Got a question?
You’ll find at least some of the answers you are looking for here!

General Questions

Easy 2 hour metered parking is available around the Fitzroy gardens and plenty of 1 hour parking is also available on Albert Street and adjacent streets. Please note that there are morning and evenings clearways on Albert Street so check the signs carefully. You can download the PayStay App for convenient payment and sms meter expiry reminders. Longer term parking is available within walking distance on Victoria Parade, Wilson’s Parking and Tribeca Parking on Albert Street.

You will find a complete list of our fees here!

recommend acupuncture weekly for the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and your naturopath will prescribe herbs and nutrients appropriate to supporting the increasingly high requirements of pregnancy. During this time we apply strategies to reduce the chance of miscarriage, treat issues arising from pregnancy such as morning sickness, anxiety, constipation and other health complaints. Support during this time is paramount for coping with worries and research has shown that women who receive more support generally have better outcomes.

In the last trimester we help your body prepare and be ready for a natural labour (including turning breech babies and inducing late babies), birth recovery and breast feeding. By this stage many of our patients are seeking further support from osteopathy and massage to help their body cope with the increasing load.

During pregnancy your practitioner will recommend a schedule of visits appropriate to your needs.

Medicare rebates are available for suitable candidates for Osteopathy appointments. Patients require a referral from their GP to be eligible for Medicare rebates.

All of our practitioners have provider numbers and depending on your level of cover you are able to claim consultations at the time of your appointment through HICAPS. If your health fund does not participate in HICAPS we can provide you with a receipt for in person claiming. We cannot estimate the type of refund you will get as it is dependent on the type and level of cover you have. A quick call to your health insurance provider will give you the answer.

Charges are settled on the day of appointment. We accept cash and eftpos payments, but not American Express, Diners Club or personal cheques. HICAPS is available for private health insurance claiming.

No. We have comprehensive nutritional, naturopathic herbal and traditional Chinese medicine herbal dispensaries. All medicines are dispensed on the premises.

This depends upon the problem being treated. Acupuncture treatments require regular appointments, usually at least once per week. Herbal appointments are less frequent, although the initial one or two appointments may also be one or two weeks apart to check on initial responses to the herbs. Herbal appointments for gynaecological conditions are usually about 4 to 6 weeks apart.

Initial consultations are all one hour for all modalities. This enables time for a comprehensive case history and exploration of your needs. Most subsequent appointments are half an hour with the exception of massage and acupuncture which are always one hour (you can also request a 90 minute massage). The Melbourne Acupuncture Multibed Project offers shorter appointments of 45 minutes. Read more about MAMP here. Longer than standard appointments are available on request.

Your diary with dates of recent menstrual cycles; any Western medicine blood test or examination results (if available — if you are clear about them you can just report the results without hardcopy).

We are a natural medicine practice. This means we are focused on restoring your health and your body’s ability to heal itself and function optimally. Through the use of physical therapies, herbal medicines, nutritional supplements, energetic work (e.g. acupuncture) and lifestyle approaches, we work to support and promote your innate ability to maintain good health, a vital body and a balanced mind. We believe healthy people make healthy babies so in ensuring your whole health is restored we also address the fundamentals of your fertility. We also address specific hormonal and fertility issues in both men and women where conception is not happening easily. Click here to see our blog article on our natural medicine philosophy.

No. Peter Slipper is one of our TCM team practicing acupuncture and classical Chinese herbal medicine for 13 years. Rory Tope is a senior Osteopath with over 20 years’ experience and an expert in the treatment of pregnant and post-natal women, children and babies.

Click here to view profiles of all our practitioners, including qualifications and experience.

Fertile Ground Health Group was established at Francis Perry House private maternity hospital in Carlton in 2001. We moved to our larger premises in East Melbourne in December 2003.

No. All of our treatments are geared to individual needs. Our practitioners will take a detailed case history to assess your particular needs – which are completely unique. You will always be treated as a unique individual with your own set of needs, circumstances, pressures and struggles. Our practitioners will do their best to meet these needs working in conjunction with your other health care providers.

We safely and successfully treat a range of issues affecting babies and children as part of our every day practice at FGHG using a range of evidence based and traditional approaches to health and well being. Our practitioners are extensively trained and highly experienced in the treatment and care of babies and children and we find children respond particularly well and quickly to natural medicine approaches.

Preconception care is about preparing yourself physically and emotionally for conceiving your precious baby. We believe healthy people make healthy babies. That means, the healthier you and your partner are, the healthier your eggs and sperm will be, consequently, the healthier your baby will be. This means undertaking lifestyle and diet changes and looking at improving longer term health issues to improve your overall health.

Click here to read more about pre-conception plans.

Many people believe that because we treat fertility we must only treat women. However, almost half of all fertility issues have a male factor as at least part of the cause! At Fertile Ground Health Group we believe healthy people make healthy babies, and it takes good quality eggs and sperm to make a healthy baby. We are passionate about treating both men and women!

As part of your pre-conception care, we encourage both partners to embark on a journey toward better health – regardless of whether there are fertility problems or not – and regardless of whose fertility issue it is. Of course, in helping people improve their health for fertility we need to sort out a lot of other health problems in the process. Both men and women might see one of our practitioners for a sore back, sinus, headaches, digestive problems, recurrent illness, skin issues or other health issues on their way to improving their fertility and preparing to conceive.

Consequently we are confident in treating a range of health issues in both men and women regardless of what stage of the life cycle they might be up to.

We are often asked by patients what are the odds are of their falling pregnant, or, what our success rate is. It is a fair question but not a straight forward one to answer. Unlike a horse race, the fertility journey for most people is not a straight run to the finish line. But very much like a horse race, those who do well are usually the ones who have put in the hard yards: done the training, eaten well, taken care of themselves, made adjustments along the way, done as their team of experts has advised and consequently showed good endurance.

Sadly, we know not everyone who comes to our clinic is willing to do this work. There are numerous reasons: either it doesn’t resonate with them, they don’t ‘believe’ in it, they don’t want to make changes such as giving up alcohol, coffee or changing their diet and lifestyle, they don’t have time, or they’ve already tried so many things … when it comes to excuses, the list can be endless.

What we do find is that the people who allow us to come on the journey with them, providing support, advice, encouragement and guidance on making changes and who really implement the recommendations and take their supplements and yukky tasting herbs, these are the people who most often find success.

The most important thing we know is: “There is nothing good health is not good for.” Nothing. The healthier you are mind and body, the more likely you are to be successful in any endeavour. And that does not mean if you have a health condition of some kind that you won’t be successful. It is simply about optimising, being your best you, making the most of what you’ve got. And amazingly, it is not that hard, you’ll feel better, happier, more resilient – no matter what disappointments or challenges might come your way.

So while our success rate might not be 100%, there are no real losers here – except the ones who give up too soon, or just never return after one or two visits. All crisis leads to transformation. Let us help you through yours and see what waits on the other side.

We are currently working on developing an accurate measure of our success rates to implement in 2015 which we hope will shed some light on the actual statistics of our practice.

Reception is available 9am till 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 4pm on Saturday. All practitioner services are available with extended hours, 8am to 7pm, and are by appointment only.

All consultations are available by appointment only. Appointments are confirmed within 48 hours of the scheduled time.

We are a very busy practice and run waiting lists for most practitioners for patients awaiting appointments. Last minute cancellations mean a loss of income for practitioners and missed opportunities for other patients to take advantage of this time. For this reason, in fairness to our practitioners and patients, Fertile Ground Health Group enforces a 24 hour cancellation policy. Where appointments are cancelled, missed or changed without 24 hours’ notice, a 50% cancellation fee will be applied.

Confirmation of an appointment is acknowledgement of this cancellation policy. A 24 hour period allows us to rebook this time for another patient.

NB: we recognise there are some special circumstances requiring flexibility of our cancellation policy. Going into labour or a cancelled embryo transfer are not charged a cancellation fee. Unfortunately we cannot account for events that happen at your end that are out of your control. If your circumstances change at the last minute, please be respectful of our need to charge a cancellation fee.

Different services and different health conditions require a different frequency of visits. We do not run general programs, but tailor a health plan to suit your specific needs. Also, as you improve, the frequency of your visits may change. For example, you may see your massage therapist once a week for the first month or so to overcome an acute condition. Then you may reduce the frequency of visits to maintain your newly acquired health. In this case we generally recommend coming before you need it. As an ancient Chinese proverb says: “Seeing your doctor once you are sick, is like starting to dig a well when you are already thirsty.”

Our receptionist should be able to give you a rough guide to how often you will need to attend when you call to make your first appointment. Your practitioner will agree on a plan with you at your consultation.

You do not need a referral to see a practitioner at FGHG. However, many people receive a word of mouth referral from a friend, their doctor, specialist or midwife. If you don’t have a specific referral to one of our practitioners or to a particular modality we will usually recommend patients start with one of our naturopaths. Our naturopaths will go through your whole health history, assessing your needs in depth and detail. They will make recommendations about lifestyle practices you can implement yourself, at home, to improve your situation and will also make recommendations for your for further testing and treatment, including who else to include in your support team. For patients who are trying to conceive or are pregnant, this will often include a referral to one of our TCM team.

We are often asked “who is the best”. However, we are a highly collaborative practice and actively share information both among practitioners and between modalities to ensure all of our practitioners are the best they can be. All of our practitioners are highly trained and very experienced in their field and we hold regular meetings to share information, research, case studies and explore difficult situations. It is amazing having all these inspired, informed and passionate people working closely together, committed to motivating and educating ourselves, each other and our patients with the most current and well researched information we can get our hands on! We are passionate about all of our patients receiving the best care and working collaboratively both within our own clinic and with your other health care providers. This makes for the safest and best treatment outcomes for you! It also makes this a truly great place to work. You’ll feel it when you walk in the door!

To make your own choice, you can view all of our practitioner profiles here.

We treat a range of conditions affecting both men and women. In preparing you for a healthy pregnancy we need to look at all aspects of your and, wherever possible, your partner’s health. This may include addressing factors affecting your general health as well as specifically treating any known or undiagnosed fertility issues. Of course, you don’t have to be trying to conceive or pregnant to benefit from the expertise of any of our highly experienced practitioners. Improving our patient’s general health is the cornerstone of our practice. Although we place a particular emphasis on fertility, many general health and subclinical factors affect fertility so our practitioners need to be expert general medicine professionals as well.

And we love to build lasting relationships so we can continue to look after you and your family as you grow, change, encounter challenges and generally keep living the best possible life you can.

Here is a fairly comprehensive (though not exhaustive) list of the types of conditions we commonly treat:

  • Digestive problems (e.g. constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Indigestion, Bloating, Food intolerances etc.)
  • Respiratory problems (e.g. recurrent colds/flu/infections, allergic rhinitis/hayfever, sinus problems etc.)
  • Weight management
  • Fitness and cardiovascular health (e.g. blood pressure problems, metabolic syndrome etc.)
  • Menstrual changes (including perimenopause and menopause)
  • Period pain and PMS
  • Irregular cycles
  • Fertility problems (including PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, hormonal imbalances, low sperm count and/or poor sperm quality e.g. motility or morphology issues)
  • Pregnancy related conditions (miscarriage prevention, morning sickness, pelvic instability, birth planning, etc.)
  • Musculoskeletal pain or injuries
  • Diabetes including gestational diabetes and blood sugar regulation
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis and osteopaenia
  • Children’s health care (recurrent infections, sleeping problems, glue ear, eczema, food intolerances etc.)
  • Immune problems (e.g. glandular fever, chronic fatigue syndrome etc.)
  • Auto Immune conditions (Hashimoto’s and other thyroid conditions, ANA’s, etc.)

We have almost 20 practitioners across various modalities, enabling us to meet your needs as quickly as possible. However, we are a busy clinic and encourage you to call and make an appointment as soon as possible. We will usually be able to accommodate you with an appointment within 2 weeks of calling. Please note that after-hours appointments are in high demand and may incur a longer waiting period for an appointment.

If you require a specific time, for example, outside of normal working hours, we recommend that you keep your appointments booked well ahead to ensure your most convenient time is always available. Speak with our receptionists when you call to make your appointment.

Naturopathy

This is a common one, you know you need some support but where to start? We generally recommend seeing a naturopath first. This will ensure that an extensive list of lifestyle changes and self-help measures are covered as well as a deeper exploration of the issues you are struggling with. From there, your naturopath will guide you as to what else might be needed to help you achieve your goal – Chinese medicine, more blood tests or other more extensive testing.

Our practitioners are some of the most experienced in their field. They are also highly collaborative sharing learnings, experiences, research and discussing cases and treatment approaches regularly. It is hard to say this one is better at this or that or has more experience as they really are all such excellent practitioners. What we would say though is that the best practitioner is the one you click with. While they are all fantastic at what they do and all very lovely, they are also very different people with different approaches and styles of communication.

Developing a good relationship with someone who communicates with you in a way you can relate to and with whom you feel you can create a trusting relationship is the key! We encourage you to try someone else if you don’t feel a sense of connection or rapport with the first practitioner you see – and there will be no hard feelings whatsoever! Simply chat with one of our reception staff if you’d like to try a different practitioner (in any modality actually) – with so many excellent practitioners to choose from you will find someone who is the best one for you.

If you are trying to conceive then, ideally, yes. Even if your partner does not have a diagnosed fertility issue, there will be factors for him to consider in optimising his sperm health. Factors such as how much alcohol he drinks, whether he smokes, dietary considerations and so much more are really important for him to get a handle on to optimise his health and fertility. It takes two – a sperm and an egg and each of those needs to be as healthy as can be to make the healthiest baby.

Making these changes together means you get to support each other to make changes or when the going gets tough. It also means you feel better, healthier, amazing even. You are much more likely to want to have sex when you feel healthy, relaxed, well rested and vital from all the goodness going into your body.

If your partner does have a diagnosed fertility issue there is SO MUCH that can be done to support him, improve his general health and sperm parameters and increase your chances. Some men feel reluctant at first, but once they realise we are all pretty down to earth, well researched and sensible, they usually come around.

If your partner is really reluctant and just won’t take steps to improve his or her health, as sometimes happens, it can be incredibly frustrating and disappointing as a partner doing all you can to improve yours. Counselling is a very good idea in this instance to develop some coping strategies and perhaps even some coaxing strategies to get your partner on board!

Your naturopath will choose the medicine appropriate for your situation and your health. They may prescribe nutritional supplements, herbal medicine in liquid or tablet form, herbal teas, flower essences or homeopathic remedies. Dietary approaches (food as medicine) are also encouraged and discussed in detail.

The frequency of naturopathic consultations will usually be somewhere between every 2-6 weeks depending on what is being treated. Many of our patients have complex cases requiring close scrutiny, support and regular changes, particularly in the early days. Sometimes more frequent consultations are needed to assess changes and requirements. We also like to ensure that adequate support and information is being provided to enable implementation of our all-important lifestyle recommendations. Our naturopaths cover comprehensively the things that you can do to improve your fertility. While they can prescribe herbs and nutrients, changes at home are often required and usually a bit of support and a lot of information is needed to make this a reality.

See our price list for details of your consultation costs here. However, please remember that each patients’ prescription requirements are unique so we are unable to estimate the costs for prescribed nutritionals, herbs, etc.

The main thing your naturopath will appreciate is seeing any blood or other test results that have been completed to date. If you do not have these on hand, don’t worry, we can get them later if needed. Our naturopaths will look at testing in detail to ensure nothing has been overlooked or missed in determining your treatment plan. If you have been charting your temperature to determine ovulation this information is also helpful to your naturopath.

TCM: Acupuncture & Herbs

Acupuncture needles are very fine, single use, sterile and stainless steel. They are much smaller in diameter than hypodermic needles, which need to inject substances into a vein. Acupuncture needles usually come in a small guide tube and are tapped gently but quickly into the skin. They are so fine and insertion is so quick, minimal sensation is felt during needling. No contact with veins or arteries is needed, and therefore in most cases little bleeding is expected when the needles are removed.

The sensation is an interesting dull numbness that the Chinese call “de qi”. This can be a mild to strong sensation depending on the needle technique of your practitioner. Our practitioners tend to needle very gently and any de qi sensation is usually mild. It can best be described as a heaviness, tingling or tightness in the area. There may be a slight pricking when the needle passes through the skin; most people do not even feel this. If there is any sharpness after this, let your practitioner know so that the point can be adjusted to be more comfortable.

Yes! We generally recommend our patients come for birth preparation up to six weeks prior to their due date. This enables us to progressively ensure your body is in top condition and ready to birth – hopefully going into labour naturally, if that is what you choose. Research has shown that this approach can reduce labour times and make contractions more effective.

Ideally we like to see you before there is pressure to go into labour, but this is not always possible. Not everyone knows about this type of birth preparation and we receive many referrals from obstetricians, midwives and birth centres recommending women for last minute natural induction. Acupuncture can be very effective, particularly if you are at or past your due dates. You will find more information about acupuncture induction here and you might also be interested to read about our massage induction treatments as well. We find they work well together and many people undertake both to cover all their bases, indulge in the ultimate relaxation prior to the arrival of their baby and of course to increase their chance of success! Read about massage induction here.

The cooking pot should be either glass, ceramic, or enamel. Inexpensive traditional Chinese ceramic cooking pots are available at the clinic and should be soaked for 3 hours prior to first use.

See your herbal prescription for any variations to the length of time for cooking the herbs (you will generally be informed of any differences both at your consultation and when the herbs are being dispensed).

1. Place herbs in a pot and cover with ___ cups of water (amount differs between different formulas).

2. Bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer until 3 cups remain.

3. Strain liquid to remove the dregs.

4. Take 250ml/day, storing unused portions in a sealed glass container in the fridge (re-heat before consuming). Each bag supplies enough liquid for 3 days.

Granulated herbs are simply added to warm water and down the hatch! Follow with something tasty.

The herbs are generally not considered to be delicious! Drink the recommended dose quickly and follow with something you prefer the taste of. It’s a moment of discomfort for a maximum effect.

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in improving life birth rates in women undergoing IVF. Research so far has focussed almost solely on the effect of acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer so there is not much in the way of evidence for the full scope of acupuncture practice as it applies to IVF. As trained and experienced TCM practitioners, we know that all aspects of Chinese medicine and, in fact, most natural medicine approaches, do not have a magic bullet affect in just one or two treatments. Best results are obtained by continuity of treatment over a period of time – a gradual improvement process. That is why we recommend ongoing treatment before, during and after (assuming you fall pregnant) your IVF process.

We are currently participating in some very exciting research with the University of Western Sydney in collaboration with Melbourne IVF and a number of natural medicine practices who are providing acupuncture to undergoing IVF treatment. The study concludes in early 2015 and we look forward to sharing the results on the blog!

In this case we recommend seeing both partners for IVF support. Even if a woman does not have a specific fertility issue, we will work to optimise her cycle, endometrial lining, ovulation and other factors which can influence her fertility. Of course for men with a low sperm count we would recommend comprehensive treatment using both acupuncture and naturopathy if possible as great gains can be made. While ICSI can overcome the low sperm count issue, it really only chooses the best of a bad lot, so we still need to improve the overall health of the sperm to try to get better results. Your practitioner will give you guidance about duration and frequency of visits

In general you will not be required to disrobe for your acupuncture treatment, though areas to be needled will be required to be exposed. This can usually be done with minimal exposure, though at times we will request removal of clothing to facilitate treatment (e.g. we may need you to remove your top in order to needle points on your back). You will always be effectively draped to ensure privacy and warmth. Please feel free to ask your practitioner for additional covering if you are not completely comfortable.

Osteopathy

Osteopaths address a wide range of physical issues causing pain, discomfort or imbalance of some kind. Common general conditions include headaches, migraines, sinus problems, breathing difficulty, musculo-skeletal problems of all types. Our osteopaths have a special interest and deep experience treating pregnant women, babies and children for a range of problems. You’ll find more information about what, why and how our osteopaths work here!

No! Our osteopaths are very experienced in the care and treatment of babies, safely and very gently from new born babies to toddlers and older children. Assessment of newborns, babies who experienced trauma or intervention at birth, or babies experiencing feeding problems is part of the daily work of our osteopaths who have done extensive additional training in paediatric care. Most of the osteopathic approaches undertaken by our osteopaths are extremely gentle and this is particularly so with newborns and young children.

Your osteopath will explain your treatment during their consultation with you – always based on the specific condition you present with. As a general guide, osteopaths work with the soft tissues of the body to facilitate healing, release tension, improve functionality, re-align joints and bones, release stress and restore balance. Osteopathic treatment is often confused with chiropractic or physiotherapy techniques. However, osteopathy is very gentle and seldom involves direct work on the bony structures and rarely involves boney manipulation (though they are trained to be competent in these methods if needed).

Absolutely! A large percentage of our patients consult with our highly experienced osteopaths during pregnancy. Most women experience rapid and significant changes as their body adjusts to the increasing load and shape of their pregnant body. These changes bring their own challenges but also play out in the context of a body that might already suffer niggles, pain or struggle with previously existing conditions arising from accidents, stress, etc. These conditions are often exacerbated or changed during pregnancy and osteopaths seek to help the body to accommodate these changes, treat long held and acute problems and bring relief. Our osteopaths will also try to ensure that your pelvis is symmetrical and that your body is well prepared for labour and birth.

Remedial Massage

Absolutely! Our massage therapists are highly trained professionals and can safely and confidently provide massage at ANY STAGE of pregnancy – from day one to week 42! Massage is the ideal way to manage the increasing physical load of pregnancy and many of the associated symptoms of pain, cramp, spasm and other discomfort. Not to mention how relaxing and stress relieving massage can be! Surely when you are pregnant this is the one time you can unquestioningly justify a massage for yourself? Self care is paramount to a happy, healthy pregnancy and massage is an important part of that.

Our massage therapists are also trained to provide induction massage to help you go into labour at the end of your pregnancy. A deeply relaxing massage incorporating acupressure points to stimulate contractions is a very successful approach for many women.

After your baby is born our massage therapists provide special treatments to help new mums recover from birth, sleeplessness, breastfeeding, stress and fatigue. You can read more about Mother Roasting here.

Finally, some of our massage therapists are trained to provide and teach parents the lovely skill of infant massage. For more information check in with reception.

Our Mother Roasting massages are based on traditional restorative techniques used in many cultures for post natal women. The treatment involves ‘warming’ the mother in some way (hence the name) and providing deep, relaxing, restful, restorative massage. New mums commonly experience aches and pains associated with birth recovery, lost sleep, new routines, major physiological, emotional and psychological changes and breastfeeding. As well as massage we use moxibustion (a technique from Traditional Chinese Medicine – read more about moxibustion here), warming oils, acupressure warm fluffy towels and other techniques to give mum the ultimate 90 minutes of bliss.

You can have as many Mother Roasting treatments as you like and it is never too late! Mothers of tolders, tweens and even teens would still just love this treatment. There is no real cap on when to have it. All mothers need and deserve this kind of indulgence and care. Only by looking after yourself can you be the best mother you can be.

Mother Roasting is a great gift for the mother to be or new mum. You’ll find out gift vouchers here!

Our massage therapists have been specially trained to understand how acupressure and massage techniques can be combined to create the ultimate oxytocin stimulating, deeply relaxing massage. Oxytocin is the hormone your body produces to stimulate contractions – all this happens naturally when your baby releases a hormonal signal when he or she is ready to be born. Oxytocin, often referred to as the hormone of love, is stimulated by pleasure, relaxation, loving feelings, sex and other social, sharing and pleasurable experiences. Massage can be used to create relaxation and pleasure states and acupressure points are used to stimulate the uterus and move your qi and blood. We have found this combination to be highly effective and particularly so when combined with acupuncture induction – especially if a medical induction is looming. Massage induction is especially useful for pregnant women, who are fearful of acupuncture or suffering from stress, anxiety or fatigue.

Many of the pregnant women we massage have regular massage throughout their pregnancy to help their body adjust to the increasing load. We certainly recommend this but can of course see women at any stage of their pregnancy. We recommend coming for induction massage around the time of your due date – it is better to begin while you still have time rather than leaving it to the last minute when you may feel under more pressure to go into labour. Our aim is to help you feel supported, healthy, ready and relaxed so your body will transition into labour when it is ready.

Absolutely! Our massage therapists provide excellent relaxation and deep tissue massage for everyone!

In need of a massage but finding it inconvenient to come into our practice? Fertile Ground Health Group offers home visits as well as hospital visits for all massage services. Home visits are ideal for the post-natal period and also during late pregnancy. To book a home or hospital visit please contact reception on (03) 9419 9988 or email reception@fertileground.com.au. Subject to suburb availability and occasionally travel fees will apply.