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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

Thirty Minutes of Zen

By Chantal Kolber

Modern Acupuncture, in Soho, Delivers Relief in a Difficult World

It took me a long time to recognize that anxiety is my constant companion—like a close relative who stops in now and then and stays way too long. For years I managed to power through difficult times anyway, relying on exercise and determination. 

Then a couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with a tumor in my parotid gland, in the back of my head. It was non-cancerous but had to be removed quickly. The surgery was potentially disfiguring.

I got through it with better-than-expected results and began the healing process with incredible support at home and work. One of my biggest supporters was Joan Arata, my boss at Everyday Health. 

In addition to following my surgeon’s advice—getting rest and doing basic head and neck stretches—I acted on Joan’s recommendation and started practicing restorative yoga. I recovered quickly enough to return to work in eight weeks. Yet the surgery left me with lingering jaw pain. Seeing me wince every time I took a bite of anything, Joan had a new recommendation: acupuncture.

I hesitated. I had always been scared of needles. Plus everything I knew about acupuncture came from movies and television, involving mysterious back rooms. It seemed too off the beaten path for a person like me. I looked up acupuncturists in my neighborhood but didn’t know how to evaluate them.

I put it off and continued hoping my jaw pain would go away. 

A few months later, Joan left Everyday Health and opened two Modern Acupuncture clinics—one in Soho and the other in Florham Park, New Jersey. While I missed Joan at work, the move made perfect sense for her. She’s been a registered nurse for more than 30 years, and a constant advocate for health, wellness, and life balance.  

When I went to visit Joan at her Florham Park clinic, I was blown away—especially when I saw the Zen Room, with its spa atmosphere. Herbal teas, large massage chairs, relaxing music. It was a sensory delight. 

As a working mother, I’ve always found it difficult to commit to self-care. But I booked a standard session at Modern Acupuncture in Soho to finally give it a try. 

Thirty Minutes of Zen

My first experience was simple and relaxing and immediately put me at ease. There was no waiting room or disrobing. Joan welcomed me into the Zen Lounge, where I sat in an oversized zero-gravity leather chair with heat and gentle massage settings. 

My acupuncturist, Diana, and I spoke a little about my jaw and right-arm pain, which extended to the tip of my pinky (un-diagnosed carpal tunnel, I believe). I told her I was nervous about needles, and she showed me how small and thin they were. Then she put the first one on my hand so I could see and feel how it worked. 

A “pinch” is too strong a word to describe the slightest prick of the needle. She then started placing the needles around my ears, head, face, lower arms, hands, lower legs, and feet. The whole process took less than five minutes. Then she instructed me to lie back and relax for 20 minutes. 

I closed my eyes, listened to the peaceful music, and drifted off. Before I knew it, Diana was back and gently removing the needles. I put on my shoes and socks, gathered my things, and was greeted with a to-go cup of herbal tea. The whole thing took less than 30 minutes, and I felt like I’d had a full night’s sleep. Invigorated and blissful, I proceeded with my day.  

Acupuncture’s Hidden Benefit

The Soho clinic was a 10-minute walk from my office. I began going two or three times a week.  If I had a session at lunch, the rest of my day was more productive and stress-free. If I went after work, the daily grind melted away. The anxiety that had been my constant companion was melting away too; I fell asleep more easily at night and woke feeling more rested than ever. 

I barely feel pain in my arm anymore, and while the jaw pain from my surgery may never go away, the overall stress relief was acupuncture’s hidden benefit.  

Acupuncture has been around for more than 2,500 years. Yet according to the CDC, just 3 to 5 percent of Americans have tried it. Being in the healthcare industry, and having great respect for modern medicine, I never thought I would turn to ancient alternative medicine. Modern Acupuncture made the experience accessible and familiar, allowing me to overcome my preconceived notions and the very anxiety it ended up relieving. 

Everyone’s anxiety is high now as we continue to live with this pandemic. Fortunately, both the Soho and Florham Park Modern Acupuncture clinics are open, with multiple safety precautions in place. I have found that learning to relax my mind and body makes every day easier. Acupuncture is now another relaxation technique I have to help me live my healthiest life.  

Locations: 65 West Houston St., New York, NY (917-388-2886); 176 Columbia Turnpike,

Florham Park, NJ (973-765-9500). For more information, visit

Chantal Kolber is the director of marketing for AdhereTech, a healthcare technology company. 

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