Posted in Health and Well Being

Health trends and how lifestyle medicine can help

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 18 April 2018
Health trends and how lifestyle medicine can help

Why Whole Medicine GPs combine evidenced-based, non-drug therapies with general practice.

There's no doubt over the past 100 years our medical needs have changed. We die less of pneumonia, accidents and epidemics like polio or diphtheria. Instead, we succumb more to diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia.

What's more, recent research confirms the underlying cause of these killer diseases is chronic, low grade inflammation as a result of poor lifestyle. That's why lifestyle medicine is at the foundation of our practice at Whole Medicine.

Why our practice is different

We believe good medicine takes time.

It's difficult to teach and support you through lifestyle change or address a health condition in a 10-minute consult. That's why our first appointment is longer because we want to get to know you and help you explore all of the integrative aspects of your health.

Once we understand your health status, we can equip you with ways to optimise it. To help, we offer two types of new patient appointments.

  1. 30-minutes for straightforward needs or someone simply looking to engage with a good GP.
  2. 45-minutes for those who want to explore a particular issue.

A longer appointment is the cornerstone to better health outcomes. An investment in your health, we think you will agree, is money well spent.

Follow up appointments and ongoing treatments designed with you in mind

  • The most common follow up appointment is 20-minutes. This is longer than a standard GP appointment because we don't want you or your doctor to be rushed when it comes to optimising your health.
  • We also have a "quick and sick" appointment for those days when you need a brief check in. This is more in line with what you might expect at a standard GP clinic.

How we help you to be well

To achieve your best health results, we use as much evidenced-based, non-drug therapies as possible. This may include practical skills, lifestyle interventions, counselling, nutrients, herbs and other things like breathing techniques or special exercises. We still use general medication when needed and often it's the combination of medication and lifestyle interventions that help you reach the best results.

This holistic approach is best when we see you for your acute care needs, chronic illnesses and general medical issues.

Our team takes care of all the prevention screenings and always helps you understand why we do things. After all, information and knowledge is power!

Making a digital difference

We have recently updated our website to share all the details you need including our fee structure, services, doctors and opening times. You can book online at anytime from anywhere.

Check out other blog posts covering many of the topics our Whole Medicine patients want to know more about:

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Posted in: Women's Health Preventative Medicine Men's Health Children's Health Skin Health Chronic Illness Health and Well Being Family GP  

Boost your immunity this Winter

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 27 March 2018
Boost your immunity this Winter

Flu season is fast approaching and the new flu vaccination is coming soon. However, there is more that can be done to boost your immunity this winter than relying solely on the vaccine.

The flu vaccine will offer you some protection from the potentially serious effects of the influenza virus, but most of us will simply suffer from the common cold or other viruses like rhinovirus. So, the flu vaccine does nothing to protect us against this more common but admittedly less severe infection.

For some it seems like a virus type infection lasts for weeks if not months, especially if they work in an environment like a child care centre or have small kids attending childcare.

By focusing on improving your nutritional intake and boosting the numbers of good bacteria- you can do a lot to strengthen your immunity.

Many people don't realise that 2/3 of our immune system is located in our gut walls, and the gut bacteria play a major role is adapting to viruses and producing all the good chemicals that we need to fight them off properly.

Latest research shows us that these fantastic little bugs can help strengthen our immune response, lower inflammation and even help protect us from cancer.

So how do we make sure we feed these little guys right?

The keys factors to support the health of our guts, is by lowering sugar rich foods, lowering fried and saturated fats and increasing the diversity and amount of fibre in our diets.

                      

Foods like legumes, vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds and berries should make up the bulk of our intake and will support the growth and diversity of these bugs to strengthen our immunity.

When people suffer from a prolonged viral infection, this can play havoc on their overall nutritional load, so we often see people suffering from nutrient deficiencies; by fixing these and supporting the immune system even more with certain foods, herbs and supplements, we see patients return to health and make sure the rest of the winter is illness and as importantly antibiotic free.

At Whole Medicine we have an in-house dispensary which is stocked with leading nutritional and herbal supplements.  These supplements are required to be prescribed by your doctor.

Talk to your doctor about what more you can do to help boost your immunity this coming winter?

Posted in: Women's Health Preventative Medicine Men's Health Children's Health Health and Well Being Family GP  

What sort of chocolate is good for you at Easter?

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 23 March 2018
What sort of chocolate is good for you at Easter?

If you are like me you love to eat chocolate.  However, not just any chocolate. I like to eat the varieties that are often referred to as "superfoods."

When Easter comes around we are ready for that chocolate hit. Why not have a chocolate choice that is both healthy and absolutely delicious?

There is substantial scientific evidence to support the health benefits of cacao and dark chocolate.

Cacao

Cacao has a reputation for being one of the great superfoods.  Known as one of the purest forms of chocolate.  Highly antioxidant, rich in magnesium and minerals.

The health benefits of Cacao include:

Antioxidants: Cacao beans contain flavonoids.  Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant.  Cacao has more flavonoids than any other food that are consumed.  Ingested flavonoids can provide anti-inflammatory support.  Supporting the immune functions, it also attacks free radicals that can lead to serious diseases such as cancer, strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure.

Magnesium: Every cell in the body contains and requires magnesium to function. Magnesium fights acid build-up.  Increasing magnesium creates many health benefits including increasing energy, calming sensitivity to pain, relieves muscle aches, aiding digestion and assisting in building good bones and teeth.

Natural Mood Booster: Raw cocoa contains anandamide, a substance that assists with inducing euphoria, it also contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is a mood enhancer.  PEA helps stimulates the central nervous system to release endorphins.  PEA increases alertness, increases the ability to focus, elevates mood and helps to speed up metabolism and boosts memory. Raw cacao also contains theobromine, an alkaloid providing an energy boost which may also help to reduce stress.

What about Dark Chocolate?

The general consensus is that dark chocolate typically contains between 70 to 99 percent pure cocoa or cocoa solids.

The health benefits of dark Chocolate include:

Protection from Disease-Causing Free Radicals: Free radicals are unbalanced compounds created by cellular processes in the body, especially those that fight against environmental toxins we're exposed to on a daily basis. Antioxidants are the compounds that are believed to neutralis e free radicals and protect the body from their damage.

Potential Cancer Prevention: It may be hard to believe, but that tasty dark chocolate you eat and love may also help you ward off cancer. That's right one of the benefits of dark chocolate is its potential as a cancer-fighting food.

Heart Health: Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate. According to Cleveland Clinic, research has shown that flavanols have a very positive effect on heart health by helping lower blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart as well as the brain. Dark chocolate flavanols can also help make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, which reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke.

Better Cognitive Function: Previous research showed that "acute as well as chronic ingestion of flavanol-rich cocoa is associated with increased blood flow to cerebral grey matter and it has been suggested that cocoa flavanols might be beneficial in conditions with reduced cerebral blood flow, including dementia and stroke.

Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Aid: A study published in 2015 compared type 2 diabetics' consumption of white chocolate versus high-cocoa, polyphenol-rich dark chocolate. The subjects consumed 25 grams (a little under one ounce) of dark or white chocolate for eight weeks. The researchers found that not only did dark chocolate lower the blood pressure of the hypertensive diabetics, but it also decreased fasting blood sugar.

"Eat two squares of dark chocolate at least 80 percent cocoa per day. Based on the best evidence, it would be close to the No.1 food you can eat. It has powerful anti-ageing capabilities. In laboratory studies, it has been shown to reduce ageing by up to 80 percent. The four people who lived the longest on earth have all eaten dark chocolate" 
Dr Avni Sali | Director of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine

Chocolate Smoothie

  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa   
  • 1 frozen banana,
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

Cocoa Balls 

  • 2 Medjool dates
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, plus 1/3 cup extra for rolling
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

-Place dates in a medium bowl and cover with water. Stand for 1 hour. Drain and discard seeds.
-Process dates, almond meal, shredded coconut, coconut oil, cacao powder and chia seeds until mixture comes together. Transfer to a bowl and stand for 20 minutes for chia seeds to soften.
-Place remaining coconut in a shallow dish.
-Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Roll in coconut to coat.

Posted in: Preventative Medicine Health and Well Being Family GP  

Skin protection

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 20 February 2018
Skin protection

Plus, tell-tale signs of when you need a GP to check your skin.

As beach-side residents, we all know the importance of protecting our skin from dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation during summer. After all, overexposure to UV rays while at the beach, playing sports or even visiting fruit farms and wineries can cause wrinkles and skin and eye damage. It can also lead to skin cancer.

In fact, Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with two in every three Australians diagnosed before age 70.

Furthermore, anyone can be at risk of developing skin cancer 9.2 per cent of people diagnosed with melanoma are aged under 40, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data.The issue is, Australia has the highest UV index in the world, and it's the UV radiation in the sunshine that causes your skin to burn. There is UVA and UVB, which both cause skin damage and increase the risk of developing both common skin cancer and melanoma. However, UVA penetrates your skin much deeper.

When sunburn can occur in as little as 15-minutes and will continue to develop for 24 to 72 hours after exposure to the sun your best form of skin protection is to follow Cancer Council Australia guidelines:

  • Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
  • Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ (or higher) sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards, or after swimming, exercising or towel drying. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
  • Slap on a hat broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
  • Seek shade.
  • Slide on some sunglasses make sure they meet Australian Standards.

Dos and don'ts of Vitamin D
If you are concerned this method of skin protection will prevent you from meeting your vitamin D requirements don't be.

Dr Michelle Woolhouse, Whole Medicine founder and principal GP, says vitamin D requirements are not as hard to achieve as people think.

"While sun exposure is important for good health, the harms of UV radiation in Australia far outweigh the risks of vitamin D deficiency," she says.
"For most people, adequate vitamin D levels can be reached through regular incidental exposure to the sun."

During summer, when the UV reaches damaging levels, a few minutes of sun exposure on either side of the peak UV periods before 10am and after 3pm is enough to get your vitamin D fix.

When to check your skin
Regularly checking your own skin for changes is essential, while an annual examination by your GP is recommended no matter what your age.

Keep an eye out for:

  • Any crusty, non-healing sores;
  • Small lumps that are red, pale or pearly in colour;
  • New spots, freckles or any moles changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months, especially those dark brown to black, red or blue-black in colour.

If you notice any changes, act quickly and don't worry, you're not alone Cancer Council Australia data shows GPs have more than one million patient consultations per year for skin cancer.

To book a skin check at Whole Medicine call 03 5986 4229 or visit our convenient online booking portal. Our doctors are qualified to perform minor skin surgeries including biopsies (removing a small sample of tissue for examination). We also have access to the best specialists, hospitals, procedures and investigations. P.S. Check out the SunSmart App, which lets you know when you do and don't need sun protection, making it easier to be smart about your sun exposure all year round.

P.S. Check out the SunSmart App, which lets you know when you do and don't need sun protection, making it easier to be smart about your sun exposure all year round.

Posted in: Skin Health Health and Well Being Family GP  

5 back to school health tips

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 30 January 2018
5 back to school health tips

Easy ways to help your child stay healthy as term one kicks off.

There's no doubt the start of the school year is an exciting time, but it also means an increased risk of exposure to viruses and illness for your child. Here are five things you need to know to help your family stay healthy as term one gets underway.

1. Physical Factors
While classroom learning is an integral part of every child's school day and a level of digital activity is also accepted staying active is one of the best ways children can remain physically and mentally well.
The Active Healthy Kids Australia recommendations are a good guide for how much exercise your child should do:

  • Children and young people should accumulate at least 60-minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.
  • Physical activity that strengthen muscles and bones should be included at least three days per week.
  • For additional health benefits children and young people should engage in more physical activity up to several hours every day.

2. Sleep Matters Most
Sleep is the golden elixir of any young person's life. It is vital for brain development, emotional regulation, optimal detoxification, hormonal stability and cellular and immune repair. On the flip side, sleep can be negatively impacted for a variety of reasons including emotional health, nutrition, behavioural patterns, physical obstructions and gut issues. Contact Whole Medicine if you are concerned you child may have sleep issues.
The Sleep Health Foundation recommends:

  • School aged children aged between six and 13 get nine to 11 hours a night
  • Teenagers aged between 14 and 17 get eight to 10 hours a night.

3. Better Behaviour
Behavioural issues that are outside normal functioning can impact on family harmony, school learning, social functioning and mental health. Looking holistically at a child can reveal some underlying issues at play. Supporting brain growth and function with lifestyle, nutrition, diet and other factors can support children. Having access to specialists and referral networks is also vital for the whole family.

4. Food Confustion
If you're confused over what to include in your child's lunchbox or what constitutes healthy food, you're not alone. The latest Royal Children's Hospital National Child Health Poll found parents are struggling to understand how much sugar is added to foods and what impact it can have on children's mental and physical health.
Good food is vital for your child's brain development at school. See the Australian Dietary Guidelines for information about how to help your child enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups.

5. Screen Time Limits
While watching TV and playing computer games are common activities for kids, the Australian Government Department of Health warns children who spend long periods of time inactive are more likely to have poor physical, social and intellectual development. Instead of your child spending hours on watching TV and DVDs or playing computer and electronic games, encourage them to stay active and healthy by setting consistent screen time limits.

If you are concerned about chronic infections, food intolerances, attention issues or learning behaviours as the school year gets underway, book an appointment with a Whole Medicine GP today.

Posted in: Children's Health Health and Well Being Family GP  
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