Holistic Health for the Mind
Bondi local Alex Teo is bringing groundbreaking medical therapies to Aussies in a new venture, Cingulum Health, formed in partnership with her neurosurgeon father Dr Charlie Teo and his colleague Dr Mike Sughrue.
Cingulum seeks to challenge traditional treatments of mental health and neurological disorders through a multidisciplinary approach combining the technology developed by Teo’s former venture, Omniscient Neurotechnology, with other holistic health practices.
Cingulum treats patients with a variety of mental and neurological conditions ranging from traumatic brain injury and dementia to anxiety and depression.
Ms Teo, the director of Cingulum, told The Beast that she wanted to build a space where patients would feel safe and at ease.
“I have a background in fashion and customer service and have always been taught that the customer’s experience comes first. That approach feels like it’s missing in the medical world,” she explained, “and when you’re suffering from illness, that’s exactly the kind of service and care you need.”
The offices, located at The Cannery in Rosebery, incorporate open plan and biophilic design, where staff and patients can freely interact while surrounded by greenery and relaxed communal spaces. They also have state of the art consultation rooms, a movement studio and a meditation room.
The technology at the heart of Cingulum is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, which helps the brain form new pathways or ‘circuitry’. While this technology is well established, Cingulum uses it with far more precision, and therefore effectiveness, than ever before. The treatment plans, which are tailored to each individual, also focus on educating patients about holistic practices and providing oversight to connect them with other specialists if required.
Ms Teo said that education about health and alternative therapies can often have the largest impact on their clients.
“We are trying to expose more people to alternative mental health therapies,” Ms Teo said. “‘Alternative’ has this connotation of being ‘hippy dippy’, but a lot of these practices are based in real science and have been around for thousands of years, so we’d be ignorant to dismiss them.”
Cingulum promotes therapies such as meditation and exercise because it believes in them as long-term strategies for managing mental fitness.
“We want to equip clients with tools and strategies so that they don’t need to solely rely on us, but rather feel empowered enough to take control over their own health.”
Ms Teo is joined by Bronte local Ethan Davis, who works at Cingulum as a medical researcher and technician. Mr Davis works with patients, as well as conducting research that Cingulum can publish for review by the scientific community.
“We’re publishing our findings so that we can find better solutions for patients and improve our quality of care,” Mr Davis told The Beast. “I think that’s the only way forward.”
Both Mr Davis and Ms Teo make the most of their homes in the Eastern Beaches to manage their own mental health. Ms Teo starts each day with a swim at Bondi while Mr Davis opts to surf at Bronte. Mr Teo, Ms Teo’s father, is often found kayaking on Sydney Harbour as part of his morning routine.
Ms Teo believes that living in the Eastern Beaches provides plenty of opportunity to strengthen mental fitness.
“We’re so lucky living here. We have amazing local communities, access to good, healthy food, and the ocean on our doorstep,” she said. “It’s the perfect environment in which to lead a balanced lifestyle.”