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Alum finds success treating patients in Hong Kong

Interest in chiropractic medicine isn't limited to the United States and a few other countries. Chiropractic physicians are able to find success in several other parts of the world as well.

Self PicFor Irene Cheung, DC, DPT, MBA, (NUHS '13), a Chinese native and U.S. citizen, practicing in Hong Kong allows her to stay close to family while serving a growing network of patients.

"People in Hong Kong are becoming much more familiar with chiropractic medicine," Dr. Cheung said. "Because Hong Kong has its own regulation council I had no concerns about being able to practice."

The Chiropractors Council established in 1993, regulates and licenses chiropractic physicians who practice in Hong Kong. In recent years, many other countries have created their own chiropractic licensing boards as well, including the Philippines, Thailand and many European countries such the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland.  

"Ten years ago, students interested in practicing abroad usually chose to go to Canada, Australia, or New Zealand," said Chris Arick, DC, MS, assistant dean of the NUHS chiropractic medicine program. "Now, with the growth and acceptance of chiropractic medicine, graduates have found practice opportunities on all continents."

Before opening her chiropractic practice overseas, Dr. Cheung started her health care career in physical therapy, practicing in an inpatient, subacute setting in Hong Kong. However, Dr. Cheung wanted to expand her skillset with training in chiropractic medicine, which she believed could make opening her own private practice more marketable. By earning her doctor of chiropractic degree, she would be first and only one in Hong Kong to earn both doctorate degree in chiropractic and physical therapy. 

Hong Kong"NUHS provided me with a chiropractic experience that is unlike any other school. Patients see me differently than other chiropractors, because I treat them with a holistic, whole health healing approach," she said.

Since opening her practice in Hong Kong in 2015, Dr. Cheung treats 50-70 patients a week. Common ailments include pain in the back, neck, shoulder, ankle, elbow and jaw along with headaches, dizziness, constipation, and insomnia. She also provides nutritional counseling for weight loss and other treatment purposes.

In just a few years time, Dr. Cheung's practice has already proven successful with an expanding patients base. In November, Dr. Cheung plans to hire a Chinese medicine doctor to help meet her patients' needs. 

Today about 210 licensed DCs practice in Hong Kong, according to the Chiropractors Council. Local chiropractors are already working to help grow the profession through Hong Kong Chiropractic College Foundation, an organization that is also raising funds to create a chiropractic college in Hong Kong one day.

As the chiropractic profession continues to grow in popularity in other parts of the world, many more students are expressing interest in practicing abroad, according to Dr. Arick. "Historically, students needed to pass National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exams on clinical assessment to practice internationally," Dr. Arick said. "With the development of more international licensing boards, students today should check the licensing requirements specific to that country," he said. 

For a list of countries where chiropractic medicine is regulated and licensed visit the World Federation of Chiropractic website. Students can also learn more about studying abroad by attending events hosted by the WFC Congress or international chiropractic associations such as the European Chiropractic Union

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