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South Side Hospital Helps Patients Cope With Stress Through Acupuncture

By Casey Cora | December 7, 2012 6:31am | Updated on December 7, 2012 6:37am

NEAR SOUTH SIDE — There are plenty of places to melt away holiday stress, but the hospital isn’t typically one of them.

But the medical team at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center is urging residents to give their acupuncture treatments a try.

“Some people are coming in because they are at the end of their rope. They don’t have ideas about what to do for their pain or their chronic condition. Insomnia, headache, whatever it is," said Mercy clinical supervisor Maria Mulcahy. "And then there are people looking for wellness. They’re looking for prevention. They’re stressed out and they know acupuncture helps.”

The hospital at 2525 S. Michigan Ave. has been offering acupuncture in its Community Pain and Stress Center for nearly two years. For $25 — no insurance needed — residents can visit the clinic for a treatment, which typically lasts anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.

The acupuncture takes place in a room painted in soothing pastel, with a bubbling fountain and calming piano music to set the mood — a far cry from the typical hospital room.

"We're created something inside a hospital that feels like you're really not in a hospital," Mulcahy said.

Mulcahy said the treatment offers an alternative for patients conditioned to pop pills for dealing with ailments like pain, stress and insomnia. It's been a hit with South Side residents, hospital patients and Mercy employees.

“I think a lot of people want to reduce medication. A lot of people know that a holistic approach is somehow inherently better for you. It’s less invasive,” Mulcahy said.

The Community Pain and Stress Center is open Monday through Saturday. Hours of operation are: Mondays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1p.m. Walk-ins are welcome.