Wellness center caters to mixed incomes

November 17, 2008 3:53:54 AM PST
A new wellness center that offers alternative treatments has opened in Brooklyn. But what sets it apart from others like it is a commitment to making these therapies available to everyone in its mixed-income neighborhood, especially those facing financial hardships.There's yoga, massage therapy even an herbal pharmacy at Third Root Community Health Center in Ditmas Park.

"I like the fact this is about community wellness, and I think it manifests itself here very clearly," yoga practitioner Stacy Roupas said. "And it's very inexpensive."

There's also community acupuncture, which puts a new twist on the ancient chinese treatment.

"Community style is where you treat people at one time," Third Root's Julia Bennett said. "It's not a full body treatment, but...we treat certainly one that can tap into any ailment you might have."

Third Root is a health co-op owned by eight practitioners committed to making alternative therapies affordable to everyone in the community. Yoga classes cost $10. Payment for the other holistic services are based on a person's income.

"Prices in our culture and especially with healthcare are just a flat rate assuming everyone can pay that flat rate which automatically privlege people that make more money," said Jacoby Ballard with Third Root.

Those who can't afford to pay could be eligible for a scholarship where part of the payment comes from outside donors, like Dara Silverman, a Third Root regular.

"In this neighborhood, there are so many different communities," Silverman said. "To have it be available to people who don't have the money to afford it, so it can support the whole neighborhood, not just people who can afford it or have more wealth or more access."

The center encourages walk-ins, and even has a reading room where people can browse and hang out. Donations are encouraged.

The Third Root also has weekend health workshops.

For more information, visit ThirdRoot.org.

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