Victoria Health Clinic

By Dacia Moss

The beginning of a new year presents an opportunity to review the values that guide our lives. In revisiting the Mission and Vision of Community of the Victoria Health Co-operative (VHC) these ideals stood out for me;

support members to achieve optimal wellness,

access to a broad range of healing services through integrated, multidisciplinary health services and activities,

people who participate actively in their own wellness, and experience a deep sense of physical, emotional and spiritual health,

people inspired by a sense of ownership who are empowered to be leaders in their own wellness.

Nowhere is this more in evidence than in our monthly Member Wellness Clinics. On the fourth Sunday each month, a group of dedicated health practitioner members volunteer their services, time and expertise. Our members choose to come to the Wellness Clinics because they are people who are taking ownership for their health. They are actively participating in their own wellness.

Here’s how the Wellness Clinics work. Two weeks before the Wellness Clinic, VHC members receive a notice by email letting them know which health practitioners will be there. The member decides what service would be of benefit to them. And which practitioner they would like to work with. They call the VCH number (250-483-5503) and leave a message for our Wellness Clinic Co-ordinator, Jan, to schedule their appointment.

The practitioners work as a multi-disciplined integrative team guided by the member participants. Files are shared among the practitioners the member has chosen to see. This information guides the group approach and enables practitioners to add their particular expertise to the overall wellness picture. When it’s helpful, the practitioners meet as a group (usually with the member participant in attendance) to discuss refinements in their approach and the next steps in the member’s treatment plan.

Here are some examples: A member, let’s call her Joan, injured her shoulder during a car accident. She sought support from our osteopathic practitioner (Howard Dieno) to gently adjust the muscles and bones of her shoulder to ease her body back into alignment. Then a few lessons with our Alexander teacher (Beverley Norman) helped her to learn more efficient ways of moving. Acupuncture (Kelly Biel), a massage or a biodynamic craniosacral session (Bonnie Hardy) or reflexology (Nicole Costello) could also have been helpful.

Maybe an underlying emotion, - fear or anger, say - came up for Joan during the accident and is now preventing full and complete healing. She can address these emotional issues in a number of ways. A session with a counsellor (Susanne Hunter), an art therapist (Susanna Ruebsaat), or an energy worker (Dacia Moss) are all available options.

Joe is recovering from the flu or a cold - unfortunately, all too common at this time of year. He could seek support from a medical herbalist (Alexis Hennig) to create a personalized tonic or an herbal tea compound, or visit a homeopathic practitioner (Shoshanna Scott). With their assistance he’ll be back feeling great in no time.

Our Wellness Clinics offer many options. Many paths to healing. Each person can explore what works best for them with a kind and caring group of knowledgeable, professionally trained people to assist them.

Each member contributes what they can afford for their Sunday Wellness Clinic treatment session; no questions asked. Some members can afford to contribute a lot, others less. Each contribution is greatly appreciated.

Because Wellness Clinic practitioners donate their time, all the money collected goes to benefit other Co-op members through the Health Access Fund (HAF). The Fund is administered by the VCH’s sister organization, Creating Community Wellness Society, a registered charity. The Society can issue tax receipts for HAF contributions should the member request it.

The Health Access Fund is another example of community co-operation. This special fund was established to assist members in financial need who require health services not covered under MSP or by their medical insurance.

Susan hurt her back at work, and after the treatments covered under Workman’s Compensation were complete, she required additional support to continue receiving massage and osteopathy. She applied to the HAF to see her choice of Co-op health practitioners. When support was approved, the HAF paid the health practitioners directly, and Susan got the assistance she needed to make a full and complete recovery.

If you’d like to become a member of the Victoria Health Co-operative, please go to our website . Click on “Get Involved,” then “As a member-owner.” You’ll find the Membership Application there, or you can drop by the Co-op Health Centre to pick one up. The one-time life membership share of $50 can also be paid in instalments.

If you’d like to receive a sample of the email Wellness Clinic Notice to Members, email your request to Dacia Moss at If you’d like to book an appointment, you can become a member at the Sunday Wellness Clinic, as well.

You are welcome to learn more about our health co-operative by attending our Annual General Meeting on February 25 11 – 2 p.m. at the Fairfield United Church, 1303 Fairfield Road, at Moss Street.