Services Offered at Ithaca Free Clinic
For information regarding appointments, location, and hours of operation
Some of the health care modalities available at IFC are:
- Conventional Medical Care: This is the form of medicine offered by Medical Doctors,
Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants, and Nurses. Also sometimes called biomedical
or allopathic medicine, this is the medical service most well known in the United States,
and most readily available, but often the most difficult for the uninsured to afford. Our
volunteer professionals at IFC are all licensed and accredited within their field of
practice and are able to diagnose illness and prescribe treatment (including diagnostic
exams, pharmaceuticals, etc.).
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a form of medicine developed in Asia that makes use of
the placement of needles or pressure ("acupressure") at specific points of the body
known to affect the body's function through system reflex or energy flow.
Acupuncture can treat a wide variety of disorders, including, but not limited to, acute
and chronic diseases, obstetrical and gynecological diseases,
musculo-skeletal disorders, auto-immune disease, chronic pain, joint diseases, addictions
and substance abuse, etc. Acupuncture is suitable for children, adults and the elderly.
Acupuncture is of limited use in treating cancer, emergency traumas, acute abdominal
presentations, and cardiac and/or circulatory emergencies.
- Herbal Medicine: Herbalism, the use of medicinal plants and herbal preparations to affect
wellness, is the oldest form of medicine practiced by humankind. At Ithaca Free Clinic,
herbal medicine services are offered by Western Clinical Herbalists (we do not have any
practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurvedic Herbalism). Western Clinical
Herbalists use a combination of centuries of traditional uses of
medicinal plants and modern medical knowledge to assess patients' well-being on a whole
body level. An herbalist will ask patients about a variety of health subjects including
health history, symptoms, diet, and bodily strengths and weaknesses.
Through a thorough assessment of how each person's body works, the herbalist will
make recommendations of both herbal formulations and lifestyle modifications that can
improve the health of that individual.
Herbal medicine is well suited to help improve many chronic health complaints and can
help with the management of infectious disease or healing after injury. Herbalism is not
a licensed medical profession in the United States; our herbalists are credentialed
through extensive education and professional peer review.
Herbal medicines are available at no charge to Free Clinic patients in part through generous donations
from Mountain Rose Herbs and Pacific Botanicals.
- Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic uses specific adjustments of the spine and other joints in the
body to correct imbalances in the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. These adjustments are given by
practitioners who have had five years of postgraduate training and rigorous testing before becoming
Doctors of Chiropractic (DC). Chiropracty is based on the belief that the body has an inborn
ability to heal itself without drugs or surgery. That ability can be inhibited by time, poor diet,
injury, negative mental stress, environmental pollution, and medications, among other factors.
Inflexibility, pain, and increased injuries can result and because the spine's motion is
compromised, the entire body becomes at risk.
Persistent or acute back pain, neck pain or headaches are the most common reasons for people
to seek chiropractic care although many others use it as a way to maximize general health and
wellness. Chiropractic care has also been shown to be successful in resolving or relieving
complaints lik enumbness and tingling in the arms, hands, legs and feet, women's health concerns,
migraines, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Massage Therapy: There are many types and traditions of massage from different countries and
regions. All massage therapies use some degree of manual manipulation of the muscles, fascia, or
tissues of various parts of the body. The strength and depth of treatment, as well as the range
of areas treated depend on the therapist and the patient's primary concerns. Generall speaking,
massage is aimed at increasing the circulation of blood, stimulating the flow of lymph, and
releasing the tension in the muscles and soft tissues of the body.
- Nutritional Counseling: Registered Dieticians who volunteer at Ithaca Free Clinic can
provide extensive dietary counseling to our patients. Diet is one of the most fundamental
aspects of health, and how and what we eat can dramatically influence our welfare in the
long and short term. Nutritional advice can be especially important for people with
certain health concerns such as diabetes, obesity, and vitamin deficiencies. Dietary choice
and good diet management can be useful to any patient.
- Occupational Therapy: Free Occupational Therapy services are offered in cooperation with
Occupational Therapy Department at Ithaca College. These services are available
by appointment, with a physician's referral (from one of our volunteer physicians or
- Facilitated Enrollment into State Insurance Programs: We encourage anyone who may qualify
for statutory insurance programs to enroll in these services. If you are interested in
finding out if you are eligible, please contact Total Care of New York at
www.totalcareny.com or call
Because our facilities are limited, there are some services we cannot provide at this
time. Ithaca Free Clinic is not a trauma center. If
you have experienced a serious injury, or have an immediate health crisis, go to the Emergency
Room at the hospital. For blood work, laboratory testing, and diagnostic exams like CAT scans
or MRIs, we must refer patients to other providers who can
perform these tests; our providers can help with the interpretation of test results once they
are received. We cannot provide dental care, although our providers can provide some assistance
with the many health concerns related to oral health. For the actual care of your teeth and
mouth, we must refer patients to dentists. For many specialist services, we do not have the
equipment or volunteer specialists on hand to assist patients at IFC. If these
services are required, we can try to help patients with referrals for free or discounted
care from area providers where possible.