Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Mindfully tuning into your emotions

 proudly presents

Mindfully tuning into your emotions

Our emotions can trip us up...

Chris Millar Foundation for Integrative Medicine is excited to announce a special workshop on mindfully tuning into your emotions.

Presented by Dr Chris Walsh, a mindfulness practitioner for over 20 years, the workshop  will provide participants with techniques that will include:
  • the mindful check-in
  • urge-surfing
  • thought labelling
  • mindfully sitting with an emotion.

Dr Chris Walsh said: Through mindfulness, we can become more aware of our emotions and the processes that distort them. Then we become better able to manage them.”

“Awareness of our emotional state allows us to consider the situation before responding,” Dr Walsh said.

“Most of us have experienced times when our emotions have betrayed us. We can find ourselves getting upset for trivial reasons that don't seem to make sense. If we are unaware of an emotional state, we react in an automatic-pilot way,” he said.

“This workshop will help you understand the process of mindfully tuning into your emotions and letting go of distortions so that your emotions can function adaptively,” Dr Walsh said.

Our emotions are efficient and adaptive... most of the time

“I work with small groups of people in a non-confrontational way, making them feel confident about their unique qualities and character and using this information to help them reflect on their personal limitations, without being judgmental,” Dr Walsh continued.

To help with your interpersonal interactions there will be an emphasis on practising these techniques in social settings.

The Chris Millar Foundation is delighted that Dr Walsh is presenting his mindfulness program here in Ballarat. 
Dr Walsh has an international reputation and has presented his workshops in the USA, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, Singapore and Japan. 

In recent years, mindfulness has become a well-known tool to counter the incessant stress of modern life. This workshop offers a fantastic opportunity to deepen your knowledge of how to apply mindfulness to your daily life.

Date:                          Sunday 12 August 2018

Venue:                       Ballarat Library Meeting Room
                                 178 Doveton Street North, Ballarat

Time:                         10.00am – 4.00pm

Cost:                          $95 members (+ booking fee)

                                  $110 non-members (+ booking fee)

Tickets:                      CLICK HERE

This workshop is hosted by the Chris Millar Foundation for Integrative Medicine. One of the Foundation’s aims is to sponsor speakers and events to promote integrative medicine to medical practitioners and the general public. The proceeds from this workshop will go to the Foundation.

Proudly supported by

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Medicare rebate freeze continued until 2020

Medicare freeze is crippling GP practices

This week it was announced in the budget that the freeze on Medicare rebates, commenced in 2012, will be continued until 2020.  This means the rebate your GP receives when they choose to bulk-bill you has not increased in four years and will not increase for four more. 

In that time, just like everywhere, their costs have increased. They still have to pay their nurses, their receptionists, their phone bills and the rent for their consulting rooms, and more.

Medicare is YOUR universal health insurance. It is YOUR rebate. Do not let the government destroy it. 

Stop the freeze on Medicare rebates: sign the petition

By freezing the Medicare rebate the government is directly attacking those services that care for the disadvantaged who rely solely on the Medicare rebate – such as aboriginal health services, and those that care for people on low incomes.

Sign the petition HERE

Below are some of the top comments by doctors explaining why the extended freeze on Medicare rebates is "a huge slap in the face to general practitioners Australia wide" and why "decreasing funding to general practice is false economy".

Source: AMA

Comments by supporters of the petition for Federal Minister for Health, Hon. Sussan Ley

Top comments

I am a rural GP who deals with mostly pensioners. I could easily be making a lot more money in a wealthy suburban skin clinic but I have decided to help those that really need it. I feel dishonored and disrespected by our government. We work extremely hard and are experts in our field. This is a huge slap in the face to general practitioners Australia wide. Perhaps I should have done cosmetic surgery instead of working tirelessly to keep people out of expensive hospital beds. I challenge you to rethink this myopic and ultimately self defeating dogma. If you want good people, you need to pay the correct amount. All we are asking is for our pay to go up with the consumer price index. That's not too much to ask, is it?
Francisco Rodriguez-Letters, Cloncurry, Australia

Decreasing funding to General Practice is false economy, there is solid evidence that good primary care reduces health spending overall. Freezing Medicare is going to cost Australia in the long run because General Practice will suffer, and the health of Australians will suffer as medical practices are forced to charge larger gap payments and reduce bulk billing to cope with the rising costs and decreasing support from the government.
Hayley Walker, Adelaide, Australia

I'm an emergency doctor and people are using emergency services like GP clinics because it's free. It wastes time and resources and puts real emergencies at risk. If you do ANYTHING to continue to deincentivise people to go to the GP, you are practicing horrible health policy. They prevent hospital presentations and admissions, and therefore save a shit tonne of money.
Marcus Yip, Richmond, Australia

Thursday, 8 October 2015

10 years of caring – Menssana

Now we are 10!

It was a beautiful spring evening when the Menssana team celebrated their milestone.

On 1 October 2015, Menssana Mindbody Medicine turned 10 years old.

The team at Menssana celebrated this momentous occasion with a get-together with patients, fondly remembering Menssana's founder, the late Dr Chris Millar.

Here is the speech given by Soni Stecker that evening.

Welcome friends of Menssana!

Thank you for joining us here today to celebrate 10 years of existence of our practice.

In 2005 this practice was established as Ballarat Mind-Body Medicine by Dr Chris Millar. It was based on my late husband Chris’ vision of a practice that treats the whole person.

As the saying goes, behind every great man stands a woman. Although at first I still ran my own business in the publishing industry, soon enough I got co-opted as practice manager. I have been content to stand behind – or better: beside – the man who dreamed this practice into being, but since Chris’ tragic and untimely death I have had to step out of the shadows into the limelight. It is not a position I naturally inhabit.

Luckily at Menssana we are working as a team, which means I have colleagues who have been standing right beside and behind me during these last 11 difficult and turbulent months without Chris – Karen, Val, Emily, Gail, Julie, Melinda, Noelene, and Kevin.

As many of you will already know, Chris was a trailblazer, a thinker outside the square. His abiding passion was finding solutions to problems, innovative solutions, usually involving some sort of technology. As Kevin, our medical adviser, will be able to tell you, when he went through the cupboards he found gadgets that had never even been used for lack of time. Did I mention that Chris was a gadgets man? Some of the technology he used was micro-current and low level laser for pain relief; neurofeedback for all kinds of stress-related issues, and on and on.

Chris was one of a kind and he left some very big shoes to step into. You felt his presence when you came into contact with him. He was there for people. He was extremely tolerant, generous, funny, witty, knowledgeable, smart, and humble to boot. That’s what other people said; I prefer to call it ‘modest’. He did not blow his own trumpet, except for when he played his latest piece of music to a patient in the consultation! He collected jokes he could tell to patients, and they would bring him jokes in return. Some were not fit for retelling…

I put together a book of speeches given at his memorial service as a tribute to the man he was. The speeches reflect what some of his family, friends and colleagues thought of him. I gave it the title Whole-person Healer because that’s what he was: a true healer. I use this word deliberately. He was more than just a GP; he looked beyond the confines of western medicine and what he had been taught at medical school. He always strove to look deeper and wider and further than the conventional knowledge of the time. He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. When he found a new innovative piece of equipment he wanted to get it for the practice straight away so he could help his patients better.

This was the kind of practice that he founded, and this is the kind of practice we would like to continue into the future: one where the doctors who work here are on a lifelong journey of enquiry into better, more innovative methods of healing, just as Chris was. We hope we have attracted some of these doctors to our clinic already.

This practice is a testament to Chris’ vision, and we – staff and patients alike – are the carriers of that vision. We who have had the privilege of knowing him, who have had the experience not only of the methods but of the person Chris Millar, can convey to the new GPs what we appreciate in a doctor, why we visit or work in this practice and not one down the road. This is a place to which we, the people who work here, actually like to come to work!

Australia is still far behind Europe in its acceptance of complementary medicine. 
As patients you can make a difference by voting with your feet and voice as to what type of medicine you prefer and expect, and by supporting those clinics that provide it.

Menssana Mindbody Medicine, a name that Chris had always preferred but wasn’t confident enough to use until last year, stands for the type of medicine that considers the whole person, their family situation, their social environment, their beliefs, and their mental state, as well as their body.

Chris’ dream lives on as this practice lives on, and we – the Menssana team – are doing our very best to keep it alive.

I am incredibly proud that as one of the last remaining small independently owned practices, we have come this far, we have made it to our first big milestone, 10 years of existence against the odds, and I’m sure so is Chris, wherever he is. I’m sure he is with us in spirit today and always.

I’m incredibly grateful for the expressions of encouragement and gratitude the team and I have received from patients and other health professionals about the importance of a practice such as ours. Long may it continue in the spirit that Chris intended.

Let’s raise our glasses to that.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Mindfulness & emotional intelligence

proudly presents

Mindfulness & emotional intelligence

Finding your personal path to a more peaceful, meaningful life

In a world where 10-second grabs are the norm and our brains are geared to focus on pressure and performance, the Chris Millar Foundation for Integrative Medicine is hosting a workshop on Mindfulness and emotional intelligence.

The workshop’s convenor, psychiatrist Dr Chris Walsh, a long-time friend and colleague of the late Dr Chris Millar, who passed away in October 2014, will be presenting a workshop that will provide participants with techniques to focus on being in the present, rather than worrying unduly about the past or the future.

Dr Chris Walsh, who has been a mindfulness practitioner for over 20 years, said that the aim of the workshop is to provide participants with basic skills that they can take away with them to practise.

“Like all techniques, whether playing a musical instrument or a game of golf, practice always improves the outcome,” Dr Walsh said.

“Developing emotional intelligence through mindfulness techniques has far-reaching benefits, from home life through to work and recreation,” he said.

“Becoming more emotionally intelligent enhances individual creativity while providing greater cooperative team skills. It helps us interact in a really positive way with our friends, families and colleagues,” Dr Walsh said.

Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and stress, and helps people to focus on what is really important in their lives.

“I work with small groups of people in a non-confrontational way, making them feel confident about their unique qualities and character and using this information to help them reflect on their personal limitations, without being judgmental,” Dr Walsh continued.

Dr Walsh and Dr Millar studied medicine together. Both shared a philosophy of healing the body and mind without necessarily relying on medication. Dr Millar used technology (brainwave biofeedback), Dr Walsh uses relaxation techniques.

It is particularly rewarding to have Dr Walsh present this workshop in Ballarat.

I am very excited that Dr Walsh is running his mindfulness program here. He has an international reputation and has presented his workshops in America, Asia and Europe. 
I’m delighted that the Chris Millar Foundation is hosting this workshop. The Foundation has been established to ensure that my late husband’s work continues. Healing the whole person was fundamental to Chris’ work. One of the Foundation’s aims is to raise funds to provide grants and scholarships for medical practitioners to study and research complementary medicine. The proceeds from the mindfulness workshop will go directly to the Foundation.

Our lives are so busy that we don’t give due consideration to enjoying the moment. I hope that people in the Ballarat community will think that their health is important enough to take some time out for themselves and attend this remarkable workshop.

Date:                          Saturday 10 October

Venue:                       102 English Street, Golden Point, Ballarat

Time:                         1.00 – 5.00pm

Cost:                          $50 members

                                  $60 non-members (incl $10 membership to Foundation)

                                  includes light refreshments

Tickets:             • Search for: Mindfulness Ballarat

Further information:   Kevin Harper, Honorary Secretary, Chris Millar Foundation

                                    5294 0222 or 0430 453 272

Proudly supported by

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Announcing our new team of GPs


We are fortunate to have found a group of doctors to carry forward the vision of the late Dr Chris Millar



DURING these past 10 months, with the support of the team at Menssana Mindbody Medicine, I have been doing my utmost to maintain a functioning practice and preserve Chris’s philosophy and legacy of healing the whole person.

However, I soon realised that the dream Chris and I envisaged when we established this practice has to be carried forward by a medical professional. Alas, I am not a doctor – I am a practice manager trying to pass on our vision of an integrative practice to those who can carry that vision into the future. To that end, medical advisor Kevin Harper and I have worked tirelessly and searched far and wide to find a permanent doctor who would fit in with the practice vision.

So, to those patients who have stuck with us throughout these turbulent months while we have been looking for suitable candidates I say, “Thank you for your vote of confidence by staying with our practice”. While we have travelled through some choppy and uncertain waters this year, from February next year it will be smoother sailing.

Chris and I held similar views on the kind of practice that would work holistically for the patient. These views are embedded in the very structure of our practice and revolve around the team we have built together.

Early last year Chris and I began planning to expand the practice team to include a mental health nurse (Julie Lock), the Tomatis® Method of audio therapy (Lynne McDonald), and one or more GPs to share his workload. We both realised that the days of the solo-GP practice are well and truly over and that life as a solo GP was not sustainable. We had been looking for a suitable GP for some time.

I am pleased to announce that we at Menssana are incredibly fortunate to have found not one GP, but a group of doctors who will now carry forward Chris’ vision of healing the whole person. Dr Claire Hepper will join Dr Rod Stobart in mid-October.

Growing the team
From February next year we will continue to grow the team of doctors at Menssana in addition to Dr Claire and Dr Rod. This will enable us to carry forward the Menssana vision and enhance the number and type of services we can offer.

From February 2016 more GPs will join our team. Together they will continue the vision Chris and I worked hard to create. Sadly, for all of us, his untimely and tragic death means he will not be here to see his dream continue.

If you have been a long-term patient of Dr Chris, there is always the danger of measuring every doctor you meet against your experience of him. No one person will ever possess the exact combination of talents, interests and characteristics he had. However, these new doctors will bring their own special interests to our practice and I’m sure you will find one with whom you can build a good rapport:

• Dr Claire Hepper has a passion for palliative care (caring for people with a life-limiting illness and for their families) and is proficient in sleep apnoea, joint injections, women’s health and mental health.

• Dr Rod Stobart’s areas of expertise include men’s health, nutritional medicine, skin checks, minor surgical procedures, and hypnotherapy.
Soni, owner & practice manager

Together with other experienced practitioners (yet to be announced) they will make up the team that will continue to deliver the same quality services to you that Menssana Mindbody Medicine has always striven to be known for.

Above all, we are committed to continuing Dr Chris Millar’s legacy of treating the whole person – body and mind.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The big freeze

Next time you visit your doctor and find some fees have gone up, please do not blame your doctor or the practice staff


Thank Tony Abbott for it. 

The Federal Government is refusing to increase Medicare patient rebates in line with the cost of living until 2018.

Doctors and medical organisations have lobbied the Government for months to lift the freeze, with no result.

AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said that the ongoing indexation freeze of Medicare patient rebates is placing further pressure on the viability of many medical practices, especially general practices, and forcing patients to pay higher out-of-pocket costs for their health care.

1 July 2015 is the third anniversary of the Medicare rebate freeze. 

There has been no increase to Medicare patient rebates for consultations and operations since 2012. 

While the Medicare rebate indexation remains at zero, the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) is at 1.3 per cent, the Wage Price Index (WPI) is at 2.3 per cent, and the ABS reports an increase in Hospital and Medical Costs of 6.5 per cent.

“The rebate indexation freeze is a co-payment by stealth, and it is currently planned to continue until 1 July 2018,” Professor Owler said.

“The freeze is delivering savings of $1.3 billion over four years to the Government.
“This funding shortfall has to be met by patients and practices.

“While the rebates have remained unchanged, the costs of providing quality medical services continue to rise.

“Practice costs such as wages for practice staff, rent, electricity, technology, and insurance are increasing every year.

“Medical practices cannot absorb these increasing costs for six years in a row and remain viable.”

The AMA will continue lobbying the Government to lift the Medicare rebate freeze as early as possible.

What you can do:

• Contact your local MP,

• Complain to Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Support your doctor and your practice to lift the freeze on your Medicare rebate.