Being healthy – it’s what many of us value most highly in life. My vision is to create a health practice that helps patients to be healthy, through a range of treatments, but most importantly, through sharing knowledge, empowerment and showing patients that they can take control.
It’s a big vision, but an achievable one – it’s called Total Balance and I’d love to share with you the story of how, and why, it came about.
The early years – building the foundation
I studied osteopathy at Victoria University, and after working in two osteo practices, thought about working for myself. It was a scary step: Was I experienced enough? Would I miss having colleagues? But I took the plunge, rented a room and started to build up my own practice.
It was a slog – I put up signs, dropped flyers through letter boxes, talked to local GPs, gyms and personal trainers. Business built up slowly, and then took off through word of mouth. Eventually, I had enough patients that I was faced with a decision – either turn some of them away, or take the next (even scarier) step of moving from sole trader to a business. I knew it would mean a big investment, in money and time but with my husband’s encouragement, I made that leap of faith and started Total Balance.
Starting the practice – the vision becomes reality
The name of the business was important: ‘Total Balance’ encapsulates my vision of health. It is not simply an absence of illness, but a total balance of physical wellbeing, relaxation, fitness and strength. I saw a practice that offered a range of treatments – including osteo, myotherapy, massage, clinical Pilates, dry needling – to ensure the best outcome for the patient.
Building the right team was essential, and through Uni contacts, friends and patients, I found people not only with the skills, but just as importantly with the passion for the Total Balance vision of health. Our multiple practitioners take a holistic approach to each patient, communicating about best treatment plan, across the range of disciplines. The team drives our values as a clinic – compassion, loyalty, listening, energy.
Finding the missing piece – the vision grows
As the practice grew, so did my vision – I loved being able to help patients through osteo, and the related treatments we offered, but I realised that there was more that could be done. I was seeing patients with health issues, such as gut problems, that couldn’t be resolved through our existing treatments, but I also knew that they weren’t getting answers from doctors, scans and prescription drugs. I met a Naturopath and had my eyes opened wide to the exciting possibilities of herbal medicine and diet. I realised that these were the missing puzzle pieces – that naturopathy was the perfect complement to our existing treatments.
I started to refer my patients to naturopaths, but knew that the void I felt could only be filled by offering the treatments within my practice. I wanted to learn, and to share that knowledge with my patients. So I am back at Uni, studying naturopathy at the Australian Institute of Applied Science. I treat patients with diet and exercise and prescribe some herbal supplements, adding more once I am fully qualified. As the final piece, I would love to bring Chinese medicine into the practice.
Sharing the passion
How do I want patients to think of Total Balance? I want them to see it as a place where they can be confident that they will get answers from the right person, where they will get their best possible outcome.
It is really important that patients realise that we are facilitators, not fixers. Yes, treatment helps, but the patient must buy in, and take responsibility for their health. The patient must be what we call ‘The positive locus of control’, or put simply, they must have an attitude that asks ‘How can you help me?’, rather than ‘How can you fix me?’
Above all, I am happy and fulfilled when I know we’re providing a fantastic service. I would feel that we were cheating people if I wasn’t trying to do the best for them. Ultimately, it’s all about the patients, their health and their Total Balance.
Thanks for reading.
Bec @ Total Balance Healthcare
Dr Rebecca Farthing is an Osteopath and the Director of Total Balance Healthcare in Chelsea Heights.