Michelle Lane, Tracy O'Donoghue and Edel Ryan will draw on their experience for the community wellness initiative
THE first community wellness centre of its kind in Ireland will open in Limerick this month.
A space at the Urban Co-Op will be transformed into a community wellness clinic by three local wellness practitioners. It will also operate from Southill Family Resource Centre.
The wellness clinic will consist of couches and plinths in a communal space where every patient will have a tailored treatment plan drawing on the expertise of all practitioners in the room.
The clinic will be run as a not-for-profit venture and its aim is to offer an alternative route for local people looking to relieve pain and treat ailments at affordable rates on a regular drop-in basis.
One of the founders, physical therapist and Ayurveda practitioner Tracy O’ Donoghue explained: “We want to take all the privilege and mystery away from wellness treatment - come in and try a reasonably priced treatment, chat to people, other people who might feel isolated with their condition and see what it’s like”.
Tracy O' Donoghue, Edel Ryan and Michelle Lane will draw on their extensive and varied backgrounds in physical therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, exercise and movement therapy, diet and nutrition, herb formulations and stress and pain management.
The clinic is modelled on the community clinics across Asia and aims to keep the cost of treatment low, with prices starting from €15.
There is also a private room for consultations for those who are a bit wary of sharing.
A kitchen is due to be installed in the space where Tracy hopes to offer cooking classes for those suffering with diabetes or digestive issues.
The wellness clinic has been the brainchild of Tracy and Edel and they have faced many challenges in bringing it to fruition.
“The biggest thing is people don’t really understand what we’re doing because it's very new to Ireland and very new to Limerick,” said Tracy.
“We’re not mad hippies in bare feet. We’re well- experienced and well-educated in what we do and when you come to the clinic our goal is to make you feel better.”
Edel added: “When people call us and they’re nervous or sceptical, I explain how I can help them.
“People don’t really care what you do once you help them.”
Edel described how people are under stress in Limerick at the moment with high rental rates, mortgages and two parents having to work.
Making treatment affordable and offering an ongoing treatment plan is key to providing the support that is needed in the community.
The community clinic also needs the support of the community behind it to sustain it. Support can be shown by donating money, materials or by advertising the clinic in your local business.
“Community clinics only work if the community helps to support it,” explained Edel.
Conscious that many wellness programmes are often aimed at more privileged members of society, the clinic aims to “break down barriers” and open it up to everyone.
They are still keen to confirm an inner-city location in order to set-up programmes with organisations such as the Northstar Project, Novas and McGarry House for those in the community who are suffering from addiction and homelessness.
As the clinic will be run on a not-for-profit basis, the insurance cost for an inner-city property is proving too high to contend with at present.
The community wellness clinic opening hours are as follows: The Urban Co-op, Eastway Business Park, Ballysimon Road, Wednesdays 2pm to 9pm and Southill Family Resource Centre, Thursdays from 3pm-6pm. They will host an information evening at 6:30pm on Thursday, September 12 at Belltable Hub.