Allergies and Sensitivities

Food Sensitivities and Allergies

Thankfully true allergies are rare enough and most of what people think as allergies are food sensitivities and over time with persistence one may be able to de-sensitise the reactions. This can even be done with true allergies under the proper guidance of a medical doctor trained to do so. The incidence of true food allergies in adults is estimated to be 1.4% and in children where the prevalence of IgE mediated food allergies is 5-7% 1.

The author of the Basics of Food Allergy, 2, J.C. Breneman, M.D, (1978) attributes many health conditions to allergy:

  1. Acne: Anecdotal evidence
  2. Arthritis, Rheumatoid: Studies show symptoms are worsened by eating. Foods sufferers are allergic or sensitive to and this improves by avoiding same foods. Researchers suggest that up to a third of RA sufferers could control their condition completely by eliminating allergens.
  3. Asthma: Unrecognised food allergies have been confirmed by double blind research to be contributing factors. Nuts, peanuts, dairy, eggs and soya were most common causes.
  4. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD, ADD): In a study of 20 children their behavioral problems and inability to concentrate, disappear when allergens were removed from their diet. Other studies also showed eliminating food additives also helps.
  5. Bed Wetting: If no medical cause presents, allergies can be a cause.
  6. Urinary Tract Infection
  7. Yeast Infections: Recurring yeast vaginitis has been reported to be a cause and when avoiding same allergens the chronic yeast infections can resolve.
  8. Canker sores: Sensitivities or allergies can make mouth ulcers worse, yet in double blind study found to only play a minor role. (can this be reworded)
  9. Colic: 38 bottle fed babies and 77 breast fed babies with colic were studied in a double blink radomised placebo controlled trial and it was found that distress was reduced by 25-39% on a diet free of milk, wheat and nuts.
  10. Constipation: In a double blind trial of infants with chronic constipation an intolerance to cow’s milk was found in 2/3 of infants studied. Eliminating the cow’s milk saw the symptoms disappear in most of the infants.
  11. Crohn’s Disease: Can be exacerbated by food sensitivities and one study found that sufferers are most likely to react to cereals, dairy and yeast.
  12. Depression: Several studies have shown that allergies may trigger mental symptoms including depression.
  13. Diarrhea
  14. Ear Infections: More than ½ children studied with recurring ear infections have food allergies. 86% of children improved once the offending foods were removed from their diet.
  15. Eczema may be triggered by an allergy
  16. Food sensitivities may exacerbate gallbladder attacks in people who have gallstones. Foodstuff such as eggs, pork, and onion are most common offenders
  17. Gastrointestinal Symptoms
  18. Allergies can be exacerbated yet don’t cause glaucoma
  19. Hay fever may be connected to allergies.
  20. High Blood Pressure may be a contributing factor.
  21. Hives
  22. Hypoglycemia
  23. IBS
  24. Migraines appear to be triggered by allergies.
  25. Musculoskeletal Pain (including Back Pain)
  26. Nephrotic Syndrome: Several studies have found a link between allergies and this kidney disease.
  27. Obesity
  28. Psoriasis: One study showed eliminating gluten, improved symptoms.
  29. Rhinitis
  30. Ulcer
  31. Upper Respiratory Infections


True allergies can be life threatening and cause anaphylactic shock and where an individual has experienced this it is advisable to always carry an epi-pen and have a medical id bracelet or necklace. People with sensitivities would be advised to always carry anti-histamine in the form of zirtex or piriton.

Thankfully I have discovered the power of natural vitamin C as an antihistamine so this is my first go to, yet I have a tablet form of an antihistamine in my pocket just in case. A simple fresh mango and orange juice has served me well when I reacted last summer to fumes of traffic as they passed the bus I was travelling on. I had not reacted like this since the summer of 2007.

How did I move from regular reactions to foods consumed and environmental fumes? – well quite simply I used lifestyle changes which included dietary changes, less processed food, more natural and where possible organic foodstuffs (pesticides are linked to reactions), limit dairy consumption and mainly have spelt products and oatcake and rice products. I reduced my alcohol intake as it damages the lining of the gut and can cause reactions. Bowen Technique is very effective for reducing allergies and in fact the British Asthmatic Association recommend Bowen Technique as in a study it was found to resolve asthmatic symptoms for 60% of study participants. Craniosacral has also greatly helped normalise a reactive sensitive system like mine and I regularly have Craniosacral Therapy and Bowen Technique, which I offer here at Kincora Therapy Centre.

What I wish I knew when I started out on this journey was firstly where to go for help. Dr. Joe Fitzgibbon (Tel: 091720155) is one of the countries leading allergy consultants and works out the Galway Clinic. He uses the skin scratch test (a very gentle effective method) for over 30 known allergens for digestive and skin reactions. He inspired the author The Extra Virgin Cookbook (sugar free and wheat free recipes). Annemarie Tobin, Dermatologist (Tel: 0872758380)who works out of Tallaght hospital and checks for over 150 known allergens with her skin scratch test helping identify causes of eczema and other skin conditions. I highly recommend that my clients attend a specialist nutritionist like Collette McMahon (Tel: 0868903710) and Andrea Cullen (0872472092). I am qualified in nutrition with my masters yet the difference between normal nutrition qualifications and a naturopath nutritionist is they are highly trained in using food as a medicine and attending someone who specialises in nutrition is optimum for fast effective results. Hippocrates said “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”.

Adverse reactions to foods may be classified as either a true food allergy or a non-allergic food intolerance (sensitivity). Food aversion is where symptoms are non-specific and unconfirmed by double blind placebo controlled food challenge.

Types of Reactions to Foods:

  • IgE mediated mechanism
  • Not involving IgE, other immunological mechanisms are causative.
  • Non-allergic food intolerance (pharmalogical, metabolic, toxic reactions to foods).
  • Food aversion (symptoms are often non-specific).

When ingestion of a small amount of food elicitis an abnormal immulogically mediated clinical response is referred specific true food allergy. The classic type 1, IgE Mediated mechanisms is the most studied and most dangerous in view of life threatening reactions. Mounting evidence is increasing on the importance of delayed reactions (Type IV Mediated reactions). In this incidence a childs eczema may be aggravated by milk ingestion or in a small proportion of adults with severe contact dermatitis caused by nickel which may have adverse reactions to nickel in their diet.

In their article, Emcy. et al 3 (2010) refer to one of the possible reasons a baby of 6 weeks old is progressively vomiting after each feed may be due to milk intolerance of gastro-oesophageal reflux. They also suggest that thriving babies who vomit after each feed may be simply overfed. Acute vomiting may be a serious illness such as sepsis. Large volumes of projectile vomit within 30 minutes of feeds indicate pyloric stenosis. Effortless vomiting might indicate possetts. The colour of the vomit can also be indicated for example bilious (green bile not yellow or blood stained) vomit might indicate bowel obstruction.

Allergies are based on immune system responses that may occur:

  • Immediate reactions
  • Sometimes after a time-lapse
  • Sometimes life threatening (anaphylactic reactions)

Intolerances are:

  • Gradual
  • Less serious and limited to digestive problems


  • Elimination diets
  • Medication


  • Watery, itchy, red eyes
  • Asthma
  • Throat swelling
  • Non-seasonal runny nose, congestions
  • Eczema
  • Hives
  • Swelling of mouth, eye lids, lip
  • Itching
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Stomach aches
  • Flatulence (passing wind)
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability/aggression
  • Anxiety or hyperactivity
  • Exhaustion
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Excessive sweating or slight fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscles aches.


  1. Food allergy BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 25 April 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1299
  2. Breneman, J.C. M.D, Basics of food allergy, Springfield, IL: Charles C Tomas 1978, pg 45-53
  3. Emcy, Naina et al 2010 “My Baby Keeps Bring up his Feeds !”BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 30 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2189
  4. 4.(Holford, Patrick., 2010, The Optimum Nutirition Bible, The Wonderful World Withing, Chapter 27, pg 238-239, )




Sleep – how many hours do children require

For the first time ever the Americian Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has issued recommendations, published in the the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine June 13, 2016, for the appropriate amount of sleep for children and teenagers helping them to avoid health risks associated with insufficient sleep.

“Sleep is essential for a healthy life, and it is important to promote healthy sleep habits in early childhood. It is especially important as childrend reach adolescence to continue to ensure that teens are able to get sufficient sleep,” said Dr. Shaline Paruthi, MD, the moderator of the expert panel who formulated the reccomendation also stated the following in a statement.

“To promote optimal health, the recommendations advise the following amount of sleep (per 24 hours) on a regular basis:

  • Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours of sleep(including naps);
  • Children 1 to 2 years of age: 11 to 14 hours (including naps);
  • Children 3 to 5 years of age: 10 to 13 hours (including naps);
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age: 9 to 12 hours; and
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age: 8 to 10 hours.

The panels found that when children sleep the recommended hours on a regular basis overall better health prevails, they exhibit improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory, emotional health, quality of life and mental and physical health.

Highlighting the benefits of good quality to sleep according to Dr Paruthi “That is, when they do sleep more and within the recommended ranges, they will perform better. We that kids are consuming energy drinks, but really the best enchancer of performance is sleep whether its in the classroom or out on the field”.

The negative findings of insufficients sleep is increased risk of self harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attemps. Sleep more than the regular recommended amount also has risk to health such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and mental health problems.

Parents need to be roles models too and get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep . Sleep needs to be prioritized.

Good sleep hygiene practices like not using electronic devices after 8pm and turning off tv 30-40 minute before sleep and having a bed time routine. Read gentle easy reading material prior to bed and hygiene routine is ideal for older children and adults. Ideally young children should not be exposed to electronic devices and have a bath and a bedtime story prior to bed. All would benefit from no electronic devices in the bedroom.

Craniosacral Therapy and Bowen technique are great therapies to help regulate sleep cycles in adults and children. Over the years many children and adults have reported better sleep and improved dreams. When I appeared on RTE Baby on Board in 2007 episode 7 as their expert CranioSacral Therapist, the toddler I work with went from 1.5 hrs sleep at a time to sleeping straight through 12-13 hours sleep.

Bunions – Not just for your Granny!

Bunions (Hallux Abducto Valgus) – Not just for your granny!  

You will be surprised to learn many people in there 20s and 30s have the infliction of “Ugly” toes or “deformed feet” as one of my friends call hers.  In truth there a partial dislocation of the big toe, as a result of improper biomechanics (how you use your body), use of shoes, or an injury the base of  big toe moves medially (towards midline) and the top of the toe moves laterally (away from midline) in its joint, and subsequently a bursa develops (which may occasionally become red and inflamed) bony deposits are laid down to compensate for this and the deformity begins. In a lot of cases the big toe may deviate so much that it overlaps the 2nd toe like crossing one knee over another (which by the way you should also avoid as it creates structural imbalances).

Valgus diagram Bunion

Figure 1: Hallux Valgus


Researching for this blog I found an article highlighting the numerous celebrities, Amal Cooney, Catherine Zeta Jones, Imran Khan, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez, Katie Holmes, and Naomi Campbell that are afflicted with this condition, under my search for Posh Spices Bunions, which I was shocked to see the biggest bunions I had ever seen one day watching her on an entertainment show.    Yet I suppose it explains why she does not smile her bunions must have been excruciating. I’ve taking excerpts from the article from daily mail ( and shared here:


Bunion Blog Diagram

   Figure 3: Diagram of Hallux valgus


‘First of all the synovial fluid becomes inflamed, and that’s why you get the initial red lump on the side of your foot,’ says Dr Khan.

‘Next the muscles and ligaments running up and down the big toe, which work to keep the toe straight, start to pull the joint away from the inside of the foot outwards.

‘As the joint becomes increasingly traumatised, and having lost the cushioning of the fluid layer, arthritis begins to form as bones rub against each other.’

The final stage, which is rare, is where the joint detaches altogether. ‘This is known as a windswept bunion,’ says Emma Supple.

According to Dr. Khan ‘It takes six weeks for bone to heal,’ she says. ‘You’ll spend two weeks in a surgical boot and the next four weeks pottering around in an oversized trainer — your foot is still swollen and bandaged. After three months you ought to be back in normal shoes.  Plus can take up to 3-4 months before you can drive again.


‘That means whatever feels comfortable (and with your surgeon’s advice). If you’re able to wear stilettos again, then do. It’s unlikely that the bunions will come back — only very occasionally is this a complication.’


‘A podiatrist will examine the joint and get an idea of how low your arches may be,’ says Dr Khan. ‘They may suggest exercises, over-the-counter remedies such as gels, bunions pads, anti-inflammatory medication or splints to hold the toe in place.’


Anyone with the slightest indication of bunions should try the following exercises, recommended by Dr Khan.

  • Sit with your feet out in front of you with a rubber band held between your

two big toes. Pull feet away from each other so toes are straight. Do for two minutes twice a day.

  • Stand on tissue paper and gather it up with your big toe. This exercises all the muscles in the foot and helps to redevelop the muscles in the arch of the foot.
  • Stand facing a wall. Rise onto your tiptoes and hold for two minutes. This stretch works the deep muscle in the back of the leg, which runs all the way from behind the knee to the ball of the foot’s and helps to keep the toe supple.


In the UK in 2013 there were 3,781 recorded hospital admissions for bunion surgery for men and a staggering 29, 258 admissions for women.  According to the NHS Statistics surgery improves 85% of symptoms in cases.  I’m surprised at this statistic as in nearly 20 years of clinical experience I have yet to see one successful long lasting bunion surgery.  Yes I’ve seen short-term reduction of symptoms yet in all cases the bunions had returned and presented to Kincora Therapy Centre for help. If anyone reading this has had successful bunion surgery that has long lasting results please contact me I’d love to hear from you. In August 2014 I had the pleasure of meeting socially an American orthopedic surgeon and asked him “Tell me honestly does bunion surgery work in the long term?”  “No, only short term solution the bunions grow back”.  My reasoning for this is, as I believe bunions to be a biomechanical dysfunction the only long-term solution is changing biomechanics.  Anecdotally most people who present for treatment to me also have low back in particular sacroiliac (SI) dysfunction.  A holistic approach to helping bunions is to rebalance body, change biomechanics breakdown the body calcification over time.  There is no instant cure just a little bit of self care and making changes structurally with the aid of treatment initially once a week for four week and then follow on for once a month for three to four months for diligent clients who do their home care daily. For more advanced deformities the timeline may be longer.


What’s involved with treatment?  Initially some deep tissue massage around the feet and big toe in particular focusing on breaking down the body build up.  Then follow The Bowen Technique protocols for bunion care, which involved daily use of an ointment from the ECBS (European College of Bowen Studies) that we stock at Kincora Therapy and homecare advice. Subsequent programs can include more exercises to prevent reoccurrence on dysfunction such as postural exercises and activation of postural muscles. I also highly recommend the use of toe separator socks whilst walking around at home, shoes like Vibram’s, which are like a glove and in the past people have had great success using MBT to help retrain their muscles and arches.


Call Kincora Therapy Centre now and talk to me Orla Foley about taking the next step in the right direction and helping relieve foot pain and normalize your feet.



Physical Examination of the Spine & Extremities by Stanley Hoppenfeld

Merry Christmas and a Happy new with a wee gift for you for January 2016

Today is a day Im filled with gratitude and grateful for just being alive and living my passion.  One of life’s biggest lessons is to find your calling and enjoy what you do for a living.  It is worth soul searching and breaking out of moulds that society and your friends and family have you in and build your own mould.  Listen to your inner voice, (not to be confused with inner critic which will turn into your inner coach if your follow you deep knowing inner voice) and dare to become the best version of you possible.  The only limits in your life are the ones you place on yourself. Be free to be you.

Thanks for your continued support and custom be it coming to Kincora Therapy for craniosacral therapy, Bowen Technique, Reiki, physcial therapy, hypnosis, life coaching and yoga.  It is a honour and a great joy to work with so many wonderful, inspired, energetic and lovely people from all walks of life and all stages of life (babies to grandparents).  Please continue to spread the word and help make the next 15 years of business here at Kincora Therapy as great as the last.

Yoga classes resume on wk of 11th of January and will see the return of the long established Hatha class where you can learn to have an easy remember home care practice and introducing the fantastic Aerial yoga to challenge your core to wake up, use own body resistance and create alignment in your body helping you find ease in floor postures (asanas).

Therapies are available over the holiday on wednesday 30th with limited availabilty on tues 29ths January.  Returning to work 6th of January.  If you need help please contact me and I will do my best as always to help you.

My gift for you for the holidays is if you buy a voucher for a friend I add €5 euros to the value of voucher, and for your first appointment in january 2016 your receive €5 off that treatment if you quote BLOGDEC15 when booking.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, celebrate the return of the light and may you manifest a most wonderful and successful 2016,



Normalising Curvature and Glut Building

Kyphosis of the thoracic vertebrae results in increased lordosis of the lumbar spine with a resultant anterior pelvic tilt, which subsequently lengthens the hamstrings and shortens the quadriceps. Correcting this imbalance may improve performance. Phrompaet et al (20110 found that Pilates can be used as an modality to stabilise lumbo pelvic stability by improving flexibility, enhancing control mobility of trunk and pelvic segments, and Pilates prevents the pre-disposition to axial musculoskeletal injury. Da Fonseca et al (2011) found that gait analysis changed following 15 sessions of Pilates, increased walking speed and decreased pain was also seen in the low back-pain Pilates group, weight discharge increased between left and right leg, would be beneficial for you.

See attachment at bottom to view pics

Wall squat with Gym Ball Ensure patella goes over 2nd toe
Picture: Side ways walk to build Glutues Medius with resistance band



Picture Ball Bridge Ball bridge with knee flexion


Gluteus Medius imbalances can be corrected by doing sideway walks and hip abduction with resistance band, single leg bridges, ball bridge with knee flexion on gym ball and the pelvic drop exercise by standing on a step and letting one leg drop of step whilst keeping the pelvis level by engaging abdominals and gluteus medius.

Gluteus Medius Leg Drop keep pelvis stable engage abdominals Hip Abduction with resistance band.

Foam rolling can be used daily on hamstrings, calves, quadriceps and spine including chest opener to counteract kyphotic posture.  Planks, reverse planks, side planks and bridge exercises also to be used daily.


Gluteus Medius Leg Drop keep pelvis stable engage abdominalsGlut Building Exercises 1 Wall squat with Gym Ball