Solas Cancer Support Services at the Lismore Clinic

Monday, August 14th, 2017

We are delighted to announce that we are currently working in partnership with Solas Cancer Support Centre, to provide support services to people affected by cancer and their families, through the Lismore Clinic.

The Solas Cancer Support Service was established in Waterford in 1999, to provide a wide variety of support services, including counselling and relaxation therapies, to people affected by cancer and their families. Last year, Solas set up a new service for the people of West Waterford, at the Dungarvan Alternative Health Clinic, and now also provides support services to people affected by cancer and their families, through the Lismore Clinic. This allows easier access to services for people living in areas such as Lismore, Cappoquin, Araglin, Ballyduff and Tallow.

When someone contacts the Solas cancer support service for the first time, a relaxed, informal introduction meeting is arranged with the Solas Client Services Co- ordinator. This allows the individual time to reflect on their experience in a safe and confidential space.  The individual has an opportunity to explore their feelings and needs, and to consider the resources that are available through Solas, that may be therapeutic and empowering to them.

The meeting is a foundation block in nurturing a sense of safety, trust, respect and belonging within the Solas Cancer Support service, for each individual. Following the introduction meeting, appointments for the appropriate services may be arranged by the Client Services Coordinator. The support services that are available at the Lismore Clinic include Counselling, Art therapy and Craniosacral Therapy and Massage.

Counselling is a professional, therapeutic listening process offering confidentiality, understanding and empathy in a non-judgemental, respectful space. Counselling support aims to empower the individual with personal clarity and confidence to cope with their personal challenges.

Art therapy is a model of counselling which uses imagery as a medium of self-expression. Art therapy supports individuals to explore, communicate and process challenging emotions. It is particularly effective for children and adolescents experiencing distress.

Massage is a professional therapeutic ‘touch therapy’, delivered for the purpose of symptomatic stress relief. A rhythmic, systematic application of pressure by the hands of the Therapist can relieve tension from muscles, improve circulation, reduce swelling, ease discomfort and promote an enhanced sense of well-being.

All of the practitioners at the Lismore Clinic are caring individuals who are  fully qualified in their particular therapy, and have a great deal of experience working with people affected by cancer and their families. If you or someone in your family is affected by cancer, and feel that the Solas Cancer Support service may be of help, please call 051 304 604 or email: info@solascentre.ie to arrange an introductory meeting.

The Solas Cancer Support Service is a charity 100% reliant on income raised through fundraising to support our services. If you are interested in organising an event for Solas, no matter how big or small it might be, please contact Ann Marie on 051 304604 or email annmarie@solascentre.ie.

 

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Psoriasis

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, which causes skin cells to multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. This results in raised, red spots, or larger plaques, which are usually covered with white scales. The lesions may be itchy and can crack and bleed.  August is psoriasis awareness month, which aims to provide information to the public about psoriasis, in order to help sufferers to feel less self-conscious, and to inform the public that it is not a contagious condition.

Psoriasis most commonly starts between the ages of around 10 and 25. The tendency to develop the condition is genetic, but the onset may be triggered by an infection (such as strep throat), or by emotional stress, injury to the skin, or use of certain medications, such as beta blockers, and ibuprofen. Psoriasis is exacerbated by excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity

Psoriasis most commonly affects the elbows, knees, and scalp. However, plaques can appear on any part of the body. A form of psoriasis called ‘flexural psoriasis’ causes smooth (non-scaly) inflamed areas in the skin folds, such as the underarms, groin, between the buttocks and under the breasts.

Psoriasis may be associated with discoloration and pitting of the nails, and the nails may also begin to crumble or detach from the nail bed. Furthermore, up to 30% of people with psoriasis go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, which leads to pain and swelling in the joints. People with psoriasis are also more prone to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other autoimmune conditions.

Unfortunately psoriasis is also a major cause of depression and low self-esteem. Sufferers often feel self-conscious about their appearance and cover their skin, even though psoriasis benefits from exposure to sunlight, and may become increasingly itchy if the person gets too hot.

Psoriasis is one of the most difficult conditions to treat, and there is no permanent cure, although various treatments can help to keep symptoms under control and minimize the lesions, while some patients achieve complete remission.

Orthodox treatments include steroid creams or in severe cases, immune suppressants, which are associated with serious side effects. Other treatments that are proven to be beneficial for psoriasis include dead-sea bath salts, sunlight exposure, and emollient creams to prevent dryness and cracking. Useful supplements include Vitamins A, and D, and Fish oils. Ensure your diet is rich in oily fish, vegetables and green tea, and avoid consumption of red meat, wheat (and other gluten-containing grains), alcohol and coffee. If you are overweight try to lose weight and maintain a normal BMI.

Herbal medicines that can help with psoriasis include sarsaparilla and Oregon grape to normalize immune function and treat any chronic infection, plus Gotu kola and liquorice to reduce inflammation and stress. Creams containing Aloe vera and wintergreen can reduce inflammation topically. If you are suffering from psoriasis, a visit to your local Medical Herbalist can provide a uniquely tailored blend of herbs with advice about diet and nutritional supplements to reduce symptoms.

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World Breastfeeding Week

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

This week is National Breastfeeding Week, which aims to raise awareness of the many benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child.  It is an important initiative, particularly in light of the fact that Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe: Only about 40% of new mothers in Ireland initiate breastfeeding and many give up before the child is four months old.

Breast milk is a specific food, which has been designed and perfected by nature to provide exactly the right components needed for the growth and development of human infants. Studies have repeatedly shown that breastfed babies are afforded protection against a wide range of problems, not just during infancy, but also for years afterwards, and even into adulthood.

Breastfed babies are significantly less likely to develop allergies than babies fed with formula milk, and they are also less likely to develop illnesses such as chest and ear infections and tummy bugs.  This is because at birth, a baby has no functional immune system of his own: the mother’s body makes milk especially designed to provide protection from the specific infections which both mother and baby come into contact with.

Breastfeeding significantly reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death), and older children who were breastfed are less susceptible to dental caries and are less likely to need orthodontic treatments. They also have higher verbal performance and IQ scores.  During adulthood, people who were breastfed are less likely to develop obesity and diabetes.  They are also less susceptible to infection by Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes gastritis, peptic ulcer and gastric cancer.

For the mother, breastfeeding significantly reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and breast, ovarian and cervical cancers, not to mention getting back in shape faster. Breastfeeding burns at least an extra 600 calories per day, so if you have put on extra weight during pregnancy this will help you to shift it much more easily.

Despite these numerous benefits for both mother and baby, there seems to be a perception that breastfeeding is difficult or that it can tie you down. However, it is actually far easier, cheaper, and altogether more convenient than buying formula, sterilizing bottles, and listening to a crying baby while the milk warms.

Breastfeeding means that you don’t have to plan ahead when going out: you always have exactly the right amount of milk with you, at exactly the right temperature. Even the disturbed nights are so much less difficult when you don’t have to get up to make a bottle: Just pick up the baby and hop back into bed.

Even if you are planning on going back to work, to breastfeed your baby for the first few weeks (or even just the first few days) is the greatest gift you can give, both for your baby and for yourself.  If you want to continue breastfeeding when you return to work you can give bottles of either expressed or formula milk while you’re away, and continue to breastfeed at other times. If you want to do this it is worth introducing a daily bottle of expressed milk at around four weeks, since this is the ideal time for a baby to master feeding from both breast and bottle. Of course for those women who, for a variety of reasons, cannot breastfeed or find breastfeeding extremely difficult, it is reassuring that babies can thrive on formula milk.

If you do choose to breastfeed there are a number of herbal remedies that can help.  For example, herbal ointments containing calendula or chamomile are soothing and healing for sore and cracked nipples, and are also safe for baby; and surprising relief from engorged breasts comes in the shape of a slightly bruised cabbage leaf in each cup of your bra!

Internally, Fennel tea increases the quantity of breast milk, and some of the constituents actually pass into the breast milk, helping to calm the baby’s digestion and ease colic. Nettle tea can help to produce a plentiful supply of rich, nourishing breast milk, and sage is useful for reducing the quantity of milk during weaning. Your local Medical Herbalist can provide an individually tailored blend of herbs together with advice about nutrition, to help support you and your little one on your breastfeeding journey.

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