ELLSWORTH — Call it mind-body, complementary, holistic or alternative, Ellsworth added to its growing reputation as a hub for such medicinal practices this month with the addition of Downeast Wellness Holistic Health Services at 9 Store St., across from City Hall.
Ruth Moore, who inspired a federal bill to help sexual assault victims, has turned her attention toward drug-free options for veterans and other residents suffering from a range of issues.
“After I won my case with the VA [Veterans Affairs Office],” said Moore, referring to the more than two decades she spent fighting with the office to claim disability benefits related to sexual trauma, “it was very hard to get access to appropriate treatment. Medications are the last thing I want.”
Downeast Wellness joins a growing list of alternative treatment options in Ellsworth. There is the recently opened Sage Moon Apothecary on Main Street. The city also has several practicing chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and herbalists.
Moore’s entry into holistic health care came after her daughter was diagnosed with a cardiac condition. With the diagnosis came a slew of recommended drugs, and Moore said she began looking for alternatives. She came upon essential oils and was converted.
“They are essentially medicines before the pharmaceutical industry gets involved,” said Moore, who began using oils and alternative medicines to help deal with her own health issues.
She eventually became a clinical aromatherapist, pursued a degree in psychoneuroimmunology (mind-body medicine) and then completed a three-week practicum in clinical aromatherapy with Derek and Megan Pinkham of Life Source Family Chiropractic.
As the Milbridge resident got further into her studies, she wondered whether fellow veterans might benefit from some of the same remedies.
“Veterans have a different model of communicating,” Moore said.
There’s old advice in the Army, said Moore, that any ailment can be cured with two aspirin, lots of water and a change of socks.
“I understand the mentality,” she said.
Relying on a slew of pharmaceuticals is disempowering, Moore said. Her work aims to reduce the dependence and change that.
“They feel empowered,” she said. “All of a sudden it’s not about the pill, it’s about them.”
Moore will provide a range of services at her Ellsworth center, including clinical aromatherapy, specialized bodywork with acupressure and AromaTouch, QiGong and energy work, guided imagery and meditation. She will also offer traditional Native American remedies and simple cures such as what is known in the Moore household as “Grandma’s Feel Good Tea.”
“It’s cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, oregano, chamomile, honey,” Moore said.
Her husband, Butch, chimed in, “It’s a little rough going down. It literally kicks your system into overdrive.”
Most of the treatments are not covered by insurance. But Moore is in the midst of drawing up a bartering agreement, so clients can trade services or goods for treatment.
“We have a fairly open list of things we’ll look at bartering for,” Moore said.
She is also in discussion with Veterans Affairs officials to see if her services could one day be billable.
The center is open to everyone, not just veterans.
Moore knows she has an uphill battle with some.
“I’m hoping to overcome the mindset that this is all voodoo medicine,” she said.
“It works. This is used around the world,” Butch nodded. “They’re discovering that the old ways made sense.”
For more information, call 619-4886 or visit newenglandoutdoorvoice.com/downeastwellness.
Moore can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/DrRuthinMaine.