and feelings that brought a cou- you. You trust your dog, and you love once gone it may take a and train ple together must be revived. Couples learn to it unconditionally,’ It makes them them in recognise that they are emotionally attached to think.” very long time to EFT. and dependent on their partner, in much the Such is the success rate of Emo“This is same way that a child is on a parent re-establish it, if at all tional Focused Therapy, that really excitfor nurturing, soothing and Dr Johnson was approached ing, and it is protection. by the New York firefightreally is very inter“We go right to the ers a year after 9/11 to help estheart of the matter. EFT their families and she is al- ing, very stimulating and very creative,” she Compliment each focuses on bonding, it so helping the US milisays. does not teach couples tary and soldiers suffering other, show that the Delacy was very curious to see how EFT negotiation skills. Our severe post-traumatic works, because she had heard such “great feedexperience is that when stress. initial attraction is still back’’ about it, especially from her colleagues we help people to create “I trained up George, in Holland. a safe bond, it brings them one of the NY Firefighters in there and valued “I was intrigued because some couples never closer together as a partner-

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Picture: Getty Images

reach that degree of openness because they feel so vulnerable by admitting it. Their core has been so badly hurt by being told you are XYZ, that they are afraid of being rejected again and you don’t want to present yourself to be hurt,’’ she explains. Delacy feels there may also have to be a cultural change for EFT to work here, that people, especially men, will have to Never stop dating, learn to get in always remember to touch with celebrate the special their emotions. anniversaries “I think

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they can, but there is an ethos that it is difficult. People Listen to each don’t necessarily like discussing their feelings. You feel vulnerable, you feel silly. I suppose it may depend upon how much a couple wants to fix it. Are you going to throw away a perfectly good marriage? Some people probably will because they can’t vocalise their feelings,’’ she says. But Dr Ladislav Timulak, the director of psychology at Trinity College and an Emotional Focused therapist, specialising in depression, thinks this is exactly what makes EFT so rewarding. “It is more challenging for people who want to avoid their emotions because it goes right to the core. But it is also more re-

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

It will only really fail where couples are in a warding. EFT recognises that violent relationship, or if one of them is havboth partners want to be ing an affair, because they will not be able to loved, that they both want a other feel safe, connected and bonded. sense of identity “For me there is nothing more and a sense if satisfying than seeing a couple pride in themheal and deepen their bond selves. “A healthy with one another. They learn couple needs to feel to respect both their partloved, feel acknowlSex is important. Be ner’s need and fears as well edged as a person and as developing the capacity respected,’’ he says. innovative, take your to hear and express their According to own individual needs and James Parrin, an intime, enjoy each feelings to their partner. dividual and couple’s “That is a very big thing therapist practicising other. Cuddles, kisses, as many people secretly feel in Greystones, Co they can’t quite be themWicklow and Tullow, holding hands, are selves in a relationship.’’ Co Carlow, very few The message is simple. people are unsuitable for great too “Where is the natural place to EFT.

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heal when you have had a terrible experience? We all know the answer — it Switch off the is in the television, and sit arms of someone you love,’’ back, have fun, chat, Dr Johnson says. laugh and connect

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■ www.familytherapyireland.com

with each other

■ Hold Me Tight – Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr Sue Johnson, publishers Little Brown, €18.50.


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Relationships

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Is your relationship suffering from the impact of the recession? Emotional Focused Therapy offers couples a successful approach to working things out, Rachel Borrill reports

If you can create that safe, loving bond, then the other parts of the relationship, the negotiation part, the problem solving part, the caretaking part, the sexual part, they all come into line because people are in an emotional balance with each other

LET’S TALK R

ELATIONSHIPS are hard at the ship — where you can say to your partner EFT. He had best of times. But in the current ‘Are you there for me ?’ and the reply is emailed me and economic climate the number of ‘Yes,’ and it is believed. said ‘We have marriages under severe strain is increasing “But if you can create that safe, Show mutual respect. a big probrapidly, according to Accord, the Catholic loving bond, then the other parts of lem here, all Marriage Care Service. the relationship — the negotiation You might have very our guys “Our statistics show that compared to the part, the problem solving part, the after 9/11, first six months in 2007, we have seen a 66% caretaking part, the sexual part — different views about all their increase this year of couples asking us for help. they all come into line because marriages And a 10% increase from 2010,” says Jane Ferpeople are in an emotional balance life, but try to are breakguson, Accord’s co-director of counselling. with each other,’’ she says. ing up, and “More often than not a relationship can Not surprisingly most relationcompromise and when the already be in trouble, but then on top of it to ships do get stuck in some kind of rut marriages have these financial difficulties — well, it can over the years. Often couples have the understand each other break up they cause the marriage to break same old argument time and time are having meltup,’’ again. They know exactly which butdowns and they For many couples tons to press, to annoy and hurt their can’t deal with the stress.’ therapy is often their partner. We’ve all been enjoying an “The last attempt in savevening out, and witnessed other feedback I am getting back from them is great. Keep the spark of ing their relationcouples bickering over the smallest When you can face problems together – ‘Let’s ship, but does it little thing. talk about how scared we both are, let’s talk romance alive. work? Dr Sue But in her Emotionally Focused about how we can help each other, here, let’s Johnson, an EnTherapy self-help book Hold Me talk about how we can reassure each other’ — Always express your glish-born couTight – Seven Conversations for a If you can start doing that, you can face almost ples therapist Life-Time of Love, Dr Johnson any problem together, you are a team. But try feelings to your now living in insists it doesn’t have to be like facing almost anything as an island, it becomes Canada, is one of that. almost insurmountable,” she says. partner, try to make the creators of “For all of us, the person we love Currently there are very few Emotionally Emotionally Fothe most in the world, the one who Focused trained therapists in Ireland, however, them feel special cused Couple Theracan send us soaring joyfully into space, that will hopefully soon change following the py which has been is also the person who can send us success of a special EFT workshop in Dublin proven to have a 75% crashing back down to earth. All it takes is a last weekend, organised by the Family Therasuccess rate, and has been deslight turning away of the head, or a flip, carepist Association. scribed as the “most successful approach to less remark,’’ she says. Mara Delacy, a family therapist who attended creating loving relationships.’’ Instead, she suggests couples need to recogthe “Unfortunately, when the stress hits a relanise their “demon dialogues’’ their negative workshop, said they tionship, we are aware how much we need that cycle, their endless arguments, and make that are now planning support and when it becomes apparent that we the “bad guy’’ rather than either of them. for Gail can’t get it from our partner. You get that “If a relationship is really bad, I make a Palmer, one horrible double whammy where people are bit of a joke and say, ‘Why don’t you try of Dr Johnterribly stressed and then they start to realise Be faithful. Trust is one and treat your wife more like the way son’s colthat they don’t feel connected to their partner you treat your dog? You look leagues, and their marriage begins to suffer,’’ says Dr of the basic foundations into your dog’s eyes when you come to come Johnson. home. You touch your dog, you to Dublin According to Dr Johnson, the message of of any relationship; stroke your dog, you use a soft voice next Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT) is simple. to your dog. Your dog responds to spring The emotions and feelings that brought a cou- you. You trust your dog, and you love once gone it may take a and train ple together must be revived. Couples learn to it unconditionally,’ It makes them them in recognise that they are emotionally attached to think.” very long time to EFT. and dependent on their partner, in much the Such is the success rate of Emo“This is same way that a child is on a parent re-establish it, if at all tional Focused Therapy, that really excitfor nurturing, soothing and Dr Johnson was approached ing, and it is protection. by the New York firefightreally is very inter“We go right to the ers a year after 9/11 to help estheart of the matter. EFT their families and she is al- ing, very stimulating and very creative,” she Compliment each focuses on bonding, it so helping the US milisays. does not teach couples tary and soldiers suffering other, show that the Delacy was very curious to see how EFT negotiation skills. Our severe post-traumatic works, because she had heard such “great feedexperience is that when stress. initial attraction is still back’’ about it, especially from her colleagues we help people to create “I trained up George, in Holland. a safe bond, it brings them one of the NY Firefighters in there and valued “I was intrigued because some couples never closer together as a partner-

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Picture: Getty Images

reach that degree of openness because they feel so vulnerable by admitting it. Their core has been so badly hurt by being told you are XYZ, that they are afraid of being rejected again and you don’t want to present yourself to be hurt,’’ she explains. Delacy feels there may also have to be a cultural change for EFT to work here, that people, especially men, will have to Never stop dating, learn to get in always remember to touch with celebrate the special their emotions. anniversaries “I think

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they can, but there is an ethos that it is difficult. People Listen to each don’t necessarily like discussing their feelings. You feel vulnerable, you feel silly. I suppose it may depend upon how much a couple wants to fix it. Are you going to throw away a perfectly good marriage? Some people probably will because they can’t vocalise their feelings,’’ she says. But Dr Ladislav Timulak, the director of psychology at Trinity College and an Emotional Focused therapist, specialising in depression, thinks this is exactly what makes EFT so rewarding. “It is more challenging for people who want to avoid their emotions because it goes right to the core. But it is also more re-

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It will only really fail where couples are in a warding. EFT recognises that violent relationship, or if one of them is havboth partners want to be ing an affair, because they will not be able to loved, that they both want a other feel safe, connected and bonded. sense of identity “For me there is nothing more and a sense if satisfying than seeing a couple pride in themheal and deepen their bond selves. “A healthy with one another. They learn couple needs to feel to respect both their partloved, feel acknowlSex is important. Be ner’s need and fears as well edged as a person and as developing the capacity respected,’’ he says. innovative, take your to hear and express their According to own individual needs and James Parrin, an intime, enjoy each feelings to their partner. dividual and couple’s “That is a very big thing therapist practicising other. Cuddles, kisses, as many people secretly feel in Greystones, Co they can’t quite be themWicklow and Tullow, holding hands, are selves in a relationship.’’ Co Carlow, very few The message is simple. people are unsuitable for great too “Where is the natural place to EFT.

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heal when you have had a terrible experience? We all know the answer — it Switch off the is in the television, and sit arms of someone you love,’’ back, have fun, chat, Dr Johnson says. laugh and connect

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■ www.familytherapyireland.com

with each other

■ Hold Me Tight – Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr Sue Johnson, publishers Little Brown, €18.50.


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10

Medical matters

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the A B C of survival

Lisa Salmon reports on why cancer is no longer an automatic death sentence

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F the very thought of cancer terrifies you, the truth is there’s much less to fear about the Big C than there used to be. New treatments and improvements to older methods of tackling the disease mean that although annual cancer rates have increased by almost 10,000 cases from 1994, almost 50% of people diagnosed with the disease will live five years and longer. Among the survivors is Kylie Minogue, who had surgery and chemotherapy after finding out she had breast cancer in 2005. She celebrated five years all-clear of the disease this year. Not as far down the path are other stars, including Michael Douglas, who announced he’d won his battle against throat cancer in January, and former England football captain Bryan Robson, who declared he’d beaten throat cancer last month, just six months after his diagnosis was revealed. The increasing numbers of people, being diagnosed with the disease and surviving it, is one of the reasons cancer expert and molecular biologist Dr Lauren Pecorino wrote the book Why Millions Survive Cancer. Pecorino says greater public awareness of the disease and its causes, together with an increasing understanding of biology and better treatments, mean cancer is no longer quite the demon it once was.

POSITIVE FEEDBACK: Top left, a consultant analyses a mammogram to help detect cancer early; above, cancer patients can expect to live a lot longer than before, bottom right, a healthily diet and lifestyle can prevent cancer. Picture: PA “I think the perception of cancer as a death sentence is changing,” she says. “We’re being more open about the disease, celebrities are talking about having it and living with it, and people are educating themselves about early cancer symptoms.” There are over 200 types of cancer, but they all have two things in common — abnormal growth, and the ability to spread throughout the body (metastasis). This spread is the biggest clinical obstacle in treating cancer, but important advances in the three common treatment options — surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy — mean that even this hurdle can be overcome. Stereotactic radiotherapy — or cyberknife

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Catherine Shanahan MUM’S WORLD Feelgood

OU know you’re getting cabin fever when you would rather take your chances with the dinner party than endure one more day of family “togetherness”. Or when the thought of baking one more cupcake sends you over the edge, because, after a week of non-stop rain, when cake-making seemed like a good way to entertain, you now have enough confectionery to stock a shop. Or when you would rather use a toothbrush to clean the bathroom than spend one more afternoon engaged in face-painting because you’ve had it up to your eyeballs with tigers and crocodiles and butterflies and fairies — and it’s not like you’re getting paid to ply your trade like some artist in Montmartre who does it for the love of the job. Or when spring cleaning the closet almost seems like a novelty because no child in their right mind could enjoy such a boring chore and at last, you can snatch some time alone. Yes, it’s that time of year when the weather is against us, conspiring to keep you and yours indoors, and when only those with an artist’s eye can tell the time from the sky because it takes a particular talent to distinguish shades of unending grey. It’s that depressing lead-in to winter when days and tempers get shorter and nights get

— available in some Irish hospitals, can now be used to increase the precision of radiation therapy used to shrink tumours and kill cancer cells. Doctors aim a number of low dose radiation beams at a tumour from different angles, thus giving a full dose of radiation when the beams meet at the tumour site. The technique has fewer side-effects than standard radiotherapy. Advances in cancer surgery include robotic procedures, where the surgeon operates a robot unit to make tiny, accurate movements. Such procedures offer more precision and better patient recovery times. There are now also ‘molecularly targeted longer and mornings crankier because who in their right mind wants to leave a warm bed behind? To add to the gloom, pencil in a dose of swine flu and expect some truck with the winter vomiting bug — either of which will extend the period of house arrest — and try not to panic at that growing sense of entrapment. Too much anxiety and you could wind up certifiable. At any rate, exhaustion is unavoidable: a one-woman entertainment committee has a finite number of ideas and eventually, the only chance of respite is to cave to their demands to watch TV. Try not to take this failure too personally. Firing kids’ imaginations takes great patience and not all of us are naturals for Blue Peter or rate arts and crafts top of our agenda. It’s not until winter arrives that we realise just how much of our lives are spent inside and how much we wring from the summer. We have barbecued in all sorts of inclement weather rather than admit that the sunny season’s over. Being climatically challenged calls for greater creativity. We continue to picnic right through the winter — I’m a firm believer in rainwear and wellies and the beach is never off limits. But I do breathe a sign of relief come the winter solstice. Once that’s passed, we’re over the worst and Christmas is just around the corner.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

drugs’ which are like missiles going directly to the tumour, as opposed to the old-style “carpet bombing” chemotherapy, which Pecorino likens to a “brute attack” that killed healthy cells as well as cancerous ones. Pecorino, a cancer biology lecturer at Greenwich University, Britain, says personalised medicine — which has been used to treat breast cancer for several decades — is being used more routinely, but is still in its infancy. It involves genetic testing to identify cancer-causing mutations, and then using targeted drugs to tackle the specific problem. But what’s just as vital as the treatments, Pecorino says, is avoiding carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) in the first place. In short, carcinogens stick to DNA and mask it so it can’t be read properly in the cell. This can lead to the creation of faulty proteins which contribute to abnormal cell growth. It’s thought that an accumulation of such mutations over time leads to cancer, and that’s one of the reasons that it’s a disease of ageing. All cancers are caused by carcinogens, which are in the environment and in our diet, and include radiation — such as that from the sun which can lead to skin cancer — and infections like the human papilloma virus, which can lead to cervical cancer. But it’s not easy to avoid infections, and the best way to reduce the overall risk of cancer is through a healthy lifestyle. That means a diet packed with fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, reducing alcohol intake and not smoking. Pecorino stresses: “The fact that we can make lifestyle changes to decrease cancer risk needs to be emphasised — it needs to be screamed from the highest mountain.” ● Why Millions Survive Cancer: The Successes Of Science by Lauren Pecorino, Oxford University Press, priced €22.45. ● For more information see www.cancer.ie

It’s that depressing lead-in to winter when days and tempers get shorter and nights get longer and mornings crankier because who in their right mind wants to leave a warm bed behind?


TERAPROOF:User:jaycarcioneDate:12/10/2011Time:16:29:37Edition:14/10/2011FeelgoodXH1410Page:11

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Coping Male with health life 11 Though living with a chronic inflammatory disorder, Cian Burgess has refused to let the condition stop him from enjoying a full life, writes Helen O’Callaghan

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Moving forward C

IAN BURGESS recalls the day when, as a teenager, he was taken off the pitch during a football league final. A sharp pain deep inside his right hip meant he couldn’t keep up with his marker during the game. “I was taken off because the pain was too bad. I couldn’t believe it. I felt I’d let the team down.” The bouts of pain had begun sometime after he was hit by a car as a 12-year-old — gradually the attacks became more frequent and lasted longer. Cian, now 31, didn’t know it then but his pain was a symptom of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a chronic inflammatory disorder that primarily affects the spine. With AS, the immune system cells attack the joints between the bones of the spine and those between spine and pelvis. With disease progression comes chronic pain and reduced ability to move. AS can also cause stiffening of the rib cage, reducing lung capacity in some patients. In severe cases, inflammation causes new bone to form that can fuse vertebrae together, causing the spine to curve forward. People with spinal fusion may develop stooped posture — known as kyphosis. Men are three times more likely to get AS and to be more severely affected when they do. While average age of onset is 26, Cian, from Raheny in Dublin, was diagnosed when he was 17 — but not before his symptoms were dismissed by some medics. “One doctor said it was all in my head. I was extremely angry. I knew it wasn’t. That particular day, the pain was so bad, my mam had to put on my socks and I found it hard to get in and out of the car. After the doctor’s appointment I was so upset I told my mam I was going to kill myself.” Another low point was when he was advised not to play sports. For Cian, who’d played hurling and Gaelic football from age seven, this was devastating. “To be told I wouldn’t be able to do the thing I loved was the end of my world at the time. I was gutted.” After a couple of bouts of uveitis — inflammation of the middle layer of the eye — doctors recommended he have the HLA-B27 blood test which can be an indicator for AS. He tested positive and was diagnosed with AS in 1997. Cian was prescribed NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to stave off pain and stiffness but these were only part of the answer. For the past five years, he has been attending the MASTER programme at the Mater Hospital. At the class, participants do ‘land’ exercises for 45 minutes followed by hydrotherapy exercises in a heated pool for 40 minutes. Cian believes this regime keeps his AS at bay. “That programme has changed my life. I’m stronger, more flexible and more mobile. Exercise is key — it builds up muscle around the bone so inflammatory attacks are easier to bear because the muscles are stronger. I have to keep supple and keep my posture as straight as possible. If I don’t exercise, I gradually start stooping.” A man who believes in keeping a positive outlook — he took up the guitar and banjo after being told contact sports were out — Cian doesn’t dwell too much on the physical inroads the disease has made. Getting

Feelgood

SUPPORTIVE PARTNER: Cian Burgess, who suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, with his new wife Sandra Hughes. comfortable in bed, getting out of bed in the morning, putting on his socks and getting in and out of the car can be tough at times. He can only get into the car by sitting sideways on the seat with his head in the car. He then grips his trousers to lift his legs into the car and slowly turns to face forward. Even a simple sneeze can cause pain. “I’ve lost movement in my hips so I can’t open my legs too wide. I can’t put my arms fully behind my head. Sometimes, I have a limp. I don’t want to lose any more range of movement — I don’t want to be bent over,” says the senior graphic designer who works for Dublin Airport Authority.

Cian has a special orthopaedic chair at his desk, he often sits on a gym ball at work to keep his posture straight and he does stretches while working at the computer. He married Sandra Hughes last month and the couple have spent the past few weeks on a honeymoon trip around the US. “AS affected my confidence when it came to relationships. I was very shy and not able to approach anyone. But once I got on the MASTER programme and started exercising and growing in confidence, I got sick of being shy. I came out of my shell. “Sandra caught my eye passing in the corridor in the airport one day. I thought ‘I

Picture: Maura Hickey.

want to ask that girl out’. We went out for coffee and it was the best cup of coffee I ever had.” Cian didn’t delay telling Sandra about the disorder. “I had to get it out of the way. I’d hidden it from other girls. Sandra responded very warmly — perfectly. It didn’t matter one bit to her. I think that’s because I’m on top of it, I’m in control of the condition.” ■ Visit www.ankylosing-spondylitis.ie and www.arthritisireland.ie. Also call Arthritis Ireland’s helpline on 1890-252846. A new website www.explainmybackpain.ie is set to go live shortly.

Ankylosing spondylitis: the facts ■ Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) — one of a group of inflammatory rheumatic diseases, where tendons, ligaments or joint capsules attach to bone. ■ There are no statistics on how many people in Ireland have the disease – in Britain seven in 100,000 people are estimated to have it. ■ Symptoms are wide ranging and include: pain, stiffness or tenderness in lower back, buttocks, shoulders, ribs, hips,

thighs; pain that has spread from lower back and buttocks up the spine and into the neck; pain that is relieved by exercise and has lasted for more than three months. ■ Other symptoms are fatigue, mild fever, weight loss. ■ Treatment usually combines medication with exercise. Medication options include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (to relieve pain and stiffness); disease-modi-

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

fying anti-rheumatic drugs (used to treat more severe cases) and biologic response modifiers (to decrease inflammation and relieve pain while fighting the disease). ■ Exercise is vital in successfully managing AS — it keeps joints moving and reduces pain. It also helps reduce stiffness and strengthen muscles surrounding joints. ■ Because AS may worsen over time, early diagnosis and treatment are important.


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:12/10/2011Time:15:30:53Edition:14/10/2011FeelgoodXH1410Page:12

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12

Food survey

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CEREAL FILLERS Roz Crowley

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HILE we think of granola as new, an extension of the Swiss muesli invention, Wikipedia shows an advertisement for granola as ‘a healthful food’ back in 1893. Made by Kelloggs, it wasn’t the first granola, which was made at the Jackson sanitarium in New York state as part of its health spa offering. Granola is the baked version of muesli, most often made from grains, such as oats, Jordan’s honey-baked crunchy granola raisin and almond, 1kg €4.49 The first impression of this granola is, surprisingly, of toffee. This may come from a high 1% of honey or an unspecified ‘natural flavouring’. Nicely chewy while crunchy, at 65% it has the highest listed proportion of oats with plenty of raisins, some almonds and sunflower seeds. This is proper granola and good value, as the package is over twice the quantity of most samples.

coated in some form of sugar or honey and oil. During baking, it’s usually kept separate by being tossed, which also helps the grains to be coated all over and to be crunchy and sweet. The American traditional recipes include nuts and seeds to further add to the healthy connotation, and it is also used as a crunchy topping and snack by the handful. It is also made into bars, as we have tested in past surveys on this page. While we need a portion of grain for the obvious cholesterol-lowering health benefits that oats provide, we must also be careful we don’t have a huge bowlful. Two large handfuls amounts to 100g and about 400 calories before adding milk — a quarter of a woman’s recommended daily calorie intake. I measured 75g and that seems like a perfect quantity. Many granolas have a good quantity of seeds, nuts and fruit for good digestion and energy. Some of the fruit is over-sweet, so make sure to drink some water afterwards to avoid dehydration. Even in winter it’s impor-

HEALTHY START: Granola goes back to the 19th century though we tend to think of it as a more modern health food. Picture: iStock

tant to keep the fluid balance right to maintain good concentration while working and studying during the day.

Because granola is sweet, even from healthy, dried fruit, it’s important to brush the teeth afterwards.

Kelkin fruit & nut oat granola, 500g €3.29

Flahavan’s crunchy oats raisins and sultanas, 500g, €2.18

Stable Diet toasted breakfast cereal with fruit, 460g, €4.45

Good quality, large raisins made a good first impression of this mixture, which was loved by all tasters. As well as sunflower seeds, the granola comes with 2.5% flaxseeds, which are loaded with omega 3 and B vitamins and there are plenty of nuts, too. Not oversweet, but with substantial bite and taste, a fair price for a good product.

Tasters liked this light blend of 53% oat flakes with toasted wheat flakes, cornflakes and Rice Crispie-style pieces. A good introduction to granola from less nutritious, lighter cereals. There are sunflower seeds and shredded coconut to add to the flavour and texture. However, the taste of the cornflakes dominates. Raisins and sultanas add to the sweetness, along with honey (good) and glucose syrup (not so good), which should make it over-sweet, but doesn’t. Sugars content at 18.5% is not higher than other samples. A fair price for an overall good product.

A high, 20% of sugary fruit makes this a bit too sweet. It has sunflower and sesame seeds, coconut, flaked almonds and chopped walnuts with some vanilla extract. Quite crunchy, it was liked by tasters who suggested adding it to porridge to dilute the sweetness.

Score: 8.75

Score: 9

Score: 7.25

Score: 8.5

Master Crumble Crunchy oat cereal tropical, Lidl, 750g, €1.45

SuperValu Goodness Granola cereal, 500g, €3.18

Paddy O’Granola toasted fruit cereal, 454g, €4.69

Carman’s classic fruit muesli, 500g €4.69

Pale in colour from a low toasting/baking, this mix is not crunchy and not too sweet. The sweetened tropical fruit mix is a little sugary, but is balanced with sunflower seeds, almonds and 57% oat flakes. One tester suggested mixing this with regular oat flakes to give it a lift. Good value.

While the percentage of oat flakes is not specified, as there is little else than sugar and honey to sweeten it, and vegetable oils from specifically non-trans fats and non-hydrogenated oils, it leaves a high percentage of oats. Despite the lack of fruit, it is quite sweet, with a high 17.4% of sugars from added sugar and from the honey, which is quite obvious. The texture is nicely toasty and crunchy, and tasters enjoyed its simplicity and would like it with fresh fruit added. Fair price.

A high quantity of sunflower seeds gives this granola a dry, wholesome taste, which was not liked by our tasters. Perhaps, if the seeds had been toasted it would have been more appetising, or maybe it is the rapeseed oil used to toast the oats that gives it a dull flavour. The unspecified amount of fruit is not enough, either, and even with 1% salt fails to lift it. Expensive, too.

Made in Australia, this is a fruit muesli, though the rolled oats are toasted with honey and sunflower oil, like our other samples of granola. The texture was chewy, as in a muesli, the 10% dried fruit consists of sultanas, raisin and apricots, but we couldn’t find the apricots. There were good nuts, with plenty of pecans, hazelnuts and some almonds, and sunflower seeds. What worked least was the cinnamon, which dominates the flavour. Those who like this spice may like it more than we did. Expensive.

Score: 7

Score: 5

Score: 7

Feelgood

Score: 4.5

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011


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PRESSURE GAUGE S

IX out of 10 men and women aged over 45 have high blood pressure, according to the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF). And 70% of those with the condition still have higher levels than recommended, despite being on medication. That’s why the IHF is urging people to get checked for high blood pressure during October at selected Lidl stores nationwide. Blood pressure is a silent predator because it rarely carries any signs or symptoms. In fact, a person can feel and look well with the condition. “The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured,” said Dr Angie Brown, medical director at the IHF. “If your blood pressure is found to be high, it can be effectively managed through lifestyle changes (being a healthy weight, regular physical activity, consuming less salt, less calories and less alcohol) or through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. Reducing your blood pressure will protect you

Deirdre O'Flynn

MOSTLY MEN

against heart attacks and strokes.” In fact, nearly 10,000 people die from cardiovascular diseases in Ireland each year, which is why it is vital not to be complacent about high blood pressure, the major cause of stroke and heart attack. As part of Lidl’s Blood Pressure Roadshow, the IHF urges people to eat more fruit and vegetables. Eat less salt and processed foods. If you drink alcohol, keep within the recommended levels. Be more physically active every day. Aim to be a healthy weight for your height. If you are prescribed tablets to lower your blood pressure, continue to take

CHECK IT OUT: The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to get it measured.

Picture: iStock

them as directed. To find out which Lidl store is running a Blood Pressure roadshow, log on to www.facebook.com/lidl. Today there will be a roadshow in Limerick; in Tipperary on Saturday, October 15; in Galway on Wednesday, October 19; in Mayo on Thursday, October 20; in Sligo on Friday, October 21; in Donegal on Saturday, October 22; in Carlow on

Tips for freshers on how Income link to uptake to ‘survive’ college life of cancer screening IF you are one of the thousands of students settling into third-level around the country, it might be useful to pick up the Student Survival Guide, a joint initiative of drinkaware.ie and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). The guide is packed full of tips on college life, moving out, managing your money (including some money-saving tips), finding your feet with new friends, joining clubs and societies,

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surviving those nights in and out, avoiding hangovers, looking after your health, studying, as well as details of a variety of support organisations available to help students throughout the year. It also contains tips such as: ditch the drinking games, they make everyone drink way too much, way too fast, and can have seriously dangerous consequences. ● The new Student Survival Guide is available to download free on the drinkaware.ie website.

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PINK RIBBON: The Pink Ribbon Appeal, during the month of October, is the main fundraiser for Action Breast Cancer, a programme of the Irish Cancer Society which provides free breast cancer information and support services to over 30,000 women annually. You can support the campaign this month by buying a pink ribbon (€2), pink badge (€3) or pink trolley disc keyring (€4). You can also call 1850-606060 or visit cancer.ie to make a donation. The charity’s Pink Partners this year include Pandora which has designed a pink silver charm, €49, with all proceeds going to Action Breast Cancer. And ghd has again created a limited edition Pink Orchid styler, €149, with €10 from every ghd sold going to the charity.

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Male health

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PRIVATE health insurance has a major impact on whether people take up cancer screening opportunities, according to the Health Research Board (HRB). In an analysis of 10,364 adults from the SLÁN 2007 study (Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition in Ireland), it found a clear link between income and better uptake of screening programmes for prostate, colorectal, breast and cer-

vical cancers. “The research also highlighted the importance of marital status in several of the cancers,” says Professor Ciaran O’Neill of the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics, a co-author on the research paper. “Greater uptake was evident amongst those who were married than those who were not in the case of prostate, colorectal and cervical screening, perhaps reflecting the value of pester power.”

Wednesday, October 26; in Mullingar on Thursday, October 27; in Monaghan on Friday, October 28; and in Dundalk on Saturday, October 29. Anyone with queries on managing their blood pressure or heart conditions can talk to a nurse in confidence on the Irish Heart Foundation’s Heart & Stroke Helpline 1890-432787.

DId you know...

33% of men are unprepared for physical side-effects of prostate cancer treatment Source: Irish Cancer Society

THINK PINK

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GIRL TALK: Look after your breasts, talk to your friends about breast cancer, is the message from the Marie Keating Foundation for their 10th annual breast cancer awareness campaign. The foundation’s mobile information units will be travelling across the country this month and free breast cancer information packs are also available by logging onto www.mariekeating.ie or calling 01-6283726. Marks & Spencer has raised €1m for the charity in the past nine years. As well as donating 15% from the M&S Cafe and 10% all year round on post-surgery lingerie, the company will again give 10% from the sale of breast cancer awareness products.

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BETSY BOOB: Cork’s favourite t-shirt maker, Hairy baby, has joined in the campaign, creating a t-shirt in aid of Action Breast Cancer. Their new character, Betsy Boob, is brashy, confident and delighted to be supporting this cause. For every Betsy Boob t-shirt sold during the month of October, Hairy Baby will donate €5 to the Irish Cancer Society or you can buy the Betsy Boob tote bag, €13, with a €2 donation going to the charity. Shop online at www.hairybaby.com.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

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PINK PARTNERS: Other Pink Partners include Centra, supporting Action Breast Cancer for the second year, and encouraging women to Get the Girls ‘Round for a fun fundraising night in. This campaign raised €400,000 last year. Register for a pack of tips and Centra vouchers at www.facebook.com/getthegirlsround. After the success of last year’s pink mittens, Centra is selling Pink Beanie hats in its stores throughout October. The hats, which are available in two shades of pink, retail at €5 with all proceeds going to ABC.


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14 Beauty

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The news on...

New eye-deas

TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:12/10/2011Time:15:32:24Edition:14/10/2011FeelgoodXH1410Page:14

KIEHLS MIDNIGHT RECOVERY EYE IT’S got to the stage in life where our eyes look nothing short of grim in the morning. It’s like we wake up looking 10 years older than we actually are. And no one needs that kind of knock to their self-esteem at the start of the day. New from Kiehls this month is Midnight Recovery Eye, €35, a paraben, fragrance and mineral oil-free formula that’s packed with botanical oils. Designed to be used at night, it claims to reduce puffiness and those tell-tale fine lines. Bring it on.

Emily O’Sullivan

Go Cleopatra-style this autumn with a dramatic sweep of liner above and below the lids

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WANDERED around the Egyptian rooms at Edinburgh’s newly reopened National Museum the other week, and discovered that not much has changed where beauty is concerned. No, we don’t wear egg-shaped scented bits of wax on our heads, and no we don’t shave our hair off and wear thick black wigs, but we do still use scented oils, tweezers and, of course, lots and lots of eyeliner. This last one struck me as the most relevant. In all the pictures, whether carved in stone or painted, women had their eyes drawn in tell-tale Egyptian almond-shaped liner. This autumn, the heavily drawn 1960s flick eye is back in a major way and it’s a look that isn’t a million miles away from how women did their make-up 3,500 years ago. One of the big looks this season is the Mary Quant-style eye, with heavy graphic lines drawn along the crease of the eyelid. Frankly, it’s a pretty full-on look, and only something you’d really try for a major event. Even then, it’s not for everybody, but you can get a ’60s effect just as well this season with a creative combo of liquid eyeliner and mascara. When you’re creating a canvas for eyeliner the main thing is to keep the skin simple, clean-looking and very fresh — no orangey fake tan need apply. This is a much more sophisticated look, too much of the false stuff will just edge it into TOWIE territory, and you don’t want that. It’s also a good idea to use some sort of primer on the eye.

Take three... BATH TREATS IT’S all too easy to feel glum in the winter. Our quick-fix is a hot soak. From high-grade bath salts to old-school lavender oil, here are three that tick our boxes this October. Origins The Way of The Bath Matcha Tea Body Soak, €54. You’d want to be pretty flush to be buying this with any frequency, but it really does make your bathroom feel and smell like a high-end spa. Origins tell us that the gorgeous and unusually-scented body soak infuses skin with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. We don’t know how effective all that is, but it makes the skin feel great and it’s the perfect antidote to a stressful mid-winter day.

FRESH APPROACH: When you’re creating a canvas for eyeliner the main thing is to keep the skin simple, clean-looking and very fresh — no orangey fake tan need apply. Picture:Courtesy of MAC cosmetics.

Neal’s Yard Geranium and Orange Bath Oil, €16.21. Just lovely. Refreshing, soothing and revitalising, all at the same time — the orange and geranium give a lovely combination of aromas, while soya, wheatgerm and apricot oils sooth and moisturise the skin. A favourite on our bathroom shelf, every winter.

Liquid eyeliner, especially used along the crease, can tend to smudge much quicker because there is more moisture in that part of the eye. Next, tone things down with a pale beige shadow (they would have used paler creams and white in the ’60s, but that’s not the look that’s rocking right now), before applying your eyeliner of choice. It’s a good idea to dab a little powder beneath the eyes, too, this season’s look calls for liquid eyeliner below the eyes too (creating a heavier, more feline eye), and the corner of the eye can be prone to weeping so keep things as dry as you can. Go for the best eyeliner you can afford. Cheapies work just fine, but I have found in

the past that they do tend to flake and smudge a little bit. In terms of long lasting gel eyeliners, Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Gel Eyeliner is well ahead of the rest, while MAC’s Fluidline Gel gives an incredible depth of black that appears almost wet and glossy. To give your eyes a look that stands out from previous seasons, it’s all in the bottom lashes. You can, of course, opt for a mascara that is smudge-proof or waterproof but I’m currently addicted to the excellent Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara. It’s great for creating that Twiggy-inspired 1960s ‘doll eyes’ look, and coats every single lash that you have. Honest.

L’Occitane Aromachologie Effervescent Revitalising Sugar Cube, €2.95. Fabulously effervescent, this little cube is like an Alka Selzer for your bath, except it smells better and it doesn’t cure hangovers (in our experience, it does ease them, however). There’s mint, pine and rosemary — just what’s needed to banish the autumn blues.

silky texture, it’s a little harder to apply than long wear, but get a good eyeliner brush and you’ll be sorted.

even though it’s dark blue, it looks practically black on the eyes. Well-priced, effective and easy to apply.

perfect for a big night out when you really don’t need a smudge-a-thon going on underneath your eyes.

STUFF WE LIKE Nars Eyeliner Stylo, €26. A pen can be easier, especially for novices, than a brush, and this is a good, solid pen with a fine nib to experiment with a variety of flicks, from the demure to the extravagant. It lasts well and gives a good depth of colour, although it is skinny, so you’ll need to be confident about building it up. MAC Fluidline, €17.50. Bobbi Brown’s long-wear gel eyeliner has the edge over this one in terms of longevity and texture, but MAC’s Fluidline gives a really dense, glossy colour that looks almost shiny on the eye. Because of its

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Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner, €21. This beauty remains our favourite. Of course, it’s not a liquid eyeliner, it’s a solid one, but it goes on very well (even the shaky of hand should manage it), and it lasts really very well, indeed. L’Oreal Super Liner Luminizer in Dark Sapphire Blue, €9.85. This one has a very wet texture, so it takes about 30 seconds for it to dry try not to blink too much), but it has a nice dark tone, and

Rimmel London Exaggerate Liquid Eyeliner, €6.95. A small pot and a fine brush define this eyeliner from Rimmel. It’s got a good price point, lasts well on the eyes, and is pretty easy to apply. No complaints. Bourjois Volume Clubbing Ultra Black, €6.94. Anything that is sweat-proof on the liquid eyeliner front is good with us, as it’s hard to find a product that can withstand several hours of dancing. Bourjois is a great brand for eyeliners, and this one is

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Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, €14. Small and perfectly-formed, this tiny mascara seems like a waste of time (mascara specifically for your bottom lashes? Come on), but once you use it, you see how much sense it makes. The tony, stubby brush perfectly coats and lengthens lashes and makes them look totally wow.


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Natural health

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 AM in my late 30s and have suffered with acne for most of my life. Recently, I gave in and agreed to take Roaccutane, which is making the condition far better. Is there anything else I should do to support my body while I am taking this? I know that it is quite a serious medication as I have agreed to also take birth control to avoid potential deformation of a pregnancy.

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other bonus is that it was also shown to be safe for children and the elderly. It is somewhat unusual for a homeopathic remedy to be prescribed preventatively rather than being tailored to specific symptoms, however this really works with oscillococcinum. Available from Victoria Health (00-44-20-8905 6931), Oscillicoccinum 200c costs £15.50 for a pack containing six doses.

A. Roaccutane works by reducing the production levels of the sebaceous glands while helping to decrease their size. It does carry the risk of a number of serious side effects, including birth defects, depression, psychosis, eye problems, musculo-skeletal issues, and hair loss. I understand your decision to avoid it for so long, and how having acne for such a long time causes you to try anything that may help. Adult acne can be distressing — most people assume you will outgrow skin troubles once you have reached your early 20s, so it chips away at your confidence to have what is primarily a teenage problem well into early adulthood. While adult acne is determined by genetic and hormonal factors, the increase in processed and convenience Picture: Istock foods, along with pollution and toxins in the environment and home also play a significant role. Intestinal health is another key factor, and this sets the stage for skin health throughout the teenage and adult years. One study showed that an astounding 50% of individuals with severe acne had gut issues, causing an increase in the levels of toxins in the bloodstream. Almost all traditional medicine systems hold the founding belief that the skin is a mirror of our internal health, and in your case this is certainly where I would start in terms of healing and supporting your body while you are taking the Roaccutane. To begin, you will want to add a high qual- bacterium acnes bacteria responsible for acne, ity probiotic to your diet, since this is crucial with your best sources being seeds and nuts, in repairing gut and therefore skin health. green veg, and shellfish. As always, plenty of Seven Seas Multibionta (www.sevenseas.ie; pure water is also very beneficial for cleansing 1850-681012) is ideal because it combines and detoxification. beneficial bacteria with essential vitamins and minerals. Ensure that your diet is high in dark Q. Some time ago, you wrote about a leafy greens and brightly coloured vegetables homeopathic cold and flu remedy. Can you for their high vitamin, mineral and antioxiplease let me know how it works and dant content. It would also be wise to introwhere I can purchase it? duce daily juicing into your diet. Michael van Straten suggests a blend of car- A. The remedy you are referring to is called rots, apple, parsley and kiwifruit to treat acne. oscillococcinum, and it has indeed been His wonderful book, Superjuice, is full of de- shown to be effective in a large-scale, doulightful recipes with fun names and is a valuble-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 68% able addition to any kitchen. Calcium and of influenza patients enjoying a complete rezinc are useful allies in fighting the Propionicovery within 48 hours of being treated. The

Q. I am going through the menopause and find intercourse quite painful and suspect that this is due to vaginal dryness. I am not on any hormone therapy, as I prefer to take natural remedies. What do you advise? A. This is quite a common issue as a result of going through the menopause, and can also appear in some women following childbirth and during the first few months of breastfeeding. There are some natural remedies which may help, notably essential fatty acids by way of an oil blend, such as Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil. The ‘good’ dietary fats are often lacking due to the popularity of low-fat and diet foods — and in the drive to lose weight, frequently all fats are avoided rather than just the undesirable processed fats. Udo’s Ultimate oil has the ideal ratio of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, so it works to reduce inflammation and increase tissue integrity and lubrication. Udo’s Oil is available from health stores, €14.99 for 250ml. Herbal remedies are very popular amongst menopausal women who want to avoid potentially problematic hormone replacement therapy. The reason why herbs have such a big following is because they work, are simple to use, and are often widely available. Dong quai is an excellent female tonic, having a balancing effect on the reproductive system. It is also often specifically indicated where vaginal dryness is an issue. Dong quai, and a range of herbs for menopause are available from most health stores. As far as a more instant solution goes, take a look at the intimacy products made by a company called Yes. It has a range of certified organic water and oil-based lubrication products which are completely natural and safe — no petroleum by-products or skin irritants. Water-based is often chosen by people who need a lubricant which is safe to use with condoms, whilst oil-based provides maximum lubrication. Not only do these products help in the short term, they actually help to treat vaginal dryness. The tube sizes range from 25ml – 125ml, and prices start at £6.99. Order by phone on 00-44-845-094 1141 or online at www.yesyesyes.org.

To improve your skin ensure that your diet is high in dark leafy greens and brightly coloured vegetables

■ NOTE: The information contained above is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor first.

Megan puts the spotlight on:

K

INESIOLOGY combines the knowledge of Chinese acupressure points, energy medicines, NLP (neurolinguistic programming), anatomy and physiology, and often a healthy dose of nutrition and psychology. It can be useful for stress, pain relief, emotional issues, nutritional sensitivities, and injury treatment. It is one of the therapies where the aim is to restore balance to the system, working on assisting the central nervous and meridian systems to come into a state of homeostasis. Muscle monitoring is one of the most common methods used to identify the underlying issue via biofeedback.

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Stresses and imbalances in the musculoskeletal system, hormonal, digestive, or elimination systems, and mental and emotional wellbeing are all identified using kinesiology. Energy flow is also crucial to the practice of kinesiology, akin to the chi or life force which is so important within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practices. This energy typically relates to specific meridian points, as well as particular organs within the body. By performing a series of muscle function tests, a kinesiologist can identify the state of structural, biochemical, and mental balance of an individual. When you visit a kinesiologist, you can

KINESIOLOGY expect the practitioner to work using gentle stimulation of acupressure points, massaging or tracing of the meridians, and clearing reactive muscle patterning. Of course, as with any modality, every practitioner develops their own specific methods and brings in complementary learnings from other forms of natural therapies. Often you will find that kinesiology is just one of the qualifications your practitioner will utilise — nutritional recommendations, homeopathic remedies, flower essences, and visualisations are all often used as well to enrich the treatment. The emotional aspect of identifying

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and releasing triggers through this seemingly simple methodology should not be overlooked. A good practitioner will assist the individual in working through this process, providing them with effective tools to cope with the underlying stress and/or issues as they are released. To find a good local kinesiologist, check out the Kinesiology College of Ireland in Cork 021-4633421; www.kinesiologycollege.com). You can also ask at your nearest health store or check other local natural practitioners. I have always found word of mouth to be the best indicator of how effective any health practitioner is.


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COMMERCIAL FEATURE

Get Set for Winter Create Energy Savings and a Cosier Home THERE’S nothing nicer than the feeling of closing your front door on a cold, wet and windy winter’s evening and stepping into the warmth and safety of your home. Recent weather predictions indicate that we are in for yet another harsh winter and no doubt every homeowner wants to feel prepared, knowing their home will be comfortable and energy efficient during any cold spell ahead. We are all familiar with the little ways we can help keep heat in our home including; closing doors, drawing curtains, setting our heat on timer but

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did you realise a poorly insulated roof can result in as much as 30% heat loss? Equally poorly insulated cavity walls means your home can lose up to 20% 30% of its heat. These factors highlight the fact that insulation is one of the best investments you can make in your home. It may be something you have been meaning to get around to and now, as the winter approaches, it’s the ideal time to call on the energy experts, the Bord Gáis Energy Home Team. The Bord Gáis Energy Home Team offers a free consultation and will advise you on what are the best solutions in terms of saving money and making your home more comfortable. The Bord Gáis Energy Better Home Bonus is a plan including an attic and cavity wall insulation package that offers 0% interest free payments for up to 12 months allowing you to budget your upgrade efficiently. They will sort out your SEAI grant (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) so you only pay the total cost less the grant, then they take off their own special discount. Finally you have the peace of mind that your work will be carried out by trusted and reliable professionals. To book a Home Energy Consultancy appointment, call the Bord Gáis Energy Home Team now on 1850 632 632 or find out more at www.bordgaisenergy.ie/hometeam

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Liam & Orla Brady, Carrigaline, Cork AFTER such a severe winter in 2010/11 and a very poorly insulated home that was losing a huge amount of heat, we decided enough was enough and that we needed to make an investment in insulating our home to make cost and energy savings. From the outset, we genuinely found it so easy and straightforward (we wouldn’t even refer to it as a ‘process’ it was so easy!) and just literally had to sign on the dotted line after two days of work by the Bord Gáis Energy Home Team with little or no disruption. The team were incredibly accommodating and no issue was too big for their experience and expertise. The cavity wall insulation work was even carried out on Good Friday, typically a day off for most of us, which to Orla and I showed commitment and willingness to work around the clock to meet our needs. In today’s economic climate, we did of course do our homework and shop around but what ultimately helped us make our decision was that we knew by going with Bord Gáis Energy we were going with the most trusted name and a company that has offered a long standing service to our community. That peace of mind was invaluable and Bord Gáis Energy’s reputation proved accurate in the tremendous service we received from the team. We are so pleased with the results and can already feel an increase in the level of comfort in our home and know that the winter will see a big change for our family in terms of savings and a cosier home. It was also really satisfying to see the SEAI grant figure deducted from the end of our bill and we took up the offer to pay in interest free instalments over a one-year period. Apart from the obvious benefits to our own home life, the SEAI grant highlighted the fact that we were improving the energy efficiency of our home for the better of the environment. Interview conducted with Liam Brady on the 22nd August 2011


Feelgood 14-10-2011