Evansville collective offers health, wellness services

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Anna Marie Lux
Saturday, January 11, 2014

EVANSVILLE--When Allison Becker moved her practice last year, the naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist wanted to be closer to her Evansville home.

“Now, I live only three blocks away,” she said, seated in her new downtown office. “I wanted to be part of the Evansville community where I can talk to my neighbors.”

Thanks to a unique collaborative effort, she also talks regularly with other wellness professionals in her building. 

Her business is one of eight that make up the new Good Care Collective in the historic Eager building on East Main Street. Like-minded entrepreneurs line the perimeter of the building's lower level and offer services, including physical therapy, yoga, massage and health coaching, within steps of each other.

They meet monthly and share a common goal: to help people feel better.

“We believe what we are doing is the future model of health care,” Becker said. “What we are providing is what many small towns—and big ones—don't have and would like to have.”

If Becker thinks a patient needs to increase flexibility, she can advise the patient to take a yoga class just across the hall. If she thinks someone needs stress relief, she can recommend the massage therapist next door.

“We are addressing the whole person—body, mind and spirit,” she said. “Our patients love it. They come from all over Southern Wisconsin and Illinois.”

Becker is a physician trained as a specialist in natural medicines.

“People see me for a variety of conditions,” she said. “I am trained as a primary care provider.”

When she moved her office to Evansville, so did physical therapist Christine Koth, who practiced at the naturopathic clinic in Janesville with Becker for seven years.

“When everyone is under one roof, we can share ideas and cases,” said Koth of Wellness Physical Therapy. “It feels so much more comfortable to be referred to someone nearby.”

Susan Frikken, a physical therapist and massage therapist, works with Koth.

“I joined the group to spend quality time with my patients,” she said. “If I don't have the answers or the resources, chances are someone in the collective can help. It's a great model for the delivery of health care.”

Naomi Beth Corridon is a licensed massage therapist at Healing Tree Massage and Wellness Center. She and Frikken presented a free workshop in November on effective ways for people to manage pain.

“We have a perfect niche, here, where a client can come and get all needs met,” she said. “We are a group of like-minded people who want to focus on the client's whole body.”

Corridon is about to celebrate one year in Evansville.

“It is great to be with other women with similar missions to help others,” she said. “We are creating a safe space for people to take care of themselves.”

Corridon discovered the building where she now works when she came inside to visit her insurance company, which is on the main level.

“I thought this building is amazing,” she said. “It felt welcoming and like coming home.”

Peggy Frain, a certified yoga teacher, was the first business on the lower level. She opened her studio a year ago in April.

“Yoga transformed me,” she said. “I believe in its healing properties. It helped me deal with stress and helped me connect to mindfulness. As it became clear how yoga helped me, I wanted to share it with others. Each woman in the collective does something different to help people feel their best. We are here to take care of people.”

Christina Slaback of the Evansville Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism called the collective “a great story of entrepreneurship and collaboration.”

“Each of these women came from different locations following different paths but found an opportunity to grow and nurture each other,” she said. “It is a wellness oasis where an individual can visit one location and get a 360-degree view on their health.”

An Evansville woman, who did not want to be identified, said she was a patient of Becker when her office was in Janesville.

The woman has sought help from several professionals in the collective.

“Everyone is easy to talk to,” she said. “They make me feel that I can open up and communicate. It's nice to walk in and feel like I am somebody.”

She appreciates that so many services are in the same building. She also appreciates the atmosphere.

“Each office is homey,” she said. “I walk in and feel relaxed right away.”

The client is grateful for the wellness providers so close to home.

“They have helped me with so many different things,” she said. “They are the ones I turn to.”

Anna Marie Lux is a columnist for The Gazette. Her columns run Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call her with ideas or comments at (608) 755-8264, or email amarielux@gazettextra.com.

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