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Meet Susan Grumbine of SuZen Acupuncture in South Suburban Chicago

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Grumbine.

Susan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I began studying Medicine when I was in second grade. Really, I did! Ask my mom. I was inspired by a fascination with the human body, the desire to find a cure for the common cold, and wanting to make people feel better. By the time college rolled around and I had experienced the business end of medicine, I decided against it as a career. I was able to use my science coursework toward a degree teaching science. Meanwhile, I continued to be my friends’ and family’s primary caregiver walking loved ones through cancer treatment and learning that, while I couldn’t practice medicine, there was much I could do to help alleviate suffering. In 2011, education was changing and so were my family’s needs. Acupuncture made sense to me. It is a way to help people heal without needing to prescribe medication. Acupuncture provided all of the healing goodness I wanted to achieve without any of the nasty side effects. I was hooked.

Has it been a smooth road?
So very much struggle was involved when I moved from a career teaching science with a paycheck and health insurance to becoming a full time graduate student studying alternative medicine. Some friends and family members initially believed I was leaving my nice, safe job teaching to become a “witch doctor.” Several acupuncture treatments later have changed their minds. I lost access to healthcare as a single parent raising a child with a chronic, debilitating, potentially deadly disorder. I became the primary caregiver to my best friend who was diagnosed with, treated for and ultimately died from lung cancer. My basement flooded and I lost a library full of books; the water heater broke; I nearly poisoned myself and my child by trying to override the furnace’s safety mechanism because I couldn’t afford to hire a repair person; the roof fell in while I was caring for my terminally ill friend in my home because his home had been deemed unfit for residency; I accumulated $150,000 in debt….and that was just during the four years of studying Oriental Medicine.

October 4, 2015 I graduated from Midwest College of Oriental Medicine. October 8, 2015 my best friend, who helped to raise my daughter, died after a 2 year battle with lung cancer. October 10, 2015 my acupuncture license arrived in the mail. It was an eventful week. By January, 2016 I had formed a business, found a temporary location in a massage therapist’s basement office to practice and began treating people. I had five boxes of needles, some basic supplies, and two sheets so I could wash one while the other was in use.

I am not a business person. I am a healer who had to find a way to make a living practicing acupuncture. To support the business and to stop borrowing money, I sold anything I owned that anyone was willing to buy. Pawned all my jewelry. Sold any appliance that wasn’t in use. I busted my ass every day to find a way to hold onto my house and my 17 year old car so that I could survive long enough to actually make a living. I had to “buy” time for the chance to succeed.

Today, I’m busy opening a second treatment room to allow for a greater number and variety of clients to be healed.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
SuZen Acupuncture provides acupuncture and East Asian therapies to help heal the under-served population of South Suburban Chicago. I was given the chance to practice in downtown Chicago and in other, more affluent, locations but really wanted to make a difference in a spot where people had little access to high quality, holistic healthcare. I specialize in treating chronic inflammatory disorders that are resistant to treatment with Biomedicine. I also use acupuncture to alleviate pain, resolve digestive issues, enhance fertility, and reduce stress, depression and anxiety.

I am dedicated to serving a diverse client base in a welcoming, body-positive environment.

Clients benefit from scheduling that allows me to do a thorough interview with them to tailor treatments to their specific needs. I listen. When clients enter SuZen Acupuncture, they know they are entering a healing space. Everything in the space is chosen to enhance healing from the over-sized treatment tables to the hypoallergenic soap used to launder the table linens.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Chicago-land has something for everyone and a huge variety of needs to be met. Areas where there is great need in South Suburban Chicago also provide great opportunities for people wanting to practice holistic healthcare. The South Suburbs are often overlooked because they are considered to be “low rent.” They are literally “low rent” which means that while businesses are not receiving the level of revenue that someone on the North Shore may receive, the cost of running the business is lower as well.

Crete is the dividing line between the south side of Chicago and rural Illinois. They have welcomed me as the town’s acupuncturist and would be happy to host other start-ups as well.


  • One and a half hour Initial Intake (first appointment) $75
  • One hour continuing treatment $60
  • Discounted packages available

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

All photos by Susan J Grumbine, LAc

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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