“I went for a medical check up at a wellness clinic in London – I was surprised to find an unnoticed health issue” – Rachael Davis
Too often we feel a little uneasy, like something is wrong, but don’t bother going to our GP because it doesn’t seem like a big deal and isn’t worth it. . Similarly, we may go through life thinking that all is well, that headaches, bloating, fatigue, and other minor issues are just part of life to be endured.
Located in a beautiful little street near Herne Hill station in south London is the London House of Wellbeing, a health clinic that aims to achieve optimal health through a preventative approach. They offer a whole range of health screening services, from vitamin D to gluten tolerance, from menopause to thyroid function all under one roof, with trained pharmacists who guide you through the process and give you all the information you need to live your healthiest life.
It opened in September 2020 and is run by an all-female team of pharmacists, aiming to “disrupt the UK healthcare industry, to encourage people to take a preventative approach to their health rather than a reactive approach.
The clinic offers affordable health screening tests from £25, with discounts applicable if you book multiple tests at once, and it also has a social mission to help disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the local community gain access to a free health screening by partnering with charities including Age UK Lambeth.
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I was invited to the London House of Wellbeing for a health MOT to see how healthy my body really is. So on a sunny Tuesday morning I hopped on a Thameslink to leafy Herne Hill for some simple tests to make sure everything is as it should be, and I didn’t really expect anything to come out of the ordinary.
I chose to do an iron test, a vitamin D test and a gluten test: iron and vitamin D deficiencies are quite common, the first particularly in women, and the second particularly in winter, and I was curious about my body’s tolerance to gluten.
When I arrived I was greeted by the lovely receptionist Rachael, who gave me a quick questionnaire to confirm my personal details and the tests I was taking. I then sat in the comfortable armchairs in the waiting room until the pharmacist Roma called me for my tests.
The London House of Wellbeing is warm, relaxed and cosy, not clinical at all, with retro pharmacy decor that makes it feel less like a doctor’s office and more a self-care treat.
In the small testing room, Roma went through a symptom checklist for each of the conditions I was being tested for. These included things like fatigue, pale skin, and headaches from iron deficiency; fatigue, depression and weakness due to vitamin D deficiency; and bloating, indigestion and unexpected weight loss for gluten intolerance. Once that was done, it was time to do the testing.
The tests themselves looked like Covid lateral flow tests, but they were done using drops of blood taken from my fingertips. Roma pricked my finger, which only hurt a little bit, and used a pipette to take the blood sample. The tests take about 10 minutes to develop, and I walked out of the testing room to find that Rachael had prepared a pot of green tea for me to sip while I waited.
Before long, it was time for the results. I took my cup of tea back to the testing room to discuss my results with Roma.
My vitamin D levels were found to be sufficient, which was good news, and my gluten test was negative, so I can continue to eat bread as I please (well, everything in moderation).
Roma gave me lots of helpful information on what could be causing the symptoms that led me to think I might be gluten intolerant, suggesting that I keep a food diary to identify the things that make me feel gluten intolerant. bloated or give me indigestion and adjust my diet accordingly.
However, my iron test revealed that I was, in fact, iron deficient. This wasn’t terribly surprising, as I had been diagnosed with iron deficiency in the past, but I felt like the iron-rich multivitamin I took every morning kept my levels up as they should. There was finally an explanation for my headaches, fatigue, and occasional dizziness – but I probably never would have known if I hadn’t had that precautionary check.
Roma advised me to take ferrous sulphate tablets from the pharmacy, which I did on the way home, to bring my iron levels back to normal. She also gave me some dietary advice: since I’m a pescatarian and red meat isn’t on the menu, she suggested I eat more leafy greens like kale and spinach, for example. I can then come back to the clinic in three months to do another blood test and see how I am doing.
I was given a results card to take with me which detailed the results of all my tests, and I was asked to sit down and finish my teapot in the comfortable clinic before heading home.
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Overall I was really impressed with my whole visit to London House of Wellbeing. My results showed how important preventative health care really is: I can now get ahead of my iron deficiency and nip it in the bud when I only have mild symptoms, and prevent it from getting worse. .
My tests would have cost £29 each if I had booked online, which is a rather small price to pay to ensure I am in good health. I never thought I’d go to the GP with my little headaches and fatigue, so if I hadn’t been tested it might have gotten worse.
Above all, a little health MOT is a good act of self-care, just like a day at the spa or a visit to the gym, which can be extremely beneficial, regardless of your age or health.
Now it’s time for a kale smoothie.
For more information about the London House of Wellbeing and to book a test, visit website.
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