Acupuncturist and herbalist Dong Soo Chang

“The real treatment begins from the moment the patient walks into the clinic.”

Dong Soo Chang, a former accountant who lives in Maspeth, had a very pragmatic reason for opening up his acupuncture and herbology practice on 43rd Avenue and 46th Street. The close proximity to the 7 line and to the city would allow people easy access to his services at rates far lower than those of his colleagues in Manhattan. After working with and learning from his father-in-law for several years, he and his wife opened up their Sunnyside clinic four years ago. It has since attracted clients not only from New York City, but also from Boston and Long Island, and even as far as California.

“The real treatment begins from the moment the patient walks into the clinic,” Chang quotes one of his old professors to explain the holistic approach. This, together with his knowledge and technique, is responsible for his success. (With 35 percent of his patients being Hispanic, it also helps that Chang, who used to live in Buenos Aires, is fluent in Spanish.)

Having studied in both the U.S. and Korea, Chang takes advantage of the benefits of both cultures. In his home country acupuncture and herbology stem back thousands of years and are considered the primary medical treatment options. Chang explains that while Korean acupuncturists know more techniques, the U.S. leads in terms of double-blind studies, proving and disproving alternative healing methods and showing the chemical process initiated by such things as herbs, minerals, roots, leaves and seeds. American scientists have also conducted magnetic resonance imaging during treatment to show the effect acupuncture has on a patient’s brain.

While the 80 percent of his patients who have been referred to him by relatives and friends are generally trusting, walk-ins often express doubt. “Does acupuncture really work?” some ask. Chang always takes the time to explain the benefits to them, most notably that acupuncture is natural and strengthens the immune system so the body can pick up from there and heal itself. “If I explain these positive aspects to them, they become hopeful,” he says, “and try acupuncture.”

Listen to Dong Soo Chang’s interview