Welcome to The Saturday Free Clinic!

The Saturday Free Clinic provides free complementary health care for people living on a low income and without extended health benefits.

The clinic is organized to run approximately every other Saturday.  The next clinic is on Saturday, November 29th.  Clinic appointments are booked at 10 am, 11 am, and noon, and appointments are 45-50 minutes. 

The clinic is run by volunteers. Licensed health care practitioners volunteer their services to offer treatments including acupuncture, massage therapy, naturopathic medicine, osteopathy and physiotherapy. Other volunteers serve as receptionist and host during the clinic, ensuring that it runs smoothly.

The Saturday Free Clinic is located at 1221 Barrington Street, near South Street, in Halifax's south end, and is on or close to bus routes along Barrington and Spring Garden Road.


Appointments • (902) 473-7407

The next clinic is on Saturday, November 29th.  Volunteer professionals will offer the following kinds of treatments: acupuncture, massage therapy, naturopathic medicine, osteopathy and physiotherapy.

Requests for appointments are made by calling 902-473-7407 starting Sunday, November 16th. Please let us know what type of treatment you are requesting, and leave a local phone number and the best time to call you back. You will get a return call within a few days. If it is your first time requesting an appointment, financial eligibility and other clinic policies will be reviewed with you.

Due to the number of requests, we cannot guarantee an appointment.  

New clients receive priority in booking. Each client is eligible for a maximum of three appointments per treatment over the calendar year.  Drop-in treatments are not possible, and we do not keep a waiting list for future clinics.
                                                      
There is a strict cancellation policy, for two reasons.  We want to keep our volunteer practitioners busy and happy, knowing that their contributions are appreciated and respected!  And, when clients don't show up for their appointments or give adequate notice, the opportunity for another person to have the benefit of a treatment is lost. 

When coming for your first appointment, plan to arrive 15 minutes early to fill out a health history form.  

Please do not use scented products the day of your appointment.


Eligibility

The clinic aims to provide access to complementary health treatments for people 16 years of age or older who cannot afford those services. Because of the enthusiastic response to this free service, you are asked to use the clinic only if you meet the financial eligibility guidelines, which are based on Nova Scotia Income Assistance rates. The clinic is not for those whose extended health care benefits have run out for the year, or who have savings and can afford occasional treatments.

What kind of treatments are offered at the Saturday Free Clinic?

ACUPUNCTURE
Acupuncture is a therapeutic method used to encourage natural healing, reduce and relieve pain and improve function of the body.  Acupuncture was first developed in China over 2000 years ago and has been proven successful ever since. It treats anxiety/depression, digestive problems, insomnia, headaches and pain of all kinds and much, much more. Acupuncture also supports the health of people who are getting treatment for cancer and other diseases. Perhaps most importantly, it is an effective preventative medicine.

How does it work?
Acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of energy through distinct channels that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels.  According to this theory, acupuncture adjusts the flow of energy in the body, leading it to areas where it is insufficient and draining it from areas where it is stuck.  In this way, acupuncture restores balance in the body.

Modern studies have shown that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce its own pain relieving chemicals called “endorphins”.  These “feel good” chemicals send messages to the brain which results in relief of pain and general relaxation of the body.  This stimulates the body’s natural healing abilities.

Does it hurt?
People experience different sensations with acupuncture.  In some cases, you will not even know the needles are in place.  In others, there may be some tingling, warmth, heaviness or a feeling of energy.  Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing and many fall asleep during treatment.  The acupuncture needles are very fine and are typically not much thicker than a hair.  It is nothing like receiving an ordinary injection.

MASSAGE THERAPY
Massage therapy melts away stress and tension, relieving associated headaches and muscular aches & pains. By encouraging the body's own healing processes to act, massage therapy reduces injury healing time. Massage therapy aids in the healing process from injury or over-use, and is an excellent form of preventive health care.

NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE
Naturopathic Doctors use therapies such as nutritional medicine, detoxification, herbal medicine, and acupuncture. While any person can benefit from naturopathic medicine, specific concerns may include digestive complaints, arthritis, heart disease, anxiety, depression, cancer, insomnia, low energy and chronic pain. Naturopathic Doctors take a holistic approach by addressing the impact of nutrition, lifestyle, the environment, and the mind-body connection.

OSTEOPATHY
Osteopathy is a manual therapy concerned with movement. Therapists use their hands to assess the body for regions that move well and are in good health and also areas where movement is reduced and health may be compromised. Osteopathic therapists assess and treat the body as a whole, looking at movement expressed in the joints, the soft tissues such as muscles and ligaments, the bones, the organs, and the fluids of the body such as blood and lymph.

Osteopathy is used for treatment of the whole body and can be a beneficial form of therapy for most conditions a patient experiences. Osteopathic treatment can be helpful as a primary or complementary intervention to support recovery and healing from injuries, the treatment of pain, and the body’s natural tendency to move toward balance even when affected by illness and disease.

PHYSIOTHERAPY
Physiotherapists treat symptoms of illness, injury, aging, or disability through personalized therapeutic exercises. Treatment can improve movement and function, increase strength, and relieve pain. Physiotherapy is useful in maintaining strength and function as well as preventing future injury.

Donations

When possible, a small contribution of $2 - 5 per appointment to help with our operating costs is appreciated.

Donations can be left in the donation box at the front desk.

If You Are Not Eligible

One excellent way to get massage therapy treatments at a reduced fee is ICT Northumberland College's teaching clinic. For $27.00 (HST included) you can receive a massage treatment in the teaching clinic from one of their personable and well-trained students. You can make an appointment at the Teaching Clinic by calling (902) 425-2869 ext 245. The college is located at 1888 Brunswick St. on the 5th Floor. Appointments will be for evening hours.

Consultation, Legal & Medical Reports

The practitioners at The Saturday Free Clinic do not provide pre-consultation, assessments, or reports for your doctor or lawyer.

Hosting the Saturday Free Clinic

The Saturday Free Clinic is hosted by Connections Halifax, at 1221 Barrington St. near South St. in Halifax.

Connections is an opportunity centre – a community offering a safe and welcoming environment where people with mental health concerns create opportunities to increase their own and others’ skills, access support related to employment, education and housing, health and wellness, and develop lasting friendships. Members of Connections Halifax provide leadership in all its activities. Opportunities to share support with peers, and to explore, create and participate in wellness, recreational and creative arts events in the local community are key elements of membership.

Who are the practitioners at the Saturday Free Clinic?

ANDREW BILZ, Physical Therapist

Andrew graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Western Ontario in 2001. Since then he has taken various postgraduate courses with a special interest in holistic approaches, and pain education and management. In his practice he has emphasized combining hands-on treatment with education about pain, what postures/activities may be beneficial or aggravating, and simple corrective exercises. Andrew has worked in a few different hospital settings in Northern Ontario and British Columbia.   He is excited to be part of a program that is focused on inspiring and facilitating healthy life choices in a holistic way, and that makes his skills available to people who often ‘slip through the cracks’ of the more traditional system.

“I believe that the Saturday Free Clinic is another excellent way of providing for the important health care needs of community members who may not otherwise have opportunity. I am thrilled to be involved!”


FRANCINE WRIGHT, R.M.T., OSTEOPATHY
Francine is an honours graduate from Northumberland College in Halifax. She continued her education in Dr. Vodder's Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Combined Decongestive Therapy and is presently attending The Canadian College of Osteopathy (4th year).
Francine has conducted her own massage therapy practice since 2001. Currently, her home-based clinic and Sackville locations address the need for a safe, private and comfortable environment.
Her numerous years in practice have provided her with extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of many different conditionsHer continuing education gives her a vast array of tools and techniques to design the most beneficial treatment plan for her patients.


JENN KING, R.M.T.
Jenn is a Registered Massage Therapist currently practicing in Halifax. She graduated from ICT Northumberland College in 2005. Her first year of practice was spent at a Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Clinic in Dublin, Ireland. She has since worked in a multi-disciplinary clinical setting in Halifax.

Jenn is able to combine additional training, such as Reiki, Deep Tissue Massage and Myofascial Release, to tailor each treatment to individual client needs. Whether a person is seeking a gentle relaxation-based experience, or a therapeutic approach, each treatment will aim to enhance the comfort level and overall sense of well-being. Jenn is a member of the Massage Therapists Association of Nova Scotia, and CPR/First Aid certified. Sharing her passion for massage therapy with each client brings her great joy.


JESSICA MARSH, RMT
Jessica Marsh (in a fake fur hat)

Jessica founded the Saturday Free Clinic in 2007, an idea she had been dreaming about since starting massage therapy school. Sally Shaw, Jessica's employer at The Osteopathic Health Centre generously gave the clinic its biweekly home. When Jessica left to open a private practice, Connections Clubhouse stepped in and offered to host the clinic at its Barrington Street building. Thanks to a roster of inspired, mighty volunteers, the clinic has made its home at Connections ever since.


Jessica graduated from Northumberland College’s massage therapy program in 2000. She has worked at The Halifax Osteopathic Health Centre, at Eastwind Health Associates and currently has a private practice on Agricola Street in Halifax. Jessica's massage treatments give relief from pain due to specific injuries - like whiplash, tendinitis, headaches, low back or neck spasms - or her massage treatments can be for pure relaxation purposes. Jessica is registered with the Massage Therapists Association of Nova Scotia (MTANS) and the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance (CMTA). She is Emergency First Aid/CPR certified. She plays soccer and writes short fiction. Her first short story "We Go Alone" was published in The New Quarterly in October 2013.

“I feel very lucky to be a part of the Saturday Free Clinic. I am blessed to have skills that are greatly needed and appreciated by the people who come to the clinic. When the practitioners and volunteers sit together for lunch, I am moved by the collective spirit that joins us, by the recognition that we are actively making positive change in the world.” - Jessica Marsh, RMT


LUCY VAN DEN BRINK, RMT

Lucy graduated with honours from Northumberland College with a diploma in massage therapy in 2007 and was pleased to represent her class as valedictorian.

While at Northumberland, Lucy treated clients in both the Sports and Multiple Sclerosis Clinics, and volunteered as a therapist at Saint Vincent’s Senior Home, Bayers Westwood Community Centre, and the Bluenose Marathon. As a student, Lucy took advanced courses in Myo-Fascial Therapy and Suikodo.

In 2006, Lucy completed her training as a Birth Doula and currently supports women and their families through pregnancy, labour and delivery. Lucy combines her knowledge of massage and anatomy with a commitment to health to help women have positive birth experiences.

Before becoming a massage therapist, Lucy worked as an urban planner. After graduating with her Masters in Urban and Rural Planning from Dalhousie University, Lucy worked in a number of communities, primarily First Nations throughout the Atlantic Region. It was through this work that Lucy made the connection between individual health and community health. She has since completed a Diploma in Natural Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.

MICHELLE MCNEILL, RMT, R.AC

Michelle McNeill, RMT. R.Ac in Liaoning, ChinaMichelle is a Registered Massage Therapist and Registered Acupuncturist.  She is a member of MTANS (Massage Therapists’ Association of Nova Scotia), CMAAC (Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Association of Canada) and ATCMANS (Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Association of Nova Scotia).  After completing her Acupuncture Diploma program, Michelle furthered her studies at Liaoning Zhong Yi Yao Hospital in China.  Michelle uses a combination of acupuncture and massage help her clients with many conditions ranging from pain conditions to systemic conditions.


DR. ROCHELLE WILCOX, N.D. (Naturopathic Doctor)

Dr. Wilcox has always been interested in nutrition and health. Following the sickness of a close family member, her life’s path was chosen for her. She has forever had the desire to help those in need, starting her career in International Development studies and then towards nutrition (Canadian College of Natural Nutrition) and further to naturopathic medicine (Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine).

Dr. Wilcox believes in educating her patients to become active participants in their own path towards better health. She considers physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health when working with an individual and strives to inform her patients how to prevent and manage disease within their own lives.

Dr. Wilcox looks forward to volunteering at the clinic and is thankful to be given the opportunity to reach out to the community to offer her services!



SCHUYLER VROMANS, RMT


Schuyler has been working as a Registered Massage Therapist within a multidisciplinary setting since 2011. He graduated ICT Northumberland College of Massage Therapy in 2011 with the highest GPA. His therapeutic focus incorporates Medical Massage, General Swedish Massage and Myofascial Release. Currently, Schuyler is attending Dalhousie University as a prospective medical student.







Client Feedback

"I have greatly enjoyed my sessions at The Saturday Free Clinic. I find the people are very friendly and professional. I definitely recommend the clinic and I will tell my friends about it." - Daniel
"I went in for my massage appointment all in knots and I left feeling totally relaxed." - Susan
"Patients leave the Saturday Free Clinic feeling better than when they first come in. I see it in their smiling faces." - Jennifer (volunteer)

(Photograph by Sebastian O'Malley)

 "I want to thank everyone who so generously volunteers their time and expertise to help low income families like us. My daughter and I would not have had the opportunity to experience the wonderful health benefits (as we have been able to at the free clinic) if it weren't for your kindness, so thank you very much. I hope even more professionals become involved with the clinic as you have made such a wonderful difference in our lives. Many blessings to you and the clinic." - Donna