‘One client calls us angels in human form.’ Healing Hands operates out of the Norlane Baptist Church’s Hall, alternating on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is run entirely by volunteers and offers the health care services that many are denied due to financial constraints (patients are only asked for donations). Services include Chiropractic, Kinesiology, Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Podiatry, Buteyko Breathing Technique, Counselling, Bowen Therapy and Myotherapy.
‘3214 is one of the most disadvantaged postcodes in Australia’, adds committee member, Kathy Ryan. ‘That is why it was set up here originally, by Corio Bay Rotary Club, the Chiropractors Association and a dedicated team of volunteers. One of our board members, Zhen, is a professor of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine at RMIT. Students from the RMIT School of Chiropractic practise at Healing Hands under the guidance of a local qualified Chiropractor.’
Practitioner Paul Burns says, ‘I started here as a third year Acupuncture student when the centre first opened 8 years ago. As soon as I qualified I started volunteering here. I myself had been inspired by Doctors who volunteer by travelling to places like Micronesia or Asia, during their holidays and perform sight saving operations.’
Healing Hands is incorporated and run by a small committee chaired by Rev. Brent Lyons-Lee. It operates under the umbrella of Hands on Health, founded in Australia over 30 years ago by Dein Vindigni, a chiropractor who saw how the disadvantaged across the globe were being cared for and thought ‘we should be helping our own’.
Morgan first came to Healing Hands as a client: ‘Then I did my Diploma of Counselling and now volunteer here as my way of giving back. These people can’t afford holistic healing services. Whether it is physical or mental issues, we are able to help them feel better and hopefully stop them from turning to alternative ways of trying to cope. We’re not a traditional clinic, we are somewhere people sit, chat and feel comfortable. They come from all walks of life and are always shown the utmost respect. We are more of a community hub. I can’t sing praises to Healing Hands enough.’
Sue, who lives locally and has been involved from day one, explains how they fundraise: ‘We’ll raise money to help pay our next year’s rent by selling home-made produce like yo-yos, biscuits, jams, relishes, pickles and chutneys at the Norlane Bunnings on Saturday 17th of December and we’ll run a BBQ there on Tuesday 20th December. So please come out and support us.’
The Healing Hands brochure quotes another practitioner who sums up their experience like this: ‘I love getting to know our regular clients and share their sorrows and joys. It is wonderful to work with like-minded people who volunteer their time, energy and skills to help others. Congratulations to everyone who assists to making Healing Hands work. May it prosper and grow as it is a means of healing, strengthening and empowering our community.’
Photo: Phil Hines Photography, shows part of the team.