Envisioning a society in which contribution replaces consumption, a group of Ashland alternative health care practitioners has opened the Gifting Tree Wellness Center — where patients can receive treatments for cash or by "paying it forward," donating goods, services or property elsewhere.

Envisioning a society in which contribution replaces consumption, a group of Ashland alternative health care practitioners has opened the Gifting Tree Wellness Center — where patients can receive treatments for cash or by "paying it forward," donating goods, services or property elsewhere.

Operating out of a half-time office donated by Ashland attorney Lloyd Haines, the dozen practitioners are offering acupuncture, reiki, cranial-sacral therapy, flower essence therapy, non-violent communication coaching, nutritional assessment and coaching, Quantum Touch Energy Healing, Restorative Circle for Family, Office and Community, Sufi Healing, Voice Dialogue and Zero Balancing, according to the website www.giftingtree.net.

The clinic is open by appointment on Mondays and Wednesdays and the second and fourth Fridays of the month at 51 Water St., Suite 222.

The clinic is open to mainstream medicine and expects to have some physicians donating a percentage of their work, said nutritional therapist Jack Leishman of Talent, the clinic's chief organizer.

Clients can pay with the usual cash or gift of labor or goods, or by pledging to give in some other part of the community, said Leishman.

"Everything has become monetized to the point where we've lost our personal connection and exchange money without even seeing each other," he said.

The Gifting Tree is not a "free clinic" in the style of the of the 1960s, where nothing was asked in return, Leishman said; it's modeled on Aumatma Shah's Karma Clinic in Oakland, Calif., where goods, services and cash circulate sufficiently to meet bills every month, though often on the last day.

Clients, he explained, "should choose the value of the service and gift it out into the world. I don't want to know what it is, so it can be as pure as possible. However, some (board members) believe the client needs to be given more concrete information about our expenses. We're working that out."

Appointments may be made online at www.giftingtree.net, by phone at 541-324-2561 or by e-mail at info@giftingtree.org.

— Ashland Daily Tidings