Dr. Byeng Yuen Choi has been practicing Oriental Medicine for 10 years in Coronado from her office on Ynez Place. But not many locals know that she is a fourth-generation healer in the art and science of Eastern medicine.
In her homeland of South Korea, Choi hails from a family of doctors known for their expertise in Oriental medicine. Her father, grandfather and great grandfather were all doctors. But when Choi entered the field some 30 years ago, the Korean culture wasn’t quite as accepting of female doctors. “Things have changed now, fortunately,” said Choi, (whose first name is pronounced Be-Yong Yun).
In 1995, the young doctor picked up a newspaper where she noticed advertisements for acupuncture schools in the United States. And she suddenly knew that her calling was to move to America and expose a small part of the Western World to the wonders of Oriental medicine.
In 1997, when she was just 30, Choi moved to California to further her studies and become licensed in acupuncture and herbs in the United States. In 2000, she graduated summa cum laude from the Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine in Santa Monica and then worked at the HANA Clinic associated with the school. There she developed specialties in herbs and gynecology. By 2002, she was the clinic director. In 2008, she added a doctorate in Oriental medicine.
“Acupuncture and herbs work so well together,” said Choi, who frequently creates a healing formula, choosing from 20 herbs, and working them into a liquid, which she keeps refrigerated in her office. “For coughs or colds, my patients may only need to take herbs for two or three weeks,” she said. “For infertility, a bit longer.”
Choi arrived in Coronado 11 years ago. “In Los Angeles, so many of my patients were Korean,” she said. “Here I was, working with my own cultural group who was already familiar with Oriental medicine and it wasn’t rewarding to me. I wanted to introduce Oriental medicine to Americans who weren’t acquainted with it.
“I like the Oriental philosophy,” Choi said. “It’s all about restoring the body to proper balance.”
“I’ve always prided myself of being on the cutting edge,” she added.
For Americans, that cutting edge can sometimes go back in time… thousands of years.