Friday, August 14, 2020

A visit to East Village Acupuncture & Massage

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

As part of our ongoing look at personal-care service spots reopening under Phase 3 of the PAUSE order, I’m meeting longtime East Village resident Donna Nield, L.Ac., MSTOM, owner of East Village Acupuncture & Massage, located at 155 E. Second St. between Avenue A and Avenue B. (This location opened in the spring of 2016.)

She and two of her afternoon’s clients, Susan Bing and her daughter, Magnolia “Maggie” Bing-Edwards, have agreed to allow me to observe and photograph a session, and to ask questions, which I do, after the acupuncture treatment is over.

Strict COVID-19-related guidelines are observed. There's a forehead-scan temperature check at the door and COVID waivers to sign as well as antibacterial sanitizers and hand-washing instructions — all the while HEPA air filters are continuously running.

There's mandatory mask wearing for everyone — the only exception being when Donna briefly checked the tongue (a common Eastern medicine diagnostic tool) of Maggie.

I witness and learn about health and wellness through acupuncture, cupping, electric stimulation and herbal oil treatments, and ask about what is has taken to reopen the studio.

Acupuncture is considered an essential service, so were you at any point closed for COVID-19 PAUSE orders?

Yes, we closed our clinic on March 16 just before the PAUSE orders — we saw it coming and wanted to be safe. It was a few months into the shutdown that acupuncture was deemed an essential service in NY State. We opened back up again on June 15.

Were there any ownership or staff worries or concerns about treating clients during a global pandemic?

I made sure that I was well informed and got the proper training and supplies before re-opening. I attended webinars that were organized by the NCCAOM (The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). They gave us excellent guidance on how to keep our patients and staff safe.

We reorganized the clinic with fewer massage tables with more space and wider curtains separating them. We have always had HEPA air filters and hospital-grade cleaner, and now require everyone to wear a mask at all times in the clinic. We feel very confident that we are able to keep everyone safe.

What has the reaction been from regulars — and potential new clients — about receiving treatment?

I imagine that there may be some patients who are still not comfortable coming to the clinic — or anywhere for that matter. The patients who are coming in — both new and returning — seem very relaxed and have a lot of confidence in us.

We have posted all of our safety protocols on our website. Many patients tell us that our clinic was the first place they had been since the quarantine began, they seem very happy that we are open again and I am so grateful for their trust in us.

I watched you do some cupping, electric stimulation, and herbal/oil treatments on patients during my visit, what other treatments do you/can you provide to clients?

Our regular acupuncture sessions consist of an intake and treatment with acupuncture needles. If patients want something extra, they book an extended session, which allows for more time to add the modalities that you listed above. We also do trigger point and motor point sessions, which are orthopedic treatments.

You mentioned that you are currently offering acupuncture but not massage. What needs to happen for you to feel comfortable offering that medical service? Are there any other services that you have suspended?

At the moment we are using all the space that we have — including our massage room — to distance our acupuncture patients from each other.

Massage involves a lot of one-on-one contact, and some of our massage therapists were not comfortable. I agreed with them that it was better to err on the side of caution — I am not sure if we will need to find a larger space, or maybe we will wait for the vaccine before we bring back massage. Many patients who were partial to massage have begun to try acupuncture and cupping to help with muscle tightness.

We have also suspended facial rejuvenation acupuncture treatments. Facial rejuvenation is a cosmetic treatment that targets the muscles of the face, it requires more time to needle and also involves a facial massage. Our staff decided together that it was best to hold off on this and focus on our patients who are coming in for medical rather than cosmetic concerns.

What’s next for East Village Acupuncture & Massage; what are your plans moving forward?

Like most small business owners, we are just trying to keep the business going. We are very fortunate to have understanding landlords, an extremely dedicated staff, and a really diverse and committed community that depends on us. I think it will be a long time before we get our clinic back to where it was in early March but we are flexible, creative, and committed. We are confident that we will get there.

You can keep up with Donna and the team at East Village Acupuncture & Massage on Instagram. They also have remote resources available via a new You Tube channel.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Grieve, for doing these highlights. It is a much needed break from all the restaurant closings and SLA suspensions.

Anonymous said...

Do they accept insurance, or would it be possible to pay out-of-pocket and be reimbursed by HSA/FSA?

Anonymous said...

It would be great if they accepted insurance and yours covers it - you should call. And yes, acupuncture is an FSA eligible expense (not sure about HSA).

Dbn said...

We are in network with BCBS and Cigna. If you visit our website ( you can fill out a benefit check form and our reception team can check to see if acupuncture is covered by your policy. If you have a flex spending card we are able to accept that as well. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to our reception team 12-6 at: 212-777-4486. Best, Donna

Anonymous said...

I can vouch for this place and its amazing staff. Have been treated by almost all of the practitioners there and they are all top-notch. I leave there feeling so much better every time. They are great at treating anxiety and insomnia btw which I'm sure we could all use.

Scuba Diva said...

I recall that this was originally a City Acupuncture location, and I notice that the City Acupuncture network has pretty much dissolved in NYC—or I would have made a link to the website. I was actually treated at this location several years ago, and had a very good experience.

What changes had to be made to keep this location afloat?

(Also, do you do moksa at this office?)

Dbn said...

We left city acupuncture just over a year and renamed our clinic. - as far as I know all ny city acupuncture locations have permanently closed or rebranded. We don’t use moxa in the clinic because some patients are sensitive to the smell. If we believe moxa would be beneficial we teach the patient to use it at home. Here is a link that lists our new safety protocols:
Please let us know if you have any additional questions! Best, Donna

Dbn said...

Hello, we don’t use moxa at the clinic because some patients are sensitive to the smell. If we feel that it would be beneficial we teach our patients to use it at home. Here is a link to our new safety protocols: