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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Dr. Joel Ying: Integrative Care for Joy, Health and Wellness

Jun 02, 2011 09:18AM ● By Susan Aimes

Joel Ying

It didn’t occur to Joel Ying, M.D., that he had a preference for working with people rather than machines and technology until midway through his sophomore year at Harvard University. “I was contemplating my future and the career options within my field of study, computer science, when I remembered my uncle’s suggestion: ‘Why don’t you become a doctor?’” recalls Ying. “It was the advice he gave me before I started college, when I was trying decide what to do with my life.”

Reflecting upon why a profession that he enjoys so much showed up so late on his radar, Ying speculates that it may have been because his childhood years in Jamaica were healthy and robust. “My interactions with doctors were so infrequent that I had no memorable experiences that could have left an impression on my young mind,” says Ying. “I was also unaware of the many opportunities in the field of Western medicine until my college years.” Ying posits yet another reason, which he feels is even more significant: There were no doctors in his family who would have served as role models.

Academically inclined and attracted to all the sciences that are prerequisites for medical school, Ying felt that he’d found the perfect combination in medicine and applied to the University of Michigan Medical School. “When I entered medical school, I thought radiology would combine computer science and medicine; however, in the clinical aspect of my training, I felt the urge to interact directly with patients.”

Upon completing his Internal Medicine and Pediatrics combined residency program at the University of Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital in 2003, Ying opted for a primary care setting and joined a medical practice in Aventura, Florida that included acupuncture, yoga classes, a psychiatrist and a pediatrician who incorporated herbal and vitamin supplements, vitamin infusions and prescription medication.

“During my first intense year as a resident, I did not have time for anything else; I even suspended my Tai chi practice,” advises Ying, who notes that he used Tai chi to stay balanced through the remainder of his residency and keep his mind open to alternatives in medicine. “My Tai chi friends introduced me to Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and Upledger Craniosacral Therapy, which I believe played a major role in my consideration of integrative medicine, which I practice now with patients who are open to it,” he says.

An equally important factor that played into Ying’s consideration of integrative medicine was his interest in therapeutic bodywork, meditation and the mind/body connection. “Many people still think of massage as something mostly for stress relief and relaxation, rather than considering it from the perspective of therapeutic manipulation with medical benefits,” notes Ying. “For instance, how we chronically hold our body and our emotions can lead to chronic tension and health issues, which can sometimes be prevented by releasing the tension with regular therapeutic bodywork, which includes massage.”

After working as a “traveling doctor” with an organization that places physicians in temporary job opportunities, Naples became Ying’s final destination in 2006. “I spent some time at an Indian reservation and in Rexburg, Idaho, which was next door to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park,” says Ying. “It was a time for me to regroup, travel to new places and experience the practice of medicine and the outdoors in the other parts of the country.”

After working in a Naples hospital and carrying a heavy caseload, Ying finally found his true love in 2007 when he opened a private practice. “My patients are mainly interested in seeing a medical doctor who can help them manage their prescriptions and herbal supplements safely,” advises Ying.

With individuals who are comfortable talking about energy work or bodywork, he explores those subjects, as well as the options. If problems progress to a critical stage, he is able to help his patients with state-of-the-art medical care. “If people only present their physical body and issues to me, that’s all I can treat,” he says. “But, with those who are open to it, we use a holistic model to balance body, mind and spirit, working together towards joy, health and wellness.”

Dr. Joel Ying, 2335 Tamiami Trail N, Ste. 206, Naples 34103. Call 239-200-6796 or visit

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