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Meet Danh Ngo of ReVITALize Rehab Club in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danh Ngo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Danh. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have been practicing physical therapy for 13 years. Every year is never the same and that is the fun part of doing what I do.

I started my practice in 2017 after working at an insurance dictated clinic that focused on the numbers game and not the patients themselves. I am a lover of learning about the human body as it amazes me over and over. When it is put to the test or near a dead end, it figures out how to out shine when there is intention to survive. This observation has made me more confident that there are natural alternatives to many chronic health conditions including pain. I have been put to the test many times where patients come to me as the last resort, and as I connect with them, hear their story, I find there are other options.

I started out my career working hard to stand out in the crowd of healthcare practitioners by getting my dual certification in orthopedic and sports medicine specialty. I realized this was not enough to help everyone. As the years passed, I learned how to practice the art of medicine of listening and learning (not labeling diagnosis). Then my son arrived, and this was a game changer in regards to who I have become and how I practice.

I have always had a passion to help people find natural alternatives to medications and helping people avoid surgery. When my son arrived, he had a chronic digestion issue that made me look outside the box to help him. He taught me about the holistic and natural aspects of medicine. Understanding this allowed me to blend western tactics with holistic philosophy to enhance my care to serve everyone and now help MDs when they are stuck and don’t have any alternatives. We had unempathetic care and no clinic that addresses the emotional roller coaster ride that comes with having pain and being ill.

Here I am, I want to be a dad first and decided I want to be more present and involved in my family. I want to have a place that addresses the emotional experience, old school customer service like a simple call back, and high quality medicinal care. I know it is lacking because I hear it from my patients over and over. This is why I am calling my clinic a club, as we are supporting each other, learning from each other. It just happens I’m the one with the degree, but in the end, I am human like my patients.

As a proud father and husband, I understand everyone is unique and has their own unique circumstances. I understand exercise is valuable to better living, but realistically know that members are busy. Many find the value of having me approach exercise differently where I support lifestyle with easy tips, so members can feel better immediately. My hands-on care allows people to regain a level of independence without the 2-3x/week for 12 weeks model.

This is why many members age of 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, find me different than the standard model. I don’t have time juggling many hats, and I am realistic about the expectations of my members. I support and nurture their body until their lifestyles are ReVITALized!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I had back surgery and that experience was full of frustration and mixed emotions. Spine surgery is a scary thought for everyone but health care practitioners from the general practitioner to the spine surgeon wanted to cut me up without any time invested in getting to know the person. Some didn’t even do any testing and relied on an MRI to come to the conclusion that I needed surgery. I followed orders even though I felt something could be better.

I came to learn that modern medicine highly relies on high tech machines to tell doctors what to do and that includes MRIs. Research has shown that MRIs have resulted in many people having surgery when there are better alternatives. The road to recovery was the only bright spot. This was physical therapy.

As a physical therapist, I was challenged with figuring out how to help patients who need back surgery, the worst of the worst cases. Doctors did not want to do surgery on them because they were a high risk medical patient.  With out of the box thinking and a passion to help serve, I surprised myself over and over that I was able to help so many avoid this dreaded choice of surgery.

Fast forward many years after, I now have 2 kids. My first child has a severe itching condition, which results in hormonal, digestion and sleep disruption. The diagnosis is eczema but all testing came back negative, like allergies and digestive testing. The only option we had was steroids and more steroids. I got kicked out of the medical office because I asked questions. There was a period where every night my son slept, I would use my medical mind to figure out how to help my son. This is when I went down a professional path that helped me understand the holistic approach and alternatives to medications, in addition to my expertise in alternatives to surgery.

I believe the art of medicine and the experience of “old school” customer service is lost in medicine. It is full of big corporations and insurance-based care that dictates what practitioners should do even if the clinician believes otherwise.

My experience and commitment to addressing the emotional component of getting healthcare NOT sickcare is my greates mission. Many say there is a different feel and excitement when getting care, and I believe it’s the empathetic model that makes people feel heard and this is powerful in getting better.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about ReVITALize Rehab Club – what should we know?
ReVITALize Rehab Club is a unique model to the current healthcare system that focuses on healthcare and NOT sickcare. We pride ourselves in being a special place that helps people find an alternative to medications, injections, procedures and avoiding surgery. We have a methodology that blends eastern and western medicine concepts to help with stubborn cases where people are undergoing multiple tests and everything is coming out negative, stumping their doctors. This results in usually more medications to get by.

ReVITALize Rehab Club main mission is to provide the human connection and touch that is severely missing in healthcare. We are the alternative to people who values the experience. We have teamed up with incredible experts in their fields that help me to promote a wellness mindset for patients to succeed. I understand that there is lecturing someone to better health or promoting a system that places the members in a position to say YES, I will be in charge of my health. I email, text, call back every patient after their visit to make sure they are okay.

One example is that we are disrupting the sickcare model by paying people to go to Pilates and yoga studios led by fitness experts that teach instructors within their field. I dedicate 10-15% of my time, promoting a teamwork approach where I am collaborating with member’s own doctors to capture the upside of medical cohesiveness and reduce the medical errors of not communicating. We do workshops that teach the South Bay Community how to be proactive and to understand there is an alternative to medications. We stand by this mission of being an alternative to medications that we donate a percentage of our profits to a local charity of orphans due to drugs. I love kids, so I decided to commit to kids.

My first 8 years were focused on being the expert pain management and sports injury specialist by being the top 0.1% of the physical therapist in the United States and having a dual board certification in orthopedic and sports medicine. This is very prestigious in my profession and demonstrates my passion early on to understand the basics really well while providing researched-based care. Even then, I knew something was missing in the 20% of my patients that had stubborn chronic conditions. That puzzled me. I could not pin point it.

As I grew as a person and a clinician, and being a father of a child with a gut-based, health related disorder, I realized that there is a whole other side of holistic healthcare that complemented the research-based Western medicine (reactive care). I also learned to listen, which I felt was missing during my health-related journey. These are the two intangible factors that allowed me to help the remaining 20% of cases where I couldn’t pin point what was missing.

I am very proud that I haven’t sacrificed on my mission. The model is so new that I am the odd man out and often get told to do what is standard. Every night I can sleep easy and look my kids in the eye, telling them that their dad is doing the right thing.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My biggest teacher is my son. I was new to parenting and it humbled me to learn to be more patient, listen and that life is more than me. He has helped me see health and pain through a different lens that when I applied to my members, I got better results.

I learn from everyone I encountered as everybody has got me to think and react in a different way. My biggest mentors were the giants of the physical therapy profession that gave me the skills to help but the person that molded me to be empathetic and taught me the skills to listen were my parents.

My mother taught me to never give up and so I am relentless on helping my members when their medical story does not look good from the beginning. My dad was selfless and nonjudgmental; hence I see my members with a lens of a clean slate, and I am the person to help my members rewrite their story.

The human body is my teacher that doesn’t teach unless I shut up and learn.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Elayne Shiohama

    September 21, 2017 at 20:40

    I love your story!

  2. Gail Wendland

    March 14, 2018 at 17:39

    Hi Dr Ngo,
    I am a friend of Elaine Shiohama and I enjoyed your talk yesterday. I have terrible pain behind my thighs ……so I find it hard to sit down. When I stand up, I am pretty much ok. I was wondering what kind of insurance you take. We are retired military so we have Medicare and Tricare for Life.
    I received some information from you so I may be on your e mail list already.
    Thank you for your time,
    Gail Wendland

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