What 'Holistic' means

Dr Daly's interest in holistic practice began in the late 1980's, when he was a GP in inner suburban Melbourne caring for patients from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. Many patients were homeless or marginalised, and he found the pathway to wellness for many was best served by lifestyle modification and other natural approaches. Of course, standard medical interventions were followed when needed and appropriate. During this time, Dr Daly began considering the role of nutritional, mind-body, traditional chinese, herbal and other alternative therapies in his practice.

"In 2000, inspiration hit me during a visit to the mineral springs town of Hepburn Springs. I was there helping someone who was recovering from an operation, and recognised the huge wellness paradigm as represented there. That visit marked the start of a fundamental change to my traditional style of practice".

Part of Dr Daly's strategy of change involved formal training - he successfully completed the two year Graduate Diploma in Integrative Medicine at Swinburne University. "The course not only fundamentally changed the way I practise medicine, but also my overall approach to life", he asserts. Acknowledgement of the evidence based approach has always been important to Dr Daly, with a further part of his training since the holistic shift being the Graduate Certificate in Evidence Based Practice, obtained from Monash University. "I like to be able to explain what the evidence is for any particular treatment be it natural or mainstream. However, it is also important to realise particularly when working with natural therapies, that absence of evidence does not necessarily mean absence of a desired effect". Dr Daly adds that "trials for many natural therapies don't exist because its usually not possible to patent natural therapies, whereas the expectation of profits from patent-protected pharmaceutical products allows the drug companies to cover the cost of expensive clinical trials".

Availability of electronic online resources has also changed the way Dr Daly practices. Information and advice in the consulting room is no longer limited to his current knowledge, as he has immediate access to professional databases and clinical repositories that hold enormous amounts of information and guidelines. Of course Dr Daly can and does refer to allied health professionals and his specialist colleagues, but he finds that the provision of new and powerful information resources has been a significant help to many patients.

Dr Daly's wife Monica, a Division 1 registered nurse, has been a big influence both in the development of the new style of practice and also in the choice of a Bayside location. Monica helps out at the practice one morning a week.

In summary, Dr Daly's 'holistic' approach means a preparedness to
• evaluate the place of alternative therapies such as mind-body,
nutritional, herbal, acupuncture, spinal and joint mobilisation and manipulative approaches
• discuss the place of more conventional allied health services such as psychology
• consider external factors that may have contributed to the onset of an illness or that might be contributing to the ongoing nature of an illness. These include environmental, nutritional, emotional or other factors
• do as much as possible to find further information, resources and professionals with the knowledge to help