Where are we up to with medicinal cannabis?


Is it legal?    

Medical practitioners in Australia can legally prescribe medicinal cannabis through regulated pathways such as the Special Access Scheme Category B and the Authorised Prescriber Scheme. These pathways are typically used by doctors for unapproved medicines.

Dr Vicki Kotsirilos, Victorian GP and Integrative Medicine Practitioner, became Australia’s first authorised GP prescriber of medicinal cannabis in May 2018. She said recently that GPs currently have ‘a large demand’ for knowledge about the use of medicinal cannabis. Dr Kotsirilos says there is a lack of knowledge about the clinical usage of medicinal cannabis which stems from a lack of formal education and upskilling available to GPs.

‘We need regular top-ups of education because the science actually changes every day and there’s new studies that come out all the time,’ she said. ‘Because it is a plant medicine, it’s not part of our curriculum, so all the learning is self-taught.’

 What is it currently prescribed for?

The main medical conditions for which medicinal cannabis is prescribed in Australia to date are:

  • chronic non-cancer pain
  • epilepsy
  • multiple sclerosis
  • palliative care including cancer pain management
  • cancer-related nausea and vomiting.

Is it available at Wholistic Medical Centre?

We are very fortunate that Dr Amy Gajjar, who had already begun upskilling in the use of medicinal cannabis, has been invited to participate in a conference in Montreal, Canada, taking place as this newsletter goes to ‘print’. So, watch this space if you believe that you have a need for medicinal cannabis.

Medical cannabis for period pain? Would you like to have your say?

Development of a clinical trial on medicinal cannabis for primary dysmenorrhoea: Co-Design.’

Researchers from NICM Health Research Institute would like to invite women who suffer from ‘primary dysmenorrhoea’, that is period pain not due to endometriosis or adenomyosis, to participate in an on-line focus group to have your say in how clinical trials should be designed to be relevant and well-structured. Read the participant information at https://nicm.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/1615795/Participant_Information_Sheet_MC_and_Period_pain_V2.pdf

Or ask our wonderful Reception Team at the Wholistic Medical Centre for more details.

Welcome to Rebecca Bau

We would like to extend a warm welcome to Rebecca Bau to Wholistic Medical Centre. Rebecca is locuming for Rebecca Mar Young while she is away on maternity leave from August 2019 to March 2020.



Rebecca is a Chinese medicine practitioner, who integrates eastern life philosophies into everyday health and wellbeing with practices in eastern medicine.

She brings wonderful skills in Japanese and Chinese acupuncture, moxibustion, shonishin, herbalism and Lohan qigong (breathing, movement, meditation) which she has practiced and instructed for over 15 years.

Rebecca has worked primarily in women’s health but in practice she enjoys treating people of all ages and conditions.

Book online or call us on 02 9211 3811 for an appointment with Rebecca.

Rebecca Bau – Japanese and Chinese Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Lohan Qigong

When your baby is breech in the final weeks of pregnancy …. Acupuncture, TCM and massage may help.

Turn baby, turn….

Most women hope for a natural birth, but what happens when a persistent breech baby puts a spanner in the works?

As your pregnancy progresses, your baby naturally turns into the head-first position. However, a small number of babies will not turn and remain in a persistent breech position, or bottom first, in the final weeks of pregnancy. There are a variety of reasons for this ranging from placental location, fibroids or uncommon-shaped uterus, laxed uterine muscle tone from multiple pregnancies or lots of fluid around baby in utero.

This can be a source of great stress and anguish for a woman in those last weeks of pregnancy as discussions around turning baby (External Cephalic Version) and alternative delivery plans may arise.

Amy’s story

Amy* was 35 weeks pregnant with her third baby when she came to see me with a persistent breech baby on board. She had been discussing her choices and delivery plan with her Obstetrician and was wanting to wait and see if her baby would turn head first within the following weeks. A normal birth was what she really wanted and an External Cephalic Version did not appeal to her.

Her Obstetrician agreed to give Amy three weeks to see if her baby would turn. This is when she came to see me. Her Obstetrician was informed that Amy was seeking my assistance and was not resistant to her trying massage or acupuncture.

Baby’s head needed room

I approached the consultation as I always do with a thorough medical history and background of Amy’s condition. I had discovered that Amy had suffered from pubic symphysitis with each of her three pregnancies. This prompted me to thoroughly assess Amy’s hips and pelvis position and function as these may lead to a narrowing of the pelvic outlet thus reducing the baby’s ability to turn headfirst. They can also be the source of severe pain.

I commenced my assessment by comparing both hips for symmetry, movement and position and observed that Amy’s right hip was sitting slightly higher and turned toward the front when compared to the left hip. When I observed Amy walking, there was a tendency for her to raise her right hip higher than her left when taking a step forward. This confirmed my suspicions that the hips had been drawn out of alignment during pregnancy while under the affect of pregnancy hormones.

This was placing strain on Amy’s pelvis and making her gluteal muscle groups work hard to support her when she was walking.

I began the treatment by massaging her lower back and hips, focusing on the gluteal muscles to improve blood circulation and movement of smooth muscle tissue. This was aimed at reducing discomfort and allowing the hips to move more freely as well as targeting hip alignment.

Very motivated to help the baby to turn

After discussion with Amy and understanding her commitment to turning her baby to the head first position, I decided to introduce acupuncture and moxibustion into the treatment to amplify the focus on turning baby and realigning the right hip.

Acupuncture was applied also to reduce the pubic symphysitis pain. I have found this to be very effective over my years in practice. Acupuncture is complementary medical practice that involves stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin to alleviate pain or to help to treat various health conditions.

The final layer to the initial treatment was moxabustion and this was applied while Amy was comfortable lying on her side and the acupuncture needles were in place. Moxabustion is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to stimulate specific therapeutic effects and is the practice of burning a herb called Artemesia vulgarisacross certain acupuncture points. The application of moxabustion increases blood flow creating an environment of movement and activity in the growing baby promoting optimal positioning in utero. The key point to stimulate to assist with turning the baby is BL67 located on the outer corner of the fifth toe.

The recommended application of moxabustion is 20 mins daily for 10 days in succession. I performed the initial application so that Amy was confident to continue using it at home independently and tolerated the treatment. As with burning any substance it was important that Amy knew exactly where to place it and how much heat the moxabustion should generate on the skin.

After this initial treatment Amy felt confident to continue using the moxabustion treatment and tolerated this therapy well. Her baby did move around a lot during the treatment and I was hopeful that baby would settle head first over the next 9 days. At the conclusion of the appointment I also gave Amy instructions on postural techniques that she could adopt at home to encourage baby to turn into the head first position. I included some instructional videos for her to follow.

Another postural technique that I recommended to Amy was the cat stretches which help with pelvic pain and strain by again tilting baby off the lower back and pelvis to relieve pain. Once again I gave her some resources to support her doing the technique correctly. I explained that she should attempt these techniques daily for at 10 mins at a time to achieve optimal results.

Amy returned to see me after the 10 days of moxabustion application and postural techniques. She was very happy to report that the baby had turned head first. This was a testimony to her commitment and compliance with the treatment. Her Obstetrician was pleased.

Amy proceeded to a natural birth of her baby – head first!

* Name has been changed

By Kyla Mayer – Pregnancy and Remedial Massage, Lactation Consultant, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine – Red Tent inside Wholistic Medical Centre

Healthy Green Soup recipe


1 Fennel bulb

1 Head of broccoli

1 Zucchini

1 Bunch of English Spinach

1 Bunch of Parsley – keep a little parsley to garnish.

4 Cloves of garlic

1 Tbspn olive oil

1 Tin of Chickpeas 440g

2-3 cups of stock (Vege or chicken – you choose)

Salt & pepper to taste

Optional – Nutritional Yeast or Parmesan


Chop garlic and fry gently in olive oil, add roughly chopped vegetables and stock. Ideally stock should just cover vegetables – I put everything in except the spinach then add stock to cover vegetables. Throw the spinach in on top as it reduces quite dramatically in size.

Simmer until tender. Add chickpeas, salt & pepper to taste. Blend.

A stick blender is ideal to create a fabulous green soup.

I like to add nutritional yeast just before serving or you may like to add parmesan.

Garnish with parsley.

By Lucy Bella – Wholistic Medical Centre Office Manager

How my ebike, affectionately known as “The Beast”, changed my world

On a trip to Canberra I hired an ebike to ”pootle” around (a term I had not come across before but my friend assured me was the correct description for ambling around on a bicycle with no express purpose or intention).

It was love at first sight – the Kalkhoff was a step-through with a generous sprung seat and ample carry basket at the rear, three power selections and a it was lovely charcoal gray. The top power setting meant that no hill was too steep for me to tackle.

We proceeded to ”pootle” around the city and suburbs and by the end of my weekend I was googling where I could buy one in Sydney.

Shout out to the Dutch Bicycle shop – Omafiets at 17 George St, Redfern.

My old Giant was retired and instead of just doing a ride on weekends I now began to commute to work. Luckily part of my journey to Wholistic Medical Centre goes through Centennial Park. This has become the highlight of my day – twice a day. On the morning ride I usually check in on the flock of geese to see what shenanigans they are up to and to listen to their communal honkings. On the return I get to whizz through the ghost gums with my lights casting eerie shadows.

I have found that my headspace is markedly improved by the big sky experience and the gentle exercise that commuting by ebike has offered me.

Then of course we come to the accessories – initially I had the high vis vest that all the construction workers wear but then my awesome daughters bought me a vest that was just a bit special (Hey Reflecto). I have added flashing lights to my helmet for night riding so I now feel very visible.

In the last year I have covered over 4000 kms on The Beast and worn out one set of brake pads. I would encourage anyone who is considering an ebike to visit your local bike shop and take one out for a proper trial ride.

Lucy Bella – Wholistic Medical Centre’s much-loved Office Manager

Wholistic Medical Centre welcomes Red Tent

We are delighted to announce that Red Tent is now providing their services from within the Wholistic Medical Centre. Red Tent have long been known for providing Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine and massage for women and their families, and have now joined forces with Wholistic Medical Centre.

We would like to introduce you to Rebecca Mar Young and Kyla Mayer, two highly qualified and experienced practitioners from Red Tent who have recently joined our team.


Rebecca Mar Young

Rebecca Mar Young is one of the co-founders of Red Tent. She supports pregnant and post-natal women, couples seeking fertility and IVF support, babies and children, as well as all aspects of women’s health. Read more 

Kyla Mayer

Kyla Mayer has a special interest in pregnancy, women’s health, fertility, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Remedial & Pregnancy massage & lactation support.

Read more


Please click on the practitioners to read more about them or to book an appointment with one of them online. Alternatively you can call the clinic on 02 9211 3811 and one of our friendly reception team will help schedule an appointment for you.