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Ask the Expert

Ask An Expert

Allergy advice

“We’ve recently discovered my young son is allergic to cats. Many of our family members own cats – is there anything we can do to help ease symptoms when he visits?” I am glad you’ve

A discovered your son’s allergy to cats at this time of year, as symptoms noticed in the spring are often mistaken for hay fever. An allergy to cat fur is not uncommon as cats (and especially kittens) are a favourite of children. Stroking the cat releases fine hair into the atmosphere, where it settles on soft furnishings only to be released again when there is movement in the room.

These hairs can irritate the skin and delicate mucus membranes of the eyes, nasal passages and lungs, causing the typical symptoms of itching, sneezing and soreness.

allergy advice

Temporary protection from a family cat may be somewhat helped by treating its coat with the useful product Petalcleanse (£10.20) and the house with Aircleanse (£12.50) which, without hurting the animal will reduce the amount of hair in the atmosphere and the benefits will be low. These products may be found at your local pharmacy or on the internet.

However, rarely do allergies exist alone, and it is likely that a cat allergy sufferer may also be sensitive to other animals, caged birds and house dust mite as well as tree, grass and plant pollens. All these allergies may, of course, be helped by antihistamine preparations, but this becomes treatment for life and your letter indicates that you would prefer a more permanent way of resolving the condition. A visit to a private therapist is likely to produce the treatment that you are seeking and you could take your son to visit a qualified herbalist, homeopath, or trained allergy therapist who will be able to fully assess his allergy pattern and provide suitable treatment designed to deal with the condition in an holistic way, so that prolonged medication becomes unnecessary.

Written by James Joyce

September 19th, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Get over your problem

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Life—and how you react to it. You need to learn to control your anxiety.

THE FIX the 2011 Global Peace Index named Iceland as the most peaceful place on Earth. THE COST A three-night break by the Blue Lagoon thermal spa costs a stress-busting £199.BEAT STRESS



Light pollution, basically. THE FIX The Atacama desert in Chile is so dark the European Southern Observatory chose to build its telescope there.

THE COST book into Atacama Lodge (£50pp). Still can’t sleep? There are nightly ‘star tours’.


A BAD BACK THE PROBLEM Weak muscles are often to blame for back pain. THE FIX Swimming is a great way to strengthen your back. Swim Trek offers a week splashing up the Egyptian Red Sea coast. Just be sure to watch out for sharks THE COST From £630. Try applying coconut on your back, it has excellent healing benefits – check out more of the health benefits of coconut oil.


You could be embarking on a mid-Iife crisis; 20% of men will experience one by the time they’re 50.

THE FIX Next March, join adventure travel group Secret Compass as they head into Panama’s unexplored Darien Gap to hunt for petroglyphs dating from 5,000BC. THE COST from £2,499.


THE PROBLEM currently, 40% of Brits profess no religious faith at all.

THE FIX Find your own personal deity in Iquitos, Peru, where you can try the vision-inducing plant preparation ayahuasca. THE COST from £1,440.

INCREASE YOUR SALARY THE PROBLEM Take your pick from bankers, the euro, Gordon Brown or your own ineptitude. THE FIX Buy a one-way ticket to Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia’s economy grew by 17.3% last year. If you can’t make some cash there, you never will. THE COST Tickets from £750 186ti b S

THE PROBLEM you just need a good pep talk.

THE FIX The Body Holiday resort in St Lucia runs ‘Well Fit Retreats’, with motivational training by Olympic decathlete Daley Thompson.

THE COST The boot camp costs £241 per week.

Written by James Joyce

August 28th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Posted in Health

TREND — running escapes

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More of us are lacing up our running shoes than ever before. So what better way to improve your technique and boost your fitness than a running holiday set in stunning surrounds? The new breed of location-based running clinics work on your gait and style while you enjoy beautiful scenery that will inspire you far more than any pavement pounding could as well as coconut oil for softer skin is a good decision.


Explore South Africa’s wine region on two feet with the new 8-day Cape Traii Running

Tour guided by triathlete Steve Atwell. You’ll enjoy five days of guided trail-running (between two to four hours in length) plus three days to unwind and explore local attractions. The trip costs £1,170 per person, induding guided trails, seven nights’ accommodation, breakfasts and car hire; the healthy holiday


Running the Highlands (winning the high lands com) offers guided tours including the five-day Run Across Scotland tour where you run from Inverness to the Isle of Skye while your luggage is transported for you (from £775 per person including five nights’ full-board at three-star hotels), plus tailored running holidays (prices on request), where you can enjoy guided runs plus extras such as a sports massage or one-on-one Pilates sessions.


Written by James Joyce

August 14th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Posted in Health


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Most men don’t think twice about getting their tackle out, in or out of a public convenience. For sufferers of toilet phobia, however, having to pee in public is bladder-busting torment and an unbearable social stigma.


Name: Baz


Age: 30


Symptoms: Baz first started feeling nervous and uncomfortable using urinals when he was 19. It got worse and worse until he reached a state where he could only urinate sitting facing the door of a locked cubicle with no one else in the toilet. “I’m not worried that someone’s looking at my pecker,” he explains. “Ifs more a sense of being too close to other people”. The condition has dominated Baz’s adult life. “It came to a head on a six-hour bus journey from Mexico City” he says. “I desperately needed the toilet, but just couldn’t go in front of the other travellers at the halfway break. I had to get back on the bus for another three hours. It was agony.” The effects:


“It’s emasculating for a man,” says Baz.” You think ‘If I can’t even pee like a man, what kind of man am 17 I never told anyone or even faced up to it myself. Being silent about it for so long was very damaging. It’s undermined me at a very deep level. I’m now having treatment and counselling to get to the core problem and to help me cope with it.” I start totally healthy lifestyle and concentrate more on my health. I was recommended the hcg diet plan as an excellent part of detox program.


The expert: Dr Bailey acknowledges that counselling has an important role to play, but to really work on a problem such as toilet phobia he prefers the popular EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing) therapy.


“It dates back to the psychological treatment of Vietnam vets,” he says. “The patient recalls the memory that is most painful and we work through the physical and emotional responses. Re-experiencing the event while moving the eyes in certain directions allows you to address the emotional responses differently. The idea is not to forget but to be able to think about it without getting upset and then to change thought patterns and feelings.”

Written by James Joyce

July 3rd, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Health

Guide to adopting a new exercise regime

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AS AN PLATE-CLUTCHING 17-YEAR-OLD, YOUR dad’s refusal to let you take his Porsche for a spin, insisting “your mother will give you a lesson in the Golf”, was downright spiteful. Why bother learning to drive if you can’t have any fun? But he had a point, you would have only reversed his baby into a bollard and risked your life with an ill-judged over-taking manoeuvre on the by-pass.

Guide to adopting a new exercise regime

Years later, when you decide to take your expanding body in hand by joining the gym, the 17-year-old in you re-emerges—ridiculously keen, impatient and full of testosterone. But you and your health will benefit far more if you avoid rushing in and trying to compete with seasoned gym-goers. Instead, follow FHM Bionic’s guide to adopting a new exercise regime — and remember your Dad’s conciliatory words: “One step at a time, son, one step at a time.”



Run five miles at record-breaking pace


Walk the same distance at a brisk pace “You bum as many calories walking as you do running,” advises Mike Antoniades, speed coach at Sports Dimensions training centre in west London. “Walking fast, four or five miles per hour, 30 to 45 minutes a day, five days a week, helps you bum fat consistently.”

Run five miles at record-breaking pace

If you’re new to training or just haven’t exercised for a while, starting gently can help you avoid the feeling that you can’t get out of bed the next morning. Having built up initial strength and fitness, move onto gentle jogging and then running, which will do significantly more for your heart than walking.


WANT TO Embark on a crash diet

SHOULD Eat more sensibly

SHOULD Eat more sensibly

You needn’t starve yourself to lose weight. Cut your fat intake by reducing the amount of butter, fried foods, crisps, chocolate, cakes and red meat in your diet. Aim to eat no more than 70gm of fat a day and build a diet that comprises 65 to 70 per cent carbohydrates (rice, bread, pasta, potatoes), as a steady supply of energy throughout the day keeps you from snacking on fatty foods. Read more useful information on the pure garcinia cambogia reviews from other people who already lost significant weight.


WANT TO Train seven days a week

SHOULD Rest and recover Without complete recovery between training sessions, you won’t make any gains from your workouts. Allow yourself at least 48 hours of complete rest from resistance work for the muscle in question. An ideal pattern for a new regime would be: Monday train, Tuesday rest, Wednesday train, Thursday rest, Friday train, weekend recovery. You can then increase the number of sessions per week as your fitness improves.


Written by James Joyce

June 4th, 2013 at 10:59 am

Posted in Health

10 weeks to pounds of muscle

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Build more bulk with our week-by-week guide to training harder and eating better

Few things are more frustrating than diligently slogging it out in the gym, doing everything by the book and still not reaping the rewards. Plateaux like these can be disheartening – but cast those thoughts aside because we’ve come up with a 10-week plan to maximize your muscle growth. All you have to do is keep up your regular weight training routine and add a new trick to your repertoire each week. If you need to lose extra weight, go to Here’s how to gradually overhaul your strategy and break through the muscle barriers.

Build more bulk with our week-by-week guide to training harder and eating better

Protect your muscles

To maximize your muscle growth you need to take your protein at the right time. “Have a shake with at least 20g of protein in it before and after each training session,” says Christian Finn, editor of “This will ensure you hang on to more protein than you bum so your muscles can repair properly.” Also add 5g of leucine to your post-workout shakes. A study in the Journal of Physiology found that this amino acid stops protein loss after you train. MH likes Muscle Fuel (, £18) as it’s got protein and leucine wrapped up in a single drink.

convert your body into a nutrient warehouse

At this stage you need to convert your body into a nutrient warehouse by eating 8 meals a day – that’s one every 2 hours. “Small, frequent meals serve up the building blocks you’ll need to add muscle. They’ll also keep you trim because they kick start your metabolism,” says Matt Brown, lecturer at Premier Training International. “Make sure you have a balance of carbs and protein, such as turkey breast and sweet potato. If you have trouble fitting in all the meals then drink a shake before bedtime. This gets protein to your muscles through the night when you’re growing.

Written by James Joyce

May 28th, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Posted in Health

Don’t be shy

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Going down on each other has been going up in popularity – but oral sex is having an impact on STI figures, too. “Over the past few years we’ve seen a sharp rise in herpes transmission through oral sex, simply because this particular sexual activity has become more common and acceptable,” says Nigel Scott, of The Herpes Virus Association. Helen Knox agrees, pointing out that an increasing number of men are contracting gonorrhea through oral sex and then passing it on to their regular partners, despite using a condom for penetrative sex.oral sex is having an impact on STI figures

HOW TO SAVE OUR SEX LIVES The Government has recently launched a £50 million, 10-year National Strategy for Sexual Health, but those at the frontline of the war on warts ‘n’ all say it’s not enough. “The solution, if there is one, is education, education, education – for prevention, prevention, prevention,” says Knox.

“A condom can only protect the area it covers, or the area it lines ­it doesn’t, and can’t ever, give 100% protection against infection. But, after monogamy, it’s our best defense against infection.” For this year’s holidaymakers, Knox’s message is even blunter. “It doesn’t matter what social class, color or creed the person is, always think twice and keep that zip done up until you are sober enough to at least be protected.”clinics


With GUM clinics stretched to breaking point, here’s the inside track on receiving speedy STI service: Don’t delay Your GP will only refer you to a GUM clinic, and he’ll be obliged to mention any symptoms on your medical records, so go direct to the clinic. “GUM clinics also provide a full sexual health ‘MOT’, whereas a GP may only test for one or two STIs,” says Mike Jones, sexual health adviser for The Royal Free Hospital, London. To find your nearest one, call the Sexual Health Line (Tel: 0800 567 123) or look in the phonebook under genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexually transmitted infections (STI). Shop around “You can register as a patient at any GUM clinic or drop-in centre anywhere in the country,” says Jones. “Save time and look outside your own area.”

Be specific “If you’re in pain, tell the clinic receptionist,” says Jones. “They’re trained to put you through to a sexual health adviser who, if necessary, will try to book you an emergency appointment or refer you to a clinic where you can be seen as quickly as possible.” Be pee prepared Don’t pass water for three to four hours before your appointment. “That’s important because urine washes bacteria from the urethra,” says Jones.

Name check If you use a false name, make sure it’s one you can remember or this might cause delays when collecting your results – or going for another check-up.GUM clinics

Avoid the queues GUM clinics are in huge demand all through the week, but according to Jones, Monday walk-in services are especially busy, as are those on Friday. “If you can get to a walk-in service 20 minutes before the doors open, though, you should be seen relatively quickly,” he advises. If you’re abroad Many infections won’t show up until you get back home, but if you do notice any symptoms while on holiday, stop having sex immediately. If you’re in pain, contact your tour rep or nearest British Embassy for details of an English-speaking clinic.

Don’t be shy. You won’t be the first to have asked.

Written by James Joyce

May 9th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Posted in Health