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Canberra Today 1°/5° | Monday, May 20, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

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It’s important to stay healthy in the colder months

“CityNews” speaks with a variety of health experts, all passionate about the wellbeing of their patients.

With benefits such as a stronger immune system, maintained weight and improved mental health, it’s important to stay fit and healthy, especially in the colder months. 

There’s no shortage of knowledgeable health experts in Canberra. Whether it’s general practice, reaching fitness goals or supporting those with chronic conditions.


Stepz Fitness Gungahlin franchisor Daniel Hotchkis.

Step up to a new health journey

Stepz Fitness is an inclusive, non-intimidating gym that is open 24/7 and offers numerous functional classes, says franchisor Daniel Hotchkis. 

“At Stepz, we use quality equipment you can’t access outdoors and our trainers and managers bring a wealth of knowledge with them and are there to help,” he says.

The environment at Stepz Fitness is welcoming, which Daniel says resonates with a lot of people.

Whether customers are 17 or 70, Daniel says everyone feels comfortable at Stepz. 

The other benefit is the capped membership, which Daniel says minimises queuing for equipment; a problem that often occurs in larger fitness centres.

“Our unique, customer-focused model is why Stepz continues to be ranked among the top 10 gyms in the country,” he says.

“We keep you accountable, whether it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, there’s no excuse, we keep you engaged and motivated.”

Stepz Fitness has group classes for cardio, strength building, flexibility, with sessions running in the morning, middle of the day and evening, says Daniel, so there is something for everyone. 

Stepz Fitness, 10 Gribble St, Gungahlin. Call 0473 013576 or visit


Dental surgeon and practice owner Dr Abi Nathan, left, with dental assistant Joanne O’Keefe.

Preventative, cosmetic and emergency dentistry

“Good oral health is important for good general health,” says Dr Abi Nathan, Weston Creek Dental Care practice owner and dental surgeon.

Dr Nathan has more than 30 years of experience, with a particular focus on preventative care.

She says the practice, which first opened in 1978, always aims to help patients achieve optimal oral health. They now have a specialist orthodontist available to fit braces.

Children can have treatments bulk-billed to Medicare, but some conditions apply. 

Dr Nathan says they have a new patient offer that includes a comprehensive examination, professional scale, clean and polish, fluoride treatment if clinically indicated and routine X-rays (not including OPGs and CBT scans) for $239.

Other services available at Weston Creek Dental Care include cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening, veneers, crowns and bridges, fillings, dental implants and emergency dentistry and general dentistry. 

They have recently relocated to a new space at Cooleman Court Family Dental Services, she says.

Weston Creek Dental Care, 8/14 Brierly Street, Weston Creek. Call 6288 3734 or visit


Audiologist Dr Bill Vass.

Dr Vass offers life-changing hearing help

Getting help with hearing loss is all about improving communication and gaining clarity, says Dr Vass Hearing Clinic principal Dr William Vass.

Offering professional, independent advice and treatment, Dr Vass says taking the first step with a hearing test can be life-changing.

“We know hearing loss can be linked to anxiety, isolation, anger, relationship issues, work issues and miscommunication in general,” he says.

“After treatment or rehabilitation patients can find it a lot easier to get along with people, don’t have to guess so much and are much more confident in their communication skills, especially with their partner.”

While hearing loss can come with ageing, Dr Vass says it can also often affect young people too.

“Those exposed to loud noises in military and construction fields can experience hearing loss. Some people might be genetically exposed to hearing loss or there could be viral infections,” he says.

“It’s very important to act early. Waiting too long can start to see a disconnect between the brain and the ear.

“We find that those people who put off getting help with their hearing loss for long periods don’t have as successful outcomes as those who seek help earlier.”

Dr Vass says patients have the certainty that they’ll be seeing him when they visit the clinic and that he will provide one-on-one, tailored care and advice.

“It’s rewarding to help people not be so isolated, and help improve their communication with others, especially their loved ones,” he says.

Dr Vass Hearing Clinic, suite 14, John James Medical Centre, 175 Strickland Crescent, Deakin. Visit or call 6282 2717.


Fringe Dentures owner Terry McHugh.

Denture experts at the cutting edge

Fringe Dentures is a direct-to-the-public denture clinic that helps with dentures plus mouthguards and other services such as denture cleaning. 

“We’re embracing new technology to make sure we get the best service and quality of work, and a better customer experience,” says owner Terry McHugh.

“We’ve transitioned to digital denture and mouthguard manufacturing, which has revolutionised our processes. 

“We were doing high-quality work before, and we’re doing even higher quality work now because of the new technology that we’re using.”

Terry says that the business has expanded to include another clinic in Hawker, as well as expanding to other regional locations such as Jindabyne and Gundagai.

“We’re still servicing the industry through a lot of partner dentists,” says Terry. “And you can claim it through your health funds.”

“The most important thing, and the most enjoyable thing is seeing happy customers walking out with their new dentures. 

“Customer satisfaction is our reward.”

Fringe Dentures, 3/24 Iron Knob Street, Fyshwick. Call 6239 2534 or visit


Beacon of hope and support in times of crisis

In a world where headlines often speak of doom and gloom, it’s the stories of hope, resilience, and community that truly resonate with Elizabeth Simpson, Anglicare’s senior manager of communications and events.

“As we navigate through a cost-of-living crisis that has left many of our most vulnerable community members in precarious positions, Anglicare NSW South, NSW West, and ACT, has stood out as a pillar of support, providing essential services to those in need,” she says.

Anglicare is a not-for-profit operating across the NSW and ACT regions, offering an extensive array of community support programs, says Elizabeth. 

“Perhaps one of Anglicare’s most innovative services is The Junction, a youth medical service in the heart of Civic that offers specialised health care and support to at-risk youth,” she says.

Operating for more than 25 years, Elizabeth says The Junction has become a safe haven for young individuals, aged 12-25 facing health crises.

Some services offered by The Junction, such as access to medical care, are supported by government funding, emergency relief services rely on donations. 

“This service underscores the critical need for accessible healthcare solutions, especially for the youth who may otherwise fall through the cracks of the healthcare system,” she says.

“The Junction, much like the rest of Anglicare’s services, is a beacon of hope and support. 

“It represents a commitment to the physical and emotional wellbeing of the community’s most vulnerable, offering not just medical care but a comprehensive support system that addresses the root causes of health and wellness issues among at-risk youth.”

The Junction, 30 Scotts Crossing, Civic. Donations can be made at or by calling 6245 7100.


Winnunga Nimmityjah Aborginal Health and Community Services.

A culturally safe service for indigenous women

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services is a culturally safe service that provides holistic care to indigenous women throughout Canberra and the surrounding region, says CEO Julie Tongs.

“It is well documented that Aboriginal women die eight to 10 years younger than non-Aboriginal women and carry a higher burden of chronic disease at very young ages,” says Julie.

“It is important for women who are struggling to reach out to the Winnunga social health team or a Winnunga staff member to seek assistance. They should never feel ashamed as there is assistance available.”

Poverty, racism, trauma, addiction, mental health issues, domestic violence, homelessness and incarceration are just some of the issues that Julie says are affecting indigenous women every day.

On top of providing assistance with all of those issues, she says Winnunga can help secure access to covid testing and vaccination, child protection, court and Centrelink support and assist with the filling out of paperwork.

“Winnunga provides GPs, nurses, midwives, a drug and alcohol nurse, and a mental health nurse who are also able to be accessed in the Alexander Maconochie Centre,” she says. 

“We also have allied health professionals in our clinic who the GPs can do internal referrals to. They include the social health team psychiatrist, psychologists, sessional dietitians, an audiologist, optometrist, physiotherapist and a podiatrist.”

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services, 63 Boolimba Crescent, Narrabundah. Call 6284 6222 or visit


Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey.

Exercise options to suit all abilities

No matter what type of chronic pain condition people may have, Arthritis ACT can offer support, says CEO Rebecca Davey.

“It’s important to remain active at all ages, and particularly as we age, we need to ensure we maintain our balance and strength.”

“With the recent closure of the Chifley Gym, we hope we can help bridge some of the wellness and fitness needs of all our community, we have a wide range of classes available online and in person.  These include yoga, strength and balance classes across Canberra, mat Pilates and tai chi for falls prevention.

“For those that don’t like structured classes, we offer Nordic walking instruction. We’re teaching people how to walk with poles, which is a great, low-impact aerobic activity for everyone.

“Once introduced to our programs, you can also have access to ‘open gym’ sessions where you can use our equipment on a daily basis to maintain your ongoing health”.

Rebecca says it’s also important to build strength in different areas of the body.

She says Arthritis ACT also offers services such as exercise physiology, occupational therapy, disability support and education and support to help people in managing their pain.

“People come to us because we know the condition. About 50 per cent of our staff live with chronic pain, so we understand how chronic pain can affect all parts of a person’s life,” she says.

“You also don’t have to have pain to see us – we’re really good at ensuring we can help you prevent pain in the future!”

Arthritis ACT, 170 Haydon Drive, Bruce. Call 1800 011041 or visit


Curtin Optical owner Corey Nicholls.

Making access to eyewear easy

Curtin Optical stocks a wide range of eyewear and accessories, says owner Corey Nicholls.

Having been a part of the Curtin community for 29 years, he says Curtin Optical has three experienced optometrists available for appointments from Mondays to Fridays. 

“We cater to all tastes – from budget to well-known brands,” says Corey.

Curtin Optical also offers mobile optical dispensing services – spectacle selections and deliveries to the elderly or people unable to come into the store due to disability, he says.

“This includes spectacle repairs and adjustments, and an after-hours service,” says Corey.

“In addition, Curtin Optical offers an express service for those who have lost or broken their spectacles (Rx dependent). 

“Curtin Optical’s in-store services can offer a same-day turnaround and its mobile jobs have a 24-hour turnaround.”

Corey says its independence from large chains gives customers a more personalised service.

He says they are also providers to the ACT pension scheme and DVA, with Curtin Optical offering a 10 per cent discount to ACT Seniors Card holders on complete spectacles, when their Seniors Card is presented at ordering.

Curtin Optical. Shop 1B, Curtin Place, Curtin. Call 6281 1220 or visit


Podiatrist Emma Readhead.

Expert Emma’s a podiatrist with passion

UK trained podiatrist Emma Readhead has been working in the podiatry field for close to 10 years and has recently joined the Orthopaedics ACT team. 

“I have a special interest in biomechanics, particularly pre and post surgical cases, so people who are maybe trying to avoid surgery, or that need aftercare post-surgery,” she says  

Emma says she is available for general care, such as nail care, corns and calluses and surgeries for things such as ingrown toe-nails, but also has a special interest in high-risk foot treatments for those with diabetes or other chronic conditions. 

“I also do wound care, which not all podiatrists do,” says Emma.

Emma says patients do not need a referral to book an appointment with her, however for the specialists it is required.

She says her addition to the team creates a holistic in-house experience, as she is available to see clients for general care but will also be working directly with Dr Saqib Zafar, one of the Orthopaedics ACT specialists, to create personalised treatment plans for patients.

“From once you start walking to the last day you stop walking, or even beyond, if you’re in a wheelchair, you still see a podiatrist,” says Emma.

“No two feet are the same.”

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


Diabetes Australia operations manager NSW ACT Natalie Smith.

The importance of getting screened for diabetes

Diabetes Australia operations manager NSW ACT Natalie Smith says that as people get older their risks of diabetes also increase.

“Unfortunately, as we get older the pancreas produces less insulin meaning there’s a higher risk, especially for type 2 diabetes,” she says.

“That’s why it’s so important for us to continue raising awareness, for people to have a conversation with their GP or health-care provider and get screened every year.”

Natalie says that the earlier diabetes is detected, the faster treatment and lifestyle changes can begin to stop or delay complications such as heart disease and amputations.

“There is support out there, and I am seeing more and more stories of people who are diagnosed early that are going into remission,” she says.

“Nationally, 5.6 per cent of people have diabetes. In the ACT there are more than 20,000 living with it, too.”

She says Diabetes Australia has an online risk calculator where people can measure how much risk they’re at of the chronic illness.

“It calculates cultural, genetic and lifestyle factors that contribute, and we encourage everyone to do it,” says Natalie.

It’s just one of the many services the organisation offers to help people living with the condition.

“If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, don’t panic, come and talk with us,” says Natalie.

Diabetes Australia. Call 1800 177055, or visit


Felicia Darbyshire-Pirie of Pilates Centre Canberra.

Get more out of Pilates with a skilled instructor

Pilates can be considered a cross-partner with any body conditioning modality, says Felicia Darbyshire-Pirie of Pilates Centre Canberra. 

“It can be the support for any other form of sport or fitness, or the sole form of exercise- Pilates makes people feel good!” she says. 

Felicia has been teaching Pilates for over 15 years and says she discovered a love for it at a point in her life when she was fit and keen to have a go at any new exercise. 

15 years on, Felicia says the modality has also supported her through pregnancies and injuries. 

“At the Pilates Centre we have a great network with other professionals including Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Soft Tissue therapists and Exercise Physiologists,” she says

“I discovered that when you have a properly trained instructor you get very skillful teaching. 

“With Pilates, you should always be able to ask your instructor why you are doing an exercise and learn the reasons, it’s so important to get the exercises right.” 

Felicia says she loves the sense of achievement she gets when meeting the physical challenges. 

“It can be physically hard, so when you get it right it’s a huge personal accomplishment,” she says. 

The Pilates Centre Canberra is also a host site for BASI, the world-leading Pilates instructor training school. 

“The comprehensive course is very personally rewarding, but not nearly as rewarding as working in the industry!” 

The Pilates Centre Canberra, 1/11 Colbee Court, Phillip. Call 0438 967379.


Dr Tran helps ‘significantly’ improve incontinence

A non-invasive procedure that can help treat mild to moderate urinary incontinence is available at Wattle Street Medical Practice, says Dr Tuan Quoc Tran.

Dr Tran says the BTL EMSELLA chair uses high intensity, focused electromagnetic technology to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles, with no recovery time required, and patients remain fully clothed during treatment.

“This BTL EMSELLA chair can help patients with weak bladder causing urine leaking when coughing, laughing, sneezing, running or jumping, and urgency in rushing to the toilets frequently,” says Dr Tran.

He says he has more than four years experience using this technology and is now treating patients before and after prostate cancer surgery.

“I recommend early treatment, prior to surgery to help with a quicker recovery after surgery, to rebuild muscle,” he says.

Patients must book in for an initial assessment with Dr Tran to determine suitability for this treatment, and Dr Tran recommends six 30-minute sessions, scheduled twice a week, for three consecutive weeks, for optimum results.

“Scientific research shows that 95 per cent of incontinent patients reported significant improvement in day-to-day life and 85 per cent improvement was observed in overall intimate satisfaction,” says Dr Tran. 

“Here at the practice I have treated 36 patients so far, 34 patients responded with excellent results, and two patients without improvement.”

A BTL EMSELLA spokesperson says the chair can support muscle re-education of incontinent patients, women after childbirth and those with decreased intimate satisfaction.

Wattle Street Medical Practice, 83 Wattle Street, O’Connor. Call 6248 5446 or 6247 4807.

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