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Post-stroke acupuncture care at St. Francis provides a multi-level healing journey

Author: Dayna Stroik

November 15, 2021
Post-stroke acupuncture care at St. Francis provides a multi-level healing journey

After experiencing a stroke affecting her right side in December 2019, Waconia resident Debbie Z. began her healing journey through rehabilitation and occupational therapy. To build upon her recovery efforts, she decided to add acupuncture to her care routine.

Debbie began post-stroke acupuncture visits with Kristianne Schultz, licensed acupuncturist and doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner at St. Francis Regional Medical Center, in early 2020. Using general acupuncture techniques and a special acupuncture technique called Xing Nao Kai Qiao, Kristianne began to treat Debbie’s symptoms once a week.

Acupuncture consists of purposefully-placed needles can provide pain relief, reduce side effects from treatments, balance the body's energy and provide multi-symptom management for mental and physical conditions. In addition to acupuncture, acupuncturists may utilize other modalities such as aromatherapy and acupressure. St. Francis’ expert acupuncturists are certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and licensed by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. Their specialized training helps provide comfort, calmness and symptom-management to all kinds of patients.

Debbie started seeing many benefits to general acupuncture, including an overall calming effect. “Acupuncture has helped with mental and emotional side effects of the stroke in ways I never would have expected,” she explains. “It’s the whole package - mind body and spirit. All of it has been so necessary in my healing process.”

During the process, Kristianne gently places small needles in three places on Debbie’s arm and three places on her leg and foot. The acupuncture experience has been demonstrated to be highly effective, both through numerous research studies and via St. Francis patients’ experiences. It is very safe, with infrequent and minimal side effects. About the sensation of acupuncture, Debbie explains, “It’s different every time. Sometimes I can barely feel the nerves reacting and sometimes there’s some intensity, but only in for a number of seconds.”

After using the specialized Xing Nao Kia Quao technique, Debbie’s hand opened from a fist for the first time since her stroke. “My hand almost always opens up when Kristianne uses the Xing Nao Kia Quao technique, and now it remains open more than usual when resting,” she says excitedly. Though her hand is still weak, she continues to see improvement when working on the symptoms with occupational therapy and her acupuncture routine with Kristianne.

Debbie says, “I wouldn't be half as far in my recovery and I am grateful. Thank you for supplying such an invaluable service. This has changed the course of my rest of my life.”

Debbie wholeheartedly recommends acupuncture to anyone with post-stroke symptoms. Kristianne agrees, “Patients with many diagnoses can benefit from acupuncture treatment, from those with post-stroke symptoms to those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our bodies have their own innate way of healing, and acupuncture is a tool to remind the body to restore itself to health and wellness.”

Acupuncture can alleviate symptoms from pain syndromes, neurological disorders, chronic conditions like nausea, PTSD, anxiety, and can be used for oncology support, digestive disorders, stroke, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries.

To see an acupuncturist at St. Francis, physician referrals are not necessary. Acupuncture treatment may even be reimbursable through a patient’s health care spending account, or billable to insurance. (Please call your insurance company to verify coverage.)

For more information on acupuncture at St. Francis Regional Medical Center, visit Please note, to better serve our patients, as of November 30, 2021, acupuncture at St. Francis will be located in the 1601 Medical Office Building at 1601 St. Francis Avenue, on the east side of the St. Francis campus. To make an appointment call the St. Francis Health Clinic, located on the St. Francis Regional Medical Center campus at 952-428-3690.