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Services Offered at Ithaca Free Clinic

For information regarding appointments, location, and hours of operation click here.

Some of the health care modalities available at IFC are:
Holistic Medicine Director 7Song and Medical Director Justine Schaff consult on patient care.
Credit: Thomas Hoebbel Photography

  • 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 the Occupational Therapy Department at Ithaca College. These services are available by appointment, with a physician's referral (from one of our volunteer physicians or another provider).
  • 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 (607) 252-3312.

Thomas Hoebbel Photography

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.



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