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Allergy and Environmental Medicine Healthy Aging & Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Traditional Chinese Medicine

About Us


Wellness Associates of Chicago was founded in 1989--one of the earliest and most innovative centers of integrative medicine in Chicago.

Our focus is on prevention; allergy and environmental medicine; healthy menopause-including bioidentical hormone replacement therapy; healthy aging; Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)-herbal medicine and acupuncture; and EFT-Emotional Freedom Technique, a TCM based therapy effective for many conditions, including stress, chronic anxiety, chronic pain, and PTSD.

We specialize in investigating chronic illnesses that are associated with undiagnosed allergies. These illnesses are often identified as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Chronic Sinusitis, ADD/ADHD, Migraine Headache, Fibromyalgia, Eczema, Acne, Restless leg syndrome, and various autoimmune diseases. Many of our patients have had these diagnoses for years, and no one has looked into their underlying causes. At Wellness Associates of Chicago, we are dedicated to uncovering the reasons for your illness, and helping you to enjoy better health.

Our Staff


Martha H. Howard, M.D.

Martha H Howard MD

Dr. Howard combines Traditional Chinese Medicine--including traditional acupuncture, laser acupuncture and herbal medicine--family practice, environmental and preventive medicine, guided imagery, and sound-based therapies in her practice. She is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, which she has been practicing since l982. An administrator, teacher and speaker as well as a clinician, she is Medical Director of Wellness Associates of Chicago.

Dr. Howard has a Master's Degree from Harvard University in Chinese Language and Literature and an M.D. from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. She was a board member for three years of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and was a board member for ten years of the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Howard is the author of a Wellness CD series, Power of Suggestion, and is a teacher of Tibetan Yoga.


Gene Arbetter, CMT

Gene Arbetter, CMT

Gene Arbetter is Managing Director of Wellness Associates of Chicago, and is our computer assessment and IT specialist. Gene's training and background are in massage therapy. He is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and is a graduate of the Chicago School of Massage Therapy, where he was a faculty member from 1986 to 1994. He was in the first group of massage therapists to take national board exams and earn the National Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

After being Public Relations Director for the AMTA for four years, he was also a wellness trainer. He has given lectures and classes on stress management, self care, ergonomics and posture correction, professional ethics, business practices and non-invasive bodywork methods.


Leon Chen, OMD

Leon Chen, OMD

Dr. Chen's unique background combines education, theory and practice of eastern and western medicine, integrating both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Orthopedics. A 1985 graduate of Gansu College of TCM, he became a full professor of Chinese medicine and O.M.D specializing in Acupuncture and Tuina. He also had an MD in Orthopedics, and was head of a large hospital department of orthopedic surgery in China. Currently Dr. Chen is licensed for acupuncture and bodywork in the US.

Dr. Chen has published twenty-three medical papers and four medical books on subjects ranging from orthopedic diagnostic methods to bone setting and joint disorders. At Gansu College Dr. Chen conducted research on herbal treatments for osteoporosis, arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases. He holds a Chinese patent for an herbal paste to stop swelling and relieve pain. He has held numerous academic posts including editorial board member of the Chinese Journal of TCM, Vice President of the World Federation of TCM Orthopedics, and Vice Chief Editor of the World Journal of TCM Orthopedics. His ideas and communication skills have given him the opportunity to speak at world symposiums in Beijing, Hongkong, Japan and Malaysia. An article in the February 18, 2003 edition of the Lanzhou Daily newspaper, described Dr. Chen as "a famous expert in TCM orthopedics and traumatology."

Dr. Chen is a Qigong Master who has published articles about the results of his research, practice, and teaching of the Dunhuang Qigong method, an ancient self-healing practice depicted on the walls of the ancient Mogao Caves in the Gansu Province of China.


Chris Costas, M.D

Chris Costas, M.D

Dr. Costas is our hospital consultant for Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Infectious Disease.

Chris Costas, M.D. has three board certifications: in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Infectious Disease. He combines Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture with Western medicine in his practice. Dr. Costas has been using integrative medical therapies since l992. In addition to his clinical practice, he teaches and lectures. Dr. Costas has a BS in Botany from the University of Michigan, and he received his M.D. from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.

He was trained in Pediatrics at Georgetown University and in Infectious Disease at University of Chicago. His acupuncture training was done at the UCLA acupuncture program for physicians. He served as Chief of Infection Control for St. Francis Hospital in Evanston.


Surintorn ('Ning') Suanthong, Ph.D, MTOM, L.Ac., M.Ed

Surintorn Suanthong, Ph.D, MTOM, L.Ac., M.Ed

Dr. Suanthong has a Master's degree in education, and a Ph.D in mathematics and statistics. After working successfully in the field of research methodologies, mathematics, statistics, and measurement (psychometrics) for 12 years, she was inspired to make a major career change to the healing arts. She says, 'To connect and work with others makes me find true happiness.'

Dr. Suanthong's healing arts experience includes a Master's degree in acupuncture and oriental medicine-MTOM--at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (2002-2007), Asian body work--Zen Shiatsu, Tuina and Thai--and Craniosacral therapy at Chicago Touch (2008 - present) and Lakeshore Chiropractic & Rehabilitation Center (2013-present). She is skilled in treating musculoskeletal problems (neck, shoulder, back, hip and knee pain--both acute and chronic problems), general wellness and health balance (energy, immunity, and circulation), mental and emotional disorders (stress, anxiety and depression), sleeping, eating, obesity and gastrointestinal disorders, reproductive disorders (fertility, menstruation and PMS), respiratory problems (asthma, sinus and allergies), addictions (smoking and alcohol), neurological (headaches and migraines), and ENT problems (ear, eye, nose and throat.

At Wellness of Chicago, thanks to Dr. Suanthong, we are now offering the following additional healing, relaxing and vitalizing hands-on therapies:

  • Traditional Thai Massage
  • Zen Shiatsu
  • Craniosacral Therapy

Dr Suanthong does acupuncture as well, along with Dr. Howard and Dr. Chen; and Tuina (Chinese Traditional Medicine soft tissue manipulation) along with Dr. Chen

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