Stop Asking Me 'Where are you from?" - Genuine Care Physical Therapy
Youngsun Kim

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Stop Asking Me ‘Where are you from?”


When my patients recognize the difference between how I practice and other therapists, they almost always ask me these questions:

  • Where are you from?
  • Did you learn here or in Korea?
  • Do you do it differently because you trained in another country?

Well, thank you but no thank you for reminding me that even after over 20 years of living and practicing in the U.S.,

I am still a foreigner!

Interestingly, when I visited Korea last year, my friends called me 'American boy' to make fun of me, so who am I? There is no doubt why the second generation of Asian immigrants needs to deal with this identity issue. You were born and raised in the U.S. and still get those 'Where are you from?' questions that will drive you crazy.

Well, I am not here to complain about my Asian identity. It is beneficial for me not because people like K drama or BTS, but because people choose me just because I am an Asian. They are expecting something different and are satisfied when I offer them something different because they are sick and tired of Western medicine with medications, injections, and surgeries with a high risk of side effects, and providing patching work is not the ultimate solution.

Ironically, people expect something better because I studied and trained in physical therapy in Korea, not here, even though physical therapy started in the U.S., not in Korea.

I met a few patients who believe PT has an oriental medicine background, so I contemplated for a while why they think that way. I concluded that physical therapy is only one area focused on natural and organic healing, as is Western medicine. People automatically think something natural and wholesome can be oriental. Interesting...

People are looking for an ultimate wholesome and natural solution, not a patching work or invasive procedure. We need to find out the actual cause of the problem, not just treat symptoms – you might recognize Western medicine is geared toward treating symptoms, not the causes. It is also imperative to look at the whole person multidimensionally, not just physically but psychologically and spiritually, not just the body part or the area where the symptom is located.


In conclusion, my journey in the field of physical therapy, marked by questions about my origin and identity, has led me to embrace the uniqueness of my Asian background. The expectations people have, seeking a different approach to healing, have allowed me to provide a fresh perspective rooted in natural and organic principles. I believe that true healing involves addressing the root cause, viewing individuals holistically, and challenging the status quo in healthcare.

My commitment remains steadfast in delivering a wholesome and effective therapeutic experience, not only for my patients but for anyone seeking a genuine and transformative approach to well-being."

Dr. Youngsun Kim
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