A trio of local radiographers have banded together to close a gap in the market and to help prevent the development of osteoporosis and osteopenia among Te Awamutu's ageing community.
Heidi Richardson, Sue Cheesman and Lesley Egglestone, founders of Bone and Body Blueprint, have independently bought a DEXA bone density scanner and are running their service from Health on Mahoe, 160 Mahoe St.
Bone and Body Blueprint was a result of catch-up over a coffee and a long-burning idea.
"It has been on my radar for over five years and the more we talked about it, the more we realised there was a massive gap in the market for patients around here," says Heidi.
A DEXA bone density scanner is a low-radiation machine that uses x-ray technology to measure bone density and it has received a gold standard from the World Health Organisation.
Patients from Te Awamutu and surrounding areas used to have to travel to Hamilton or further to a scan, sometimes having to take three buses.
"The reception we've had from the general practitioner has been really positive, they are really keen to promote the service and support us because a lot of their patients don't want to go into Hamilton," says Heidi.
Often, as radiographers, the women would only see patients after they've broken a bone and for some, getting to this point is detrimental for their health.
Heidi says their passion is to prevent people between the ages of 55 to 65 especially from becoming osteoporosis.
"We have this ageing population and if they end up with osteoporosis and they fall, they break a bone, say a hip, end up in hospice and from there it's really a downward spiral," says Heidi.
"We're not usually very much a part of that preventative approach; people don't often get an x-ray to prevent breaking a bone so we've really gone down a different path where we're at the top of the cliff rather than the ambulance down the bottom."
The machine also has the ability to perform body composition scan which provide clients with a visual map of the percentage of fat and muscle they have.
This service appeals to those wanting to lose weight and become healthier, as well as bodybuilders and high-end athletes who are tracking their training.
Some of data produced from the scan includes fat percentages, visceral adipose tissue values – the bad that sits around your heart and abdomen, muscle weight percentages, lean muscle mass percentages and the ratios between your abdominal and your pelvis.
"It can give people a benchmark to work from, and it also gives them a direct comparison of how the work they are doing is making a difference," says Heidi.
Heidi explains some people may weigh themselves and be upset by the fact that the number hasn't changed, but what people might not be aware of is that their fat may have decreased and muscle increased therefore balancing their weight.
"This here will show you that your total fat percentage has dropped and lean muscle mass would have gone up, scales won't tell you that," says Heidi.
Bone and Body Blueprint is open on weekdays from 9am to 3pm.
A bone density scan costs $185 and for the February and March body composition scans are $75, thereafter they are $120 for the initial scan and $75 for follow-up scans.
Because the machine is low radiation people are able to refer and book themselves in.
To make a booking call 07 870 4321 or visit boneandbodyblueprint.co.nz.