Just around the corner from the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard train stop sits a converted factory building that houses several successful small businesses, and it is common to spot musicians, tattoo aficionados, gym-goers and yogis headed toward its doors.
But those “in the know” find themselves headed up the steps for their preferred answer to their medical ailments.
Functional Health Acupuncture is only a year old, but already, owner and practitioner Devin McGilvery has gained enough clients to expand his business from a one-man show into a wellness clinic.
All of his success so far has come from word of mouth or referrals, and McGilvery has been busy treating patients one at a time with acupuncture, massage therapy, cupping, gua sha, laser acupuncture and facial rejuvenation. He felt it was time to add a community acupuncture clinic (in which multiple patients are treated simultaneously in one room) and hire two acupuncturists and a receptionist so that he could treat more people. He is also looking to rent out space to other massage therapists and/or acupuncturists.
“I see people walking down the street who could use some help and I’m ready to spread the word that these types of treatments are available right in our neighborhood,” he said.
Community acupuncture, he said, is a great way to make the treatment accessible to more people.
“There are a lot of insurance companies that still do not cover acupuncture and then when they do, it is pretty much just for pain,” McGilvery said. “But acupuncture can help with so much more, from anxiety and depression to addiction and autoimmune diseases. Community acupuncture brings the prices of a treatment to what a person would have to pay for their co-pay with insurance. It is a way to help all of those people who otherwise cannot afford the proper care.”
The community acupuncture room, like the rest of the healing oasis on the first floor of 38-01 23rd Ave., is calm, quiet, green and serene. The patients at Functional Health Acupuncture are 18 to 80 years old, but McGilvery is hoping that his business will soon treat younger patients, too.
“Eastern medicine can benefit children as well, and I hope to expand my modalities to all age groups in the near future,” he said.
Clients generally come to McGilvery with a specific issue, and he is able to deal with that problem—and more.
“I mainly work with people who are in pain or dealing with some movement or performance issue,” he said. “But what I love about eastern medicine is that there is so much more that we can help with. The human body tells us what is going on, and my whole goal is to make the individual function better internally and externally.”
McGilvery, a grounded presence with a joyful soul and a welcoming smile, is interested in learning a client’s entire story so that he can best provide a holistic approach to improving quality of life. It is no surprise that many of his patients consider him a friend and can say without hesitation that he was “born to heal.”
McGilvery grew up in Southern California and moved to New York City with the intention of studying 3-D animation and architecture at the Pratt Institute.
But the move to New York dramatically changed his path, as he was first exposed to eastern medicine once he lived on the East Coast.
“The energy, the people, the culture—I learned more in the first two years living on my own in New York than I had in my entire life,” he said. “This place is magical. It’s not easy living here, but I had the support of my family and friends and worked my butt off every day.”
He went to massage school at the Swedish Institute, and after graduating, he took a course in personal training at the same college. After spending some time working in Astoria as a massage therapist and personal trainer, McGilvery felt that acupuncture was the next step. He then earned his master’s degree in acupuncture at Pacific College.
McGilvery has lived in Astoria for seven years—“I couldn’t see myself living anywhere else,” he said—and with the population boom in western Queens, it was the perfect place for his rapidly growing business.
“It is a growing neighborhood with a very diverse group of people. I love the beauty of Astoria Park, the amazing views, all of the old and new restaurants and bars opening in the area,” he said. “And the people! This place is a melting pot but still has a very strong Greek and Italian heritage to it. Even though I am a transplant and neither Greek nor Italian, I love this area in Queens. Astoria is everything.”
Devin McGilvery L.Ac., LMT