May 24, 2017 03:09 PM
A hospital in Shakopee is among the first in the country to offer free acupuncture to emergency room patients.
Doctors at St. Francis Regional Medical Center hope it will replace traditional opiod treatment in many cases.
"I carry my stress in my shoulders and my neck, I have that daily," said Bethany, a patient there.
Aches and pains are part of her life.
"I've had migraines probably for the last 10 years consistently," she said.
Bethany, who works in chiropractic care, has had a hard time finding permanent relief.
"I have an intense job and so I need this calming," she said.
Kristianne Schultz is a licensed acupuncturist.
She said that thanks to the Saints Healthcare Funds, patients visiting the emergency room at St. Francis for anything from a minor migraine to severe trauma can now receive free acupuncture treatment.
"It's very, very important to be open, especially in a emergency room," she said. "There is a lot going on here."
Bethany has migraines, but said needles are effective for multiple conditions.
"We have found that it helps mostly with pain, anxiety, nausea and vomiting," Schultz said.
Opiods are another popular choice for pain relief. But according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 1,000 people in the U.S. are treated every day for misusing the drugs.
And St. Francis believes this traditional Chinese treatment can help reduce those numbers.
"It stimulates the body's own natural opiode systems," Schultz said. "There are times when it works and it's extremely effective, and at times medication is extremely effective."
If you're afraid of needles, Bethany said fear not.
"It was just quick, quick, quick - can't even tell they're in," she said.
Now she's hoping this ancient healing medicine settles nicely into a new home in the ER.
"I will be going back, definitely," Bethany said.
St. Francis also continues to offer acupuncture as part of its integrative health program. That includes treatment for cancer patients.
Updated: May 24, 2017 03:09 PM
Created: May 03, 2017 05:32 PM
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