MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When you’re in the hospital, you don’t expect to get the spa treatment. But that’s exactly what patients are getting at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

There, health care workers are helping patients to control pain and cut down on stress with the help of non-traditional medicine.

It’s all part of the Penny George Institute of Health and Healing. The services are free to patients during their hospital stay. They do everything from acupuncture to reflexology.

“It allows them to really connect with that mind-body-spirit approach,” said Courtney Jordan Baechler, vice president of the Penny George Institute.

Michelle Hartse, who suffered a heart transplant on June 4, has been trying acupuncture, energy healing, and therapeutic massage.

“I was surprised at how well and rapid it made me feel (better),” she said. “I don’t know if without it I’d be leaving the hospital so soon after the heart transplant.”

“There are channels in the body where energy flows — these point are areas where the vortexes flow,” said integrative medicine practitioner Zena Kocher. “When you put a piece of thin metal there it helps the energy to move.”

A study by the Penny George Institute showed patients who use their services saw a 50 percent reduction in pain.

“I don’t always notice an immediate help in pain management, but definitely by the end of the day,” Hartse said.

Bonnie Hammel also knows a little something about pain. She just had knee surgery. She said, “Anything that makes my knee to feel better I’m willing to try.”

She tried aromatherapy — one whiff of lavender to cut down on the hurt.

“It’s a real calming effect,” she said.

Sonya Goins, Producer
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