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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

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So many ways to improve health and wellbeing

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

With winter well and truly here, it’s important to stay fit and healthy. Everyone benefits from a healthy lifestyle, and whether it’s improving strength from home, attending small-group personal training sessions or managing pain, there are many ways to improve someone’s health.

Mobile optometrist Shane Brookman conducts an eye test at a patient’s home.

Mobile eye care from the comfort of home

Most people rate their sight as their most precious sense, and about 80 per cent of the information we receive from the outside world comes through our eyes, says Shane Brookman, founder of the mobile optometry service, Angel Eyecare.

“This means that your eyes are the best camera you’ll ever own,” he says.

“If our health is our wealth, then sight is worth more than gold.”

Shane says 90 per cent of blindness is avoidable if detected early, which is why regular eye care is so important. 

With Angel Eyecare being fully mobile, Shane says they are able to bring the gift of sight right to the patient’s doorstep, so they can see better without having to leave the home. 

“Our mission is to deliver an essential sight-saving mobile service to  those who need it most,” he says.

“Making a difference by helping people see better is what gets us out of bed every morning.”

Email or to schedule an appointment visit

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aborginal Health and Community Services.

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

Benchmark Sleep Services’ owner Christian Rabatsch with CPAP consultant Laura Couper Logan.

Christian sets the benchmark in sleep services

Benchmark Sleep Services’ owner Christian Rabatsch has more than 30 years’ experience in dealing with sleep apnea and related conditions.

“I used to run a sleep lab and have worked for all the major companies – Philips, Fisher & Paykel, ResMed,” he says.

“I set up this business about 12 years ago, because I used to go around and see the retailers and what they did, and I actually felt they didn’t do a good job.

“So, I called mine Benchmark Sleep Services because we want to be the best at what we do.”

Now there are 10 stores throughout Canberra and NSW, and Christian says their success has come from a focus on the patient, not sales.

Christian says he and his staff are not only clinical people, but are also like motivational counsellors.

“People really want to know that there’s someone on their side, they’re not out there on their own,” he says.

“It’s all about trying to create a nice image for the public, not that they feel they’re coming in and have to buy something, they’re coming in because they’re getting help.”

Benchmark Sleep Services, level 1, 8/48 Corinna Street, Phillip. Call 6105 9000 or visit

Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey.

Post-exertional malaise self-help course

Long covid at its worst is very like ME/CFS, often referred to as chronic fatigue syndrome, and it’s a condition that is particularly marked by a symptom known as post-exertional malaise, says Arthritis ACT, Pain Support and ME/CFS ACT CEO, Rebecca Davey.

“Post-exertional malaise is an overwhelming exhaustion that often does not match the tiredness that you would expect by an activity, and often it doesn’t kick in for a few days until after the activity, so it’s really hard to explain where it came from,” she says. 

Arthritis ACT, Pain Support and ME/CFS ACT runs a regular self-help course for people living with any form of debilitating fatigue, says Rebecca.

The course is offered over Zoom and takes just one hour a week, Rebecca says. 

It includes learning about the art of pacing, which Rebecca says is “working out what you need to do and how to keep life on course”.

In conjunction with the Capital Region Health Network, Rebecca says this program is able to be offered at no charge, aside from a small charge for a workbook.

“We also encourage loved ones to join this course with you, to help them to increase their understanding of the challenges that you are facing,” she says.

“Remember we also have a clinical team of physiotherapists, OT, exercise physiologists who offer a range of fee for service care options, and we offer regular education talks and seminars on all areas of chronic pain including arthritis and debilitating fatigue,” says Rebecca.

Arthritis ACT, Pain Support & ME/CFS ACT, 170 Haydon Drive, Bruce. Call 1800 011041 or visit

Canberra Podiatry principal podiatrist Michelle Prophet.

State-of-the-art podiatric care in Queanbeyan

QCity is a hub for all aspects of podiatry, where owner Michelle Prophet and her team offer a wide range of services, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for medical or surgical conditions relating to the feet and lower limbs. 

“Your foot is often the first sign of other complications happening,” she says.

“That’s what our job is as podiatrists, to check nails, to look for anything that doesn’t seem within normal limits, and to investigate further in case it could be psoriasis, or diabetes, or circulation issues.”

Early detection of issues allows for better treatment, Michelle says, enormously reducing complications in diabetic feet in particular.

As such, it is recommended to go for a foot check every 12 months, and Michelle says QCity Podiatry can send the report to a patient’s GP.

QCity Podiatry offers all podiatry services supported by a range of state-of-the-art equipment, including Swift Microwave treatment, laser therapy, shockwave therapy, all general treatments, orthotic therapy and pediatrics. 

Michelle says her comprehensive podiatry services ensure that patients have everything they need, without having to travel to Canberra.

QCity Podiatry is also accessible through NDIS, Enhanced Primary Care plans and Chronic Disease Management plans, and the only people requiring referral are DVA patients.

“All you need to do is ring up and make an appointment,” she says.

Canberra Podiatry & QCity Podiatry, 3/80 Morisset Street, Queanbeyan. Call 6147 1616 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.

Cailyn Murphy, women’s health exercise physiolgist and Ryan Connell, exercise physiologist at Bruce Sports Medicine.

Women’s health exercise physiologist joins the team

Bruce Sports Medicine in Hall looks after people of all ages and abilities to help them with their quality of life, says owner Dr Wilson Lo, and they have recently welcomed a new addition to the team.

Cailyn Murphy is a women’s health exercise physiologist and Dr Lo says she is available for consultations for women with pelvic pain, including pain from endometriosis and PCOS, and for women recovering from surgery or injury who need to activate their core.

Dr Lo says she is also running a mums and bubs Pilates and stretch class, which is open to new mums from six weeks postpartum.

There are also the same familiar faces, Dr Lo says, with new group classes on offer.

“Ryan Connell is our long-standing exercise physiologist who also is the physical performance coach of the Canberra Raiders NRLW Team,” says Dr Lo.

“He is starting up group classes including a strength and balance class, and also a running group.”

Bruce Sports Medicine, 9 Victoria Street, Hall. Call 6253 5386, or visit

Dr Trevor Law, Global Health Plus sports medicine doctor.

Custom orthotics to maintain biomechanical balance

Dr Trevor Law, sports medicine doctor of Global Health Plus, says feet are important for biomechanical balance, like the foundation of a building.

“If unbalanced, it can cause problems of ankles, knees, hips and spine,” he says.

Trevor, who started his sports medicine practice in 1992, provides a range of services, including general sports medicine, custom-made foot orthotics and PRP injection under ultrasound.

He says he has a computerised orthotic scanning system for accurate orthotics production, that uses a patented pins-scanning technique to accurately map the sole of the foot. 

“I have hugely positive feedback, and referrals from patients and other doctors,” he says.

Trevor says he is also heavily involved in football medicine, having been involved in the sport for more than 30 years as a national team doctor for Football Australia and a medical officer of the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA.

Global Health Plus, Suite 4, Level 2, 19 Napier Close, Deakin. Call 6260 5757.

Diabetes Australia operations manager NSW ACT Natalie Smith.

Blue lights to raise awareness of diabetes

Old Parliament House and the John Gorton buildings will be lit in blue lights on July 14 to raise awareness of diabetes during National Diabetes Week, July 14-21, says Natalie Smith, Diabetes Australia general manager and health service operations, NSW and ACT.

“This year we are celebrating the advancement of technology in diabetes care, whilst continuing to advocate for additional services to be available to our community,” she says.

“For example, in recent years our community has celebrated the commencement of continuous glucose monitoring for those living with type 1 diabetes, allowing constant monitoring of blood sugar levels, preventing multiple finger prick tests per day, and most importantly saving lives from unpredictable hypoglycaemic events.”

Diabetes Australia is focused on a world without diabetes, and is supporting research to achieve this, says Natalie. 

She says they are also passionate about supporting the 1.5 million people living with diabetes in Australia and enhancing awareness to encourage early screening, with more than 120,000 people diagnosed annually and an additional 400,000 at risk of diabetes.

“Our team is passionate about supporting our community living with or at risk of diabetes to live well,” Natalie says.

If anyone is concerned of developing diabetes, Natalie says there is a quick online health assessment available on their website.

There are also free educational programs available, clinical services with credited diabetes educators and dietitians, and online tools and resources to provide local support for those living with diabetes, says Natalie.

Diabetes Australia. Call 1800 177055, or visit

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