Posted in Preventative Medicine

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  

A 2018 New year message from Dr Michelle Woolhouse

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 9 January 2018
A 2018 New year message from Dr Michelle Woolhouse

"It is always a special time, when a new year opens up to us all. As we say goodbye to the challenges and good times of the previous year, we start to look ahead with possibility, commitment and hope. Just before Christmas, the staff of Whole medicine (nee Peninsula Holistic General Practice) gathered together to do just that; say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new. Many patients over the Christmas period have been positively commenting on the new website, the new sage green branding and signage and have been asking us why we decided to change the name. So let us tell you all the reasons why...

We decided to change the practice name and update the website (www.wholemedicine.com.au) because we wanted to be more committed to the whole person and the whole community. Over the years we have been focusing on our expanded approach to medicine, which was becoming so popular, people were travelling from all across Victoria and even across Australia to come to see our GP's. Even though this is a humbling indication of how valued we are, we felt we were not able to service these patients well enough because of the distance and inadvertently we were jeopardising the accessibility to the clinic for our dedicated, local patient base. We also felt unable to service all the needs of our local patients, for example our patients felt unable to access our services when they needed a pap smear or were acutely unwell and would therefore need to go elsewhere.  We don't think this is good medicine, as it is beneficial for patients to have a doctor who understands all their needs, one who they can see when they are acutely sick, one who can look after the whole family and help them navigate all the screening and prevention interventions they need to do.

The other issue for our patients was our accessibility points: What we discovered was that even though we believe in offering a time honoured system of medicine- this meant many local families felt that the 60 minute new patient appointment and associated costs were too much to justify if they were not significantly unwell. We wanted to change that too.

So, we as a group discussed these issues at our meetings, over coffee and around the tables over the preceding months. We talk about what good medicine meant to us, we talked about the importance of integration and we talked about what our values were as doctors and as a business. These discussions lead us to make some changes that we hope will help us to be the best medical group to help service our local community and stay committed to the Whole person model of care we are all so passionate about.

The changes we have made:

  1. New and more affordable access points to the clinic so that we can accommodate your children, your family and increase our reach to the locals that want to be a part of this expanded and integrative approach to health care.
  2. We have decreased our new patient appointment times and fees to suit a whole range of different people's needs.
  3. We have a stronger focus on community medicine, such that we have zoned the clinic and give preferential access to those on the Mornington Peninsula.
  4. We have dedicated 100K to chronic disease management and wellness coaching to help you achieve your health goals.

So this is why Peninsula Holistic became Whole Medicine. So along with the new name, comes a new approach, new accessibility, new commitment and new innovations.

Whole medicine is dedicated to helping our community  be well, because we know a strong and healthy community will strengthen the health of the individual too.

Welcome to Whole Medicine, and make 2018 your year to Be well...

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

Women's health at Whole Medicine

Posted by Dr Michelle Woolhouse on 19 December 2017
Women's health at Whole Medicine

Looking after the health of women is vital for the overall wellbeing of our community.
Here's how Whole Medicine can help.

When it comes to the health of our Mornington Peninsula community, women are particularly important.

The reason being many women not only look after themselves, but they also provide much of the care and nurturing for their children, partner and ageing parents.

What's more, women support each other as friends and when they fall pregnant, meaning their health is reflected more widely in the community.

"It's the long-lasting affect women have on those around them that makes us passionate about supporting women to be well because, ultimately, we know this makes for more well people," explains Dr Michelle Woolhouse, Whole Medicine founder and principal GP.

It's also important that women take time out of their often-busy schedules to check on their own physical and mental health parameters, regardless of age.

To help females be proactive about screening, prevention and good health, here's a simple guide to women's health at Whole Medicine.

Physical Health

Hormonal balance
Women's hormones change over time and are affected by stresses, life patterns and even your thoughts. Hormonal balance helps mental, reproductive and physical health, which is why our doctors help women to better understand how to create balance for optimising overall wellbeing.

Breast health 
Regular breast checks are just the beginning; breast health, lactation success, hormonal balance and managing the lumps and bumps that breasts can get are all part of what we do at Whole Medicine. 

Family planning and fertility
Planning a family is an exciting and challenging time in our lives. But, for most of our fertile years, contraception is not only important for preventing unwanted pregnancies, but it also plays a significant role in your long-term health.

Pregnancy 
Staying well during pregnancy is the goal of every woman. Regular check-ups with your family doctor to address your physical and mental health, as well as your nutrition, can help you to feel prepared for the next stages.

Menopause 
The impact of the change in hormones experienced during menopause can affect your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Having support and knowing some of the strategies you can use during this time can help make life easier.

Pap smears 
Regular pap tests have been one of the most successful screening interventions in medicine. We encourage all women to have them regularly. We offer a reminder service to help you manage your important health interventions like this one.

Thyroid disease 
Thyroid disease is on the rise due to increasing strain on our lifestyle, increases in toxin exposure, stress, diet and gut immunity issues. The thyroid gland is paramount for your vitality it underpins your energy levels, brain function and detoxification capacity. Thyroid disease can be well managed with an integrative approach.

Sexual health 
Vaginal health, libido issues, infections and other sexual issues are important for any woman's overall health. At Whole Medicine, our family doctors take these matters seriously and are sensitive to your needs and concerns.

Mental Health

Health retreats
Often women need time away from their usual responsibilities to relax, recharge and refocus. That's why Whole Medicine is hosting a health retreat in February called Wise Radiant Me: A Wellness Weekend for Women. The retreat is about replenishing your body, mind and soul with healthy eating, meditation, yoga and insightful self-help techniques. "This is a chance to help women learn to ground themselves and develop practical tools to support long-term health," says Dr Woolhouse, who will co-facilitate the retreat with intuitive therapist Caroline Hales.

Work-Life Balance 
Balancing work, life, family and personal time is often challenging for many women. This juggling act is impacting on some women's mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Up-skilling and gaining support in managing this important aspect of our lives plays a big role in regaining or sustaining your best self.

Counselling
Women often feel stressed, and it feeds on itself until before you know it, you are experiencing negative mental, physically and emotional cycles. Having some time to reassess, reflect and develop more skills can help turn a negative cycle into a positive one.

Make some time for your health find out more about the Whole Medicine Health Retreat in February or sign up for The Big Health Check.

Posted in: Women's Health Preventative Medicine Health and Well Being  

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