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Feelgood

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bulk order

Picture: iStockphoto

TERAPROOF:User:irenefeighanDate:19/10/2011Time:16:48:07Edition:21/10/2011FeelgoodXH2110Page:1

Use of body-building supplements among teens in sport is a cause for concern: 8, 9

CALM WATERS

Breast cancer survivors paddle their way back to health: 4, 5

OVERCOMING HURDLES

Self-hypnosis helps showjumper to get the right result: 6

SHAPE SHIFTER

Man drops 23 stone and turns his life around: 13


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2 News front Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON ■ OVER 50’S SHOW: The Over 50’s show begins today at the RDS and continues until Sunday at 6pm. Visitors can avail of a number of free health checks including blood pressure, AMD and hearing. Tomorrow at 1.30pm there will be an open mic session for people concerned about urinary difficulties. The talk, ‘Let’s Talk About Washroom Worries’ will provide information on BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) and OAB (Over Active Bladder). It is estimated that up to 750,000 people in Ireland may suffer from OAB and one in four men may be suffering from BPH. Symptoms include urgency (a sudden and desperate need to go to the toilet), and frequency (needing to go too often). A physiotherapist will also be present to demonstrate pelvic floor exercises. For more details on the show, visit www.seniortimes.ie ■ DONOR RUN: The Irish Kidney Association’s Run for a Life, will take place this Sunday October 23 to highlight and promote organ donation. Those participating in the Fun Run can walk, jog or run in either a 3.4km, 6.7km or 10km event in Park West, Dublin 12, commencing at 12 noon. There will also be an option to enter a team of three in a 3 x 3.3km relay race. For further details log on to www.runforalife.ie ■ STRESS COURSES: SHEP (The Social and Health Education Project) have three courses on offer in Ballincollig this month. Each of the courses runs one evening a week from 7.30 to 10pm, for eight weeks, and costs €50 (or €25 unwaged). Introduction to Personal Development is on Tuesdays starting October 25; Men’s Health and Wellbeing begins on October 26 and Managing Stress in Our Daily Lives, runs from October 27. For further information contact 021-4666180. ■ MATHS WEEK: The sixth annual Maths Week Ireland, a national celebration of mathematics, runs until October 22 and to mark the occasion there will be a free maths bootcamp at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory tomorrow. Call 021-4357917 for more details; www.mathsweek.ie ■ BREAST CANCER: The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has announced its MiniMed series of free public health lectures for this year. Disease prevention, treatments and the latest advances in medical research will be explored by some of the Ireland’s leading healthcare experts across a broad range of topics. Each event will comprise of two lectures. On October 26, Professor Arnold Hill, professor of surgery at RCSI, will examine ‘Breast Cancer – advances in effective treatment’ and Dr Paul Byrne, senior lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, RCSI, will discuss ‘Cervical Cancer — can we prevent it?’. The lectures will take place in the O’Flanagan Lecture Theatre from 7pm to 9pm in the RCSI, 123 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2. Register online at www.rcsi.ie/minimed ● Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to koreilly8@gmail.com

FeelgoodMag

Feelgood

FeelgoodMag

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A new study reports that using the Pill may have a hormonal effect on which partners you choose, says Arlene Harris

Love influence S

INCE it was first introduced in the 1960s, the contraceptive pill has been both heralded and lambasted. On the one hand, women were liberated from the constraints of unplanned pregnancies and there were reports that this form of birth control could help to prevent cancer and heart disease but, on the other hand, the Pill could also cause weight gain, lack of libido (surely a contraceptive method in itself) and various deadly conditions such as thrombosis and stroke. In short, the Pill has rarely been out of the news — but the latest study regarding its potential side-effects are somewhat more unusual. Published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers have claimed that women who are on the Pill are more likely to choose safe and sensible lovers than those who are not, as natural female hormones fluctuate throughout each month causing a woman to become interested in alpha males while she is ovulating and more caring men when she is not. “The implications of our study seem to be that by changing your hormone profile through using the Pill, you might shift your preference from cads in favour of dads,” explained chief researcher, Dr Craig Roberts. “Choosing a non-hormonal barrier method of contraception for a few months before getting married might be one way for a woman to reassure herself that she is

CHEMICAL REACTION: Women may become interested in alpha males while they are ovulating, and in more caring men when they are not. Picture: iStock

still attracted to her partner.” However, Dr Bernadette Carr — medical director of VHI Healthcare — says most women will rely on their instinct rather than their hormones to help choose their life partner. “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 out-weighed by her brain.” Clinical psychologist Nicola Hunt says some women in relationships have reported

that they notice their level of attraction and emotional warmth towards their partner is affected by their hormones. “Others have reported that the Pill can negatively or positively affect their attraction. However, these effects are minimal and transient and would not significantly determine who they choose as a partner. “There are many other psychological factors that determine a woman’s choice of partner such as her value system, her emotional needs, her relationship with herself, and subconscious elements such as her relationship with her father and her relationship with men in general.”

HEALTH NOTES IF you are running the Dublin Marathon on October 31 and hoping to support a charity, you can still join Team Eamonn Coghlan by registering and then calling Crumlin on 1890-507508 for their fundraising pack. Funds raised will go towards a number of major initiatives including research into childhood obesity as well as the upgrade of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit on St John’s Ward where children and teenagers with cancer are treated. Visit www.kilometresforkids.ie for further information.

THE Irish Heart Foundation will hold a free blood pressure and cholesterol testing clinic at the Parish Centre, Carrigaline Co Cork, on Wednesday next October 26 from 10am to 12pm. For further details call 021-4505822 or if you have questions about stroke or heart disease you can also contact their helpline 1890 432787.

THROUGHOUT October, spooky key rings will be on sale for €2 nationwide to raise much-needed funds for Temple Street Children’s Hospital. As part of the 10th Trick or Treat for Temple Street, people can also host a ‘frightfully good’ fancy dress party at school, work or home. To find out more, call the Temple Street fundraising office on 01-8784344 or visit www.templestreet.ie.

MICHAEL MURPHY — RTÉ newsreader and author of At Five in the Afternoon, a book about his experience with cancer — will be a guest of the Kinsale Peace Project at a free talk in the Blue Haven Hotel next Thursday October 27 at 8pm. For further information, see www.kinsalepeaceproject.com or contact Padraig Fitzgerald on 086-8583185.

THE 42nd annual Concern Fast, which takes place this year on November 10, was launched this week. Over a quarter of a million Irish people have taken part in the Fast to date and funds raised will go to help the 3.5 million children in the developing world who die of hunger-related diseases each year. To sign up, visit www.concernfast.org or call 1850-505055. www.irishexaminer.com www.irishexaminer.com

LIGHT WORK: Nehal Mehta, 3, helps launch the prized ‘spooky spotlight’ mini torch key rings which are on sale this month to raise much-needed funds for Temple Street Children’s University Hospital. Picture:Shane O’Neill / Fennells

www.irishexaminer.com feelgood@examiner.ie

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

THE “Your Good Self” programme, the first of its kind in north Co Cork, will be launched on Thursday October 27 at 6pm in Mallow library. The main focus of the programme is the bibliotherapy scheme, which offers reading materials for therapeutic purposes. Healthy reading schemes are well-established in Britain and existing Irish schemes include “Mind Yourself” in Wexford and “The Power of Words” in Dublin.

Editorial: 021 4802 292

Advertising: 021 4802 215


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In Profile

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THE SHAPE I'M IN

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KT Tunstall

KT is on song

COTTISH singer songwriter, KT Tunstall, joins Elvis Costello at this year’s Sligo Live, which runs over the October bank holiday weekend. KT, whose hit songs include Black Horse And The Cherry Tree, has a Brit Award as well as a Grammy Award nomination to her credit. She has also received the Ivor Novello Award. Aged 36 and married to Luke Bullen, the singer says her attitude to healthy living has been most influenced by her mum, who adopted KT when she was a baby. “She’s incredibly healthy, phenomenal for her age. She’s in better shape than I am. Ever since we were babies (KT has two brothers), she provided us with a really healthy diet. It was very normal in our house to have a healthy meal,” she says. KT performs at Sligo Live — Ireland’s folk, roots and indie music festival — on Friday, October 28. Her guests include Sam Lewis and Rozi Plain. The concert takes place in IT Sligo’s Knocknarea Arena. What shape are you in? I’m glad you’re asking me towards the end of a tour, where I’ve been on the road permanently gigging for 18 months to two years. I’ve got dreadful will-power and don’t go to the gym, but the gigs provide a ready regime of a hardcore work-out. Because the shows are really vigorous, physical affairs, I get an hour and a half of solid cardiovascular work. Do you have any health concerns? I was born with under-functioning kidneys and things really flared up when I began working very hard, when my career took off. I’m now on medication for it. At first, I found that very frustrating but it’s just something to prevent infection. Last summer, I had a period of really questioning whether I can physically do what I do, but I can lead a pretty normal life. There are no limits on alcohol, though I definitely drink less than I used to, since discovering this.

3

right shortie. Being six foot two for a week would be a lot of fun. When did you last cry? I don’t cry very often, but I came close when I was in Japan recently. I was doing an interview on a show in Tokyo and I couldn’t sleep the night before. I was going for breakfast that morning and wondering how am I going to get through the show. What’s your favourite smell? I’ve always been a real fan of flowers. In Vietnam, we visited a temple that had frangipani flowers. It’s a proper complex perfume that you could put straight into a bottle. What trait do you least like in others? I find it very hard when people exclude others. You see it in my line of work — people behave differently to different people. What trait do you least like in yourself? I’d like to be a better listener. I’m a very good talker. It’d be great if I shut up for a while and listened. Do you pray? I don’t — I’m not a religious person. But I’m a huge fan of nature. The closest I come to prayer is asking the universe to provide answers. What would cheer up your day? A little bird. I’m a huge fan of birds. I’ve had many an experience of being in a foreign city and feeling really disjointed and a little bird lands on my table. I know I’m really depressed if a little bird doesn’t make me happy. Helen O’Callaghan

What are your healthiest eating habits? I’m a big fan of fish. My husband and I eat anchovies in sauces. It’s oily fish, so it’s rich in omega 3.

Ireland’s first

Pulsed Signal Therapy Clinic has opened in Cork

Pulsed Signal Therapy

is a non-invasive treatment used for a variety of musculo-skeletal disorders and degenerative conditions: • Arthritis • Osteoporosis • Degenerative Disc Disease • Sciatica/ Neuralgia • Cartilage Regeneration • Ligament Repair • Tendon Repair • Whiplash • Muscle Ruptures • Post-Op Care, and many more. For more information, check out www.pulsedsignaltherapy.ie

Contact: Colette Minehane

Physical Therapy Clinic

Unit 2, First Floor, Fox and Hounds Development, Ballyvolane, Cork. E: info@pulsedsignaltherapy.ie T: 087 9888014 or (021) 455 4055 / F: (021) 455 4055

The perfect keepsake to celebrate a baby’s birth

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I find crisps and chocolate so addictive. But if I just eat dark chocolate with nuts and raisins, it doesn’t have the same addictive effect. Do you sleep well? I’ve always found it very difficult to go to sleep. My brain whirrs around like a machine for a good hour before I fall asleep. Worry rarely keeps me awake — it would be making decisions and excitement, if I’m spinning a lot of plates at the same time.

€50

How do you relax? I find it difficult to slow myself down. But where I live, in Berkshire, is an amazing antidote to a stressful life. It’s a rustic place out in the country. When you travel the world, it’s important to make life at home smaller.

A framed Irish Examiner front page from the day baby was born.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? David Attenborough, American comedian, the late Bill Hicks and Patti Smith.

Contact the Irish Examiner on Tel. 021 4272722 Email: counter@examiner.ie

What would you change about your appearance? I’d love to try being taller. I’ve always been a

SHOW GIRL: KT Tunstall’s 90-minute performances are perfect cardiovascular workouts.

Feelgood

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011


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4 Meeting life’s challenges

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A group of women in Dublin have taken to dragon-boat paddling along the canals as

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part of their recovery from breast cancer, writes Áilín Quinlan

5

SPLASH MAKING A S HOULD you happen to stroll along the banks of Dublin’s Grand Canal some bright Saturday morning, you may see a dragon’s head rearing up from the water. It will probably be accompanied by rhythmic splash of paddles and the unmistakable sound of drumming. Nothing to worry about — it’s simply the Plurabelle Paddlers on their regular weekend run. Every Saturday morning, two long dragon-boats, Anna and Livia, one pink, one blue, each capable of holding more than 20 people, glide through the waters of the canal basin to the rhythm of the drum and the splash of many paddles. The name of the group and the canoes comes from the memorable title given to the Liffey by the writer James Joyce in his book Finnegan’s Wake. The paddlers are survivors of breast cancer who have formed an unusual support group. For businesswoman Tara Byrne, it’s a tonic in more ways than one. Byrne, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2010, finished her in-hospital cancer treatment last July, though she still takes daily medication, Tamoxifen, something she will have to do so for the next four years. The diagnosis, she recalls, hit her like “a ton of bricks” and the treatment left her listless and without energy for a time. After her attention was drawn to the Plurabelle Paddlers by her mother, the 36-year-old managing director of Dataconversion Direct joined while still on treatment. However, it was when she was diagnosed with lymphoedema following her surgery, that Byrne really began to feel the benefits of dragon-boating. Research carried out in 1996 in Canada has shown that the repetitive upper-body movement required for dragon boating can be beneficial to patients with breast cancer — and the use of dragon boating as a means of helping women with the condition has resulted in the establishment of 150 dragon boating teams around the world. Portrane-based Byrne has secondary lymphoedema, which is a chronic swelling of the arm and/or breast. The condition, which can sometimes arise as a result of cancer, or as a consequence of breast cancer treatment, can present at any time, even years after all therapy has stopped. The most common type of secondary lymphoedema can arise when the surgeon has removed the lymph nodes under the arm as part of breast cancer surgery, though this only happens in some of the more than 1,700 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Ireland each year. It is not a curable condition but it can be treated or managed with the help of a certified lymphoedema therapist. Byrne underwent a specialised type of massage called manual lymphatic drainage for four months, and was later fitted with a special sleeve. “I found the dragon boating was brilliant for lymphoedema,” she says. “It keeps it under control, it has stopped any further swelling and has stopped any tightness in my

Feelgood

It’s easy to start saying you cannot do something because something bad has happened, but the dragon boating pushes you to bring yourself back to the best recovery possible

DRAGON BOATING STRENGTHENED MY ARMS AND HELPED REDUCE THE SWELLING

D

MAKING WAVES: Dympna Watson prepares to practice with the Plurabelle Paddlers at the Grand Canal basin in Dublin last week. Picture: Barbara Lindberg.

GREAT OUTDOORS: Tara Byrne who went to Malaysia with the Dublin-based Plurabelle Paddlers for the world dragon-boat racing cancer championships. Picture: Barbara Lindberg arm. “As part of the surgery I also had a muscle removed from my back and this affected my reaching movements. “The dragon boating has helped me build up strength in my upper right body which was quite badly affected by the surgery and the lymphoedema in my right arm and hand.

“I find the dragon boating has helped me regain strength. It’s easy to start saying you cannot do something because something bad has happened, but the dragon boating pushes you to bring yourself back to the best recovery possible. “It makes you get over that wall — it is a constant positive focus on living and life,”

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

says Byrne, who along with 23 other members of the Plurabelles, headed off to Malaysia earlier this month to participate in the world dragon-boat racing cancer championships. “There is a lot of evidence to say that exercise is beneficial after breast cancer — and paddling fits in very well with the recommendations,” says Síne Vasquez, clinical specialist physiotherapist at Beaumont Hospital. “Paddling such as dragon boating has been proven to be beneficial for breast cancer survivors including those with lymphoedema.” This type of moderate intensity aerobic and resistance training has been proven to be beneficial for lymphoedema. It also contributes to good survival rates and helps counteract fatigue among cancer sufferers. “Up to 30% of people who have had all their lymph nodes removed following breast cancer may get lymphoedema at some stage in their lives,” says Vasquez.

And although it is not curable, says the physiotherapist, lymphoedema can be treated or managed with the help of a therapist. “The full treatment involves special massage immediately followed by compressive bandaging,” says Vasquez. The process takes place on a daily basis or every second day during the acute treatment phase. “This will continue until the swelling is reduced as much as possible. Exercise and skincare is very important.” Following the acute treatment phase, patients must wear a made-to-measure sleeve which is usually replaced every six months. ● For more information about the Plurabelle Paddlers, visit plurabellepaddlers.com or the Irish Dragon Boat Association on Facebook. ● See page 10 where cancer survivor shares her tips in self-help book.

Feelgood

RAGON boating helped Dympna Watson to return to her beloved basketball after the chairwoman of the advocacy group Europa Donna, renounced the sport following a breast cancer diagnosis in 2003. “Your world gets rocked. You are stunned — nothing can prepare you for the diagnosis of cancer,” she says. An intensive treatment programme, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy, was completed by mid-2004 but left her exhausted. “My energy levels were very low and I was trying to exercise, but I found it almost impossible because of the fatigue. “In the past, I used to play basketball, but because the lymph glands under my left arm had been removed, I couldn’t go back to the game as it was all taking a long time to heal.” Three years after surgery, Watson was diagnosed with lymphoedema. “To this day, I wear a compression sleeve if I’m exercising or doing gardening,” she says. Watson heard about the Plurabelle Paddlers last year through an article someone brought into a Europa Donna meeting. “I thought it would be perfect for me. I love team sports. I like to try different things and I had never done any water sports. I contacted the group — it was very new, they were just setting up,” says Watson, who is in her 40s. “I found that it was very beneficial in reducing pain and swelling — also my arms became stronger. It’s a repetitive, upper-body exercise, which, according to the research, is actually good for lymphoedema.” But there was an even bigger benefit: “The really good thing about dragon boating is that I have actually got back to playing basketball once a week. This is completely down to the dragon-boating, which strengthened my arms and reduced the pain and swelling of the lymphoedema.”

How to spot the symptoms of lymphoedema What is lymphoedema? Primary lymphoedema involves an overall problem with the lymphatic system. Secondary lymphoedema affects many post-cancer patients. It is a noticeable swelling of tissue in a limb and may occur after the removal of lymph nodes, or after the nodes have been damaged as a result of radiation therapy. What causes it? Secondary lymphoedema is often the consequence of conventional cancer treatment and can become a serious problem if not treated.

How to recognise it: It is important to note that other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur: ■ Swelling of an arm or leg, which may include fingers and toes. ■ A full or heavy feeling in an arm or leg. ■ A tight feeling in the skin. ■ Trouble moving a joint in the arm or leg. ■ Thickening of the skin, with or without skin changes such as blisters or warts. ■ A feeling of tightness when wearing clothing, shoes, watches, or rings.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

■ ■ ■ ■

Itching of the legs or toes. A burning feeling in the legs. Trouble sleeping. Loss of hair.

Is there specialised help? Manual Lymph Drainage Ireland is the professional association of health care practitioners. Members of this association are trained to provide treatment in the management of lymphoedema and other lymphatic-related disorders. ● For details see www.mldireland.com.


TERAPROOF:User:margaretjenningsDate:19/10/2011Time:15:31:17Edition:21/10/2011FeelgoodXH2110Page:4

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4 Meeting life’s challenges

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A group of women in Dublin have taken to dragon-boat paddling along the canals as

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part of their recovery from breast cancer, writes Áilín Quinlan

5

SPLASH MAKING A S HOULD you happen to stroll along the banks of Dublin’s Grand Canal some bright Saturday morning, you may see a dragon’s head rearing up from the water. It will probably be accompanied by rhythmic splash of paddles and the unmistakable sound of drumming. Nothing to worry about — it’s simply the Plurabelle Paddlers on their regular weekend run. Every Saturday morning, two long dragon-boats, Anna and Livia, one pink, one blue, each capable of holding more than 20 people, glide through the waters of the canal basin to the rhythm of the drum and the splash of many paddles. The name of the group and the canoes comes from the memorable title given to the Liffey by the writer James Joyce in his book Finnegan’s Wake. The paddlers are survivors of breast cancer who have formed an unusual support group. For businesswoman Tara Byrne, it’s a tonic in more ways than one. Byrne, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2010, finished her in-hospital cancer treatment last July, though she still takes daily medication, Tamoxifen, something she will have to do so for the next four years. The diagnosis, she recalls, hit her like “a ton of bricks” and the treatment left her listless and without energy for a time. After her attention was drawn to the Plurabelle Paddlers by her mother, the 36-year-old managing director of Dataconversion Direct joined while still on treatment. However, it was when she was diagnosed with lymphoedema following her surgery, that Byrne really began to feel the benefits of dragon-boating. Research carried out in 1996 in Canada has shown that the repetitive upper-body movement required for dragon boating can be beneficial to patients with breast cancer — and the use of dragon boating as a means of helping women with the condition has resulted in the establishment of 150 dragon boating teams around the world. Portrane-based Byrne has secondary lymphoedema, which is a chronic swelling of the arm and/or breast. The condition, which can sometimes arise as a result of cancer, or as a consequence of breast cancer treatment, can present at any time, even years after all therapy has stopped. The most common type of secondary lymphoedema can arise when the surgeon has removed the lymph nodes under the arm as part of breast cancer surgery, though this only happens in some of the more than 1,700 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Ireland each year. It is not a curable condition but it can be treated or managed with the help of a certified lymphoedema therapist. Byrne underwent a specialised type of massage called manual lymphatic drainage for four months, and was later fitted with a special sleeve. “I found the dragon boating was brilliant for lymphoedema,” she says. “It keeps it under control, it has stopped any further swelling and has stopped any tightness in my

Feelgood

It’s easy to start saying you cannot do something because something bad has happened, but the dragon boating pushes you to bring yourself back to the best recovery possible

DRAGON BOATING STRENGTHENED MY ARMS AND HELPED REDUCE THE SWELLING

D

MAKING WAVES: Dympna Watson prepares to practice with the Plurabelle Paddlers at the Grand Canal basin in Dublin last week. Picture: Barbara Lindberg.

GREAT OUTDOORS: Tara Byrne who went to Malaysia with the Dublin-based Plurabelle Paddlers for the world dragon-boat racing cancer championships. Picture: Barbara Lindberg arm. “As part of the surgery I also had a muscle removed from my back and this affected my reaching movements. “The dragon boating has helped me build up strength in my upper right body which was quite badly affected by the surgery and the lymphoedema in my right arm and hand.

“I find the dragon boating has helped me regain strength. It’s easy to start saying you cannot do something because something bad has happened, but the dragon boating pushes you to bring yourself back to the best recovery possible. “It makes you get over that wall — it is a constant positive focus on living and life,”

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

says Byrne, who along with 23 other members of the Plurabelles, headed off to Malaysia earlier this month to participate in the world dragon-boat racing cancer championships. “There is a lot of evidence to say that exercise is beneficial after breast cancer — and paddling fits in very well with the recommendations,” says Síne Vasquez, clinical specialist physiotherapist at Beaumont Hospital. “Paddling such as dragon boating has been proven to be beneficial for breast cancer survivors including those with lymphoedema.” This type of moderate intensity aerobic and resistance training has been proven to be beneficial for lymphoedema. It also contributes to good survival rates and helps counteract fatigue among cancer sufferers. “Up to 30% of people who have had all their lymph nodes removed following breast cancer may get lymphoedema at some stage in their lives,” says Vasquez.

And although it is not curable, says the physiotherapist, lymphoedema can be treated or managed with the help of a therapist. “The full treatment involves special massage immediately followed by compressive bandaging,” says Vasquez. The process takes place on a daily basis or every second day during the acute treatment phase. “This will continue until the swelling is reduced as much as possible. Exercise and skincare is very important.” Following the acute treatment phase, patients must wear a made-to-measure sleeve which is usually replaced every six months. ● For more information about the Plurabelle Paddlers, visit plurabellepaddlers.com or the Irish Dragon Boat Association on Facebook. ● See page 10 where cancer survivor shares her tips in self-help book.

Feelgood

RAGON boating helped Dympna Watson to return to her beloved basketball after the chairwoman of the advocacy group Europa Donna, renounced the sport following a breast cancer diagnosis in 2003. “Your world gets rocked. You are stunned — nothing can prepare you for the diagnosis of cancer,” she says. An intensive treatment programme, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy, was completed by mid-2004 but left her exhausted. “My energy levels were very low and I was trying to exercise, but I found it almost impossible because of the fatigue. “In the past, I used to play basketball, but because the lymph glands under my left arm had been removed, I couldn’t go back to the game as it was all taking a long time to heal.” Three years after surgery, Watson was diagnosed with lymphoedema. “To this day, I wear a compression sleeve if I’m exercising or doing gardening,” she says. Watson heard about the Plurabelle Paddlers last year through an article someone brought into a Europa Donna meeting. “I thought it would be perfect for me. I love team sports. I like to try different things and I had never done any water sports. I contacted the group — it was very new, they were just setting up,” says Watson, who is in her 40s. “I found that it was very beneficial in reducing pain and swelling — also my arms became stronger. It’s a repetitive, upper-body exercise, which, according to the research, is actually good for lymphoedema.” But there was an even bigger benefit: “The really good thing about dragon boating is that I have actually got back to playing basketball once a week. This is completely down to the dragon-boating, which strengthened my arms and reduced the pain and swelling of the lymphoedema.”

How to spot the symptoms of lymphoedema What is lymphoedema? Primary lymphoedema involves an overall problem with the lymphatic system. Secondary lymphoedema affects many post-cancer patients. It is a noticeable swelling of tissue in a limb and may occur after the removal of lymph nodes, or after the nodes have been damaged as a result of radiation therapy. What causes it? Secondary lymphoedema is often the consequence of conventional cancer treatment and can become a serious problem if not treated.

How to recognise it: It is important to note that other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur: ■ Swelling of an arm or leg, which may include fingers and toes. ■ A full or heavy feeling in an arm or leg. ■ A tight feeling in the skin. ■ Trouble moving a joint in the arm or leg. ■ Thickening of the skin, with or without skin changes such as blisters or warts. ■ A feeling of tightness when wearing clothing, shoes, watches, or rings.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

■ ■ ■ ■

Itching of the legs or toes. A burning feeling in the legs. Trouble sleeping. Loss of hair.

Is there specialised help? Manual Lymph Drainage Ireland is the professional association of health care practitioners. Members of this association are trained to provide treatment in the management of lymphoedema and other lymphatic-related disorders. ● For details see www.mldireland.com.


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6

Mental control

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Showjumper Nicola Fitzgibbon and boxer Steve Collins have attended the same hypnotherapist to psychologically enhance their performance, says John Tynan

Powers switched on D

ELVE into the world of Zak Powers and you will be presented with Mickey Mouse, blue biros, the Pope and boxer Steve Collins. Collins is easily explained: Powers, a Dublin-based hypnotherapist and cognitive behavioural therapist, helped him in his world title defence against Nigel Benn. The other ‘items’ are part of Powers’s work. Powers’s involvement with Collins enabled him to ‘box’ his way into the mainstream in sports psychology and the latest sports personality to vouch for Powers’s influence is show jumper Nicola Fitzgibbon, who credits him with an approach that has seen the Trinity College Dublin electronics graduate make the Irish show-jumping squad to contest the European Championships. Powers says he has been working with athletes since the middle of the 1990s and takes a “fatherly” satisfaction when they succeed. “Over the last 14 years, in regards to Irish sports people, I have worked with about 15 well-known athletes. Steve Collins was my first big, high-profile sports star and, thankfully, he won. It opened many doors. “I use mainly cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy. Many athletes see hypnotherapy as giving them an extra edge. I work with boxers, snooker players, swimmers and soccer footballers, but the GAA lads haven’t been in touch yet,” he says. Altering how an athlete thinks is the first step, with hypnotherapy dramatically boosting its effects. “CBT, essentially, is a technique to change your thinking patterns. What you think determines how you feel, therefore how you behave. And if you can change the thinking pattern, you change the emotional response, which changes the behaviour.

“I would talk clients through errors we Powers teaches his clients to self-hypnotise. make in our thinking pattern. We set about “I would teach every client how to hypnoputting in place an alternative thinking pattise themselves. In the past, hypnotists would tern. This is when the hypnotherapy comes have induced the hypnosis and it would have in. It can be a slow process with talk therapy, been very ego-based. Now, it’s about embut with hypnotherapy it has an eight-times powering the client and giving them the greater chance of sticking in the brain. tools to treat themselves. Some athletes “Hypnotherapy is so effecwould be very visual, some tive for the athlete. The prinwould work well with audio. cipal I work on is that the Depending on their creative brain does not understand the sense, I would have to difference between what you fine-tune the programme for vividly imagine and what you the individual. actually experience. If, while “When undertaking self-hypin a hypnotic state, you get nosis, for example with a boxthe client to imagine the end er, to get visual about their result, standing on the podifight you would exaggerate the um, a clear round in show detail. They could visualise jumping, for example, if you their opponent with Mickey get them to imagine this end Mouse feet, or with webbed result, the unconscious sets feet and a colourful costume. about creating this end reEssentially, you use carsult,” Powers says. toonesque pictures to create a In many ways, it is about strong image to diffuse the tenchannelling the emotional resion or sense of threat they get sponse in a positive direction. from the opponent. “People’s emotions get in “My service does not suit the way of what they are try- INFLUENTIAL METHODS: all. But I am very proud of the ing to achieve. To be a world Hypnotherapist Zak Powers results I have got with athletes. champion, you have to be helps people to change their When a client goes on and highly emotive. The emotion thinking patterns. wins a competition, you get a is the passion. We can subdue sort of fatherly pride that you the anxiety and we can chanparticipated in helping them nel the emotion, harnessing the adrenalin and reach their goal,” says Powers. turning it into an explosive power when you For all his involvement in sports, his generneed it in competition. This explosive power al practice forms the main part of his ‘game’. can be produced in a calm way, because, dePowers lists off some of the phobias he has pending on the sports person — a snooker treated and while it may seem that laughing player a boxer, a show jumper — they need at what people obsess about is unforgivable, to produce the power differently,” he says. he says the opposite is the case when it

comes to therapy. “I have come across a range of phobias, including onions, blue biros, brown chairs, the Pope and vegetables. I am never closer in shared therapy than when we share laughter. Often, the client laughs when they present their fear. We can be afraid of everyday items, just like we can be addicted to alcohol to drugs, work, sex, bad relationships, the list is endless. Thankfully, though, most phobias can be cleared up in three or four sessions. “Therapy is hard work and, if not, it isn’t working. Patients must do a lot of journal work. Many have obsessive-compulsive disorders. Part of the treatment is to write down their thoughts and feelings and scale them. Often without medication, CBT is powerful. “Another part of the homework is gradated exposure. This goes for phobias as well. You get the client to slowly and, in a controlled way, expose themselves to the original threat and help them cope better and this helps them to diffuse the anxiety they had,” he says. Powers is also involved with students, who often suffer the same anxieties in the run-up to their exams. “I work a lot with third-level students. Some institutions, through student support programmes, would refer their final-year students to me, if they are undergoing emotional problems and often exam fears comes up,” he says. As for FitzGibbon, he is confident she is poised to make the next big leap. “I really believe Nicola is ready.” ● www.zakpowers.com

I now focus on positive thoughts when I am competing IN FOCUS: Showjumper Nicola FitzGibbon has benefitted from hypnosis, and right, competing on Puissance, during the Aga Khan Day at the Dublin Horse Show earlier this year. Picture: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Feelgood

N

ICOLA FITZGIBBON doesn’t need to delve too deeply into her subconscious to know she benefits from self-hypnosis. The 23-year-old showjumper credits the therapy with helping her to stay calm and focussed in the run-up to her debut in the Nations Cup at Dublin Horse Show. It led to a performance that sealed her place in the senior squad for the European Championships in Madrid, Spain. Her first experience of hypnosis began following an upsetting experience with her pony Miami Bound as a 15-year-old. Ironically, it was as she was aiming for the team to contest the Europeans. “We were great in the run-up to the selection, but on the day, I froze. I don’t know why, but I panicked and was left off the team. They went on to win a medal and I was sitting on the sidelines. I did not want it to happen again.” Her mother Kathryn, who, sadly, died in 2009 from cancer — arranged for her to see hypnotist Zak Powers. “It really was a good move that she recommended Zak,” says FitzGibbon. “My concern was that I could not hold my con-

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

centration and my nerves were getting to me. I needed to deal with that. “I had two sessions with him. He chats with you and goes through your concerns and worries and then you tell him the areas you want to get your mind around. “You go off and he devises a programme for you, which is your relaxation recording. “The next session he gets you into a deep relaxed state, going through mental exercises, clearing your mind. For example, you focus on each part of your body, getting it to relax. “Anyone can do this, and each part begins to feel a bit heavier as they relax. “Then, he starts approaching how you feel about your concerns. He gets you to visualise your competition, focussing on positive thoughts, not allowing the pressure get to you. It helps you deal with the problems that you are facing. “I have recording on my iPhone of Zak talking me through the process. I used it before the Nations Cup in Dublin and the competitions on the day before. Basically, I use it before each major competition. to ensure I am in the right mindframe and I am always amazed at the subtlety of his instructions.”


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Psychology

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Psychotherapy represents a less invasive, less risky alternative, to treatment using psychiatric drugs

A listening ear I

HEALTH & LIFESTYLE ADVERTISING

Tony Humphreys

N last week’s column, I pointed to the growing body of research and expert opinion that states psychiatric drugs work, not for their chemistry but because of psychological factors. The main psychological factors are the relationship between the psychiatrist and the client, and the client’s expectations of getting better. This challenges the use of psychotropic medication in the treatment of people’s troubled and troubling behaviours. Psychotherapy represents a very different approach. Psychotherapists are trained to provide an unconditional regard for their clients while offering an empathic and authentic response to their clients’ problems in living. Within this caring environment, their intention is to arrive at the affective meaning of their clients’ presenting distress — depression, hallucinations, paranoia, obsessions, etc — and to replace the hopelessness of their inner turmoil with an enduring loving relationship with self, belief in their potential and a sense of hope and faith in their future. These aims are part of the essence of psychotherapy. There have been hundreds of studies done on the effectiveness of psychotherapy and they all point to one inescapable conclusion: it works, in the short-term, but even more so, in the long-term. While there are many different kinds of psychotherapies, for the most part research indicates that the differences in effectiveness are not significant and it is up to clients to discover what best fits for the resolution of their unhappy state. Psychotherapy has a number of advantages over drugs. The glaringly obvious one is that it does not have the side-effects or other risks that accompany taking drugs. A crucial advantage is that it can be used safely to help children, teenagers and young adults who present with depression, attention-deficit behaviours and other such problems in living — and for whom the risk of suicide can increase when taking drugs. A further strength is that people are less likely to drop out of psychotherapy, compared to many who stop taking major drugs due to the upsetting side-effects. The greatest advantage of psychotherapy over drugs is that it reduces the likelihood of relapse. Not only is psychotherapy a relationship and a learning experience, clients are also reassured that they do not have an underlying biochemical disorder over which they have no control, and that their distress is a creative means of bringing attention to long-term unresolved conflicts. Furthermore, before ending psychotherapy they will be advised that any future downturns in mood are meaningful and not a return of a sinister underlying bio-chemical disorder, an expectation that is common among people who have been taking medication and who are seeking to discontinue its use. Yet another advantage is that psychotherapy alone is as great as the combined effects of psychotherapy and medication, so why bother with the drugs? Surprisingly, psychotherapy costs less than medication. This claim runs contrary to popular belief — the cost of a week’s medication is less (not always, depending on the drug cocktail) than an hour session of psychotherapy. But, in the long run, psychotherapy is cheaper because many clients in

Feelgood

Picture: iStock

Not only is psychotherapy a relationship and a learning experience, clients are also reassured that they do not have an underlying biochemical disorder for which they have no control the psychiatric system are kept on long-term medication and warned of a relapse should they stop taking the medication. The issue is that the cumulative costs of medication continue to rise, whereas those of psychotherapy do not. The problem is that there are not enough psychotherapists available. Currently, in Britain there is in place a ten-year plan in which 10,000 psychotherapists will be trained and the creator of the plan, Lord Richard Layard, says that not only will the programme pay for itself, but will generate a profit. After two years, this programme’s two pilot studies have been deemed a success and ten new training sites have been established. In Ireland, where the HSE’s record on the care of those who are troubled and troubling is poor, the British initiative will hopefully point the way for the present government, which is under pressure to cut the health budget. In the meantime, for those individuals who are on long HSE waiting lists for psychotherapy, there are several low-cost counselling centres available throughout the country. What is uplifting about the demise of the chemical-imbalance theory, the stark revelations about drugs not working for their chemistry but because of psychological factors, and the undisputed evidence of the effectiveness of psychotherapy, is the hope it will bring to millions of people throughout the world looking to recover from their ‘problems in living’. Dr Tony Humphreys is a clinical psychologist, author, national and international speaker. His recent book with co-author Helen Ruddle, Relationship, Relationship, Relationship: The Heart of a Mature Society is relevant to today’s topic, www.tonyhumphreys.ie.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

Target more females in Munster and Cork than any other daily newspaper. To reach them, advertise in ‘Feelgood’.

Call Lori Fraser Tel: 021 4802265

lori.fraser@examiner.ie

7


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Sports supplements

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While creatine and other body-building supplements are hugely popular among young sportsmen, Helen O’Callaghan talks to experts who urge caution in their use

TACKLES AND MUSCLES...

F

OR weeks they harnessed our hearts and our souls as they triumphed over a string of nations — the US, Australia, Russia, Italy. And, while the Irish rugby squad lost the dream in the end, they are still our heroes, champions from a small country who went in pursuit of a World Cup prize. It’s epic stuff, heady stuff, even for those of us who have never been in close quarters with a rugby ball. How intoxicating must it be then for our rugby-playing schoolboys, some of whom can quite realistically hope to one day line out in a green jersey, be the next Ronan O’Gara, the next Brian O’Driscoll? Former Munster and Ireland hooker Frankie Sheahan recalls schools rugby being extremely competitive in his time. “Yet, we were playing for an amateur game,” says Sheahan, who played the first of his 163 games for Munster in 1996. “The advent of the professional era — the Munster juggernaut and all of that — has added a serious lure to it. All of a sudden, kids can say ‘I could become a professional’. Rugby is fashionable — there are some great role models. And starting with your local team you could dream of eventually playing in parks all over Europe and beyond. If you’re lucky you could be paid to do what you love to do.” But to what lengths are our teen rugby players prepared to go to score that extra edge on the boy standing next to them, trying out for the same team? The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) acknowledges anecdotal evidence that there’s “widespread use of sports supplements in rugby, which includes use by young players”. Such sports supplements include creatine (this allows rapid recovery between multiple bouts of high-intensity exercise) and other protein supplements. Professor Brendan Buckley, chairman of the Anti-Doping Committee of the Irish Sports Council and Professor of Pharmacology at UCC, says such supplements are extensively used in team sports where power is a requirement. “Rugby and Gaelic football would be the main ones qualifying under these requirements. Use of these supplements in rugby in schools and among senior adult players at the upper end of amateur is very substantial.” While no comprehensive data exists on use of bulk-building and other sports supplements among Irish sports players, a study led by Dr Suzanne Guerin of UCD’s Department of Psychology reported a few years ago that 12% of a group of 165 school-aged rugby, Gaelic and soccer players had used creatine. “There’s a lot of peer pressure,” says Irish Sports Council chief executive John Treacy. “You have a fellow trying out for a team and beside him is a lad who’s using a supplement. There’s a whole marketing campaign that makes it difficult for young teens to see the wood from the trees.” Creatine, a normal component of muscle (meat and fish are dietary sources — the body needs about two grams a day to replace the amount broken down), is not illegal in Ireland, nor is it a banned substance. Personal trainer Marc Smith points to creatine’s positives. “You need less recovery time, you have decreased fatigue and your performance improves. Your muscle bulk will increase but your body fat won’t necessarily drop — you’re not going to get your six-pack by taking it.” Frankie Sheahan took creatine when he was 19 or 20. “It didn’t suit me. It put half a stone

Feelgood

on me straight away. To my knowledge, there were no other adverse effects. I took it for a couple of three-month spells, then stopped.” Creatine’s long-term safety isn’t known and recognised adverse effects include gastrointestinal discomfort, muscle cramps and headaches. Expert opinion is that high-dose creatine may potentially damage kidneys and liver. Lack of research on the long-term safety of using sports supplements and ergogenic aids (of which creatine is one) under age 18 led the American Academy of Paediatrics to recommend they not be used by children and adolescents. The American College of Sports Medicine also recommended creatine shouldn’t be used by anyone under 18. Use of such supplements by under-18s is causing youngsters to bulk up at a level for which their skeleton isn’t prepared, says Professor Buckley. “They’re much more injury prone. Collisions occur that cause injuries which damage bones.” Marc Smith warns of the opposite outcome to the one intended by the young supplement user. “Making muscles bigger artificially, by giving yourself extra creatine, means tendons won’t develop as quickly as the muscle. Yet, they’re going to have to take on the extra pressure of bigger muscles. The fear would be of detached tendons, which could spell the end of a potential career.” Stress and conditioning specialist Padraig Murphy says most teens aren’t disciplined enough to take a substance like creatine. “Most of these young lads aren’t taking it properly,” he warns. “There’s a loading period, which has to be done correctly. Kids aren’t disciplined enough to do that. Also, if you’re going to supplement you need your body to be tuned and healthy. Your body should be very clean — not consuming rubbish processed food or fizzy drinks. A lot of teens haven’t got that straight so, if they’re drinking alcohol and eating bad food, the supplement won’t be as effective.” He also cautions that young players, hungry for results, don’t question claims made by supplement manufacturers. Take the popular muscle-building supplement Arginine Alphaketoglutarate (AAKG). “A study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition looked at its effects in 24 men who used it. Research showed it had no significant impact and that the increase in blood flow was attributable to exercise rather than to the supplement.” Another worry is that some of the bulk-building products have been contaminated with steroids or banned substances. Sports psychology consultant Dr Kate Kirby warns: “If they’re bought on the internet, you could get an accidental false positive in a doping analysis test. It’s such an unregulated industry that even if you’re buying them from a trusted source — a gym or healthfood shop — there’s no guarantee there hasn’t been cross-contamination.” Professor Buckley is also concerned about fostering a mindset among young sports players that taking powder out of a plastic barrel will make them better players. “It’s worrying because it’s very close to the doping culture. In a

No quick-fix alternative to good nutrition, hydration and training ACCORDING to the Irish Rugby Football Union, athletes take supplements: ■ to compensate for an inadequate diet ■ to meet demands of hard training ■ because team-mates take them ■ because they’re recommended by influential people ■ because they believe supplements will improve performance. Successful individual performance in sport is related to: ■ talent ■ coaching and skill acquisition ■ structured training and conditioning ■ motivation and dedication ■ optimal nutrition ■ adequate sleep and recovery None of these can be replaced by use of supplements. Taking supplements may seem the quick-fix for accelerated growth, but young players will gain size and strength from well-planned training and recovery, along with adequate nutrition and hydration. Sports supplements can be divided into two broad categories:

him aside and re-educate him in nutrition and in the healthy-eating programmes operating within the school or sports organisation.” Professor Buckley says ultimately responsibility comes back on the players, their trainers and parents. But he also calls for a more active policy in schools around re-examining the importance attached to competitive sport and “whether it has a position disproportionate to its benefit and is putting young players at risk of injury”. “A cultural change needs at least to be considered,” he says. “A discussion needs to happen about 30 lives revolving around a couple of games in the latter end of secondary school life. Are people prepared to look at how they approach the concept of winning and the risks they may be taking with youngsters’ health?”

■ Dietary supplements, such as sports bars and drinks, provide nutrients found in everyday foods. Some can be considered useful in helping players meet nutritional goals — sports drinks during training and matches, sports bars and liquid meal replacements to support high-energy requirements. However, some dietary supplements — protein powders, vitamins and minerals — are often used without evidence of need or taken to ‘rectify’ a poor diet.

● The IRFU has developed web-based nutrition education. It informs young players on how to eat and drink well to best support their training and competitive performances. www.irishrugby.ie/eat2compete

■ Nutritional ergogenic aids contain more nutrients than are typically found in everyday foods and claim to have a direct work-enhancing effect on performance. They often rely on theoretical or anecdotal

Picture: iStock images

small minority of users, it might be a precursor to worse [doping]. And if you think you can become the next Paul O’Connell out of a barrel, you’re removing focus from what you should be concentrating on — natural talent, skill-development, training.” Dr Kirby, who completed a PhD in the psychological and social factors associated with doping in sport, says some research exists to suggest supplementation is a gateway to steroid use. Frankie Sheahan believes you can’t generalise about sports supplements. “If, for example, you finish training at 7pm but don’t sit down to dinner until 8.30pm, that one and a half hours is crucial in recovery — the quicker you get a recovery drink into you, the better. But if you’re ignorant about what you’re taking, you could find yourself in trouble very fast both

from a health and regulatory point of view. Yet, there are some fantastic supplements and there are few professional players in any sport who are not taking them.” Professor Buckley also points to the real issue for sports players who train at very high intensity and frequency. “It’s not that easy to get all the calories they need from an ordinary diet. Supplements have an appropriate place here. A professionally supervised nutritional regime, which uses dietary supplements sensibly, is a necessary element for any athlete who is using two to three times as many calories as those who sit at desks all day.” But underage sport is an altogether different matter. IRFU performance nutritionist Ruth Wood-Martin cites their policy on sports supplements and the young rugby player. “The use of protein supplements shouldn’t be recommended by schools, coaches, teachers or others involved in the training of young rugby players.

The IRFU strongly advises against the use of nutritional ergogenic aids, in particular creatine, in players under 18.” Damien Philpott, chairman of Munster Schools Rugby, says he’s concerned that development squads in a number of sports might add extra pressure on young athletes to try and improve on their performance. “There’s a culture and a drive for excellence that goes down to age 15. People are trying to identify talent earlier. I’d be concerned that this would add extra pressure on young athletes.” Philpott isn’t aware of any coach of young players who actively promotes taking creatine. Asked what would be the policy if a teen player was found to be taking creatine or a muscle supplement, Philpott says, “We’d call

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

IRISH STUDY: 12% of a group of 165 school-aged rugby, Gaelic and soccer players had used creatine

The IRFU strongly advises against the use of nutritional ergogenic aids, in particular creatine, in players under 18

support rather than sound scientific evidence. Commonly used ergogenic aids include creatine, caffeine tablets, individual proteins (amino acids), chromium picolinate, herbal preparations and fat burners.


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8 Cover story

Sports supplements

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9

While creatine and other body-building supplements are hugely popular among young sportsmen, Helen O’Callaghan talks to experts who urge caution in their use

TACKLES AND MUSCLES...

F

OR weeks they harnessed our hearts and our souls as they triumphed over a string of nations — the US, Australia, Russia, Italy. And, while the Irish rugby squad lost the dream in the end, they are still our heroes, champions from a small country who went in pursuit of a World Cup prize. It’s epic stuff, heady stuff, even for those of us who have never been in close quarters with a rugby ball. How intoxicating must it be then for our rugby-playing schoolboys, some of whom can quite realistically hope to one day line out in a green jersey, be the next Ronan O’Gara, the next Brian O’Driscoll? Former Munster and Ireland hooker Frankie Sheahan recalls schools rugby being extremely competitive in his time. “Yet, we were playing for an amateur game,” says Sheahan, who played the first of his 163 games for Munster in 1996. “The advent of the professional era — the Munster juggernaut and all of that — has added a serious lure to it. All of a sudden, kids can say ‘I could become a professional’. Rugby is fashionable — there are some great role models. And starting with your local team you could dream of eventually playing in parks all over Europe and beyond. If you’re lucky you could be paid to do what you love to do.” But to what lengths are our teen rugby players prepared to go to score that extra edge on the boy standing next to them, trying out for the same team? The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) acknowledges anecdotal evidence that there’s “widespread use of sports supplements in rugby, which includes use by young players”. Such sports supplements include creatine (this allows rapid recovery between multiple bouts of high-intensity exercise) and other protein supplements. Professor Brendan Buckley, chairman of the Anti-Doping Committee of the Irish Sports Council and Professor of Pharmacology at UCC, says such supplements are extensively used in team sports where power is a requirement. “Rugby and Gaelic football would be the main ones qualifying under these requirements. Use of these supplements in rugby in schools and among senior adult players at the upper end of amateur is very substantial.” While no comprehensive data exists on use of bulk-building and other sports supplements among Irish sports players, a study led by Dr Suzanne Guerin of UCD’s Department of Psychology reported a few years ago that 12% of a group of 165 school-aged rugby, Gaelic and soccer players had used creatine. “There’s a lot of peer pressure,” says Irish Sports Council chief executive John Treacy. “You have a fellow trying out for a team and beside him is a lad who’s using a supplement. There’s a whole marketing campaign that makes it difficult for young teens to see the wood from the trees.” Creatine, a normal component of muscle (meat and fish are dietary sources — the body needs about two grams a day to replace the amount broken down), is not illegal in Ireland, nor is it a banned substance. Personal trainer Marc Smith points to creatine’s positives. “You need less recovery time, you have decreased fatigue and your performance improves. Your muscle bulk will increase but your body fat won’t necessarily drop — you’re not going to get your six-pack by taking it.” Frankie Sheahan took creatine when he was 19 or 20. “It didn’t suit me. It put half a stone

Feelgood

on me straight away. To my knowledge, there were no other adverse effects. I took it for a couple of three-month spells, then stopped.” Creatine’s long-term safety isn’t known and recognised adverse effects include gastrointestinal discomfort, muscle cramps and headaches. Expert opinion is that high-dose creatine may potentially damage kidneys and liver. Lack of research on the long-term safety of using sports supplements and ergogenic aids (of which creatine is one) under age 18 led the American Academy of Paediatrics to recommend they not be used by children and adolescents. The American College of Sports Medicine also recommended creatine shouldn’t be used by anyone under 18. Use of such supplements by under-18s is causing youngsters to bulk up at a level for which their skeleton isn’t prepared, says Professor Buckley. “They’re much more injury prone. Collisions occur that cause injuries which damage bones.” Marc Smith warns of the opposite outcome to the one intended by the young supplement user. “Making muscles bigger artificially, by giving yourself extra creatine, means tendons won’t develop as quickly as the muscle. Yet, they’re going to have to take on the extra pressure of bigger muscles. The fear would be of detached tendons, which could spell the end of a potential career.” Stress and conditioning specialist Padraig Murphy says most teens aren’t disciplined enough to take a substance like creatine. “Most of these young lads aren’t taking it properly,” he warns. “There’s a loading period, which has to be done correctly. Kids aren’t disciplined enough to do that. Also, if you’re going to supplement you need your body to be tuned and healthy. Your body should be very clean — not consuming rubbish processed food or fizzy drinks. A lot of teens haven’t got that straight so, if they’re drinking alcohol and eating bad food, the supplement won’t be as effective.” He also cautions that young players, hungry for results, don’t question claims made by supplement manufacturers. Take the popular muscle-building supplement Arginine Alphaketoglutarate (AAKG). “A study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition looked at its effects in 24 men who used it. Research showed it had no significant impact and that the increase in blood flow was attributable to exercise rather than to the supplement.” Another worry is that some of the bulk-building products have been contaminated with steroids or banned substances. Sports psychology consultant Dr Kate Kirby warns: “If they’re bought on the internet, you could get an accidental false positive in a doping analysis test. It’s such an unregulated industry that even if you’re buying them from a trusted source — a gym or healthfood shop — there’s no guarantee there hasn’t been cross-contamination.” Professor Buckley is also concerned about fostering a mindset among young sports players that taking powder out of a plastic barrel will make them better players. “It’s worrying because it’s very close to the doping culture. In a

No quick-fix alternative to good nutrition, hydration and training ACCORDING to the Irish Rugby Football Union, athletes take supplements: ■ to compensate for an inadequate diet ■ to meet demands of hard training ■ because team-mates take them ■ because they’re recommended by influential people ■ because they believe supplements will improve performance. Successful individual performance in sport is related to: ■ talent ■ coaching and skill acquisition ■ structured training and conditioning ■ motivation and dedication ■ optimal nutrition ■ adequate sleep and recovery None of these can be replaced by use of supplements. Taking supplements may seem the quick-fix for accelerated growth, but young players will gain size and strength from well-planned training and recovery, along with adequate nutrition and hydration. Sports supplements can be divided into two broad categories:

him aside and re-educate him in nutrition and in the healthy-eating programmes operating within the school or sports organisation.” Professor Buckley says ultimately responsibility comes back on the players, their trainers and parents. But he also calls for a more active policy in schools around re-examining the importance attached to competitive sport and “whether it has a position disproportionate to its benefit and is putting young players at risk of injury”. “A cultural change needs at least to be considered,” he says. “A discussion needs to happen about 30 lives revolving around a couple of games in the latter end of secondary school life. Are people prepared to look at how they approach the concept of winning and the risks they may be taking with youngsters’ health?”

■ Dietary supplements, such as sports bars and drinks, provide nutrients found in everyday foods. Some can be considered useful in helping players meet nutritional goals — sports drinks during training and matches, sports bars and liquid meal replacements to support high-energy requirements. However, some dietary supplements — protein powders, vitamins and minerals — are often used without evidence of need or taken to ‘rectify’ a poor diet.

● The IRFU has developed web-based nutrition education. It informs young players on how to eat and drink well to best support their training and competitive performances. www.irishrugby.ie/eat2compete

■ Nutritional ergogenic aids contain more nutrients than are typically found in everyday foods and claim to have a direct work-enhancing effect on performance. They often rely on theoretical or anecdotal

Picture: iStock images

small minority of users, it might be a precursor to worse [doping]. And if you think you can become the next Paul O’Connell out of a barrel, you’re removing focus from what you should be concentrating on — natural talent, skill-development, training.” Dr Kirby, who completed a PhD in the psychological and social factors associated with doping in sport, says some research exists to suggest supplementation is a gateway to steroid use. Frankie Sheahan believes you can’t generalise about sports supplements. “If, for example, you finish training at 7pm but don’t sit down to dinner until 8.30pm, that one and a half hours is crucial in recovery — the quicker you get a recovery drink into you, the better. But if you’re ignorant about what you’re taking, you could find yourself in trouble very fast both

from a health and regulatory point of view. Yet, there are some fantastic supplements and there are few professional players in any sport who are not taking them.” Professor Buckley also points to the real issue for sports players who train at very high intensity and frequency. “It’s not that easy to get all the calories they need from an ordinary diet. Supplements have an appropriate place here. A professionally supervised nutritional regime, which uses dietary supplements sensibly, is a necessary element for any athlete who is using two to three times as many calories as those who sit at desks all day.” But underage sport is an altogether different matter. IRFU performance nutritionist Ruth Wood-Martin cites their policy on sports supplements and the young rugby player. “The use of protein supplements shouldn’t be recommended by schools, coaches, teachers or others involved in the training of young rugby players.

The IRFU strongly advises against the use of nutritional ergogenic aids, in particular creatine, in players under 18.” Damien Philpott, chairman of Munster Schools Rugby, says he’s concerned that development squads in a number of sports might add extra pressure on young athletes to try and improve on their performance. “There’s a culture and a drive for excellence that goes down to age 15. People are trying to identify talent earlier. I’d be concerned that this would add extra pressure on young athletes.” Philpott isn’t aware of any coach of young players who actively promotes taking creatine. Asked what would be the policy if a teen player was found to be taking creatine or a muscle supplement, Philpott says, “We’d call

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

IRISH STUDY: 12% of a group of 165 school-aged rugby, Gaelic and soccer players had used creatine

The IRFU strongly advises against the use of nutritional ergogenic aids, in particular creatine, in players under 18

support rather than sound scientific evidence. Commonly used ergogenic aids include creatine, caffeine tablets, individual proteins (amino acids), chromium picolinate, herbal preparations and fat burners.


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10 Medical matters

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Cathy McCarthy has written an upbeat self-help book for cancer sufferers

Sharing my journey I

WAS diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2007. I found a lump, went to my GP who referred me to the Triple Assessment Centre in St Vincent’s Hospital. After waiting a week for the results, I was given the news that I had breast cancer. And so my cancer journey began. My treatment plan was surgery, six sessions of chemotherapy and 33 sessions of radiotherapy. From the outset, I decided that I was going to make the most of an unexpected year in my life. It was not the year I had planned, but it was the year I had been given. My book, Not The Year You Had Planned (published by Ashfield Press, €12.99) aims to provide tips and information to those going through cancer treatment. I decided to donate all of my royalties to the Tallaght Cancer Support Group and to the Sligo Cancer Support Centre. A selection of tips from Not The Year You Had Planned, are as follows: One step at a time Try not to be too daunted by the road ahead. If you see your treatment as a year out of your life, it could overwhelm you. You have to go through each stage to get on to the next stage. Taking each step as it comes can make the treatment more manageable. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time”. Go with the bad days You will have bad days, go with it, feel sad, and do whatever you can to get through it. Don’t deny these days, they are real. Remember you don’t have to feel strong all the time. Get help: Don’t try to do it all on your own, seek help from friends, or whatever it takes to get through. Talk about your fears. Seek help from a Cancer Support Centre. Treat yourself: Be kind to yourself, If you can, buy yourself something after each treatment. It does not have to be expensive, just something to give you a lift. You deserve it.

C

Catherine Shanahan MUM’S WORLD Feelgood

Choose your attitude: It is important to have the right attitude. From the first moment I got my diagnosis I made a very conscious decision that I was going to beat my cancer. To quote Charles R. Swindoll, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…We are in charge of our attitudes”. Spirituality: Explore what that means for you. It could be yoga, meditation or buying a book that explores the inner self. For me, it was the book Benedictus by John O’Donohue, a gift from a friend just after I was diagnosed. Exercise: There is a lot of emphasis on the importance of exercise today. I know that some people can be extremely tired during treatment, but if you can, walk even for 5 to 10 minutes a day and try to build it up. Exercise is beneficial for both mind and body. Be careful after treatment: This is a difficult time. It is normal to feel depressed or low. You may not be aware of the emotions and feelings you will encounter when the treatment is all over. That part for me was unexpected. I felt well physically, but emotionally, I was very fragile. Where once you had a treatment plan, attended hospital every few weeks, saw doctors and nurses on a regular basis, you are now on your own. Even though at the time you probably did not wish to be in hospital, there is a sense of security attached to being minded, to being able to ask questions and get immediate answers. If you have not received help up to now, please consider getting it at this stage. Talk to your GP or go to a support centre. I went for counselling and found it very useful. For the majority of people life does not end with a cancer diagnosis, you can get through it and live the rest of your life in a more fulfilled way. To quote Caroline Joy Adams: “Your life is a sacred journey, and it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly, deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path … exactly where you are meant to be right now … and from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity and of love. ”

AREFUL out there. You never know who’s lurking behind that high chair, or if the tot on the bean bag is hardwired to become a psychopath and live a life of violent crime. Flippancy aside, the findings of a New Zealand study, presented recently in Dublin, are enough to put the heart across any parent whose child displays signs of aggression or restlessness. The research, carried out over a 20-year period, began with a 90-minute observational study by nurses of the behaviour of three-year-olds, whom they subsequently classified as ‘at risk’ or ‘normal’. The toddlers were revisited in early adulthood to measure outcomes, and, alarmingly, those boy toddlers tagged ‘at risk’ — because of restless, aggressive or negative behaviour — were nearly five times more likely at age 21 to have abused their partners. They were also two and a half times more likely to have a criminal conviction, regularly characterised by violence. For the ‘at risk’ girls, fewer were engaged in antisocial behaviour, but three in 10 had teen pregnancies and, by age 21, more than 40% were in violent or abusive relationships. The good news for those of you contemplating locking up your children on foot of such hair-raising revelations is that you, the parent, hold the key to their salvation. What

RECORD REPLAY: Cathy McCarthy has devised helpful tips for those are diagnosed with cancer from keeping a record of her own experience.

we all need to realise is the infant brain is making connections at a rate faster than the speed of sub-atomic particles and all of our reactions are clocked at a rate of knots by these tiny, but perceptive, tots. The baby who constantly smiles at its mother, but sees no reciprocal action, will eventually stop seeking a response and withdraw into itself. The tot who throws things from the cot as part of a game that it wants its father to engage in will, sooner or later, give up when daddy fails to pick up on his efforts to communicate. The baby whose cries of anger or sadness are punished or ignored may learn to hide those emotions because the message he’s getting is that both are somehow unacceptable. Yes, our infants need constant reassurance that we are registering their presence in a way that makes them feel safe and loved and cared for. When it comes to emotional and social development, it’s all about positive parenting, particularly in infancy, and, if the study mentioned above is anything to go by, a lack of empathy could create the kind of monster none of us ever wants to meet down a dark alley. The message, therefore, is clear. Nurture those you hold dear and the odds of them ever doing time will reduce in line with the quality of that parental investment.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

The infant brain is making connections at a rate faster than the speed of sub-atomic particles and all of our reactions are clocked at a rate of knots by these tiny, but perceptive, tots


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Kids stuff

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11

Eleven-year-old Oisin Aylward has swapped computers for Beyblade, a simple ring-pull game. He hopes to be world champion, says Arlene Harris

New spin on games L

IKE most 11-year-old boys, Oisin Aylward has a passion for gadgets. But unlike most of his counterparts, he doesn’t need an electric current or batteries to play his favourite game. Instead, the Waterford boy just hunkers down and gets to grips with his Beyblade. Something like a modern version of a spinning top, this simple toy appeals to children all over the globe, and, keen to encourage more players, Oisin has organised tournaments in Ireland, has set up a website forum dedicated to the game and is currently preparing for the Beyblade world championship qualifiers in Dublin next month. If he makes the grade, the young entrepreneur will be heading to Canada to represent Ireland in this fast-paced game of skill. A Beyblade is a small toy that originated in a Japanese comic strip. Just like an old-fashioned spinning top, the Beyblade is ‘launched’ by a ring pull to the words ‘3, 2, 1 let it rip’. Battling opponents will launch their Beyblades into a customised ring (any flat surface will do), and the top that outmanoeuvres its rival and continues to spin is the winner. “I got into Beyblades when someone at my karate class told me he was playing it,” says Oisin. “I had no idea what they were, but I thought they sounded great and after saving up my pocket money I went to the shop to buy one and they were such good value that I decided to buy two. “Then, once I got my first couple, I got hooked and started collecting them. After a while, my friends and my eight-year-old brother Darragh wanted to get involved, so they got them as well and we were able to battle together.” Oisin and his gang became so engrossed in their new-found toys that they lost interest in computer games and focused all their energy on Beyblading. After a few weeks of playing, the schoolboy wanted to further challenge his skills, so (with a little help from his parents) he organised a tournament in the People’s Park in Waterford. “I love to Beyblade and would definitely play them instead of playing computer games,” he says. “They are great fun and easy to use and are so small that you can carry them everywhere. They also don’t cost much, so most people can use them and now all my friends spend more time with Beyblades than on computer games, too. “But we wanted to have battles with other children, so I set up a tournament at the bandstand in my local park and told my friends to tell their friends about it. Then, simply by word-of-mouth between players, we ended up with around 30 people — some even came all the way from Cork and Wexford,” he says. “We didn’t have an entry fee, because we want to get more people into the game and its so easy — for example, two children walked passed our tournament and asked to join in, so everyone got their spare parts together so they could play. “Our tournaments aren’t about the money — they’re just about being able to play with other children. So far, we have had two tournaments this year and we brought cakes (baked by our mums) and drinks to sell cheaply, then used that money to buy Beyblades as prizes.”

Feelgood

A vital boost of confidence DR Erika Doyle is a psychologist who works with the Children’s Research Centre in TCD. She says developing interests outside of academic studies and away from modern technology is vital for promoting self-confidence in children. “Parents can unwittingly support their child’s lack of self-esteem by striving to make them feel good about themselves, by molly-codling and doing everything for them, by surrounding them by passive activities such as TV that require no talent, effort or commitment,” says Dr Doyle. “Children need to be challenged positively and crucially be encouraged to take responsibility for as much as possible in their lives at an early age. “Giving your child time is the major positive factor and a commitment to support children in their activities is vital,” she says. “However, listening is the key when a child wants to embark on a new activity and offering gentle advice rather than taking over. “In the pre-teen years it is important to allow and encourage children to start making choices and trying things out for themselves. Show them how to find out information on the web, safely and how to make a phone-call to find out information politely.” The biggest gift you can give children is to help them discover and explore their passions, talents and strengths. Think about: ■ What projects evoke the child’s interest and commitment? ■ What are the child’s unique talents and strengths? ■ What activities allow them to express these talents?

LET IT RIP: Beyblade fans and brothers, Oisin and Darragh Alyward, prepare for the forthcoming Irish Beyblade championship qualifiers in Dublin. Picture:Marc O’Sullivan

Currently holding second place in his county finals, Oisin is hoping that his game skills will prove to be sufficient to secure a slot on the Irish squad. “There isn’t really a secret skill to Beyblading, but launch practice is very important,” he says. “It is also good to customise your Beyblades and I have different techniques for each of my blades. “For attacks, I would do a thing called the sliding shot that makes it move around in a flower pattern and strikes the opposing Bey-

blade in the middle. Then, for defence, I also do the Sliding Shot, but they move around in a small circle defending off all attacks .” With the nail-biting qualifiers taking place next week, the go-getting schoolboy hopes his skills will be sufficient to help him win the chance to represent Ireland at the World Beyblade Championships in Canada next March. “The qualifiers will be very hard, but with my secret combination (of launch styles) and my customised special launcher, I think I

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

have a big chance,” he says. “I would love to win, but I know it will be hard so as long as I do well, I’ll be happy. “I hope to continue playing this game for a long time and getting more people into it. I’ve set up my own web forum and I have five members already — but I need more to join, so if anyone is interested they can meet me at http://irishbeyblade.zxq.net/ to talk about the game or even organise a battle.” The world championship qualifiers are being held in Smyth’s toys superstores, Blanchardstown, on November 2 and in Smyth’s toys superstores Carrickmines on November 3. ● For more information, see: www.facebook.com/smythstoys


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12

Healthy food

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There is plenty to be gained from taking a leaf out of a strict veggie diet

V-Day for vegan News bites ■ CORK Free Choice Consumer group presents The Global Food System -— modern food production and trade and its consequences for health and the environment. This talk given by Dr Colin Sage, Dept of Geography, UCC will take place on Thursday October 27 at 7.30pm. Entrance €6, including tea and coffee.

Roz Crowley

W

ITH World Vegan Day on November 1, it is a good time to decide if there is anything meat eaters can learn from this diet. There are plenty of celebrities who have embraced it as a way of living as well as just for the diet — avoiding wearing fur, feather, leather, silk and wool. They also avoid soaps made from tallow (the fat of nimals) and watch the cosmetics they use, which often have some animal content. Eggs, dairy produce and honey are off the menu as well as the obvious meat, poultry and fish, so there is a lot to consider before embracing this restrictive lifestyle. Leonardo da Vinci was a vegan, and President Bill Clinton went vegan (though not fully) after his quadruple bypass. Up to then he was partial to a burger and chips and doughnuts. A long list of celebrities includes Natalie Portman who relaxed from vegan to vegetarian when she was pregnant with her son. She was concerned that she might not be getting the required range of nutrients for another dependent. This seems to be the main concern of dieticians who preach balance. “Vegetarian and vegan diets have good principles,” says nutrition consultant Paula Mee. “A diet that reminds us of the importance of fresh fruit and a wide range of vegetables is good to see, but to be a dedicated and healthy vegan and get the spread of nutrients we need for good health takes a lot of attention. “It can also be expensive as foods have to be top quality to deliver as many vitamins and minerals as possible. It can also be socially disruptive, as well as monotonous so that a good diet may not be easily sustainable.” Mee is concerned that the vegan regime lacks iron and calcium, which are often low in the Irish diet anyway. Meat provides us with a source of iron that is easily absorbed by the body, while dairy produce has been adapted by our bodies over the years so it delivers the necessary calcium for growth. Of course, we still need fruit and vegetables to help absorb the minerals and vitamins from a diet that includes meat. We Irish often don’t get that balance right, still eating too much processed food which has less nutrients while laden with unhealthy fats and salt. In some households, there is no fruit bowl

Feelgood

■ Good news from The Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, which is now supplying Smoked Irish Organic Salmon (hot and cold-smoked varieties) to the famous Dean & Deluca outlets in New York. This is a big coup at a time of recession and a great credit to the producers and the marketing persistence of Peter Curtin and his wife Birgitta Hedin-Curtin, pictured, who established their rural-based artisan business in 1989. ■ Folláin extra fruit jams has a delicious rhubarb and ginger in the range with just the right amount of ginger. It’s good to use in the base of an apple tart. Recipes are available at www.follain.ie where you can get ideas for using their savoury as well as sweet sauces. € 2.45 in supermarkets. Picture: iStock

of meat such as salamis, sausages and for children and adults to reach into patés, and cut down (not out) on when they need a snack. These days with lean red meat. We need to become apples at their cheapest, this is easy and omnivores with more emphasis nutritionally much better value than fizzy on fruit and vegetables and oily drinks or salty snacks. fish. “Kids learn to like certain The vegan diet has its pluses and foods so give them plant-based the body adapts to it, taking more protein such as peas, chickpeas as nutrients from foods and maximiswell as beans such as butter ing nourishment. Nuts and seeds beans, aduki and cannelini which can deliver some calcium and the TRIM UP: Nutrition are an important part of the vegan necessary oils and fats for digestive consultant Paula Mee says we can diet,” says Mee. and heart health, but often not learn from the vegan The key is to look at how enough unless watched carefully. we can replace fattening and Paula Mee says it’s a good idea diet and cut out to learn from the vegan diet and processed and fatty unhealthy foods with healthier options such as agave syrup for cut out processed and fatty forms forms of meat.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

sweetening instead of sugar. We can avoid sweets, biscuits and crisps by replacing them with nuts, seeds and treats such as edamame beans (Marks and Spencer have a delicious lightly roasted and salted version) and dried fruit such as cranberries so that eating between meals delivers nutrients as well as being satisfying. There are plenty of packets of nuts and dried fruit in supermarkets and wholefood shops. To celebrate this World Vegan Day, examine your diet and think about embracing the bean. The fibre and protein can make a delicious meal. I might throw in some chopped bacon to a bean stew, but the benefits of a vegetable stew are enormous.


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Male health

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From there to here

13

Two years later Rob is 23 stone lighter

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N JANUARY 2010, Rob Walpole weighed in at a significant 38 stone. Less than two years later, he’s an impressive 23 stone lighter. “It crept up on me throughout the years,” says the 50-year-old, who lives in Camolin, Co Wexford. “I wasn’t eating breakfast, then I’d have a small lunch, eat too much in the evening and never exercise. I’d been on various diets since I was 15, going from being a few stone overweight to 38 stone last year.” Despite friends and family, including wife Mary Ellen, pleading with him to lose weight for the sake of his health, it was an incident at his father’s funeral that was the all-important trigger. “My mam and dad were sick for two years and died within nine months of each other. My dad died in January 2010 when I was at my heaviest, probably 38 stone. My back was so sore that I couldn’t stand to shake people’s hands after the funeral, I had to lean against the funeral car, so I said, ‘That’s it, no more’.” He attended a Motivation Weight Management Clinic in Dublin and was on the road to success. “I had heard Dr Maurice Larocque, the programme founder, saying that it’s not what you eat but why you eat,” says Rob, who worked for as a regional manager for two different companies, before working as a self-employed consultant and caring for his parents. “This changed my life, nothing else worked for me before.” Rob reckons he overate because of boredom, frustration and tiredness, becoming so angry with himself that he reacted badly to others’ concern. Now, he runs a Motivation Weight Management Clinic in Gorey, Co Wexford, and hopes to open a second franchise in Wexford shortly. “Losing weight is the easy part, it’s keeping it off is that hard part. This is a maintenance programme to keep you at your ideal weight over time.” For Rob, that involves varying his exercise regime between the gym, swimming and walking; eating three meals a day with protein at each meal; and going to bed between 9-10pm each night. He is also busy running his business. “My goal now is to help others, because I know what it’s like.” ● See www.motivation.ie

TAKE 1

4

IRON COUNT: Pregnant women need a good supply of iron, especially in the second and third trimesters. Spatone is a 100% natural iron supplement and although each sachet contains 5mg of iron — one third of RDA — research has shown it to be easily absorbed, with up to 40% bioavailability, compared to 5 — 20% from food and other iron supplements. Gentle on the stomach, it can be taken diluted in orange juice and is suitable for children over the age of two. Spatone costs €11.43 for 28 sachets from pharmacies and health stores.

Feelgood

NEW LOOK: Rob Walpole seen before and after he lost 23 stone and who now runs a weight loss clinic in Gorey, Co Wexford. Picture:Andres Poveda

Deirdre O'Flynn MOSTLY MEN

Why couples dig up the dirt HOUSEHOLD chores are a prime cause of arguments between couples, according to a study of 350 Irish homes. Although 67% of men say they do an equal share of the housework, three quarters (75.5%) of women say they do all the work, according to the survey carried out by Pivotal Research Ltd on behalf of Malone’s, the Irish range of natural cleaning products. “Many men are under the illusion that if they empty the dishwasher, they are doing an equal share of housework,” says clinical psychologist and Feelgood columnist, Dr Tony Humphreys.

Sixty three percent of parents felt it was their job and not their children’s to pick up, clean up and wash up. “It is often an unconscious motivation for carers to do everything, to prove they themselves are needed, and, in some cases, children are a parent’s whole reason for living,” says Dr Humphreys. “But they are fundamentally doing a disservice to those children, especially the boys, who are often expected to do less.”

You and your baby

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NURSING WEAR: Following the success of her Bubí Bainne breast-feeding cover last year, Irish mum Emer McInerney, who also runs baby online store Once Born, has designed new nursing tops and sleep-wear for her range. The pyjamas, €28.95, and nightdresses, €23.95, are 100% cotton, stylish and are comfortable for a growing bump, as well as offering discreet access for breast-feeding. The maternity/nursing tops, €27 in green, pink and orange, are 95% cotton and 5% elastane. Nursing covers are €22.95, in a range of colours. This new range of nursing wear is available from www.onceborn.com.

3

COUGH RELIEF: Help bring gentle relief to coughs with Nelson’s Sootha, a honey-rich formula which contains a 6c homeopathic potency of Bryonia, purified honey and zesty lemon juice. Sootha cough syrup is free of artificial colours and flavours and does not cause drowsiness. It is suitable for children aged 12 months onwards and costs €7.25, for 150ml, from pharmacies and health stores.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011

4

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Getting out is a concern for parents of twins according to research by nursery supplier Clever Clogs. Parents also say there are not enough products for twins. Clever Clogs have launched the Mountain Buggy Duet in Ireland. It accommodates two kids from birth to four years. Leinster rugby player Isa Nacewa, seen here with his kids, says, “I was lucky enough to receive a Mountain Buggy Duet for my twin girls.” www.cleverclogs.ie; and retailers, for €569.


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14 Beauty

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Get the latest designer beauty look at a fraction of the price on the high street

Budget highs

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rather more demure Mushroom. The Hand Product: Avon Planet Spa African Shea Moisturising Gloves, €4 I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of humiliating beauty products, and going to bed with plastic gloves on is pretty much up there with going to be covered wearing a thong while covered in mahogany fake tan. Still, if you have hands that are relentlessly rough, these gloves are a lifesaver because they do really work. Plus, you can get a great effect with any old cheapie hand cream (although we’d opt for anything by Neutrogena).

Emily O’Sullivan

I

’VE a bit of a weakness for posh beauty products. I know it’s pointless spending loads of money on them, but sometimes it’s hard to resist. Of course, there are lots of different reasons that I might ultimately be tempted to shell out — but, mostly, it’s because I’ve used them before, I’ve tried them and, importantly, I know they work. There are few products by the likes of Bobbi Brown, Giorgio Armani and Clarins that nearly always win me over. Clarins does really amazing skincare and great foundations; Bobbi Brown blows everyone else out of the water when it comes to concealers, tinted moisturisers, blushers and powders and Giorgio Armani does the most divine eyeshadows around (although we’re recently a convert to the mid-range, natural brand Korres). Sometimes, I simply buy posh beauty products because of the way they make me feel. Tom Ford’s lipsticks are shockingly expensive, but they deliver a dose of instant glamour. And as for Chanel nail polish — well, I defy anyone not to feel good parting with their cash for a bottle. There are some beauty products that just are, in my opinion, worth spending money on — fragrance is one place that you get what you pay for. And I would prefer to save up for a fancy bottle of Miller Harris scent, with real essential oils than to spritz chemically engineered fragrances. The scent lasts longer, doesn’t make you headachey and smells divine. And once you’ve started wearing expensive, good quality fragrance, it’s hard to go back. Similarly, foundation and powder are two other products I splash out on. You can get great mid-range foundations — like Max Factor — but luxury foundation and powder feels and dramatically better. Plus, you usually get better skincare benefits from expensive foundations. Other people mightn’t think they are worth the money, but that boils down to skin type and preference. A long time ago, though, beauty followed fashion down the mix and match route. Cheaper companies began making excellent versions of their posher counterparts, and the mark of a true beauty creative was the ability to match super-budget products with bits and

The Liquid Liner: Rimmel Glam Eyes Liquid Liner, €6.95 Anyone who reads this page with any regularity will know that the only liquid (or gel) eyeliner I like to use is Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Gel Eyeliner. But If I was going to use a different liquid liner it’d be this one. It really is very good, easy to apply and lasts very well. And at that price, we’ll take two. The Mascara: Maybelline The Falsies Mascara, €12.39. Okay, okay, admittedly this is not the most inexpensive mascara on the market, but with mascara sometimes you get what you pay for. You can find decent enough mascaras in Aldi — ones that work really quite well, but if you want a dramatic look then shell out a few more euro and you can nab yourself this little baby.

RIGHT PRICE: Expensive products can enhance the feelgood factor, but there are lots of quality budget products on the shelves. Picture: iStock

bobs that are top of the range. So while you might wear a Giorgio Armani eyeshadow, you might line it with a Topshop Kohl. Or you might opt for an expensive skincream, but wear a cheaper foundation. The thing about budget beauty products to remember is that you shouldn’t feel like they are a “cheap” option. A value product is only really worth mentioning if it does the job just as well as a more expensive option — they should be high-performing items in their own right. And once you start approaching them this way, you realise that there are tons of must-haves on the shelves that will keep your

The news on... LIMITED EDITION EIGHT-HOUR CREAM WE’RE not really that hung up on this whole “limited edition” business. Yes, occasionally beauty companies release special editions, but it’s really just a way of encouraging you to buy. Still, we are willing to allow Elizabeth Arden a little limited edition craziness because they’re doing it with the rather fabulous Eight Hour Cream. Released for Christmas, the classic cream is housed in red and is still the same formulation — after all, it’s been around since 1936, and if it ain’t broke…

Feelgood

wallet happy. Here are my favourites: The Nail Polish: Barry M Nail Paint, €4.50 We love Chanel polishes for its excellent, super-cool range of colours but they don’t last that long, and while they may not be the most expensive polishes on the block, they are pretty pricey. Instead of splashing out on one bottle of Chanel, you could always opt for several bottles of Barry M nail paint. Or simply save your money, and buy one. These nail polishes come in every conceivable colour, from Cobalt Blue to the

The Body Cream: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Deep Moisture Comfort Balm, €6.57 I tested this moisturiser last year for this column, and I was immediately addicted. I’ve tested a wide range of body creams over the years, and this is definitely up there as one of the best. It is excellent for dry, dehydrated skin. It feels rich and luxurious, has a simple, not too overpowering smell and it leaves skin soft and beautifully hydrated, especially if you use it overnight. There are much more expensive creams on the market that are only a fraction as effective. It’s not fancy, but it works a treat. The Eyeliner: ELF Brightening Eye Liner, €1.70 (not including delivery) from eyeslipsface.co.uk Kohl eyeliner is one of the most basic beauty products that you can get, and smudge is one of the worst aspects of it. Even if you’re super-diligent about what product you use, you can still get that telltale smudge after a little while. This gel-powder formulation from the super-cheap ELF is a good bet. It’s not a big smudger, and it even comes with its own sharpener. For under €2, we just can’t argue.

Take three... Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant Pot, €24, Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick SPF 15, €22, and Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturising Hand Treatment, €14, are available from Boots and selected department stores nationwide from October 30.

RICH BODY CREAMS IT’S autumn. Cue dry, rough, bumpy and scaly skin. Soften your skin with one of these three, luxury body treats. The Handmade Soap Company Body Butter with Aloe Vera, €22.95. Though this has the consistency of lard, once you put it on your skin it smoothes to an oil as you rub it in. It’s heavily-fragranced, but not in a bad way, and if you like your body creams rich and

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high-density, this is a good one for you. It’s 100% natural. L’Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream Cocoa Flower, €23.95. Packaged in a limited-edition, colourful tin, this body cream is inviting before you even smooth it on. It has quite a cooling effect and rubs in well. The fragrance is gentle and subtle. Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Comfortable Body Cream, €27.50. More like a lotion, it’s good if you’re looking for a lighter texture with a rich punch. Delicately-fragranced, it instantly hydrates without being sticky or greasy.


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Natural health

Q

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I HAVE a friend who insists that vitamin and mineral supplements do nothing, except create expensive urine. What is your opinion on this?

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

A. I have mentioned before that I don’t believe supplements are the most effective way of obtaining our key nutrients — rather the focus should be on how we eat and live first and foremost. Having said that, if you are choosing supplements which are natural rather than synthesised and doing what you can to make the best choices in your diet and lifestyle, then chances are they may be having a positive overall effect. This is particularly the case where extreme illness or deficiencies are present. In all instances, I would suggest you first have testing done to find out which vitamins and minerals you truly need rather than taking a blanket approach. As for expensive urine, you don’t hear too many people berating a host who prepares an exquisite meal accompanied by a fine bottle of wine complaining that all they are doing is creating expensive urine. Q. I am interested in using homeopathy with my family, however, I was wondering if there were any side effects or problems caused by taking the wrong remedy? A. This is certainly one of the areas where homeopathy is a far cry from conventional medications. It will not poison the individual, nor can it produce side-effects that are toxic or dangerous, since it is what we consider an ‘energetic/energy medicine’. This means that it works by stimulating healing via the subtle energies within the body. It is this energetic connection which allows the fast healing that one often witnesses with homeopathy. When the energy of the remedy is well matched to the present energy of the ill person, the body is able to heal quickly and effectively. Conversely, if the wrong remedy is taken — one that doesn’t match the symptoms experienced by the individual — then, typically, there will be no change in symptoms but not a worsening. Having said that, there are a couple of situations where a short-lived aggravation of symptoms can occur. The first of these is when the remedy matches the symptoms closely but is given too frequently or at too strong a dose. The second is where the remedy is not a good match for the symptoms, but is close — so will trigger a response without healing. This aggravation is not cause for alarm, since the symptoms are typically very mild and don’t last very long.. If the doses are too frequent, or too strong, then you will feel better swiftly by ceasing or reducing the dosage. When the remedy is not the exact fit, your symptoms are not likely to improve since the remedy was not a close enough

Picture: Getty

Have testing done to find out which vitamins and minerals you truly need rather than taking a blanket approach match. Rather than reducing the dosage or frequency, you should choose a remedy which is a better match. Q. Where can I get Dr Christopher’s Ear & Nerve Formula in Ireland or Britain? A. This is one of the popular formulas developed by the late Dr John R Christopher, a Naturopathic Physician from the US. Dr Christopher was the only practicing herbalist in the US Army, using black walnut tincture to cure impetigo, fungus infection and jungle rot. Very popular in the United States, the Dr. Christopher range of herbal products is now available in Britain through a company called Vitamin UK (www.vitaminsuk.com; 00 44 800-0568148), where 2 fl oz costs £13.02. Ear and Nerve Formula is widely used to help with ear infection, earache, epilepsy, vertigo, to help manage MS., swimmers ear, and even to stop hiccups. It is particularly useful in cases of motor nerve injury, hearing loss, and tonsillitis. There are only five ingredients: black cohosh, blue cohosh, blue vervain, skullcap, and lobelia. For ear infection, use 4-6 drops of the Ear & Nerve formula in each ear, and then plug the infected ear/ears with cotton wool dipped in garlic infused oil. Take the formula and the oil, and rub them

into the base of the skull and along the jawline. You can also massage some into the soles of the feet and cover with cotton socks. For young infants, reduce the dosage to 2 drops of Ear & Nerve formula. If it is epilepsy that you are dealing with, then take this same dosage internally (4-6 drops, three times daily) as well as using the drops in the ears and massaged into the back of the neck. Many people have used this formula to successfully treat vertigo. Vertigo can stem from a number of conditions, including middle ear infection, Meniere’s disease, epilepsy, toxaemia, brain disease, or it can appear as a result of unknown causes. Once again, using the drops directly in the ears, massaging it into the lymph glands at the base of the jaw and down the nape of the neck, along with taking the drops internally (6-10 drops, three times daily) is recommended. Using garlic infused oil on cotton wool to plug the ears is typically advised in conjunction with this remedy, since it will help to fight off or prevent any infection. Everyone experiences healing at a different rate, so you can adjust the dosage according to how you feel you are progressing, and bear in mind that pre-existing conditions, along with diet and lifestyle play an important role in how quickly one heals.

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

Megan puts the spotlight on:

A

S we move rapidly into the season of coughs, colds and flu, it is important to ensure that we are prepared with natural remedies, so that we don’t need to reach for the pseudoephedrine or other prescription medicines designed to suppress symptoms. If nasal catarrh is your winter woe, then goldenrod is the herb for you. Not only does it help to moderate excessive mucous production, it also helps with urinary tract health and can be beneficial in supporting an anti-candida diet/lifestyle. Eyebright is another great herb for nasal issues. It helps to treat infection of all the mucous membranes — eyes, nose, throat, along with infections

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of the middle ear. Elderberries and flowers are great for immune support and balance, being an effective all-round winter tonic. Ear infections, coughs, colds, allergies, catarrh, and hayfever are all conditions where using the delicious elderberry or delicate elderflower can help. Barberry bark is excellent for respiratory tract problems, but if it is a nagging cough which has you down

Beating coughs, colds and flu

Picture: iStock

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and miserable this winter, then you can’t go past thyme. Thyme is ideal for individuals prone to asthmatic conditions, and can also benefit those who suffer from sinusitis. The herb supports the immune system and is an all-round wonderful cold and flu herb to have in your garden or kitchen. In fact, Weleda has a cough elixir, which is the only remedy I choose when one of my children comes down with a barking cough. The tried-

and-true recipe has been used since 1954. Weleda’s cough elixir includes herbs such as thyme, aniseed, marshmallow root, and white horehound, along with homeopathic ipecac, drosera and pulsatilla all in a base of raw, cane sugar syrup and malt extract. It doesn’t suppress symptoms, rather it works to stimulate the body to effectively rid itself of catarrh and clear the airways. It costs €6.95 for 100ml (contact the Natural Medicine Company on 045865575 for stockist information). We usually add the elixir to a shot glass of warm water, and find that this is a pleasant-tasting remedy to take for children and adults.


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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011


Feelgood 21-10-2011