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Acorn Health Blog

What we love is great health...

...and we like to write about how we can all achieve better health, naturally. Sometimes tips on how you can DIY to better health and sometimes on the therapies that can make a difference to you, your health and wellbeing.
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WORLD CANCER DAY – 4 Feb – how can we help you?

General Health & Wellbeing Posted on Thu, January 26, 2023 10:26AM

By Eileen Strong 25/1/23

The  “Hidden Costs of Cancer”

I’m very pleased to be able to be able to offer what I refer to as “cancer wellness” and “cancer support” services to those who are on their cancer journey.  I refer to it as “Cancer Journey” because even if a person experienced surgery or cancer treatment in the past, and is now living and enjoying life to the max while in remission from cancer, the treatment process itself can leave a person with many after-effects that leave them feeling very different from “who I was before Cancer”. 

I was really interested to find that this is the theme MacMillan Cancer Support is using this year in recognition of World Cancer Day on Feb 4.  

If this resonates with you, you may like to find out more about that from MacMillan direct.  Here is an extract and link to their website . 

MacMillan Cancer Support
For World Cancer Day on 4 February, we’re talking about the hidden costs of cancer. Alan, Helen and Judith share their stories about going through cancer and some of the challenges people may not be aware of”. Click here to visit MacMillan World Cancer Day

Using this as  a timely theme for this year’s World Cancer Day, I would really like to reach out to you if you are one of those people  on their “Cancer Journey” and invite your feedback .. because here at Acorn, we’d like to be able to do more to help you too.

Our “Cancer Wellness” Initiative at Acorn

We’ve got a team of Practitioners here who want to hear how we can do that.  This is an exciting initiative  for us, because whilst we are already providing a number of cancer wellness services, it helps us to raise awareness of the some of the lesser known challenges of living with the effects – and after-effects – of cancer treatment.  

Let’s just have a quick chat about some of those very same challenges  that my own cancer-journey clients, family members, friends and colleagues have discussed with me.  You might find some of them quite surprising .. and this really is just scratching the surface: 

  • Ooh ssshhhh don’t use that C World! ?!  Some of us really feel very very uncomfortable about using that “C” word. I mean C as in Cancer of course.  Nobody is denying that a cancer diagnosis IS a serious thing and something we don’t like to have shoved in our faces.  But then, 30 years ago, we had the same issue with Mental Health.  Oooh, don’t talk about it; just bung folks in a mental health hospital and give them electric shock treatment; that should sort the job out. Shouldn’t it? Well no,  but it seems that there was a real stigma about mental health issues at that time; when only now are we being more open about it, with celebrities and even royalty openly discussing their mental health needs.  Is it the same for the “C” word now?  Take a deep breath. Just say it. It’s cancer.  It’s not necessarily terminal.  The more we find out about cancer with the advancement of technology and science, the more people are surviving it and living longer.  There are more cancer survivors than ever before.
  • Social Needs – Following diagnosis, you notice that some friends or colleagues “go quiet” when you walk in the  room, or even cross the road, when they see you (or your immediate family) coming. “They just don’t know what to say to me”.  Imagine how this might  feel if it happened to you, whether in good health or otherwise.
  • Victor V Victim Mindset  – Close family, or members of your immediate “social support” circle keep telling you how sorry they are to hear about your terrible diagnosis .. when what you want to hear is less Doom and Gloom and a more pragmatic approach, because you don’t want to feel like a helpless victim; you want to feel optimistic and positive, not negative and disempowered.
  • Not Walking On Eggshells – Your brave ever-smiley face is actually .. just a brave, ever-smiley face.  You’re feeling a lot more inner turmoil than you care to admit.  But you haven’t found a way to let yourself be your authentic self, and just let your mind-body-emotions connect. It’s more important to be the strong one who holds it all together, just like you always have done.   Does that sound like you?
  • Rebuilding Body Strength and Resilience – Following treatment, your digestive tract has been damaged; sexual intercourse is uncomfortable (even if you feel  like doing it), you are constantly managing fluid retention and risk of oedema; not to mention wrestling with your new false teeth and lack of salivary glands.  You didn’t find out about all that till later.
  • Hormones have gone haywire and you feel a bit like an emotional omelette. Your fuse is short, and your sense of humour seems to have done a complete by-pass.  Your energy levels also dip and dive leaving you slightly manic or low and depressed in a heartbeat. Where did that “old you” ever go? 
  • Mental health; recurrent ruminating that affects your sleep patterns .. The memory of the day you got your diagnosis still haunts you; the look on your doctor’s face, the tone of voice, the words .. even after years in remission. Ugh.
  • Loss of Confidence , Self Esteem, and Poor Body Image … we get that don’t we even when we feel relatively healthy.   When you’re trying to find a way to come to terms with the now you, these are just some of the challenges you may experience. 

And the list goes ever on.  This really is – as I said before – just scratching the surface.  Everyone’s experience is different, and unique to them.

 Thing is, you’ve survived it all, and you are still here .. and you want to stay here too and live as full and active a life as you possibly can.  

Tell us how we can help you?

Do any of those specific challenges above resonate with you? Some of the key resources we can help support you with are:

  1. Safe, specialist, massage & comfort-touch based relaxational therapy
  2. Nutritional advice to specifically address minimization of symptoms during treatment and promoting after-treatment recovery
  3. Counselling to help strengthen body image, rebuilding self-esteem and confidence, dealing with loss and grief
  4. Expert Relationship Advice to help navigate the stress, strain, and even breakdown of relationships – our nearest and dearest can worry inconsolably about us, and they feel some stress and strain too. 
  5. Guided visualization and meditation techniques to help creative a positive mindset and induce the proven power of your own inner mind-brain-body medicine.
  6. Gain insights into your body’s energetic (bio-resonant) frequencies and overall energy image, to highlight which areas might need some extra TLC as you move forward on the next part of your health and wellbeing journey. 

The beauty of this offering can be that it helps to significantly reduce the overwhelm of knowing where to exert your energy and resources at a time when you need it most.

Help us to help others – complete our Survey

Please take just 2 minutes out of your busy day to  click below to complete this very short, concise Survey – it will help us to plan and select our Top 3 most  important services that we’ll offer to our clients on the Wellness Day.

Click to Complete Cancer Wellness Day Survey

Just fill in the survey, then click SUBMIT.  You’ll receive a confirmation from JOTFORM to let you know it’s been sent.   Thank you so much for taking the time!  We really appreciate your help.  (Feel free to remain anonymous on the form if you prefer to do so, but if you do share your name and email address, we’re happy to get back to you personally)

Alternatively, please email me direct at to register your interest and receive the survey direct to your inbox.

For  more  about Eileen, visit

Do I have a food intolerance?

General Health & Wellbeing Posted on Tue, November 30, 2021 01:49PM

A food intolerance (otherwise known as non-allergic food hypersensitivity), is a condition of the digestive system. It involves some form of negative reaction, which is caused by the body’s inability to properly digest a particular food, food additive or other compound found in food (or drink).

Food intolerances are far more common than true food allergies. They also tend to occur more commonly in women, and one reason for this may be hormone differences as many food chemicals act to mimic hormones.

In the majority of cases, both food allergies and intolerances develop over time; so a food that was once tolerated well might suddenly begin to make you feel ill. Symptoms may begin at any age and, while they can be wide-ranging, some of the most common ones are:

  • stomach bloating
  • water retention
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • diarrhoea
  • skin rashes
  • weight gain
  • head aches
  • mood changes
  • cravings (ironically, often for the foods responsible for the intolerance or allergy)
  • mouth ulcers
  • recurrent bladder infections
  • fatigue

What causes a food intolerance?

In simple terms, food intolerances can be caused by various chemicals (both natural and artificial) that are present in a wide variety of foods. The reaction experienced is usually the result of a deficiency in, or absence of, particular chemicals or enzymes in the body that are needed to digest a particular food substance.

The role of digestive enzymes

While we eat food for the nourishment of our bodies, our digestive systems can’t actually absorb food in its whole form; instead it absorbs nutrients. So before it can be useful, food has to be broken down into its constituent parts, such as amino acids (from proteins), fatty acids (from fats) and simple sugars (from carbohydrates), as well as vitamins, minerals, and a variety of other plant and animal compounds. Without this efficient process of digestion, which converts nutrients into a form that is absorbable by the body, we would not be able to survive. Digestive enzymes are central to this process. They occur naturally in whole foods (such as fruit, vegetables and plants), but they are also manufactured by the body to assist digestion. While this mainly takes place in the pancreas and small intestine, digestive enzymes are also made in the stomach and even the saliva glands of the mouth. If you don’t eat a diet that contains enough enzyme-rich foods (e.g. a diet high in refined and processed foods), or your body does not produce enough of its own enzymes (e.g. because you are sick, elderly or under stress), it will struggle to properly break down food. This can lead to certain digestive complications and complaints, including:

  • fermentation of food in the stomach and small intestine
  • putrefaction in the colon
  • increased activity and overgrowth of harmful bacteria and parasites
  • poor absorption of nutrients.

In particular, the inability to efficiently digest food can contribute to the development of food intolerances. This is because, if you have poor digestion, your intestinal lining can become irritated and what is known as “leaky gut syndrome” can develop. In susceptible people, any partially digested food particles can seep into the bloodstream, strain the immune system and lead to food intolerances, and even allergies in extreme cases.

Food allergy vs intolerance

Food intolerances and allergies are very different. As mentioned above, an intolerance is a digestive system response. In contrast, a food allergy is an abnormal response to food, which is triggered by the body’s immune system. A true food allergy requires the presence of certain antibodies against the offending food, whilst a food intolerance does not. What’s more, the antibodies tend to lead to an immediate reaction whenever the offending food is eaten. This distinction is important because, while a food intolerance may lead to some unpleasant symptoms, it is not life-threatening and symptoms tend to come on more gradually – usually within half an hour, but sometimes as long as 48 hours after ingestion of the substance which is causing a problem. An allergy, on the other hand, is usually a lot more serious and may even be fatal in extreme cases (e.g. through anaphylaxis).

Some common examples of food intolerance include:

  • Lactose intolerance – The most common food intolerance is to lactose, found in milk and other dairy products. It is caused by the body’s inability to properly digest high amounts of lactose, the predominant sugar in milk, because of a shortage or absence of the enzyme lactase.
  • Gluten sensitivity – Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related species, including barley and rye. The term “gluten sensitivity” is used to describe those individuals who can’t tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with coeliac disease, but yet lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in cases of coeliac disease. Interestingly, although coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by an immune response to gluten, it can also result in gluten sensitivity, as well as temporary lactose intolerance.

How is food intolerance identified?

Food intolerances are often more difficult to diagnose than food allergies, because they tend to be more chronic, less acute and therefore less obvious in their presentation. For example, there are no antibodies present to look for. As such, they are most often identified through a simple trial and error approach – a dietitian or nutritionist will go through a process of elimination with the individual, removing suspected problematic foods and systematically re-introducing them back into the diet, looking for corresponding improvement and worsening of symptoms. Bioresonance testing is another, much faster method of identyfying any potential food intolerances with results usually available at the time of testing. Other methods of diagnosis include hydrogen breath testing for lactose intolerance and fructose malabsorption and ELISA testing for IgG-mediated immune responses to specific foods.

Living with a food intolerance

Once the offending food or foods have been identified, the best advice is to avoid them wherever possible or to embark on a desensitizing treatment. This is likely to lead to a reduction, and hopefully over time, the total elimination of symptoms. Fortunately, nowadays there are a number of specialised “free from” foods and health supplements available online, in supermarkets and in health food shops, which help to make life a lot easier for those with food intolerance. However, with any diet where there is restricted food choice, it is important to ensure that you are still getting all of the nutrients you need on a daily basis. Severe food intolerance can, for example, lead to excessive weight loss and, occasionally, can even result in the individual becoming malnourished. Optimum nutrition can be achieved through careful meal planning and appropriate supplementation.