Only half of women believe they’re healthy, says report

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In the lead up to Women’s Health Week, “CityNews” has spoken to businesses passionate about helping women be healthy. This is a sponsored post. 

ONLY half of Australian women describe their overall health as very good or excellent, according to the Jean Hailes for Women’s Health annual national Women’s Health Survey.

The survey also highlighted a lack of time as being a major barrier for women to try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as well as guilt, particularly those in the “sandwich generation” caring for both elderly parents and children. 

From Monday, September 2 to Friday, September 6, the not-for-profit organisation Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is attempting to break down these barriers through its annual week-long initiative, Women’s Health Week. 

Women around Australia are being invited to unlock their powers for good health through the five health themes for the week, which include moving, gut health, reproductive health, chest health and mental health. 

The Women’s Health Week campaign manager Brenda Jones says the week is the time to do something for your health and start making positive changes that can last a lifetime.

“Women are leading busier lives than ever before,” Ms Jones says.

“Sometimes they need to be reminded to put themselves on their own to-do lists.

“Together, we want women to think about, and do something positive for their health.”

This year Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is also busting some myths around women’s health, such as: 

  • MYTH: 

Your bladder empties itself better hovering over the toilet.


Your bladder empties itself much better when you’re sitting, and your muscles are relaxed.

  • Did you know

Going to the toilet “just in case” – even though you went to the toilet just 15 minutes before – may train your bladder to hold smaller amounts of urine, and can weaken your bladder’s withholding power in the long run?

  • MYTH:

You can’t be pregnant if you have your period. 


It’s possible. Although ovulation occurs in the middle of your cycle, there is no guarantee you can’t get pregnant while menstruating. 

More information about the week at

The Runners Shop owner Nick Walshe.

Shoes get women running for health

FOR women looking for a way to improve their health physically and mentally, The Runners Shop owner Nick Walshe says running is a fantastic and affordable exercise for good health. 

Based in Gungahlin and Phillip, Nick says The Runners Shop has a great range of running shoes for new and experienced runners.

“We’re always happy to help people get started for the first time and have a good range of shoes with friendly staff to help,” he says.

“For people just getting started, they often need to make sure they have a well-cushioned pair of running shoes, which will help the body cope with an increase in exercise and will make it easier on your knees, back and joints.”

According to Nick, running can also be a social activity and he says if people find a group to go running with, it can be a lot of fun.

With more daylight hours as spring begins, Nick says it’s a good time to get running outdoors, too.

“If people need help or advice, The Runners Shop has a team who are backed with all running levels, from elite to back-of-the-pack,” he says.

“We also have a great variety of shoes in different colours, but it’s important to pick the right type of shoe before picking one that looks good.”

The Runners Shop, 76 Dundas Court, Phillip, call 6285 3508 and upstairs at 46-50 Hibberson Street, Gungahlin, call 6241 7054 or visit

Marita O’Shea of Her Physio.

Help for the pelvic floor 

RESEARCH shows that 65 per cent of women in a general practice waiting room report incontinence, yet only 31 per cent seek help, says Marita O’Shea of Her Physio. 

With many women experiencing difficulty with their pelvic-floor health, Marita, who is a pelvic floor and continence physiotherapist, says now’s the best time for women to address their pelvic-floor health. 

“My patients tell me their pelvic-floor health is always in the back of their mind and once they take the first step and get a pelvic-floor assessment, they feel relieved,” she says. 

“Problems such as pelvic floor muscle weakness, urinary incontinence, bowel problems, vaginal prolapse and pelvic pain are very common but also can be very difficult to talk about.

“Working with a pelvic-floor physiotherapist to improve your pelvic floor strength, bladder and bowel habits can significantly improve your quality of life.

“I provide specialist physiotherapy services to assess and help women manage these problems.

“I also do postnatal checks for new mums to assess pelvic floor strength and abdominal separation and provide guidelines for returning to their pre-baby exercise routine.”

Marita now works out of Deakin, after Her Physio moved to the Specialist Services Medical Group, working alongside specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists Dr Elizabeth Gallagher and Dr Omar Adham, as well as Dr Tween Low, specialist gynaecologist, obstetrician and fertility specialist. 

Marita also continues to practice at the Ochre Health Medical Centre at Bruce.   

Her Physio, Specialist Services Medical Group, 12 Napier Close, Deakin, call 6282 2033. Ochre Health Medical Centre, corner Allawoona Street and Ginninderra Drive, Bruce, call 6180 8500 or visit

Practice dedicated to orthopaedic health

THE main health conditions affecting women’s orthopaedic health are osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, says practice manager of Orthopaedics ACT Deborah Henry. 

“After the age of 60, one in two women will have a fracture related to osteoporosis and women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis,” says Deborah. 

“Prevention such as a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercises is important. People are living more active lives in their older years and we can provide surgical and non-surgical options to work with patients to keep them as healthy as we can.”   

Orthopaedics ACT is the single largest group of orthopaedic surgeons in the ACT, based at Woden, covering all orthopaedic subspecialty areas including management of trauma. 

Bringing together the expertise of seven orthopaedic surgeons based at the practice, working with sports and exercise physician, Dr Lari Trease, they are committed to providing surgical excellence and care. 

Deborah says that due to the unpredictable timing of trauma and fractures and the need to treat with some expediency, Orthopaedics ACT offers a Fast Track Fracture and Trauma Clinic. Their trauma phone line is open between 9am and 5pm every day of the week to manage trauma injuries that don’t require a visit to the emergency department. 

Orthopaedics ACT, Woden Specialist Medical Centre, Level 2, 90 Corinna Street, Woden. Call 6221 9320 or visit 

The Ballancer Pro… provides a “wave-like” massage.

Ebony’s wellness treatments empower women

“WOMEN need to take the time to take care of ourselves – to take time and connect with ourselves,” says owner of Wellness Empowerment Collective in Lyneham, Ebony Anderson.  

A popular treatment at the Wellness Empowerment Collective for women wanting to restore wellbeing and drain excess body fluid is through lymphatic drainage, says Ebony. The Ballancer Pro system provides a wave-like massage to help the body release toxins and fluids from the lymphatic system. 

“The Ballancer Pro is like a pair of high-waisted pants that you put on and it fills with air to sequentially compress and massage the lymph nodes,” says Ebony. 

“People get up from the treatment and their pants slip down! It really works even after one session.”

After moving from California to Canberra and noticing a lack of diverse health and wellbeing services, Ebony founded the Wellness Empowerment Collective in Lyneham last year.

Backed with qualifications in nursing, yoga, fitness and healing, the Wellness Empowerment Collective offers services such as fitness sessions, yoga, cryotherapy, salt therapy, massages and float tanks.

Ebony says whole-body or localised cryotherapy can have positive impacts upon inflammation and she has benefited personally from it in managing her pain associated with endometriosis. 

Wellness Empowerment Collective, 2 Rigall Place, National Hockey Centre,

Level 1, Lyneham. Call 0450 585569, email or visit

Sanctuary for the body and mind

CREATED to be Canberra’s most sought-after wellness destination, there’s nothing else like Hale Gym & Spa, says the hotel manager of Brassey Hotel, Kathryn Carling. 

Whether people want to work on their fitness in the gym or relax in the spa, Kathryn says Hale provides a sanctuary for the body and mind.

When it comes to the mind, Kathryn says Hale Spa is a place of complete indulgence and relaxation where people can escape to. 

“[There’s a] full suite of spa treatments across nine luxurious rooms including a couple’s suite with a bath and dual shower,” she says.

“Our cave-like plunge pool provides total solace in a tranquil place [and] our infrared saunas and steam rooms are geared towards extracting impurities, whilst relaxing muscles and promoting recovery. 

“Our Scandi-inspired client lounge with fireplace provides the perfect place to relax pre and post treatment and our luxurious change rooms include personal lockers, plush towels, premium amenities and finishing stations complete with Dyson hair dryers and Cloud 9 straightening irons.”

Kathryn says Hale Spa is always blown away with positive feedback, with one saying: “Hale is by far the best day spa I have been to in Canberra! The massages are absolutely amazing and the facilities are gorgeous.”

Hale Gym & Spa, 10–14 Macquarie Street, Barton. Call 6188 3299 or visit

Just opened, an infrared sauna studio 

WOMEN can restore their mind and body by relaxing at Eliven, Canberra’s first and only dedicated infrared sauna studio. Owner Jill Gray recently moved back to Canberra after living in Melbourne for a few years. During that time, Jill discovered the benefits of infrared saunas. 

“I saw a gap in the market in Canberra, there wasn’t a dedicated place to go for an infrared sauna until now,” says Jill who opened Eliven last month.  

Jill says the benefits of infrared sauna include detox, weight loss and pain relief. 

“People tell me how their muscle tension and joint issues feel so much better after a session. It gives people with arthritis or inflammation relief as well,” she says. 

“Studies have also shown that people’s sleep quality improves after a sauna, it is great for relaxation.” 

Jill says that infrared saunas use infrared rays to penetrate the skin on a cellular level, and unlike traditional steam saunas, infrared doesn’t feel uncomfortably hot. 

“It’s a warm environment and not overbearing. People feel so relaxed and de-stressed after a 45-minute session,” says Jill. 

Eliven offers three sauna sizes to choose from and Jill says many women enjoy going together for a chat and relax together inside the two or three-person sauna. 

“In September we are offering a deal in which you can bring a friend with you for free,” says Jill. 

“It’s the perfect way for women to take time for themselves, which is so important.”

Eliven Infrared Saunas, Unit 3/61 Dundas Court, Phillip. Visit or call 0404 073618.  

Feel good, get a massage

SPECIALISING in remedial, pregnancy and sports massage, Massage Essentials in Tuggeranong helps women (and men) feel good, says owner and remedial massage therapist Yvette Croft.

“When you feel good, you actually get out and exercise,” she says.

“Remedial massage helps you feel good, it keeps people going and it helps them de-stress, especially if you’re an office worker who’s stuck in a chair.”

Or if women are pregnant, says Yvette, she works on their lower-back pain, sciatic pain and helps them get through their pregnancy.

“Our bodies change so much during pregnancy, so it’s important to make sure we’re looking after ourselves and our baby as well,” she says.

Yvette also sees a lot of active students, elite sports people such as the Canberra Raiders and office workers who are stuck at a desk all day.

She can do myofascial dry needling, which works on trigger points and relieves tension from the muscles, and is a level two sports trainer so can help with injury prevention and recovery.

She’s a big believer in the healthy effects of massage, however, warns people to make sure they’re getting treatments from someone who is qualified.

Massage Essentials, 5 McKenzie Street, Kambah. Call 0408 860486, email or visit

Float away the stress and anxiety

UNWINDING in the tranquility of a Pure Zen Flotation tank provides women in need of a stress release a unique relaxation experience like no other, says manager Karen Bennett. 

Karen says the dedicated float-tank facility can help people with pain relief, stress, meditation, anxiety and depression. 

“People who try floating absolutely love it and they take advantage of our package deals to become regulars,” says Karen.  

Karen says that the benefits of an hour session can be felt days and weeks afterwards: “Some people wonder how they will go floating for one whole hour. But afterwards they tell me that the time went so quickly and they didn’t want to get out, they felt so relaxed.” 

Customers can experience Pure Zen Flotation’s “Dream Pod”, a cocoon-like pod which is larger than other pods and is filled with 600 litres of water and 500kg of epsom salts, creating a mixture so buoyant it’s impossible to sink.

Each pod is in a separate sound-proofed room with its own shower and complimentary towels and toiletries. 

Pure Zen is offering two special deals.  

“Customers can buy two floats and receive a third float for free, as well as a special deal on our float packages where a free float is included in any package that is bought,” says Karen. 

Pure Zen Flotation, Unit 2, 10–12 Dundas Court, Phillip. Call 6281 0259, email or visit

Network and help for women with autoimmune diseases

Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey.

WITH women more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases, Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey says that women also tend to face longer waiting times to receive answers from the medical system than men. 

“Men tend to get pushed through the drug and pathology system quicker than women. It’s a widespread issue that women’s complaints are not considered to be as important as men’s, creating a lot more social and emotional distress for women,” she says. 

In addition to living with chronic health conditions, Rebecca says that women’s caring responsibilities can cause them to put their pain or health to the side while they look after family members. 

“Women also tend to develop autoimmune diseases earlier in their life, which affects their child-bearing and rearing years as well as their careers,” she says. 

“Many women have to drop out of work at a younger age which leads to social disadvantage.” 

Arthritis ACT supports women dealing with these issues through a number of initiatives including a weekly mums-and-bubs hydrotherapy class in Calwell, support groups for younger women as well as a playground for women with small children. 

“Our nurse also concentrates on supporting mums with younger-aged children,” says Rebecca.  

“We find that women depend on each other to give advice and support. By giving them a network it helps make life a little easier for them.” 

Arthritis ACT, SHOUT Offices, Collett Place, Pearce, and Building 18, 170 Haydon Drive, Bruce. Call 1800 011041, email or visit

Dedicated to fitting the perfect pair of shoes

Women searching for that perfect pair of comfortable shoes or sandals will find the largest range of orthotic-friendly NAOT footwear at NAOT of Canberra. 

Located in Dickson, the experienced team of podiatrists and qualified footwear fitters will ensure the right fit and support, especially for people who wear orthotics. 

Podiatrist and owner, Mark Clayton, says that often women can’t find sandals that accommodate their orthotics. 

“We stock sandals all year round, as people who are travelling overseas during winter come to us to get a comfortable pair of travel shoes,” he says. 

Made from handmade Italian leather and designed to be lightweight but durable, Mark says that NAOT shoes come in a wide range of styles including boots, mary janes and court shoes. 

“We offer wider shoe sizes and can give advice on the fit and how your orthotic works inside the shoes,” he says. 

“People find our shoes very comfortable and keep coming back to us to find the right shoes for their feet.”  

NAOT of Canberra, unit 1/151 Cowper Street, Dickson. Visit or call 6262 8383. 

Health club helps make fitness a priority

EVO Health Club prides itself on empowering women to take care of themselves through prioritising fitness, strength and personal wellbeing, says Evo’s club manager, Cindy Hansen. 

Located at Hotel Realm in Barton, Evo Health Club is equipped with leading-edge technogym equipment and offers a range of facilities and services, from a pool and sauna to six-week health challenges to help members get the results they want. 

“The challenges include a food guide by a dietitian, extra classes and body scans to track progress over the six weeks. It’s a great way to get into shape,” says Cindy.  

“We have personal training and weekly classes including yoga.”

Cindy says that members receive access to a My Wellness app which helps track fitness and goals.   

New members at Evo Health Club begin with an assessment, which touches on physical, mental and life strengths and needs, before a program is implemented.

EVO Health Club, Hotel Realm, 18 National Circuit, Barton. Call 6162 0808, email or visit 

Dr Elizabeth Gallagher and Dr Omar Adham.

Specialist group helping women of all ages

THE multidisciplinary team operating out of Specialist Services Medical Group in Deakin offers conservative and surgical treatment options for women of all ages, says specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Elizabeth Gallagher. 

Dr Gallagher says the team is made up of obstetrician, gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon Dr Omar Adham, obstetrician, gynaecologist and fertility specialist Dr Tween Low, physiotherapist Marita O’Shea and psychologist Lia Bain. Gynaecologist Dr Ivy Tan and paediatrician Nahal Payman have also recently joined the group. 

“Dr Tween Low offers a full range of fertility services and Dr Ivy Tan is taking on a general gynaecology role. Dr Omar Adham also offers comprehensive gynaecology and obstetric services including advanced laparoscopic procedures,” she says. 

Dr Gallagher treats women with problems such as prolapse, incontinence, abnormal bleeding, vaginal pain, abnormal pap smears and other general gynaecologist needs. 

“There’s often something we can do or we might need to investigate further,” she says. 

Located one block from the Mint, Dr Gallagher says the newly renovated rooms are light and airy. 

“We have easy access to disabled parking and other parking that’s close by and free,” she says. 

Specialist Services Medical Group, Lidia Perin Building, 12/12 Napier Close, Deakin. Call 6282 2033, 6162 1649 or email

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