It feels like acupuncture is suddenly everywhere: on the tongues of our favorite social media personalities, popping up on the street corner in new brick-and-mortar locations and dominating wellness conversations on panels and in the press. Perhaps it’s because of the myriad benefits proffered by the service—pain relief, fertility, mental balance—or maybe it’s because of “the Drybar effect,” a term coined by Fast Company that implies businesses are modeling their in-and-out structure after Drybar, a blowouts-only hair salon that is user-friendly and accessible. Social media has fueled the fire too, lighting up feeds with pics of needles protruding from faces and chic notables relaxing in waiting rooms. But is this all anecdotal, or is acupuncture—an age-old practice that began in ancient China as early as 6000 BC—actually experiencing a resurgence in popularity?
To answer, we sought out two of Manhattan’s coveted practices: WTHN, a New York City–based millennial’s answer to the ancient Chinese practice, which opened in November 2018, and Windy Zhiwen Zhong, LAc, DAOM, at Apex Acupuncture. (FYI: The first abbreviation means licensed acupuncturist, and the second means doctorate of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Combined, they mean Zhong is very good at sticking people with needles.)