Women given pride of place at Midland Women’s Health Care Place

Heidi Durkin (next to Caroline) and Caroline Badminton (foreground) joined in the tai chi session.
Pampering: Dawn Ruddock of Midland learns how to give a hand massage.
Heidi Durkin (next to Caroline) and Caroline Badminton (foreground) joined in the tai chi session. Pampering: Dawn Ruddock of Midland learns how to give a hand massage.

MIDLAND Women’s Health Care Place asked women to consider what is ‘normal’ at a free health and wellbeing event.

Health promotions officer Suzanne Thomas said at different stages in life women wondered if they were ‘normal’.

“Women who came to the workshop discovered we’re all different and we should celebrate that,” she said.

About 20 women enjoyed a little pampering, meditation and exercise, topped off with a complimentary lunch prepared by regional health education officer Alycia Simmonds, from the Cancer Council.

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The health and wellbeing event on Wednesday last week opened with a demonstration on hand massage, followed by chi-kung and tai chi for beginners.

Classes in the gentle styles of Chinese exercise with Teresa Stokes run three times a week at the centre.

Other fitness sessions offered include Pilates twice weekly and on Tuesday yoga for mums with a free crèche.

Regular Dawn Ruddock, of Midland, was first to volunteer for the pamper session.

“It was lovely learning how to give a hand massage, it’s such a good way to comfort someone who is unwell,” she said.

Following the demo, women worked in pairs to give one another a hand massage.

Heidi Durkin of High Wycombe and friend Caroline Badminton, a newcomer to the centre, said they enjoyed a little ‘me time’.

“I’ve come along to mums and bubs sessions a few times, and today I’m finding out about other activities at the centre,” Ms Durkin said.

Among the many weekly programs and activities offered at the centre is a self-esteem group for women.

Centre manager Patsy Molloy said through the group women learned strategies and techniques to help conquer feelings of low self-worth.

“We are seeing younger woman vulnerable to the ‘beauty myth’; the false belief everything is about what they see in the mirror. We work towards helping all women discover beauty within,” she said.

Ms Molloy said research showed 70 per cent of women felt worse about themselves after looking at celebrity-focused women’s magazines.

“Images of stick-thin models in adverts perpetuate the ‘beauty myth’ and younger women are more vulnerable because they are learning who they are.”

Female nurse practitioners who visit the centre weekly report an increase in younger women who have undergone cosmetic procedures, including labiaplasty.

Ms Molloy said educating women about health risks associated with labiaplasty and other unnecessary surgery was an education focus at the centre.

Midland is one 12 women’s health care places in WA, with some services available in Ellenbrook.

The largest in Northbridge has a body esteem program for women with eating disorders, a peer initiative started at the Joondalup centre.

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health and the Cancer Council of WA supported the Midland event as part of Women’s Health Week.

Upcoming events at the Midland centre include free help with budgeting on September 14 and an early intervention program for parents and children on October 25.

For more details, visit the Women’s Health Care Place website or Facebook page.