Page 1

TERAPROOF:User:tomhickeyDate:04/04/2012Time:16:55:18Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:1

Zone:XH

XH - V2

Feelgood

Friday, April 6, 2012

Inside track Camille O’Sullivan and other creative talents on what inspires them to produce their best work: 8, 9

LIFE AND LIMB

New developments in prosthetics deliver impressive freedom: 4, 5

PRESENT TENSE

How practice of mindfulness helps to relieve stress: 6

ON COURSE

Fitness bootcamp gets results the tough way: 11


TERAPROOF:User:irenefeighanDate:04/04/2012Time:16:08:37Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:2

Zone:XH

2 News front Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON ■ EGG HUNT: Falconry, magic shows, balloon making and make and do are just some of the activities on offer today at Lifetime Lab during the Easter Egg Challenge to support Bishopstown primary schools. Children can undertake a treasure hunt to solve clues on the way to finding a secret egg depot and the Easter Bunny has left an egg for everyone who completes the challenge. The challenge will run from 10am to 4pm and entry is €5 per child and adults free. For further information contact Lifetime Lab at: 021-4941500 or visit www.lifetimelab.ie ■ FUN RUN: Get Bank Holiday Monday off to a healthy start at the annual 10k Fun Run and 6k Walk in Clonakilty. The event kicks at 11am at the Quality Hotel and is open to competitive runners, €15, and families, €20, with registration from 10am. There will be an egg hunt for children on the fun walk. The event is organised by the Parents Association of St Joseph’s NS. Proceeds go to the school and local St Vincent de Paul. ■ FAMILY CYCLE: Mallow GAA’s annual 10k Family cycle and Easter egg hunt returns on Monday next. Registration forms can be picked up in the clubhouse at Carrigoon, Mallow, downloaded from www.mallowgaa.com, or register on the day at 10.30am. The 10k route will circle the town, followed by the egg hunt. For more details call 022-50757. ■ GALAXY WORKSHOP: Take a trip into the galaxy at the Easter family workshops in CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory. Workshops will be run today and from Apr 10 to 13, from 2 to 3.30pm. In celebration of Global Astronomy Month, kids will get to make galaxies, craters on the moon and more. Aimed at children from age eight up (ages six and seven if accompanied by an adult) workshops are €5 per child. No booking required. Call 021-4357917 or visit www.bco.ie ■ PETMANIA WALK: The third 5k Petmania National Dog Walk on Easter Monday, promises a fun day out for all the family in aid of the Carers Association. Petmania’s National Dog Walk 2012 is taking place in Waterford, Navan, Limerick, Kilkenny, Carlow, Tullamore, Tralee, Santry, Portlaoise, Galway and Wexford. Register at www.nationaldogwalk.ie or Petmania stores. Entry costs €5 for a dog and owner, or €10 for a dog and family. ■ BATTENS EVENT: The Killarney Outlet Centre is hosting fundraising activities for all the family in aid of Kerry-based national charity Bee for Battens tomorrow from 12 to 6pm. Battens Disease is a rare neuro-degenerative condition that affects babies, young children and juveniles. Events include a Beat the Celebrity cycle race and former European boxing champion Willie Casey will be giving an exhibition. There will also be a bouncy castle; face painting and a Sweets and Treats decorating class courtesy of JustCooking.ie at 12pm, when chef Mark Doe will help kids decorate gingerbread houses and Easter eggs. Visit www.BeeForBattens.org ● Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to koreilly8@gmail.com

FeelgoodMag

Feelgood

FeelgoodMag

XH - V1

Taking the pill can influence more than a woman’s monthly cycle, a new survey reveals. Arlene Harris reports

Not just love T

HE main role of the contraceptive pill is to prevent unwanted pregnancy but it has also been known to have other side effects. On the negative side, it is said to provoke mood swings and cause weight gain, but on a positive note it can balance hormone levels in order to improve certain skin problems. But a new report claims that the pill is also playing havoc with women’s sex lives. Scientists from Stirling University discovered that women who take this form of oral contraception tend to stay in relationships for up to two years longer than those who don’t. The study of 2,500 women also revealed that although women taking the hormonal pill stay with their partners longer, they are less satisfied sexually than those who are not using contraception of this kind, but are happier with other aspects of their relationship. Speaking in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Dr Craig Roberts says the results of the study show both positive and negative aspects of a woman being on the pill when she meets her partner. “Overall, women who met their partner on the pill had longer relationships and were less likely to separate,” he says. “And they may, on average, be less satisfied with the sexual aspects of their relationship, but more satisfied with non-sexual aspects. So there is both good news and bad news for

UNDER THE INFLUENCE: Women who take the pill have longer relationships. Picture: iStock

women who meet while on the pill — one effect seems to compensate for the other. “Choosing a non-hormonal barrier method of contraception for a few months before getting married might be one way for a woman to check or reassure herself that she’s still attracted to her partner,” he adds. But Dr Bernadette Carr — medical director of VHI Healthcare — says most women will be able to rely on their instinct rather than their hormones to determine whether or not they find their partner attractive. “There has been some interesting research regarding the pill and its potential

effect on women’s interest in sex over a monthly cycle,” she says. “But overall any marginal effects of a woman’s normal monthly hormonal fluctuations will be hugely outweighed by her brain. “Common sense, general compatibility, who the guy reminds her of (often sub-consciously), her relationship with her own father, and many other issues will be the real determinants of who a woman selects as her mate.” The most common side effects of the pill include: headache, loss of bleeding, change in libido, fluid retention, mood swings ● For more health advice see www.vhi.ie

HEALTH NOTES cer Research in Chicago.

This year’s Waterford Festival of Food, Dungarvan, is teaming up with the Nutrition & Health Foundation (NHF) to host a day of free nutrition workshops on Friday, Apr 13, featuring dieticians and healthy lifestyle role models. The workshops, which take place in the Town Hall, Dungarvan, are a new feature of the festival, which runs from Apr 12 to 15. The day will be split into three free workshops starting at 10am and covering the themes of ageing with good health, family health & nutrition from tots to teens, and making life better at Work and in your community. Former RTE broadcaster, Míchael O’Muircheartaigh will be sharing his good health tips in the ageing workshop, which will be chaired by dietician Sarah Keogh. For more details on events visit www.waterfordfestivaloffood.com and www.nhfireland.ie

A new drug has been shown to combat the lethal spread of prostate cancer by “kettling” tumours. Although at an early stage of development, researchers hope it can be given at diagnosis to avoid aggressive treatments. The drug, called KBU2046, is designed to disable proteins that keep prostate cancer cells moving. Scientists in the US tested it on mice given transplants of aggressive human prostate cancer cells. Over a period of five weeks the drug inhibited movement of the cells and www.irishexaminer.com www.irishexaminer.com

FOOD FEAST: At the launch in Dungarvan of Waterford Festival of Food were, from left, Conor Foran, Lawlors Hotel and Paul Flynn, The Tannery. Picture: Dylan Vaughan. prevented them spreading to the lung. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Can-

www.irishexaminer.com feelgood@examiner.ie

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

Women diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to survive if they eat up their greens, research suggests. A large Chinese study found a link between higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as greens, cabbage and broccoli, and reduced breast cancer death rates. Researchers followed the progress of almost 5,000 women for around five years after they were diagnosed with breast cancer. They found that the more cruciferous vegetables women ate during the first three years after diagnosis the less likely they were to die. As consumption increased, the chances of dying from breast cancer fell by between 22% and 62%, and from all causes by between 27% and 62%. Breast cancer recurrence risk also decreased by between 21% and 35%. An estimated 2,000 women in Ireland develop breast cancer every year.

Cobh-based suicide support group, Breaking The Silence, is holding its second annual Walk for Life on Saturday, May 12. The 16k scenic route runs from Sneem to Kenmare, Co Kerry. For details and an information pack email fundraisingbts@gmail.com. To track the group’s activities visit Facebook.

Editorial: 021 4802 292

Advertising: 021 4802 265


TERAPROOF:User:GERARDDESMONDDate:04/04/2012Time:17:30:19Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:3

Zone:XH

In profile

XH - V1

THE SHAPE I'M IN

Maura Derrane

A healthy mix P

PRIOR to RTÉ One’s Four Live going on an indefinite off-screen holiday last month, presenter Maura Derrane spoke of her love for the show. “I love Four Live. It’s a great mix. There’s human interest and everything from fashion to food, beauty to medical. I look at myself as a facilitator to get the story out.” Maura, who recently joined forces with chef Kevin Dundon to launch the new SuperValu range of goods is married to Fine Gael TD John Deasy, which — she says — keeps her in touch with just how difficult life is for many today. “Apart from when John’s in the Dáil, he’s at the coalface of what’s going on. I hear stories of regular people, of how difficult it is for them, how they’re literally losing their houses because they can’t pay the mortgage,” says the Aran Islands native who’s in her early 40s.

to perfume. I’m obsessed about it to the point where I’ll read all about its chemistry and history. At night at the moment, I’m wearing La Perla. It’s very musky.

What shape are you in? I’m grand, not super fit but healthy enough. I do a bit of walking and I’ve started jogging. I try to exercise three times a week.

Do you pray? Not all the time, but I do, sometimes — I have faith.

Do you have any health concerns? I’m very lucky. I’ve never been in hospital. I get colds through the year, I suppose because I’m meeting so many people every day on the show. Last year, I got swine flu and it nearly killed me. It took three or four weeks to get over it. Everybody thought it was this crazy thing, but really it was just bad flu.

What would you change about your appearance? I’d like to be a bit more toned.

When did you last cry? I cry all the time. At least once a week, I shed a tear over a movie. What trait do you least like in others? I hate cheap, stingy people. What trait do you least like in yourself? You are who you are. I don’t ponder on life. I’ve never really pondered on myself, ever.

What would cheer up your day? I don’t need to be cheered up — I’m cheered up by life. On the show, I meet so many difficult situations. On a recent show, I met a girl who got meningitis at 15. She lost her legs and some of her fingers. I feel so lucky to have good health, a good job, my health and good people around me. Helen O’Callaghan

What are your healthiest eating habits? I’m wonderful at breakfast but it goes downhill after that. I’d always have eggs or porridge with honey, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds.

ACT Now Ireland Could help you START LIVING the life you really want,NOW!

ARE YOU FEELING... Stressed? Overwhelmed? Stuck in a rut? Confused? At a bit of a crossroads? Would you like to... Overcome procrastination Manage stress a little better Make some changes in your life Manage difficult thoughts and emotions

If YES we might have the course for you! Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) is an evidence based approach that uses a mix of mindfulness, acceptance & commitment strategies

WORKSHOPS:

Weekend - Sat 21st & Sun 22nd April 6 Week from Tues 24th April 6.30pm - 8.30pm Ennismore Retreat Centre, Montenotte, Cork To book your place call 087 1850411 or email actcork@gmail.com For more information visit www.actnowireland.com

HEALTH & LIFESTYLE ADVERTISING

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? My downfall is chocolate. Do you sleep well? No, I’m not a good sleeper but I don’t need a lot of sleep. Stress wouldn’t keep me awake. Doing a live show every day means there’s a certain amount of stress in my life, which I enjoy. I’m quite good at compartmentalising my life. How do you relax? I chill out a lot at weekends. I go for walks. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? I’d love Barack Obama, the actor Joaquin Phoenix and Oprah. They’re big enough to be getting on with. What’s your favourite smell? I have a very heightened sense of smell. I’m totally drawn

Target more females in Munster and Cork than any other daily newspaper.

I’m very lucky. I’ve never been in hospital. Last year, I got swine flu and it nearly killed me. It took three or four weeks to get over it

To reach them, advertise in ‘Feelgood’.

Call Lori Fraser

Tel: 021 4802265 lori.fraser@examiner.ie

Picture:Sean Byrne

Feelgood

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

3


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:12:08:29Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:4

Zone:XH

4

Coping with life’s challenges Advances in prosthetics following the Afghan and Iraq wars are now helping Irish

A

XH - V1

amputees lead a more normal life, Helen O’Callaghan reports

A step in the right direction

NEW kind of amputee began to be seen on the streets of the US and Britain during the last decade. One with a young face, who’d lost an arm, a leg, very often multiple limbs in the Afghan and Iraq wars — arms, legs, ripped off by deadly roadside explosive devices. Not since World War II had there been so many young amputees — a pool of people with very different needs to those of the 75% of amputees in the western world who are aged over 75 and who’ve suffered limb loss because of some sort of vascular complication — from diabetes, for example. (The number of amputees in the western world is less than 1% of the whole population). Despite everything they’ve suffered, this new pool of young soldier amputees wanted to embrace life, get back to what they used to be. And their demands ensured that wartime losses would translate into medicine’s gains — specifically into advances in the previously rather sleepy field of prosthetics. Donna Fisher, prosthetist and orthotist at Independent Disablement Services (IDS) Ltd, a company based at Cappagh Hospital, Dublin, says the mainly elderly amputee demographic of the decades pre-Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t spark developments in prosthetics. “There was no major need for advances in technology for this group of patients because they were never going to use it. But, with Iraq and Afghanistan, you had young, active amputees demanding as a profession to be provided with better equipment. They’re fit, active, and want to get back to what they were doing before. And because they were soldiers, funding was made available.” For young soldiers, who’d had hands or arms blown off — but who saw no reason why they shouldn’t raise weights, do push-ups or fire weapons again — came high-tech artificial upper limbs. Like lightweight hydraulic hands, which allow amputees to move and control each finger in more natural ways than artificial hands using motorised fingers. For wounded servicemen missing their legs, development of the C-leg was accelerated. This involves embedding of a microprocessor with computer sensors helping amputees to walk, turn and bend. Prosthetist and general manager with IDS Ltd, Jan Ottosson, describes the newest version of C-leg technology — the genium. “You’re walking down a road, you want to turn around, start running to catch a bus. The knee will adapt and respond to the situation, where traditionally it’d have stayed in one setting. War and military need greatly speeded up development of this technology.” Fisher points to use of electronics in prosthetics, which allows more control of knee joints, elbows, hands — creating a more stable prosthesis for lower limbs, a more active one for upper limbs. Use of fibre glass, carbon fibre, plastics and silicone have also revolutionised prosthetics, making them lighter, stronger, more comfortable. “Weight of prosthesis was always a concern,” says Mike Fouhy, prosthetist and owner of Cork-based Sota Prosthetics and Orthotics. “Now, people who weren’t suitable for artificial limbs before — people with severe burns — can become a candidate for a

Feelgood

XH - V1

Picture: ThinkStock

High-tech artificial upper limbs like lightweight hydraulic hands, allow amputees to move and control each finger in more natural ways than artificial hands using motorised fingers WEIGHT CONCERNS: Mike Fouhy a prosthetist and owner of Sota Prosthetics and Orthotics, says “weight of prosthesis was always a concern. Picture: Des Barry staff limb. With the old socket [attachment between artificial limb and residual one], some rubbing and adhesion occurred against scar tissue. Now we have a whole range of silicone gel interfaces, which reduce this problem.” US-trained Fouhy was the third worldwide to purchase a digital scanner, key in replacing the old process of taking a cast of the residual limb. “Taking a digital scan of the residual limb creates a computer-generated model from which we make the prosthesis. The accuracy is to within one-tenth of a millimetre. Limbs fit much better and are far more comfortable,” he says. No official register of amputees exists in Ireland but Ottosson puts the figure at more than 4,000. “Average age of patients countrywide is about 60. About 70% are men. Legs

are three times as common as arms — among diabetics, circulation usually gives problems in feet rather than hands.” Similarly, at Fouhy’s plant, over 90% of adult amputees have lost limbs through vascular disease. Less than 10% require a limb through injury. At IDS Ltd, Fisher looks after the 25% of amputees who aren’t elderly, the ones the latest technologies will benefit. “I do mostly paediatric prosthetics. Most of the children are congenital amputees, born with limbs missing. They could be missing a leg but have a foot at the hip. They could have a leg and foot but the tibia or fibula might be missing so they don’t get proper knee or ankle function. With congenital deformity, it’s hard to categorise — no two kids are the same. Even if they’ve got the same level of amputation, the stump would be a different length, or shape, or have different musculature or different extra bits on it — fingers, toes.” Fisher’s patients include

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

under-16s who’ve lost limbs due to trauma — lawnmower, tractor, car accidents — and children who are amputees due to bone tumours. These chiefly affect children aged five to eight and 12 to 16. Not surprisingly, children born with missing limbs adapt easier than those who lose limbs to cancer or accident. “It’s much more difficult for parents of children with congenital deformities than it is for the children themselves, who know no different — they’ve never had two hands so they haven’t lost anything. “If we give them upper limb prosthesis, quite often they’ll reject it. They’ll say they don’t need it. With a lower limb it’s different — it allows them get on a bike, chase their sister.

WAR BOOST: Donna Fisher says developments were spurred by Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

“Not everybody wants one,” says Ottosson. “A young child growing up without a left hand feels whole anyway. It’s important to listen to the patient and not force anything on them.” The word ‘bionic’ is an unfortunate term when used in conjunction with limb replacement technology, says Fisher. “The perception is that the prosthesis does all the work, but it’s the amputee who works the prosthesis.” You need energy to use prosthesis, she says. “The amputee has to use the muscles they still have in knee or hip to stop themselves falling over. The higher the level of the amputation the more energy you need to expend in order to function. If you lose a limb below the knee, you’ll use one-third more energy than a non-amputee. Above the knee is 50%, at hip level 70%.” Motivation’s crucial. “The person needs to be interested in having the limb fitted. We can provide the most sophisticated prosthesis in the world, but if they’re not prepared to put in the work and time with the physiotherapist, it won’t work,” says Fouhy, whose client load at Sota Prosthetics and Orthotics is 40% children. The company designed artificial legs for former conjoined Cork twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf. The earlier prosthesis is fitted after amputation (six to eight weeks), the better the outcome, says Fisher. Gait-training involves educating the patient in how to use the limb safely. They need to learn to walk from heel to toe, to mimic natural foot action, to walk without a limp. Gait-training can take about six weeks of intensive five-day-a-week reha-

Feelgood

bilitation. Just weeks after serious surgery, patients are coping with some pain but they also have to build confidence around their new limb. “We ask them to put their prosthesis limb on different surfaces — grass, gravel, pavement, tiled floors, all sorts of different terrain that a non-amputee doesn’t have to think about. With a prosthesis it’s important you’re aware of what’s underneath because you can’t feel it,” explains Fisher. Orthopaedic surgeon Professor Damian McCormack works in Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, and also at Temple Street Children’s Hospital and the Mater Hospital. His patients are children with lower limb and upper limb deformities necessitating amputation, as well as adults needing amputation following trauma and tumour. “Trauma isn’t that common. I see one or two patients a year. The majority would be fairly dramatic accidents, but I’m about to do one on a man who cracked his ankle — it got infected and he couldn’t get rid of the infection.” Amputation’s a very emotive intervention, he says. “When it’s initially suggested, a lot of patients immediately reject it. They have to get their heads around it. Amputation’s an extremely good procedure though and most of my patients — if they’ve suffered with infection or pain for two or three years — will typically complain that they didn’t do it sooner.” Patients’ concerns about prosthetics cross a broad spectrum, from ‘will I be able to continue living independently?’ (particularly if elderly) to ‘can I just put it on in the morning, wear it all day and take it off at night without it interfering with my life?’ to ‘how will it look?’ “Some people are open about their artificial limb — others wear pants for the rest of their lives,” says Fouhy. Professor McCormack recalls seeing soldiers with prostheses when he worked in Dallas. “They’d walk around with their prostheses exposed and admire other people’s. They’d discuss the metal, the hinges, who made it, the craftsmanship. It was lovely to see them complimenting each other on good-looking prostheses.” While many older people are pleasantly surprised at how light and user-friendly the limbs are, teens can have over-inflated expectations. “They think they’ll be like the Blade Runner, doing 100m dashes in record times,” says Fouhy. Fisher agrees: “Everyone looks on the internet and sees the fancy dancy stuff the guys from Iraq are getting. But most people lead an ordinary life and we’re not trying to get them climbing Everest when they’ve never done it before. It’s about getting people back to living their normal life.” No State funding is set aside for people needing prosthesis. With costs ranging between €4,000 and €50,000, this creates huge problems, says Fisher. “If a child’s born without a limb, they’re not necessarily considered disabled. The parents have to pay. Many would have a medical card. You see people returning to work after having a prosthesis fitted. Some time later, they need a new leg but can’t afford it. They give up work, go on social welfare, get a medical card and get a new leg. Or they stay working and don’t get it.”

I played tennis with the women from my daughter’s school and I did the 2010 mini-marathon

M

EDICS told Ballymun mum-of-two Amanda King that swelling and soreness she’d had in her leg for two years was due to muscle spasm. But when a new GP sent her for ultrasound, Amanda discovered she had a tumour. “They gave me two weeks intensive chemo to see if it would shrink. It didn’t, so they decided to amputate from above the knee. They had to, in case the tumour got into the bone.” This was almost six years ago and Amanda worried about how — post-amputation — she’d look after her two daughters. The girls are now aged 10 and 15. “I was upset but I knew I had to do it. I thought I wouldn’t be able to look at myself after the amputation but I did — straightaway. Don’t get me wrong — I had bad days. “Six weeks later, I was up on trial prosthesis. I was really nervous, afraid to let go the bars, afraid to put pressure on it. It took a lot of energy and a couple of months to feel at home with it. Then I was putting washing on the line, doing chores and not able to believe I was getting up the stairs. You think after an amputation you’ll be left sitting. Then you realise it’s just your leg and you can get a new one and get on with it. “I don’t restrict myself to just wearing trousers. I still wear skirts and I put on black tights. I wouldn’t wear a skirt with a flesh leg — to me it wouldn’t look right. I played tennis with the women from my daughter’s school and I did the 2010 mini-marathon. “I’ve joined the Irish Amateur Amputee Football Team. I’m the only woman. We don’t wear prosthesis when we’re playing. We’re on our crutches, which requires a lot of upper-body strength. It makes me feel I’m up and doing, which I love. First I thought it’d be a bunch of amputees telling their sob stories, but it’s nothing like that. We’re really trying to get places with this team. We’re going to Manchester in March for a friendly with the English and German amputee teams.”

STAYING ACTIVE: Amanda King plays football with the Irish Amputee Football Association and has stayed otherwise very active. Picture: Maura Hickey

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

5


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:12:08:29Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:4

Zone:XH

4

Coping with life’s challenges Advances in prosthetics following the Afghan and Iraq wars are now helping Irish

A

XH - V1

amputees lead a more normal life, Helen O’Callaghan reports

A step in the right direction

NEW kind of amputee began to be seen on the streets of the US and Britain during the last decade. One with a young face, who’d lost an arm, a leg, very often multiple limbs in the Afghan and Iraq wars — arms, legs, ripped off by deadly roadside explosive devices. Not since World War II had there been so many young amputees — a pool of people with very different needs to those of the 75% of amputees in the western world who are aged over 75 and who’ve suffered limb loss because of some sort of vascular complication — from diabetes, for example. (The number of amputees in the western world is less than 1% of the whole population). Despite everything they’ve suffered, this new pool of young soldier amputees wanted to embrace life, get back to what they used to be. And their demands ensured that wartime losses would translate into medicine’s gains — specifically into advances in the previously rather sleepy field of prosthetics. Donna Fisher, prosthetist and orthotist at Independent Disablement Services (IDS) Ltd, a company based at Cappagh Hospital, Dublin, says the mainly elderly amputee demographic of the decades pre-Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t spark developments in prosthetics. “There was no major need for advances in technology for this group of patients because they were never going to use it. But, with Iraq and Afghanistan, you had young, active amputees demanding as a profession to be provided with better equipment. They’re fit, active, and want to get back to what they were doing before. And because they were soldiers, funding was made available.” For young soldiers, who’d had hands or arms blown off — but who saw no reason why they shouldn’t raise weights, do push-ups or fire weapons again — came high-tech artificial upper limbs. Like lightweight hydraulic hands, which allow amputees to move and control each finger in more natural ways than artificial hands using motorised fingers. For wounded servicemen missing their legs, development of the C-leg was accelerated. This involves embedding of a microprocessor with computer sensors helping amputees to walk, turn and bend. Prosthetist and general manager with IDS Ltd, Jan Ottosson, describes the newest version of C-leg technology — the genium. “You’re walking down a road, you want to turn around, start running to catch a bus. The knee will adapt and respond to the situation, where traditionally it’d have stayed in one setting. War and military need greatly speeded up development of this technology.” Fisher points to use of electronics in prosthetics, which allows more control of knee joints, elbows, hands — creating a more stable prosthesis for lower limbs, a more active one for upper limbs. Use of fibre glass, carbon fibre, plastics and silicone have also revolutionised prosthetics, making them lighter, stronger, more comfortable. “Weight of prosthesis was always a concern,” says Mike Fouhy, prosthetist and owner of Cork-based Sota Prosthetics and Orthotics. “Now, people who weren’t suitable for artificial limbs before — people with severe burns — can become a candidate for a

Feelgood

XH - V1

Picture: ThinkStock

High-tech artificial upper limbs like lightweight hydraulic hands, allow amputees to move and control each finger in more natural ways than artificial hands using motorised fingers WEIGHT CONCERNS: Mike Fouhy a prosthetist and owner of Sota Prosthetics and Orthotics, says “weight of prosthesis was always a concern. Picture: Des Barry staff limb. With the old socket [attachment between artificial limb and residual one], some rubbing and adhesion occurred against scar tissue. Now we have a whole range of silicone gel interfaces, which reduce this problem.” US-trained Fouhy was the third worldwide to purchase a digital scanner, key in replacing the old process of taking a cast of the residual limb. “Taking a digital scan of the residual limb creates a computer-generated model from which we make the prosthesis. The accuracy is to within one-tenth of a millimetre. Limbs fit much better and are far more comfortable,” he says. No official register of amputees exists in Ireland but Ottosson puts the figure at more than 4,000. “Average age of patients countrywide is about 60. About 70% are men. Legs

are three times as common as arms — among diabetics, circulation usually gives problems in feet rather than hands.” Similarly, at Fouhy’s plant, over 90% of adult amputees have lost limbs through vascular disease. Less than 10% require a limb through injury. At IDS Ltd, Fisher looks after the 25% of amputees who aren’t elderly, the ones the latest technologies will benefit. “I do mostly paediatric prosthetics. Most of the children are congenital amputees, born with limbs missing. They could be missing a leg but have a foot at the hip. They could have a leg and foot but the tibia or fibula might be missing so they don’t get proper knee or ankle function. With congenital deformity, it’s hard to categorise — no two kids are the same. Even if they’ve got the same level of amputation, the stump would be a different length, or shape, or have different musculature or different extra bits on it — fingers, toes.” Fisher’s patients include

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

under-16s who’ve lost limbs due to trauma — lawnmower, tractor, car accidents — and children who are amputees due to bone tumours. These chiefly affect children aged five to eight and 12 to 16. Not surprisingly, children born with missing limbs adapt easier than those who lose limbs to cancer or accident. “It’s much more difficult for parents of children with congenital deformities than it is for the children themselves, who know no different — they’ve never had two hands so they haven’t lost anything. “If we give them upper limb prosthesis, quite often they’ll reject it. They’ll say they don’t need it. With a lower limb it’s different — it allows them get on a bike, chase their sister.

WAR BOOST: Donna Fisher says developments were spurred by Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

“Not everybody wants one,” says Ottosson. “A young child growing up without a left hand feels whole anyway. It’s important to listen to the patient and not force anything on them.” The word ‘bionic’ is an unfortunate term when used in conjunction with limb replacement technology, says Fisher. “The perception is that the prosthesis does all the work, but it’s the amputee who works the prosthesis.” You need energy to use prosthesis, she says. “The amputee has to use the muscles they still have in knee or hip to stop themselves falling over. The higher the level of the amputation the more energy you need to expend in order to function. If you lose a limb below the knee, you’ll use one-third more energy than a non-amputee. Above the knee is 50%, at hip level 70%.” Motivation’s crucial. “The person needs to be interested in having the limb fitted. We can provide the most sophisticated prosthesis in the world, but if they’re not prepared to put in the work and time with the physiotherapist, it won’t work,” says Fouhy, whose client load at Sota Prosthetics and Orthotics is 40% children. The company designed artificial legs for former conjoined Cork twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf. The earlier prosthesis is fitted after amputation (six to eight weeks), the better the outcome, says Fisher. Gait-training involves educating the patient in how to use the limb safely. They need to learn to walk from heel to toe, to mimic natural foot action, to walk without a limp. Gait-training can take about six weeks of intensive five-day-a-week reha-

Feelgood

bilitation. Just weeks after serious surgery, patients are coping with some pain but they also have to build confidence around their new limb. “We ask them to put their prosthesis limb on different surfaces — grass, gravel, pavement, tiled floors, all sorts of different terrain that a non-amputee doesn’t have to think about. With a prosthesis it’s important you’re aware of what’s underneath because you can’t feel it,” explains Fisher. Orthopaedic surgeon Professor Damian McCormack works in Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, and also at Temple Street Children’s Hospital and the Mater Hospital. His patients are children with lower limb and upper limb deformities necessitating amputation, as well as adults needing amputation following trauma and tumour. “Trauma isn’t that common. I see one or two patients a year. The majority would be fairly dramatic accidents, but I’m about to do one on a man who cracked his ankle — it got infected and he couldn’t get rid of the infection.” Amputation’s a very emotive intervention, he says. “When it’s initially suggested, a lot of patients immediately reject it. They have to get their heads around it. Amputation’s an extremely good procedure though and most of my patients — if they’ve suffered with infection or pain for two or three years — will typically complain that they didn’t do it sooner.” Patients’ concerns about prosthetics cross a broad spectrum, from ‘will I be able to continue living independently?’ (particularly if elderly) to ‘can I just put it on in the morning, wear it all day and take it off at night without it interfering with my life?’ to ‘how will it look?’ “Some people are open about their artificial limb — others wear pants for the rest of their lives,” says Fouhy. Professor McCormack recalls seeing soldiers with prostheses when he worked in Dallas. “They’d walk around with their prostheses exposed and admire other people’s. They’d discuss the metal, the hinges, who made it, the craftsmanship. It was lovely to see them complimenting each other on good-looking prostheses.” While many older people are pleasantly surprised at how light and user-friendly the limbs are, teens can have over-inflated expectations. “They think they’ll be like the Blade Runner, doing 100m dashes in record times,” says Fouhy. Fisher agrees: “Everyone looks on the internet and sees the fancy dancy stuff the guys from Iraq are getting. But most people lead an ordinary life and we’re not trying to get them climbing Everest when they’ve never done it before. It’s about getting people back to living their normal life.” No State funding is set aside for people needing prosthesis. With costs ranging between €4,000 and €50,000, this creates huge problems, says Fisher. “If a child’s born without a limb, they’re not necessarily considered disabled. The parents have to pay. Many would have a medical card. You see people returning to work after having a prosthesis fitted. Some time later, they need a new leg but can’t afford it. They give up work, go on social welfare, get a medical card and get a new leg. Or they stay working and don’t get it.”

I played tennis with the women from my daughter’s school and I did the 2010 mini-marathon

M

EDICS told Ballymun mum-of-two Amanda King that swelling and soreness she’d had in her leg for two years was due to muscle spasm. But when a new GP sent her for ultrasound, Amanda discovered she had a tumour. “They gave me two weeks intensive chemo to see if it would shrink. It didn’t, so they decided to amputate from above the knee. They had to, in case the tumour got into the bone.” This was almost six years ago and Amanda worried about how — post-amputation — she’d look after her two daughters. The girls are now aged 10 and 15. “I was upset but I knew I had to do it. I thought I wouldn’t be able to look at myself after the amputation but I did — straightaway. Don’t get me wrong — I had bad days. “Six weeks later, I was up on trial prosthesis. I was really nervous, afraid to let go the bars, afraid to put pressure on it. It took a lot of energy and a couple of months to feel at home with it. Then I was putting washing on the line, doing chores and not able to believe I was getting up the stairs. You think after an amputation you’ll be left sitting. Then you realise it’s just your leg and you can get a new one and get on with it. “I don’t restrict myself to just wearing trousers. I still wear skirts and I put on black tights. I wouldn’t wear a skirt with a flesh leg — to me it wouldn’t look right. I played tennis with the women from my daughter’s school and I did the 2010 mini-marathon. “I’ve joined the Irish Amateur Amputee Football Team. I’m the only woman. We don’t wear prosthesis when we’re playing. We’re on our crutches, which requires a lot of upper-body strength. It makes me feel I’m up and doing, which I love. First I thought it’d be a bunch of amputees telling their sob stories, but it’s nothing like that. We’re really trying to get places with this team. We’re going to Manchester in March for a friendly with the English and German amputee teams.”

STAYING ACTIVE: Amanda King plays football with the Irish Amputee Football Association and has stayed otherwise very active. Picture: Maura Hickey

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

5


Zone:XH

6 Tuning in

XH - V1

Mindful meditation could help everyone clear their head, writes Oliver Moore

Taking time out W

ITH international financial meltdown and personal worries about work, bills and so much more, clearing your head has never been so important. For a growing number of people, the practice of mindful meditation helps. At its core, mindfulness is about being aware and awake to the present. While Hollywood stars like Goldie Hawn and Meg Ryan catch the headlines as mindful meditators, mindfulness founder Thich Nhat Hanh plans to maintain a low profile when he arrives in Ireland later this month. The 85-year-old Vietnamese monk is visiting from Plum Village, a Buddhist community he established in France in 1982. From Apr 12 to 15, he and 35 monks and nuns will lead a retreat in Killarney, preceded by a talk in the Convention Centre, Dublin, on Apr 11. “We used to have about 30 on the retreats, now there would be over 100 each time. We expect the numbers to rise after this visit, which over 600 have booked already,” says Josephine Lynch, who teaches mindfulness in Dublin. There are a dozen or so mindfulness groups (Sangas) in Ireland. As a group, they welcome non-Buddhists, preferring to focus on spreading the practice of mindfulness than on Buddhism. Josephine Lynch used to fret a lot. “I often worried about the future. Mindful meditative practice really helped me calm down and be in the present — to be with what’s here and now, rather than what might be in the future.” It’s not always easy: “When we try to focus on one aspect of the present, our mind often starts to wander: we can start thinking about what that thing reminds us of, or how it makes us feel. Mindfulness is about replacing attention on to the thing you are trying to focus on,” says Josephine. Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices, describes how to practise mindfulness in the familiar situations: breathing, sitting, walking, waking, eating, and returning home can be done in a mindful fashion. There are also social, economic and environmental aspects to mindfulness. Thich Nhat Hanh came to prominence as a radical peace activist and teacher in Vietnam, during the war. He was a confidant of the late Martin Luther King, who nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. Relationships, family, community, other living creatures and the world can all come into the sphere of mindfulness. In a family, children learn to express their feelings constructively, parents work through their arguments so that calming solutions to situations can emerge. James Newton and Kathy Cooney try to practise mindfulness every day. The couple and their two daughters, aged 13 and 11, live in Galway. James is a care worker and psychotherapist in NUI Galway, while Kathy is a homeopath in private practice. “When we moved to a new area, far from our own families and the support that provides, the need for something spiritual came to the fore. “We grew up as Catholics, but were disillusioned. We wanted something we could bring into our lives in a more meaningful

Feelgood

Positive feedback

MIND MATTERS: Couple James Newton and Kathy Cooney practising mindfulness at home in Ballinderreen, Co Galway. Picture: Andrew Downes and day-to-day way. A teacher in the school told us about Plum village, and we went there in 2007. It was a really beautiful place, there were lots of families there from all over,” says Kathy. “We try to meditate every day. We also make times for particular things: so there are times in the day when the TV, the phones, the iPods aren’t on. We have family dinners together. The children question it, of course they do, but they respect it, as they have our absolute attention.” There is also the simple act of ringing a bell: “When the bell rings, everyone is silent”. And the practice brings a welcome peace: “It helps when there is conflict or stress, reminding us to take a breath and be quiet. It al-

Not just a cuppa

TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:14:51:17Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:6

lows us to pause and talk more calmly. “Sometimes family life can be serious — making a living, school, homework, but mindfulness helps us bring joy into the moment.” ● See www.mindfulnessireland.org ● Northridge House, an education centre on the grounds of St Luke’s Home, Blackrock, Cork, is running two mindfulness workshops. An introduction to mindfulness, a half-day seminar, will run on Saturday Apr 14, 10am to 1pm. The practice of mindfulness, a six-week course, starts on Apr 18, 7.30pm to 9.30pm. For further details contact Claire at 021-4536551; claire.coakley@stlukeshome.ie

Making a decision to have one cup of tea every day mindfully, with focus and attention, is a wonderful start. Try to make sure the phone is on silent and the radio or music isn’t too loud. ■ Make your cuppa, paying close attention to each act along the way: the filling, plugging in, pouring, adding, simmering. Savour and breathe in the aroma, watch the stir. ■ Once it is brewed, pour the tea, noticing the colour, the sound and your own anticipation. ■ Place your hands on the cup, feeling its warmth. Bring it slowly towards your lips,

all the time paying attention to and refocusing on the physical act of lifting, seeing, smelling. ■ Feel the warmth of the first contact of lip to cup, breath in the aromas deeply. Sip the liquid, savour and focus on the flavour in all its complexity, the sensation and temperature. Remember to keep refocusing on the in-the-mouth experience. The mind, of course, will wander into the future, or into the past: this is normal, no need to get frustrated or feel you not doing it right. Just

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

In 2003, a study provided clear evidence that a standard eight-week course in mindfulness meditation can produce positive changes in brain activity and reduce anxiety. Subjects were also injected with the flu vaccine, which revealed that minfulness meditators had a more robust immune system, when compared to the control group. This study has been cited 1,073 times in the academic literature thus far. Since then, the positive results have been replicated time and again, spurred on by advancements in brain monitoring and imaging technologies. Studies point to ‘neuroplasticity’: the ability of the brain to form new and beneficial cells and pathways. Memory and decision-making improvements, as well as actual increases in brain grey matter and the hippocampus, along with reductions in the amygdala, have been recorded. In the last 12 months studies have found: “specific and clinically meaningful” reduction in stress levels for gay men living with HIV; a reduction in post traumatic stress disorder amongst almost 50% of war veterans; and two meta-studies showed a significant reduction in depression, in particular for more severe cases. A recurring research theme is that mindfulness meditation is at least as effective as medication. Many Irish hospitals and care centres, including St James’ in Dublin, use mindfulness meditation. There, Dr Noirin Sheahan runs a course in mindfulness based stress reduction. According to the hospital’s medical consultant in pain medicine, Dr Connaill McCrory: “Two decades of research conclude that 70% of patients who suffer chronic pain find that mindfulness practice reduces their pain significantly.”

gently bring the attention back again and again to your present moment experience. Then swirl it around your mouth, again paying attention to the flavour, the feel, the temperature — your physical experience. ■ Swallow it with full awareness of all senses and sensations. Repeat until the cup is finished. ■ Reflect on any insights that may have emerged at any stage of the process. Congratulate yourself that the practice of drinking a simple cup of tea can be so fully appreciated and enjoyed.


TERAPROOF:User:GERARDDESMONDDate:04/04/2012Time:17:30:01Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:7

Zone:XH

Psychology

XH - V1

Time spent gardening or being outdoors may be more powerful than pills in battling depression

Getting to the roots

7

Property & Interiors

Tony Humphreys

S

IR Richard Thompson, President of the Royal College of Physicians in Britain claims that “time spent planting, pruning and propagating can be more powerful than a dose of expensive anti-depressant drugs”. Not surprisingly, the NHS is advising GPs to prescribe gardening rather than pills as a way to help individuals to beat depression. No doubt this shift from medication to horticulture is largely motivated by economics — it’s much cheaper and, while not everybody is a horticulturist, most people can engage in some gardening activities — hedge-clipping, weeding, planting, watering plants and just the enjoyment of being outdoors. The shift is also due to the ever-increasing tide of evidence that the chemical properties of anti-depressants don’t have any therapeutic effects and that what works is the hope provided — known as the placebo effect (see Irving Kirsch’s book The Emperor’ s New Drugs and Joanna Moncrieff ’s The Myth of the Chemical Cure). At face value, you would expect that gardening and other recommended activities such as camping, walking, swimming, and dance lessons would be helpful in combating depression. Certainly, behavioural psychologists would agree that these activities are positively reinforcing and, as a result, could lead to an elevation of mood. However, individuals differ and it is unlikely that somebody who hates gardening would benefit. Research is now required to check out the validity of this gardening antidote for depression — at least there are none of the serious side-effects or withdrawal effects attributed to anti-depressants. My own understanding of depression is that it is about what ‘has been pressed down’ and is looking to come up. Psychotherapy and psychoanalysis seeks to get behind the depression and identify what qualities of one’s nature have been repressed. Examples of such repression are: physical (seeing oneself as loveable); emotional (expression of certain feelings, such as fear, upset, insecurity), sexual ( authentic sexual expression confusion), intellectual ( expression of one’s limitless intelligence), social ( being seen for oneself), behavioural, (feeling powerful) and spiritual (expression of one’s spiritual nature). Given that depression is symbolic in nature and represents discovering what lies hidden, it is possible that gardening may well resonate at that deeper metaphorical level for certain individuals who are depressed. If it does, I would expect it to have even greater therapeutic effects than it being seen only in a literal way — as a physical activity. Metaphors abound in doing the garden: ■ Digging deep ■ Getting to the root of the problem ■ Growing plants ■ Saving seeds ■ Turning over the sod ■ Enriching the soil ■ Blossoming ■ Withering ■ Weeding ■ Earthy ■ Feeding the plants In exploring depression, ‘digging deep’ and ‘getting to the roots’ of the depression are sensitive and painful explorations

Feelgood

At face value, you would expect gardening would be helpful in combating depression. Behavioural psychologists would agree that these activities are positively reinforcing and could lead to an elevation of mood but can lead to a ‘blossoming’ of what has long lain hidden. Finding the ‘right environment’ for ‘growth’ is essential, which is largely the unconditional therapeutic relationship and other supportive relationships. Growth — emerging — can be a slow process where many memories are ‘turned over’ and regular ‘feeding’ of and ‘tending to’ the person suffering depression is required. The relationship between the therapist and the person who is feeling depressed needs to be of an ‘enriching’ nature, where ‘seeds’ of love and hope are sown and being earthy (real) is paramount. The ‘withering’ painful story of the person needs to be empathically listened to and an encouragement to ‘weed out’ more and more of the pain is both non-verbally and verbally supported. As the pain is expressed, what has been ‘buried’ slowly but surely emerges into the ‘light’. Finally, Austrian writer Hermann Broch in The Death of Virgil would certainly support gardening as a therapy when he writes: “Many instances of earthly beauty ... a bird song… a garden, a single flower — all possess the divine faculty of making man hearken into the innermost and outermost boundaries of existence.” Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist, author, national and international speaker. His book with Helen Ruddle, Relationship, Relationship, Relationship, the Heart of a Mature Society is relevant to today’s article.

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

All nEw IntErIors sEctIon Each week we take on an interiors challenge and give you expert tips and advice on how to get the best results for your budget. Plus Ask the expert - stylish homes get the look & step by step DIY.

EvErY sAturDAY

y t r e p o r P & Interiors


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:15:45:25Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:8

Zone:XH

8 Cover story

Time for creativity 9 A single comment that points to the direction we must take, a line from a song that gives us a new perspective, a book that supports a decision we’ve made. Inspiration uplifts us, brings us to new heights, shows us a creative way through. Helen O’Callaghan speaks to four people working in the arts in Ireland, asking what their source is XH - V2

WHAT SPURS ME ON Singer and actress Camille O’Sullivan

Author John Connolly

What inspires you? “Agnes Bernelle was of Jewish background and escaped from Germany during the war. I came across her in Dublin when I was 21. She was 75 and sang narrative stories, quite dark political songs. It was inspiring to see a lady of 75 captivate an audience with such difficult, dark songs. I loved how still she was, how she drew people to her. She said you have to be a better actress than singer to sing these songs. That’s what I do now — I tell a story and become a character. I found it inspiring that a woman could work up to 75. She sang ’til she died and I’m going to sing right to the end. It shouldn’t end when you’re ‘too old’ or you’ve got too big.” How do you deal with the blank canvas? “Artists are dabblers. I gather information — an interesting design in a shop window might give an idea for a stage set. Seeing the way light was used in the film, The Artist, gave me ideas. I watch people in bars. I look at newspapers for costume ideas. You begin with a blank canvas, but you have a wealth of information and an inquisitive mind. You’re your own walking encyclopedia.” Do you believe in the notion of ‘just doing it’, regardless of whether you get it right first time? “The boldest step is creating a show in the first place. Leonard Cohen said ‘there’s a crack in everything and that’s how the light gets in’. That’s why I like my shows to be slightly imbalanced. Life isn’t perfect — my audiences would get nervous if things are presented too prettily. I think bold moves are really important. You fall flat on your face but you know you’re taking a risk — getting

Feelgood

it right is keeping it safe.” What’s the best advice you’ve received around inspiration? “My father would say ‘just do it’. I didn’t understand what he meant until I had a car accident and my immortality was questioned. I realised if I wanted to be a performer I just needed to do it. That was the sharpest inspiration I got. Somebody else said ‘it’s none of your business what anybody thinks about you’ — that freed me up not to take things too seriously. My dad also advised getting rid of all the tough stuff before 1pm so you’re free for the rest of the day. And actor Jude Sweeney said ‘do five things for your career each day’.” What activities help you work better? “You have to be physical to unclog the mind. Running helps me free my mind and calmly work out what I’m going to do. I cycle all the time, which helps too. Yoga helps and so does sketching.” Is routine important? “I wish I had a routine. I’ve got away with it for so long. Now, tours and venues are getting bigger and I feel I need to have a routine. My mad gypsy lifestyle is brilliant but it brings unclarity.” ● Camille O’Sullivan is supporting the love: live music movement presented by Music Network in association with RTÉ Lyric fm. Professional and amateur musicians countrywide are encouraged to occupy a stage and create a free music experience on Jun 21, International Music Day. Visit www.lovelivemusic.ie.

Do you believe in the notion of ‘just doing it’, regardless of whether you get it right first time? “I like to bring the modern world into this older dance form. I’m not afraid to experiment to do that. I’ve often started something and a couple of weeks in I realise it’s not right. I’m not afraid of changing what I’ve done. Artistic people sometimes underestimate the value of just tweaking something. You don’t have to remove all the wallpaper, just add a border. If you’ve got a core idea, it’s always going to be there, however you deviate from it.”

How do you deal with the blank canvas? “I go to the gym three days a week. I love having gone rather than being there. Writing’s a bit like that — having done it is often a lot better than doing it. The blank canvas is part of the process. Mostly, you sweat it out. I’ll have one day while writing a book when I’ll write 5,000 words and think I’m channeling God. Next day, I’ll sweat out 1,000 words over five hours. Most of the time it’s difficult and you learn to write through it. You have to learn that lack of confidence, doubt, form most of the process.” Do you believe in the notion of ‘just doing it’, regardless of whether you get it right first time? “I believe in getting it right in the end. There are no great writers, only great re-writers. The electronic age has conditioned us to put things out immediately. We don’t take time to improve or re-write — not a good idea for art. Mark Twain would write lengthy character assassinations to people he hated. He’d ask his wife to post them — she never did. With hindsight, he probably wished he’d never written them. Creative endeavour needs time. Hemmingway would put what he’d written in a box for six months and then look at it.” What’s the best advice you’ve received around inspiration? “James Lee Burke was a huge influence.

What inspires you? “The audience: when I was the only Irish dancer among an all-Russian troupe the sense of pride an Irish audience had in me was really inspiring. Working with dancers everyday, I’ll look at one dancer and be inspired by their ability, by how they move. From that I can create a whole show. Otherwise, I’m inspired by Mikhail Baryshnikov, by the personality and edge he brought to his dancing.” How do you deal with the blank canvas? “I have the opposite problem. The challenge is trying to pare things down. My brain’s so busy, yet it’s really important to get the message across and be concise.”

What inspires you? “Paying the mortgage is a wonderful inspiration! Ultimately, your aspiration is that what you do will support you. The Society of Artists in Britain found 90% of writers earn less than £5,000. I like doing what I do. Most people — whether writers, artists or musicians — have always done what they do. It’s the way we look at the world — that’s what got us going initially.”

Picture:Mark Maxwell

Ballet dancer Monica Loughman

Picture:Mark Condren

He advised ignoring both the catcalls and the applause. I don’t read bad reviews of my books and I don’t believe good ones. Anybody who puts a creative work in front of an audience looks for the one who isn’t clapping — that’s one’s own doubt made manifest in another person. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says you have to be true to yourself. But there’s a balance between creating something that reflects a truth you believe in and being able to

stand over it in public. As an author your responsibility is to do the best job, so you’re not wasting people’s time.” What activities help you work better? “I need to take time out. I go to the gym, walk the dogs. I give myself space doing something that’s not like writing. A good sauce needs to simmer for a while. It’s similar with creative work.”

Playwright and actor Raymond Scannell What inspires you? “I work in a few fields in theatre — I write, I act. Alice In Funderland [a new musical, currently premiering at the Abbey Theatre] is purely a music gig. I grew up listening to Donal Dineen, who did No Disco, an alternative, late-night music show. He was a quirky character — he’d have ‘no disco’ on the bottom of his shoes and unusual camera angles. He played Irish and international music that wasn’t mainstream. I was a club generation teen and everything that was happening in electronic music struck a chord — Portishead, Massive Attack and

Bjork. I’ve kept following that style of music — it definitely played into Alice In Funderland. ” How do you deal with the blank canvas? “When I’m given too much freedom and time to write the blank canvas can get very long and blank. When the deadline’s tight and I don’t have too much time to think, I just get it out — definitely the case with “Alice In Funderland”. It had been in development for four years, on and off. We’d work in theatre for short development bursts of a week, where we’d get the cast in and it’d

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

Is routine important? “You can’t wait for the mood to write to strike. I’m at my desk at a certain time everyday. I set myself a target: today, I won’t leave the desk until I’ve written 1,000 words or have revised a chapter. Set yourself manageable chunks of work, especially if you work in another job too. And be happy you’ve met your target — whether that’s writing 100 words or getting up 15 minutes earlier to write.” literally be that fast. I’d be in an hour before the cast — in that hour I’d write the song. It was very liberating, you don’t get caught up in it trying to be something. With a shorter time I’m more productive, better stuff comes out.” Do you believe in the notion of ‘just doing it’, regardless of whether you get it right first time? “You hear stories of writers writing plays in two weeks. That’s a myth because they’ll have done a lot of preparatory work. It’s like doing the Leaving Cert, where you’ve been preparing for two years but the exam’s just an hour and a half. It’s about getting out what you’ve accumulated so you’re not getting in the way of your thinking.”

What’s the best advice you’ve received around inspiration? “One of my Russian teachers — Picture:Mark Stedman Valentina Bykova — said, ‘don’t quit just before the miracle happens’. Not quitting’s important. So is understanding when you’re at your best, when you’re good the classroom, the dancers look to me for enough — that’s where the ‘miracle’ comes guidance. I have to look impeccable and be in.” ready for five hours work; hard if I’ve got little sleep because my two-year-old has been What activities help you work better? throwing up all night. I have to be disci“To rest my brain, I watch TV series like plined enough not to have a bad day. An auGrey’s Anatomy. I listen to books I’ve downloaded on podcast. Going to sleep, I have the dience doesn’t know — and shouldn’t know — that I’ve had a fight with my boyfriend.” radio playing but it can’t be music or I’m back at work again — I’m dancing, I’m ● Monica Loughman Ballet Company’s prore-living a dance or thinking about a backduction of La Sylphide tours to Siamsa Tíre, drop.” Kerry, Apr 19; Town Hall Theatre, Galway, Apr 20 & 21; Theatre Royal, Waterford, Apr Is routine important? 22. Book at www.lasylphide.ie. “Routine’s important, so is discipline. In What’s the best advice you’ve received around inspiration? “That it’s better not to try and control the process, not to get in the way of it but to let it come out. As a writer you act as a sort of vessel. You’re releasing the subconscious rather than the conscious.” What activities help you work better? “I’m part of a scheme called Six In The Attic. Six of us, who are involved in theatre, get attic space with wi-fi access and a desk at the Irish Theatre Institute. I’m in a different mindset when I’m there — we egg each other on and bounce ideas off each other. Mixing that with working from home is very productive. Also, I live by Sandymount Cove. If I can’t reach a certain point in my work, walking for half an hour

makes things click into place.” Is routine important? “There has to be some sort of routine. Writing’s art and craft. There’s technical stuff, as well as the inspiration, which takes time. Creative work can lead you off in another direction. If I’m getting a lot of work done I’ll keep going rather than stop. If there’s nothing majorly inspirational happening, I’ll step away. You need a definite routine, but it has to be adjustable, so you have flexibility to stay longer with something or step away.” ● Raymond Scannell is composer for Alice In Funderland, which is at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre runs until May 12.


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:15:45:25Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:8

Zone:XH

8 Cover story

Time for creativity 9 A single comment that points to the direction we must take, a line from a song that gives us a new perspective, a book that supports a decision we’ve made. Inspiration uplifts us, brings us to new heights, shows us a creative way through. Helen O’Callaghan speaks to four people working in the arts in Ireland, asking what their source is XH - V2

WHAT SPURS ME ON Singer and actress Camille O’Sullivan

Author John Connolly

What inspires you? “Agnes Bernelle was of Jewish background and escaped from Germany during the war. I came across her in Dublin when I was 21. She was 75 and sang narrative stories, quite dark political songs. It was inspiring to see a lady of 75 captivate an audience with such difficult, dark songs. I loved how still she was, how she drew people to her. She said you have to be a better actress than singer to sing these songs. That’s what I do now — I tell a story and become a character. I found it inspiring that a woman could work up to 75. She sang ’til she died and I’m going to sing right to the end. It shouldn’t end when you’re ‘too old’ or you’ve got too big.” How do you deal with the blank canvas? “Artists are dabblers. I gather information — an interesting design in a shop window might give an idea for a stage set. Seeing the way light was used in the film, The Artist, gave me ideas. I watch people in bars. I look at newspapers for costume ideas. You begin with a blank canvas, but you have a wealth of information and an inquisitive mind. You’re your own walking encyclopedia.” Do you believe in the notion of ‘just doing it’, regardless of whether you get it right first time? “The boldest step is creating a show in the first place. Leonard Cohen said ‘there’s a crack in everything and that’s how the light gets in’. That’s why I like my shows to be slightly imbalanced. Life isn’t perfect — my audiences would get nervous if things are presented too prettily. I think bold moves are really important. You fall flat on your face but you know you’re taking a risk — getting

Feelgood

it right is keeping it safe.” What’s the best advice you’ve received around inspiration? “My father would say ‘just do it’. I didn’t understand what he meant until I had a car accident and my immortality was questioned. I realised if I wanted to be a performer I just needed to do it. That was the sharpest inspiration I got. Somebody else said ‘it’s none of your business what anybody thinks about you’ — that freed me up not to take things too seriously. My dad also advised getting rid of all the tough stuff before 1pm so you’re free for the rest of the day. And actor Jude Sweeney said ‘do five things for your career each day’.” What activities help you work better? “You have to be physical to unclog the mind. Running helps me free my mind and calmly work out what I’m going to do. I cycle all the time, which helps too. Yoga helps and so does sketching.” Is routine important? “I wish I had a routine. I’ve got away with it for so long. Now, tours and venues are getting bigger and I feel I need to have a routine. My mad gypsy lifestyle is brilliant but it brings unclarity.” ● Camille O’Sullivan is supporting the love: live music movement presented by Music Network in association with RTÉ Lyric fm. Professional and amateur musicians countrywide are encouraged to occupy a stage and create a free music experience on Jun 21, International Music Day. Visit www.lovelivemusic.ie.

Do you believe in the notion of ‘just doing it’, regardless of whether you get it right first time? “I like to bring the modern world into this older dance form. I’m not afraid to experiment to do that. I’ve often started something and a couple of weeks in I realise it’s not right. I’m not afraid of changing what I’ve done. Artistic people sometimes underestimate the value of just tweaking something. You don’t have to remove all the wallpaper, just add a border. If you’ve got a core idea, it’s always going to be there, however you deviate from it.”

How do you deal with the blank canvas? “I go to the gym three days a week. I love having gone rather than being there. Writing’s a bit like that — having done it is often a lot better than doing it. The blank canvas is part of the process. Mostly, you sweat it out. I’ll have one day while writing a book when I’ll write 5,000 words and think I’m channeling God. Next day, I’ll sweat out 1,000 words over five hours. Most of the time it’s difficult and you learn to write through it. You have to learn that lack of confidence, doubt, form most of the process.” Do you believe in the notion of ‘just doing it’, regardless of whether you get it right first time? “I believe in getting it right in the end. There are no great writers, only great re-writers. The electronic age has conditioned us to put things out immediately. We don’t take time to improve or re-write — not a good idea for art. Mark Twain would write lengthy character assassinations to people he hated. He’d ask his wife to post them — she never did. With hindsight, he probably wished he’d never written them. Creative endeavour needs time. Hemmingway would put what he’d written in a box for six months and then look at it.” What’s the best advice you’ve received around inspiration? “James Lee Burke was a huge influence.

What inspires you? “The audience: when I was the only Irish dancer among an all-Russian troupe the sense of pride an Irish audience had in me was really inspiring. Working with dancers everyday, I’ll look at one dancer and be inspired by their ability, by how they move. From that I can create a whole show. Otherwise, I’m inspired by Mikhail Baryshnikov, by the personality and edge he brought to his dancing.” How do you deal with the blank canvas? “I have the opposite problem. The challenge is trying to pare things down. My brain’s so busy, yet it’s really important to get the message across and be concise.”

What inspires you? “Paying the mortgage is a wonderful inspiration! Ultimately, your aspiration is that what you do will support you. The Society of Artists in Britain found 90% of writers earn less than £5,000. I like doing what I do. Most people — whether writers, artists or musicians — have always done what they do. It’s the way we look at the world — that’s what got us going initially.”

Picture:Mark Maxwell

Ballet dancer Monica Loughman

Picture:Mark Condren

He advised ignoring both the catcalls and the applause. I don’t read bad reviews of my books and I don’t believe good ones. Anybody who puts a creative work in front of an audience looks for the one who isn’t clapping — that’s one’s own doubt made manifest in another person. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says you have to be true to yourself. But there’s a balance between creating something that reflects a truth you believe in and being able to

stand over it in public. As an author your responsibility is to do the best job, so you’re not wasting people’s time.” What activities help you work better? “I need to take time out. I go to the gym, walk the dogs. I give myself space doing something that’s not like writing. A good sauce needs to simmer for a while. It’s similar with creative work.”

Playwright and actor Raymond Scannell What inspires you? “I work in a few fields in theatre — I write, I act. Alice In Funderland [a new musical, currently premiering at the Abbey Theatre] is purely a music gig. I grew up listening to Donal Dineen, who did No Disco, an alternative, late-night music show. He was a quirky character — he’d have ‘no disco’ on the bottom of his shoes and unusual camera angles. He played Irish and international music that wasn’t mainstream. I was a club generation teen and everything that was happening in electronic music struck a chord — Portishead, Massive Attack and

Bjork. I’ve kept following that style of music — it definitely played into Alice In Funderland. ” How do you deal with the blank canvas? “When I’m given too much freedom and time to write the blank canvas can get very long and blank. When the deadline’s tight and I don’t have too much time to think, I just get it out — definitely the case with “Alice In Funderland”. It had been in development for four years, on and off. We’d work in theatre for short development bursts of a week, where we’d get the cast in and it’d

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

Is routine important? “You can’t wait for the mood to write to strike. I’m at my desk at a certain time everyday. I set myself a target: today, I won’t leave the desk until I’ve written 1,000 words or have revised a chapter. Set yourself manageable chunks of work, especially if you work in another job too. And be happy you’ve met your target — whether that’s writing 100 words or getting up 15 minutes earlier to write.” literally be that fast. I’d be in an hour before the cast — in that hour I’d write the song. It was very liberating, you don’t get caught up in it trying to be something. With a shorter time I’m more productive, better stuff comes out.” Do you believe in the notion of ‘just doing it’, regardless of whether you get it right first time? “You hear stories of writers writing plays in two weeks. That’s a myth because they’ll have done a lot of preparatory work. It’s like doing the Leaving Cert, where you’ve been preparing for two years but the exam’s just an hour and a half. It’s about getting out what you’ve accumulated so you’re not getting in the way of your thinking.”

What’s the best advice you’ve received around inspiration? “One of my Russian teachers — Picture:Mark Stedman Valentina Bykova — said, ‘don’t quit just before the miracle happens’. Not quitting’s important. So is understanding when you’re at your best, when you’re good the classroom, the dancers look to me for enough — that’s where the ‘miracle’ comes guidance. I have to look impeccable and be in.” ready for five hours work; hard if I’ve got little sleep because my two-year-old has been What activities help you work better? throwing up all night. I have to be disci“To rest my brain, I watch TV series like plined enough not to have a bad day. An auGrey’s Anatomy. I listen to books I’ve downloaded on podcast. Going to sleep, I have the dience doesn’t know — and shouldn’t know — that I’ve had a fight with my boyfriend.” radio playing but it can’t be music or I’m back at work again — I’m dancing, I’m ● Monica Loughman Ballet Company’s prore-living a dance or thinking about a backduction of La Sylphide tours to Siamsa Tíre, drop.” Kerry, Apr 19; Town Hall Theatre, Galway, Apr 20 & 21; Theatre Royal, Waterford, Apr Is routine important? 22. Book at www.lasylphide.ie. “Routine’s important, so is discipline. In What’s the best advice you’ve received around inspiration? “That it’s better not to try and control the process, not to get in the way of it but to let it come out. As a writer you act as a sort of vessel. You’re releasing the subconscious rather than the conscious.” What activities help you work better? “I’m part of a scheme called Six In The Attic. Six of us, who are involved in theatre, get attic space with wi-fi access and a desk at the Irish Theatre Institute. I’m in a different mindset when I’m there — we egg each other on and bounce ideas off each other. Mixing that with working from home is very productive. Also, I live by Sandymount Cove. If I can’t reach a certain point in my work, walking for half an hour

makes things click into place.” Is routine important? “There has to be some sort of routine. Writing’s art and craft. There’s technical stuff, as well as the inspiration, which takes time. Creative work can lead you off in another direction. If I’m getting a lot of work done I’ll keep going rather than stop. If there’s nothing majorly inspirational happening, I’ll step away. You need a definite routine, but it has to be adjustable, so you have flexibility to stay longer with something or step away.” ● Raymond Scannell is composer for Alice In Funderland, which is at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre runs until May 12.


Zone:XH

10 Medical matters

XH - V1

Q

My partner was laid off work six months ago. He is 48 years old and has been told his prospects of future employment are slim. His confidence is at an all-time low. Our GP has suggested a short course of anti-depressants, but I am concerned about the side effects such as mood swings and violent behaviour. Would it be better to start with counselling?

Dr Julius Parker is a GP with HSF Health Plan’s free 24 GP advice line. For more information visit www.hsf.ie or lo-call 1890 451 451

If you have a question about your health email it to feelgood@examiner.ie or send a letter to: Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork

A. I am very sorry to hear about your partner’s situation and naturally this would affect his self-confidence. It’s a difficult time for both of you, but your support can be crucial in helping him. Your GP obviously feels your partner is showing symptoms of depression, and it’s important to remember these can include physical symptoms, such as tiredness, poor appetite and a broken sleep pattern, as well as emotional symptoms, including mood swings, irritability and poor concentration. Counselling can obviously be a helpful approach, but many people find counselling quite difficult if they’re depressed. This is because their mood, hopes for the future, and self-esteem are low. They simply may not see any point. Counselling often involves people deciding to tackle their difficulties in a new way, or trying other avenues, and even with a supportive partner you’ve got to have some confidence in yourself to be ready to attempt this. That’s why gaining some of the benefits of anti-depressants may be a better first step before seeing a counsellor. Most doctors recommend at least a six-month course of treatment to achieve the best results and reduce the chance of a relapse. You’re right to say that anti-depressants can have side-effects, but your GP may start on a lower dose first to make sure your partner is tolerating the treatment well. If your partner is willing I’d also encourage him to take some regular exercise as there is good evidence this can boost mood and self-confidence. Q. I have a tendency to drink very hot drinks and rush my food. Recently, I’ve been experiencing a tingling sensation on my tongue. Should I be worried?

NEWS UPDATE

TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:15:27:05Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:10

Meal-replacement products do not work for the vast majority of people and could prove injurious to their overall health. The products — which are available in some pharmacies — also encourage a ‘cycle of failure’ for people trying to lose weight, according to the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) which says that such ‘short cuts’ do not work for 95% of people. Dr Donal O’Shea, chairman of the IHF, was referring to products on sale in pharmacies without prescription, which act as meal substitutes and come in powder or liquid form. “If we have learnt anything over the last decade in weight management it is that, for most people, slow weight loss is the only way to lose weight and successfully keep it off.” He said obesity was a major health issue for Ireland. “In my clinical practice I have seen people with real health problems resulting from very low-calorie approaches, such as meal-replacement products. I cannot say it enough: quick-fix approaches do not work,” he said. The IHF recommends reducing calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day in order to achieve a steady

A. The short answer is probably not, as very hot drinks can damage the surface of the tongue and this can cause a tingling, burning sensation. I also wondered if you might have indigestion associated with acid reflux, which can cause a similar scalding or tingling sensation on all or part of the tongue. As a first step I would suggest consciously letting your drinks cool down a little, and deliberately eating less quickly. You should find the tingling sensation disappears, and you may also enjoy your meals more. If this approach doesn’t work and if the tingling sensation becomes more persistent, then you need to see your GP. Tingling over the tongue is very non-specific, which means

HEALTH WARNING: Diets with insufficient calories can lead to nausea, weakness, dizziness, irritability and hair loss. Picture: iStock weight loss of 1 to 2lbs each week. However, people were strongly advised not to engage in very low calorie dieting, which involves consuming less than 800 calories per day. Dr O’Shea says that such diets can produce many side-effects, such as weakness, dizziness, constipation, hair loss, nausea and irritability, and crucially, they don’t work. many conditions can occasionally be linked with this symptom. Your GP will ask about previous dental surgery, which can cause damage to the tongue’s nerve supply; consider if you could be allergic to ingredients in your toothpaste or mouthwash, or if you have evidence of other disease within your mouth. You’ll need to have some screening blood tests, as, rarely diabetes and iron or vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia can show up in this way. Smoking or chewing tobacco can be linked to this symptom and very rarely so can certain medications, such as blood pressure tablets. I think it’s likely your eating patterns are triggering this symptom rather than anything more serious and I’d start by changing these.

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

S

Catherine Shanahan MUM’S WORLD Feelgood

TILL smarting from not getting the sister she had repeatedly and confidently predicted, my daughter has yet to forgive me a month after her brother’s birth. In an age rampant with labels for every little kink in our psychological make-up, her brand of angst comes with a heading all of its own. It’s called Gender Disappointment, which, while it sounds like something Freud dreamt up, is in fact nothing more complex than the desire for another female to go shopping with, or to kit out in contrasting shades of pink, or simply to outnumber the brothers and hold the power of veto in future family feuds. She wailed when she heard I had betrayed her. Arriving at the hospital ward, she approached the new arrival like a hunter tracking a tiger intent on skinning its pelt. Shooting me a look that said “How COULD you? You KNEW I wanted a sister”, she squeezed a few more tears to ratchet up my guilt. She was gutted and I was the culprit and there was no getting away from it. “Never mind,” said the older brother blithely, “Mammy will have a girl next time.” This cheered her up no end. She turned to me questioningly. I don’t like to lie, but this was a crisis. We all have

our breaking point and the quantum of disappointment a three-year-old can tolerate is substantially less than the kind of setback I could expect if I told her I was done making babies forever. And so I didn’t say, “You will not be having a sister.” Instead I said, “Maybe we could get one from China”. More than four weeks later, I’m still getting China reminders. The route between Europe and Asia is traced out daily on My First World Map, stuck on the wall in the playroom. The distance from Ireland to China is not enough to put her off, even when I tell her it could take years for a sister to get here, or that it’s not easy to pole vault over that Great Chinese Wall. I have tried inviting friends around to see if a regular dose of girl power could satisfy her desire for a female sidekick, but she’s not buying it. I made a cock-up of the gender and like a dog with a bone the child will not let it go. In the meantime, the best I can do is try to curry favour on behalf of the new brother. I tell her he loves his big sister, but I get the impression she’s sceptical. How could I know what he thinks when he lacks the capacity to speak? As girls go, I think this one may have been here before.

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

It’s called Gender Disappointment, which, while it sounds like something Freud dreamt up, is in fact nothing more complex than the desire for another female to go shopping with, or to kit out in contrasting shades of pink


Zone:XH

Exercise time

XH - V2

11

Deirdre Reynolds dives into bootcamp training rather than the biscuit tin

Fit for a better life T

RADITIONALLY bank holiday weekends are all about lying in, drinking too much and dodging the

gym. So would you swap your long-awaited Easter break for three days of early starts, exercise and self-control instead? It may be an oxymoron — but ‘fitness holidays’ are all the rage among fat-fighters right now. Ireland’s latest ‘fitscape’ doesn’t just guarantee to help you look good in a bikini, however — it pledges to change your life. Set in the picturesque vale of Avoca, Refit Yourself is a three, five or six day live-in bootcamp designed to snap participants out of bad habits and reset them on the road towards a healthy lifestyle. And if, like us, your current exercise regime consists of channel-surfing and diving into the biscuit tin it could be just the thing to retrain your brain. Backing slowly away from the remote control, I loaded the car with tracksuits, runners, hiking boots and raingear and set off for The Woodenbridge Hotel & Lodge in Wicklow for the weekend. Unlike lots of other outdoor fat camps, the good news is that you get your own room (or share with a pal) — and take it from me, warm showers, chef-prepared food and a comfy bed go a long way towards taking the sting out of a seven-hour daily exercise regimen. When you’re huffing your way up and down two kilometres of rolling countryside to warm up, formality soon goes right out the window. After dinner in the hotel restaurant — a healthy veggie stir-fry for me — our small group got chatting about our personal reasons for wanting to shed a few pounds. Tall and sporty, it’s hard to imagine co-founder David Greaney — who runs Refit Yourself with army fitness instructor Brendan Downey — ever tussling with the scales. But the idea came about after David’s own fitness regime went off the rails, he explains: “Three years ago I decided to take a week off work in order to do something about my unhealthy way of life,” he says. “During the week I trained three times a day, ate well and didn’t smoke. Afterwards, I drew up a training programme that I knew I could stick to once I returned to work. “I felt much happier, healthier and had more energy as a result — and wanted to do something to help other people kickstart a healthier way of life too.” Although some of the instructors are military men — including Sergeant Mick Mulcahy of Operation Transformation, the firm-but-fair bootcamp is less about being pushed around than pushing yourself. “By taking away the temptation of the couch and training for at least three consequetive days, participants get the chance to see what they’re really capable of achieving,” says Greaney. “Most of the time people surprise themselves. Surprised indeed that I’m still standing the following night after tackling a gruelling hike, mucky circuit training, boxercise, walking and stretching. As a self-professed exercise-phobe, I don’t

Feelgood

UP FOR IT Deirdre Reynolds gets into the full swing of the Refit Yourself weekend bootcamp which included a gruelling hike, mucky circuit training, boxercise, walking and stretching. Picture: Barry Cronin

think I was the only one who found the and sexual health, as well as team-building training tough going. games. But with plenty of time to reNaturally though, the best lax and recharge in your team-building of all took place room between sessions, in the pub on Saturday every time I felt like night, where the 125 ■ Aim to make a habit of training throwing in the calories in a glass of red — the key is to choose something towel — I just wine proved impossithat pushes you but isn’t physically threw in the ble to resist. exhausting or mentally daunting. bath towel by Still, there’s noth■ Ideally, train first thing in the soaking in the ing like a 12-kilomorning so that it doesn’t matter tub instead. metre cycle or what else the day might throw at When muddy push-ups you. you’re not the morning after ■ Then, if you find time in the working out the night before evening, do another small training (or recoverto clear your session such as walking the dog ing from head. or playing football with the kids. your last And by the time ■ For beginners, aim to do one), there I’m repacking the around three sessions per week; are workshops car with sodden for those getting back into training, on how to imsports gear on Sunaim for three to five sessions per prove all the othday afternoon, sudweek; and advanced exercisers, er elements of your denly my personalised aim for five to seven sessions per wellbeing too includsix-week exercise proweek. ing nutrition, mental gramme of four training ses-

Refit yourself

TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:15:47:06Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:11

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

sions a week seems more doable. “All participants leave with a huge sense of accomplishment,” says Greaney. “For some, their stay will help bring a new level of fitness to their regular training sessions; while for others, it will give them the confidence to kickstart a healthier way of life. “Everyone leaves with a personalised six-week training programme and we hold regular continuous assessment days to help members remain focused.” So three weeks on, am I born-again gym bunny? Well, not entirely — after a long day’s work, the couch still calls to me and I’ve yet to meet a bar of chocolate I don’t like. But I’m definitely making more of an effort to get into the gym at least twice a week and have dropped a sensible 4lbs. When’s the last time you can say that about a weekend away? ● Refit Yourself Weekend Programme costs €390 all-inclusive — see www.RefitYourself.ie for more details.


Zone:XH

12

E

Healthy food

XH - V1

STARTER: SALAD Serves 4 1 head butterhead lettuce 1 baby gem lettuce 1 avocado ¼ onion, finely chopped To serve: Handful Bombay mix Dressing: 1 teasp balsamic or red wine vinegar 1 teasp French mustard 8 tabsps olive oil Handful chopped parsley Sea salt and black pepper

Easter service

NTERTAIN family and friends this Easter with some healthy and easy recipes. Keep it light with the starters and small at the end with dessert, and in between try a fish pie. I have revised the below version to include lots of vegetables, to add colour and nutrition and to achieve a balanced meal all in one. It can easily be doubled or trebled for a crowd. I have often made it in a roasting tin for 10-12 people. The dessert below is quick and easy and served in cones, saves on washing up.

Shake all the dressing ingredients together in a jar and set aside. Wash and dry the lettuce leaves. Peel and thinly slice the avocado no longer than half an hour before serving as it may go brown. Pour some dressing over it once sliced to minimise discolouration. Place the lettuce and onion in a bowl and when about to serve add the dressing, avocado and mix well. Scatter Bombay mix on top or serve separately. Lemon juice can replace the vinegar and later on when in season, lightly cooked French beans are delicious added to this salad. MAIN COURSE: FISH PIE Serves 4-6 500g potatoes 500g sweet potato Heaped desrtsp horseradish 300g low fat cream cheese (Philadelphia) 1 stick celery, chopped finely 1 large carrot, grated Handful defrosted broadbeans or peas 2-4 sundried or fresh tomatoes, chopped 150ml vegetable or fish stock 4 teasps cornflour 650g fish, cubed Handful prawns (optional) Handful spinach, shredded (optional) 1 tabsp chopped parsley and chives Few threads saffron (optional) or 1 teasp paprika Butter to finish potatoes

I like to make prawn stock by roasting the shells of the prawns at 200c/400f/gas 6 for 20 minutes. Place in a saucepan and cover with water and boil rapidly for 20 minutes so it is reduced to 150ml. Bought fish stock or vegetable bouillon made up with water is

All covered

TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:12:29:58Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:12

Salad for starters, fish pie for main course and an ice-cream treat for dessert — what more could you want for a celebratory family meal together?

Roz Crowley

fine too. Meanwhile, boil or steam the potatoes. The sweet potato is best steamed so moisture is not added to the texture. They can also both be baked in their skins. When cooked mash each separately with butter, milk or olive oil as you prefer, adding the horseradish to the potatoes. Make the mixture as smooth as possible by mashing well. I add a knob of butter and a little cream to each. Don’t add too much milk as you want it to be smooth, not runny. A heavy mixture will sink into the fish mixture. Leave in the saucepan with

Getting well researched health information isn’t as easy as it should be. Websites are often funded by companies with vested interests and it seems that many professionals are prepared to compromise their standards for sponsorship. All the more appreciated then is a book that is well researched and objective. Joanna Blythman, pictured here, is the British investigative food journalist, who is critical of supermarket policies, processed food and so-called low fat and low calorie foods. In her latest book What to Eat she covers the food dilemmas we face every

Feelgood

Picture: ThinkStock

the lid on to keep warm. Choose any mix of fish you fancy, including a third of smoked fish such as haddock. Salmon is best mixed with some hake or cod to avoid being too heavy. Monkfish is delicious. The more dense the texture, the smaller it needs to be cut. Heat the stock, take off the heat and add the cream cheese and cornflour. Add the saffron if used or the paprika, then the parsley. Next add the broadbeans or peas, tomatoes, carrot and celery and mix well. The mixture will be quite bulky, but the fish will yield some moisture and will make it looser and lighter as it cooks. There is no need to worry if you don’t have all of the vegetables. While they add colour and vitamins, the pie will be perfectly good without one or two of them. Pour the fish and vegetable mixture into an ovenproof dish. Cover with the mashed potato and sweet potato in stripes or any pattern you like. Make the pattern fairly small so everyone gets both the sweet and regular potato. Dot with butter to get a crisp finish. Bake at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 40 minutes. Turn up the oven to 200c/400f/gas 6 for 10 minutes if the top hasn’t browned.

day — what fish is endangered, how tiger prawns are farmed (not as environmentally friendly as we would hope) and points us to perfectly good and healthy locally caught rockfish, coley, herring and mackerel. How good is red meat for us? We are told to eat less but of good quality. We are also told how wholesome are wholefoods (there is good news for eaters of peas, beans and lentils), and she provides recipes ideas for many of the

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

foods she mentions. “Don’t eat crops that trash the planet” is one of her messages; another is “get your food variety over the year, not in a week”, and we are given 10 ways to save money on food without compromising our principles. Joanna has 20 principles of eating well and suggests getting a better understanding of organic foods for the sake of health and taste, not being

DESSERT: ICE-CREAM TREAT Serves 4 4 scoops vanilla ice-cream 100g chocolate Easter egg 50g almonds or hazelnuts 2 squares dark chocolate, grated 4 ice-cream cones Crush the almonds or hazelnuts with a rolling pin. Toss in a hot frying pan until golden or put in the oven for 10 minutes while the potatoes are baking. They are ready when golden. Melt the chocolate slowly with 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon butter over gentle heat, or microwave for 1 minute at lowest setting. Mix to a smooth sauce. Swirl a little chocolate into the cone to line it. Scoop ice-cream into the cone and top with some of the melted Easter egg. Sprinkle with the almonds or hazelnuts. Top with the grated chocolate.

afraid to use non organic local producers. She steers us away from bottled water in favour of tap water, even if it tastes less good. “Be super-suspicious of supermarket promotional offers” she adds, warning of buying over budget for the sake of a purchase that is not the bargain it seems. Looking at the health properties of many foods, she has plenty of ideas for using fresh, seasonal fruit. ● What to Eat, Fourth Estate (£16.99), is a good buy for anyone interested in their own health and that of the planet.


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:15:39:07Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:13

Zone:XH

Male Male health health 13

XH - V2

Living in fear of collapse

W

HEN Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch it was like déjà vu for Dublin man Marcus Ó Buachalla. Now 31, he was 23 when he collapsed while training with Kilmacud Crokes in 2004. “The first time, I was young and I put it down to the stress of exams,” says Marcus, an account manager with Pembroke Communications. “I would have been training with college teams and with my home club and going to the gym in between, so there would have been every few days when I wasn’t active. I was in hospital for over four weeks and, even after all the tests, the doctors still couldn’t be sure what caused my collapse. I learned that the heart is a very complex organ and there’s no right or wrong answer.” Things were slightly more worrying when he collapsed while training when he was 26. Today, he has a name for his condition: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. “The main symptoms are a thickening of the wall of the heart which restricts blood

Deirdre O'Flynn MOSTLY MEN HEART SHOCK: Marcus Ó Buachalla collapsed twice within three years while training. Doctors later diagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Picture: Nick Bradshaw flow and the heart’s capacity to pump blood around. I’ve also got a low pulse rate: 17 beats per minute when asleep and 45 beats per minute when resting — the normal is 60/70 beats per minute.” There has been no repeat of the collapses and Marcus scaled back completely on exercise, though he’s back doing light training now. “I have regular check ups, I keep an eye on what I eat, but I’m not on any medications,” he said, adding that there are no

significant heart-related issues in his family. According to the Irish Heart Foundation, 5,000 people die suddenly from cardiac arrest in Ireland every year and between 70 to 100 of these occur in people under 35 years old. “For every minute a person is collapsed without receiving CPR or defibrillation, their chance of survival decreases by between 7 and 10% per minute,” says Brigid Sinnott, Irish Heart Foundation resuscitation expert. “After five minutes, their chance of survival

Safety tips if you plan an adventure holiday

How strokes affect communications

Many men emigrating to Australia will include backpacking in their experiences Down Under. However, these adventures come hand in hand with major health risks which can potentially ruin your trip of a lifetime. Vaccines, avoiding mosquito bites, what to eat and drink and many other issues need to be covered by your doctor. According to the Tropical Medical Bureau, you should assume all tap water may be contaminated and use boiled or sealed bottled water at all times for drinking and brush-

Approximately one in three people with stroke will have aphasia — language and communication problems due to damage to the left side of the brain, such as that caused by stroke. That’s why the Irish Association of Speech & Language Therapists has launched a public information guide to understanding how stroke affects communication, speech and language skills and how to help people who have been affected by stroke. The guide provides practical

TAKE 1

4

ing your teeth. Many trekkers develop various bowel parasites while abroad because of eating unwise foods. Choose accommodation with mosquito nets over the beds. Treat any bites early and don’t allow them fester. Rabies is a common disease in many regions where you may travel and so avoid contact with all animals. Treat any bite very seriously and get competent medical attention as soon as possible. For further safety tips, log on to www.tmb.ie

COLOUR CHANGE: Fancy a change of hair colour for the Easter weekend? Hennaplus Long Lasting Colour, which comes in 33 shades, is formulated to provide an intensive colour with 100% grey coverage. If you are concerned about the chemicals in hair colours, this natural formula is free from PPDs, parabens, fragrance and phthalates. It contains certified organic extracts and conditioning ingredients, including sunflower seed extract, green tea, chamomile and rosemary. Hennaplus is available from pharmacies and costs €12.99. New to the range this month is Hennaplus Colour Boost Shampoo, €16.99, which comes in nine shades. The Hennaplus range is available in pharmacies; for stockist details contact Naturelle De La Riche on 01-8903070.

Feelgood

tips for family and friends of people who have had a stroke and aims to inform people about this condition. Aphasia makes conversation difficult and can be embarrassing and may lead to social isolation and depression. The person with aphasia and his family/close friends should meet with a speech and language therapist for diagnosis, treatment and guidelines on how best to communicate with them. Log on to www.iaslt.ie for more information.

may be reduced by as much as 50%. But with bystander CPR and the availability of a defibrillator within minutes, their chances can greatly improve.” Marcus agrees. “If we’re serious about the health of young adults, at least one person in a club should have basic first aid training and there should be a defibrillator in each club. It’s not enough to have freeze sprays and rolls of bandages that nobody ever knows what to do with.”

DId you know...

We are more likely to vote for political candidates with deeper voices (Source: Duke University, North Carolina, US)

Your crowning glory

2

SMELL THE LEMON: Simon Cowell was in the news for supposedly arriving late for the Britain’s Got Talent auditions, because he was enjoying a good soak. He uses Weleda’s citrus refreshing bath milk, €11.95 for 300ml, a blend of organic lemon oil from Sicily and Spanish olive oil. Lemon peel oil is a natural toner, and detoxifies, stimulating the lymphatic system and circulation. Relax in a reviving bath after a long day to freshen up before an evening out. Free from synthetic ingredients or artificial additives.

3

HAIR TREAT: Since 1985 Dutch company Hairwonder have been developing natural hair products in a sustainable way and their products are now available in Irish pharmacies. Hairwonder Gloss Shampoos, available in blonde, red, brown and black, €9.99 for 200ml, have been formulated to provide colour protection and glossy shine. The range also has a variety of specialist hair products, including an Intensive Hair Repair Anti-Hairloss Shampoo, €10.99. This mild cleansing shampoo is enriched with rock crystals, red ginseng and biotin to improve strength, volume and condition and reduce hair loss. The Anti-hairloss lotion, €19.99, has been shown to increase hair growth by 25% in four days. For stockist details contact Naturelle De La Riche on 01-8903070.

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

4

VITAMIN E: Prepare your skin for warmer weather with the healing power of vitamin E, which reduces fine lines and wrinkles and can smooth stretch marks and scars. Jason Vitamin E therapy oil is €11.13 for 33ml and is formulated to leave skin soft, smooth and supple. Celebrity fans of Jason products, which are available in health stores, include actress, Reese Witherspoon and fashion designer, Stella McCartney.


Zone:XH

14

Beauty

You can scrub up and spoil yourself with skin treats in your own bathroom

E

XH - V2

The news on...

SPARKLE AT HOME

TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:12:13:37Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:14

VEN in the heady Celtic Tiger years, spa treatments were never really my bag. Not least because of the exorbitant prices. And while a hot stone massage really is something to savour, there are tons of spa treatments that you can almost replicate in your own home for a fraction of the price. I say almost because you’re never going to replicate the smells, or the warmth, or the fluffy robes, or the luxury treatment rooms of a spa, so keep your expectations low. But still, if you pick your products wisely and you use your imagination a little, you can enjoy some pampering treatments that don’t cost the earth, and with summer just around the corner there’s no better time for getting your body in shape. First up are exfoliating treatments. These are my favourite — if I had my way I get a professional exfoliating treatment every single week: it leaves your skin feeling silky soft, every time. But all is not lost if you can’t afford to fork out for a posh scrub down. Aveda’s Caribbean Therapy Scrub, €27.85, is as effective as it is enjoyable. Packed with exotic aromas, it immediately transports you to balmier climes and you can almost hear the soft ripple of waves on a white-sand beach. Rub it into dry skin all over to enjoy the incredible smell and the skin-smoothing benefits, then step into the bath, let it all dissolve and enjoy a good, relaxing soak. Sublime. Bliss Hot Salt Scrub, €34.28, is another fab choice. It’s self-heating, and gives your senses a real zing, thanks to rosemary and eucalyptus, which smell fantastic. If you’re a gym bunny, bring it to the gym and slather it on in the steam room before your shower — the smell will really clear your sinuses. It’s also really easy to make your own exfoliating scrubs with just olive oil and salt or sugar. You can throw in a bit of oatmeal, as well, or use vitamin E oil if you’re looking for some more skin-softening benefits. Part of what’s so enjoyable about spa treatment is getting really, really messy. (Annoyingly, at home you have to do the clean-up bit yourself.) Uspa Mud Therapy, €34.70, is the perfect product to wreck havoc with. It’s not cheap, but you do get a few treatments out of it, and it does feel super silky soft. I like to combine it with an exfoliator (used beforehand) and a body butter (afterwards)

Beauty with Heart The beauty industry isn’t exactly known for its caring side, but The Body Shop continues to do business with the kind of ethical and responsible beauty products that it has been famous for. Its new Beauty with Heart movement is set to roll out in mid-May and has Lily Cole, right, as brand ambassador. The stores will be rearranged with more energy efficient design, FSC wood and carboard-based packaging, encouraging people to think a little more about where their products come from.

Take three... Scented candles Okay, so scented candles are a bit naff, but if you use them in the right places (ie, the bathroom) rather than the wrong places (ie the kitchen or the sitting room) then they can be just right. It’s also really important to make sure you opt for one that uses natural essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances; they’re more expensive but the difference is incredible.

Emily O’Sullivan for a once-a-month indulgence. The mud contains lots of detoxing goodies — fennel, hops, yarrow and essential oils of may chang, rosemary, lemon and bergamot. It’s fun slathering it on, and it washes off easily, without too much of an assault on your shower. When it comes to the face, I love a good mask. It really can make a difference. More so, if you’re down in the dumps, skin-wise, then you can give your complexion a pep-up with a whole load of fancy home treatments.

Kiehls’s Overnight Biological Peel, €48, sounds like it might be painful to use, but isn’t. It’s quite a gentle formulation and can be used by all skin types — just pop it on before you go to bed and it’ll do all the hard work while you sleep, including exfoliating dead surface skin cells and reducing the appearance of pores. Nice. Liz Earle’s Intensive Nourishing Mask, €16.75, is one I love to put on when my skin is feeling dry and stressed. If you have the time, apply an aromatic body oil, wrap yourself in a warm robe, heated by a radiator, pop on the mask and lie back for 15 minutes. The naturally active ingredients soothe your skin back to a state of health. If you think that lavender is just for drawers, think again. Elemis has a cracking little mask in the form of their Herbal Lavender Repair Mask, €39.65, which fills the essential spa dual purpose of addressing both your senses and your skin. The calming scent of lavender is ideal for relaxation, and the mask also contains rosemary, thyme and lavender essential oils. You need to leave it for 15 minutes on the skin — the perfect amount of time to lie back, have a bath, and pretend your in a posh west of Ireland spa. Result.

True Grace Cucumber, €14.98 at www.truegrace.co.uk. It’s really unusual to get a cucumber-scented candle, but it’s got an incredibly fresh, delicate scent that feels unmistakably summery. Lovely to light in bathrooms or toilets on long, lazy summer evenings while you’re having a barbecue. Neom Organics Sensuous Home Candle, €43. Neom organics are expensive, but they’re designed to burn for up to 50 hours — they come with three wicks, which makes them a more substantial candle than most. This one is great for a romantic evening with the luxurious, sensual scents of ylang ylang, frankincense and patchouli. Amie Organics Green & Clean, €18.95 at www.beautyboutique.ie. I like scented candles to have refreshing aspects to them so that you feel enlivened and awakened rather than lulled into slumber, especially coming into summer. There’s sweet orange oil and lemongrass in this one, to give an exotic edge that uplifts the senses. Nice.

STUFF WE LIKE Kiehls’s Overnight Biological Peel, €48. I love putting treatments on at night that make me look super douper by morning and this is just the ticket for radiant skin. Though it’s billed as a ‘peel’, it’s actually really gentle and doesn’t irritate the skin at all. Just put it on before you go to bed and wash it off in the morning. Perfect. Aveda Caribbean Therapy Body Scrub, €27.85 at www.lookfantastic.com. Delicious and delightful, this makes me want to

Feelgood

book a holiday in the Caribbean. The smell is lovely, and it’s a great one for exfoliating dry skin as it has coconut, passionfruit and avocado oils in it. Use it with the Caribbean Therapy Bath Soak and the scented candle for a real spa-style effect. Bliss Hot Salt Scrub, €34.28. Hot salt scrub? Yes, please. This is the kind of treatment you get in a spa, but you can do this one at home for half the price. The scent is incredible and it works a treat on dry rough skin. Love it.

Uspa Mud Therapy, €34.70. Though it is called a mud, it actually feels more like a body butter, and it washes off just as easily. Good for oily skin. Liz Earle’s Intensive Nourishing Mask, €16.75 at www.lizearle.com. One of the things that is quite nice about getting facials is that your skin becomes properly hydrated once again, even if just for a couple of days or so. Thankfully, this treatment from Liz Earle does just that: packs moisture

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

back into your skin and makes it feel like new. Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask, €39.65. Lavender is one of those fragrances that you either love or hate, but it’s hard not to have a soft spot for this gentle, delicate mask. It’s kind to your skin, nursing it back to health gently.


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:04/04/2012Time:12:36:53Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:15

Zone:XH

Q

Alopecia can appear without any warning, or there can be a family Stress is usually a key factor, so taking up activities such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help to reverse the hair loss

I’m a male in my late 50s and have a moustache. In recent weeks a small bare white patch (about ¼in) has appeared on one side. Now another bare patch is appearing on the other side. I shaved it off but it is still noticeable. Can you recommend something for it?

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

15

Natural health

XH - V1

A. This sounds very much like Alopecia Areata, which is typically indicated by hair loss in patches on the face, scalp or body without any signs of irritation or pain. In short, the follicles are seen as foreign invaders and basically ‘switched off ’ by the immune system because they aren’t recognised by the body. This is why alopecia is often considered to be an autoimmune disorder. Alopecia can appear without any warning, or there can be a family history. Because the follicles are simply dormant, rather than being permanently destroyed, it is common for the hair to grow back over time. However, the rate of regrowth is highly individual, and alopecia can appear again without warning in the future. Stress is usually a key factor in this condition, so taking up activities such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help to reverse the hair loss. There is a natural treatment option which may help. It has been clinically proven to reduce hair loss and promote the growth of new hair. While this solution is typically used for thinning hair in men and women, and male pattern baldness, it has also helped in cases of alopecia. Nourkin is a 100% natural product which utilises marine-based protein extracts and polysaccharides together with vitamin C and silica. Most people notice a 50% improvement after six months. Nourkrin is available from www.lifes2good.ie (01-750800). Q. My father has been diagnosed with serve peripheral neuropathy by a neurologist — the cause is unknown. His hands feel very tight while his feet feel very heavy. Is there any natural remedy that would be of benefit to him? He is a non-drinker, non-smoker and is on no medication. A. Peripheral neuropathy describes an issue with the functioning of the peripheral nervous system, which is situated outside of the brain and spinal cord. Since the peripheral nervous system is responsible for transmitting information from the central nervous system to the entire body, this condition can cause pain and numbness, and often a tingling or burning sensation. This is typically experienced in the hands and feet, but can occur elsewhere in the body. There are actually more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy, and almost as many

ways in which this condition can be caused or triggered. Basically, this means that each case of peripheral neuropathy must be treated individually, according to the specific symptom picture and development of the condition. I’m glad to hear that your father doesn’t drink, smoke, or take medication — this will help tremendously in his healing. Many sufferers have found that acupuncture greatly improves their quality of life. Herbs which may be useful to relieve the sensation and help repair the nerves include oat straw (oats are also a beneficial dietary addition), valerian, vervain, skullcap, lobelia, St John’s wort, ginger, liquorice, and crampbark. For information and support regarding peripheral neuropathy, the British website www.neurocentre.com is very useful. Q. A relative has heard about new tablets to rebuild the lining of the bladder. Would you know the name of them? A. The lining of the bladder is made up of a tightly connected layer of cells to protect the intermediate and basal layers of cells from the toxins and waste present in urine. For the most part the cells in the bladder under-

go very little cell division, but bacterial infection or certain medications can cause rapid change and proliferation in the bladder lining. I’m afraid I haven’t come across tablets designed to renew the bladder lining, so am unable to help you identify them. I do know of tablets prescribed to help with the bladder muscle, called Detrusitol, but these are typically indicated for bladder spasms/overactive bladder. Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural supplements which promote healing of the bladder lining, and are considered to be very similar in structure to this delicate lining. If the bladder damage is due to inflammation then your relative might want to consider a formulation which was initially developed to treat joint pain. Extra Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin Complex, by Solgar (€43.01 for 75 tablets) contains glucosamine and chondroitin along with manganese and calcium ascorbate. Calcium ascorbate (vitamin C buffered with calcium) is the best choice where the bladder lining is compromised and will help to reduce inflammation, repair and renew tissues and membranes, and support immune functioning.

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

Megan puts the spotlight on:

A

LMOST every week I recommend balancing the gut flora in order to establish a solid foundation for healing. Digestive health is the key to optimal wellbeing, and this is the first place that most natural practitioners begin when healing almost every condition. Just last week, the first world summit on gut microbiota for health was held in France, where leading experts discussed the effects of gut microbiota (the tens of trillions of micro-organisms in our gut). One of the key points considered was whether the gut microbiota behaves as an organ would when it comes to impacting immune function, digestive function and disease prevention.

Feelgood

It is well known that diet, gut microbiota, and wellbeing are closely linked. The summit found nutritional patterns, microbial compositions, and health status usually correspond. One thing is certain — a well-balanced gut microbiota is essential for good health. The balance of gut microbiota is crucial for digestive health. They extract, use and store energy that our body cells cannot extract from the food we eat — energy which would otherwise be lost as waste. For example, several gut bacteria species are able to metabolise certain carbohydrates the gut cells cannot break down for absorption. Bacteria of the gut microbiota are also able to produce some vitamins and minerals.

Balancing your bacteria While the microbiota acts on the food we digest, what we eat also has a major impact because the quality of our intestinal contents influences the metabolic activities of the microbiota. The kind of metabolic activity depends, among other things, on the amount and proportion of non-digestible carbohydrates and proteins. If your dietary choices remain stable over a long period of time, this also helps to shape the composition of the gut microbiota. A healthy gut depends on how healthy your diet is, and the balance of your gut microbiota is influenced by how balanced your eating habits are. Your gut microbiota is a crucial part of immunity, digestion and wellness.

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

HEALTHY BALANCE: Digestive health is key to optimal wellbeing.

Picture: PA


TERAPROOF:User:GERARDDESMONDDate:04/04/2012Time:17:40:44Edition:06/04/2012FeelgoodXH0604Page:16

Zone:XH

16

XH - V1

HAIR LOSS?

NOT ANYMORE THANKS TO THE HAIR CLINIC

Prevention is better than cure

WHEN 34 year old Kenneth Fallon started losing his hair 4 years ago he went to see the HairClinic and was told about a revolutionary painfree laser treatment that prevents hairloss and helps to thicken existing thin hair. “The trichologist told me that it was important that I caught my hairloss early as when the hair is gone, it’s gone, and the laser can only work on thinning hair. I cannot grow hair on a bald head. I was also told that the condition I had, known as Androgenic Alopecia, was an inherited condition and

“The trichologist told me that it was important that I caught my hairloss early as when the hair is gone, it’s gone’’

as my dad was bald, as was my grandad, I knew I has to do something as I was heading the same way. “Unfortunately with my work and the birth of my daughter, I didn’t go ahead with treatment straight away as recommended and my hair just got worse and worse. I kept meaning to do something about it but I just kept putting it off which I know is the worst thing to do as I know once the hair root is dead, it’s too late. One evening, after we had been out with friends, a friend of mine posted the evening’s

CALL NOW FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Vivien’s Story WHEN 61-year-old Kerry grandmother-of-six Vivien O’Sullivan noticed that her hair was falling out more than normal she assumed that it was due to stress caused by a recent family bereavement. “I noticed it mainly when I washed it, the plughole in the shower used to clog up with hair,” said Vivien. “I started to really worry though when I woke up one morning and noticed several hairs on the pillow, I have always had really thick hair and my hair was definitely starting to thin out. “I was so worried about it that I went to see my GP,” says Vivien. “He said it could be a lack of iron in my diet so I started taking iron tablets. “Over the next six months I took lots of different supple-

ments, as well as iron tablets, but the thinning seemed to be getting worse.” Vivien went back to see her GP who this time advised her that she should seek advice from a hair loss specialist. Vivien visited several hair loss specialists and was advised by one clinic that her best option was a wig and by another that FUE transplant surgery was her best option. “I didn’t like the sound of either option to be honest,” says Vivien. “I was worried and unhappy with my hair loss but I didn’t feel as though it had deteriorated enough to wear a hairpiece! I basically just wanted to stop it from falling out and thicken it up.” Vivien considered the option of surgery but again decided

this was too radical and extreme. “The most important thing to me was to stop it from falling out and to hopefully thicken it up,” said Vivien. “I was told that surgery would replace the hairs that had been lost but would not stop any further hair loss, I was at a total loss as to know what to do. “Then one day my husband called to say he was reading an article in the newspaper about a laser that can help to stop hair loss and to thicken existing thin hair without the need for any surgery, I researched into it on the internet and I found that it was clinically proven to stop hair loss in 94% of patients after six months of treatment and was suitable for both men and women, it was also totally painfree with no side-effects. “I then found there was a clinic in Cork offering this treatment, so I contacted them and went for a free consultation, I discovered I was suf-

pictures on Facebook and I couldn’t believe how bad my hair looked. I hated seeing myself like that and I knew I had to do something.The next day I made another appointment with the HairClinic which was the original Cork City clinic I had visited all those years ago and I was told that I has lost some hair around the crown so I would always be a little bit light in that area. But the great news was that the laser treatment would stop my hair from getting any worse and also thicken my thinning hair. 9 months on and there has been a huge improvement in my hair and I am delighted. I just wish I had done treatment earlier when I first noticed the thinning!

Before treatment

After 6 months las er treatment

fering from a condition called CTE (Chronic Telogen Effluvium). I was told this causes excessive thinning down the centre of the scalp and affects the hair’s growth cycles. It can also lead to androgenic alopecia, which can cause the hairs to get thinner and thinner until they stop growing altogether.” Vivien was informed that surgery was inappropriate as she was still losing hair, and was also unnecessary as she still had the majority of her hair which could be saved and thickened using a combination of laser treatment and medication. “I completed my course of treatment just over nine months ago and I can’t believe the difference in my hair. It has Vivien O’Sullivan. stopped falling out and it has thickened up massively. I am delighted. I would recommend anyone who is worried about thinning hair to do something about it before it’s too late!”

CALL NOW FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

4 Stops hairloss and thickens hair in 94% of patients 4 Totally safe and painfree 4 Works for men & women 4 FDA cleared as having no side effects No 2 Camden Place, St Patricks Bridge, Cork t: (021) 4552424

OPENING TIMES: Monday to Friday 8am-9.30pm Please log on to www.thehairclinichlcc.com Feelgood

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

Feelgood 06-04-2012  

Feelgood 06-04-2012

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you