About

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My Story

My children have been my inspiration and the reason why I came about founding Belén Optimum Health.

I became interested in natural approaches to health and wellbeing with the birth of my first child. A baby brings the opportunity to reconnect with the basics. This led me to train in holistic massage.

I became so fascinated by the healing power of touch that I took a career break (from 11 years of advisory work in the EU) and never looked back.

6 years later, the school principal advised to get this same child assessed for dyslexia/dyspraxia. He was also agitated and emotionally vulnerable.

This was my first cross-roads. It is commonly a point where most parents feel confused and overwhelmed. While the help offered came from good standard care, the inquisitive part of me wanted to know more.

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By pure chance, I got in contact with a kinesiologist who diagnosed him with gluten intolerance, a much unrecognised disorder 15 years ago.

To my surprise, in less than two weeks on a gluten-free diet, my child was spelling confidently, his writing became more uniform and he was overall, calmer and more settled. Subsequently, the school dropped the need to have him assessed.

This blew my mind. How could the removal of a particular food component such as gluten have such a positive and immediate effect on my child’s learning and behaviour? This was pure gut-brain magic.

My Mission

I provide babies, children with the foundations of a healthy start and resource the parents so that they can help them thrive.

I believe there is a critical window of time in a child’s life where the drivers of poor health can be reversed naturally. Resilience can then be built for long term wellness.

Nothing brings me more joy than seeing a child make a complete recovery and maintain their health on ongoing basis!

My Vision

Every child builds the right foundations so that they have the opportunity to reach their full physical and emotional potential.

To understand how the gut and brain talk to each other to sustain health, it is important to consider how different body systems work, i.e. digestive, immune, nervous and structural/fascial systems.

Food, nutrition, toxins, emotions, stress and trauma are some of the key factors that influence the gut-brain and need to be considered too!

Fast forward to 2009, 2011 and 2018 when I trained in kinesiology, craniosacral therapy and nutritional therapy. I was on a holistic path that has led to a lifetime of learning.

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My professional journey has been very much interconnected with my personal journey. Back in 2013 while training for craniosacral therapy, I got pregnant with my 3rd child. This was a time where I applied everything I knew into the making of this baby, from nutrition, bodywork to mindfulness.

Feeling confident, healthy and held in the caring hands of an experienced midwife, I chose a homebirth. This transformative event changed my view on the importance of early days.

At that time, I was seeing adult clients for different health reasons, from stress to low immunity, poor digestion, hormonal changes or lack of sleep. Progressively, I came to realise that health patterns that emerge during a lifetime can be forged in childhood and infancy.

The first 1,000 days

The time spanning between conception and one's second birthday - is a unique period of opportunity when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established (Unicef)

What if we applied a holistic approach to these formative years?

What if we provided strong environmental, nutritional and emotional support to a child from early infancy?

What if we also provided that kind of support to the mother pre and postnatally?

These thoughts inspired me to start Belén Optimum Health, which offers natural health solutions to children and their families.

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The past two years have been pivotal for my understanding of the environmental influences on the infant from conception to the first years of life.

My Masters' research project ‘Is there a role for nutritional advice for breastfeeding women for colic relief?’ has provided clinical insights into the link between what mum eats and how baby behaves.

The training in Integrative Baby Therapy has taught me how to listen to a child's story and help process adverse experiences.

My children have set me on a holistic path. As a mother, I have gained first-hand experience from raising three kids and I have had the chance to practise what I preach.

I am excited to share my knowledge and clinical practice to support parents to help their children have the best possible start in life.

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Qualifications and Professional memberships

  • Master's Degree in Personalised Nutrition awarded by Middlesex University in collaboration with the Centre for Nutrition Education and Lifestyle Management (CNELM), London 2023
  • Integrative Baby Therapy training, Conscious Embodiment, Bristol 2022
  • Institute for Functional Medicine, Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP UK), London 2018
  • Nutritional Therapy Diploma, Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION), London 2018
  • Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Diploma, Body Intelligence Training, Dublin, 2013
  • Systematic Kinesiology Diploma, The Academy of Systematic Kinesiology (ASK), Dublin, 2011
  • Member of NTOI (Irish Association of Nutritional Therapists)
  • Member of IACST (Irish Association of Craniosacral Therapy)
  • Member of IMTA (Irish Massage therapists Association)
  • Fully insured for professional liability with Balens Ltd
  • Garda vetted, July 2018 (according to the Irish children & vulnerable persons Acts 2012 & 2016)
  • First Aid certificate

Post-grad training

I belong to two professional associations, NTOI and IACST which both require CPD. I attend approximately 20 different events a year, from conferences, workshops and webinars to keep up with new developments in my areas of expertise and meet CPD requirements.

Media

I have presented to the IACST in 2023 on the subject of 'Infant colic and the microbiome' as well as at local events on the topics of 'Food and Mental health' and 'Food and Women's health'.

My practice was featured recently in the Integrative Healthcare and Applied Nutrition (IHCAN) magazine. Click on the link to read the full article.

I am an eager communicator. For media inquiries or speaking requests, please email info@belenoptimumhealth.com.

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Parents, join my mailing list and be kept up to date with educational material and family recipes!

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