Sana Chrystal, N.D., D.C.

Sana Chrystal, N.D., D.C. has worked at the Young Naturopathic Center for Wellness since 2010. She received her Naturopathic Medical degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences and her Doctorate in Chiropractic from Southern California University of Health Sciences. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Concordia University. Her areas of interest include IV therapy, biological medicine and ozone therapy.

In her spare time, Dr. Chrystal is a committed advocate for good health in her own life and the lives of others. You can often find her at the beach, hiking, painting, cooking and practicing yoga, or volunteering at various hospitals and community initiatives.

Connecting Cultures

In the sunlit corners of Dr. Chrystal’s memories, she’s surrounded by the warmth of home-cooked meals, the chatter of three siblings and the wisdom of ancient traditions that would one day shape her career.

“I was born in Thailand, and my family heritage is Cambodian and Chinese, so we have background from all over Southeast Asia,” Dr. Chrystal explains. “English is my second language.”

Her family immigrated to the United States when she was two years old, bringing with them a blend of cultural and medicinal practices. She remembers her family using acupuncture and herbal medicine, two of the foundational elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as well as her mother’s devotion to tending her garden.

Fast food was never on the menu. Instead, meals were cooked from scratch, imbued with love and an intrinsic understanding of the link between nutrition and health. These early lessons forged her deep-rooted belief in the power of holistic care.

As she grew older, and began to witness her parents and other family members navigate health issues, Dr. Chrystal found both concern and curiosity. “That made me go into the field of medicine,” she says.

“Watching members of my family grapple with health challenges made me realize that medicine is not just an opportunity to heal but also to stand alongside someone when they’re in need.”

Connecting Ideologies

Dr. Chrystal’s upbringing was filled with the kind of aspirations that immigrant families often harbor for their children. Her parents encouraged her to pursue her education, and she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. A love of sports then led her to chiropractic school, where destiny introduced her not only to her future husband but also to naturopathic medicine.

“I fell in love with naturopathic medicine instantly,” she says. “I saw it as a way I could open up my scope and help more people.” She continued her education at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (now Sonoran University of Health Sciences) and received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine.

Dr. Chrystal’s diverse educational background, from biology and chemistry to chiropractic and naturopathy, makes her a truly integrative practitioner. Her knowledge spans conventional medicine’s precision with naturopathic medicine’s holistic philosophy, allowing her to view health and well-being through multiple lenses. “I can look at things from many different perspectives. It’s been a real advantage for me and my patients.”

In 2010, Dr. Chrystal and her husband were living in Los Angeles when he received a job offer in the Bay Area. They packed their bags and moved north, where Dr. Chrystal connected with Dr. Young. She has been with the Young Naturopathic Center for Wellness ever since.

“I don’t think in terms of Western medicine versus Eastern medicine. To me, there is no separation — it is all the practice of medicine. That is how I find the best solutions for my patients.”

Connecting Systems

As a naturopathic practitioner, Dr. Chrystal seeks opportunities to make connections. Naturopathic medicine views the body not as separate parts, but as 12 interrelated systems that must be assessed and treated together. This requires a vast amount of knowledge and insight.

“I was drawn to this approach because I wanted to understand the body,” she explains. “With naturopathic medicine, our philosophy is that we want to get to the root cause. We’re not just treating the symptom, but treating the person as a whole.”

She describes her mission simply: “Leave people better than we found them.” To accomplish this, she incorporates ideas and techniques from multiple systems of medicine. She does not believe in valuing one over another; instead, she draws on her varied background to leverage the strengths of both conventional and naturopathic medicine.

“Different branches of medicine blend together nicely,” she says. “If your goal is to treat the whole person, sometimes that means natural therapies, and sometimes that means medication or surgery. It all has benefits in the right situation. The ultimate question is, what is the best fit for this person?”

“As naturopathic doctors, we see people, not problems to be solved. We look at all twelve systems of the body. Everything is integrated.”

Connecting the Dots

Dr. Chrystal likens her process to detective work. Like Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew, she believes the answers are out there if you ask the right questions to find them. This requires a combination of knowledge, critical thinking, active listening, keen observation and patience.

“People come to us and come back to us because we spend real time with them,” she says. “We take our time listening to you, decoding your health history and explaining what’s going on in your body.”

The etymology of ‘doctor’ traces back to the Latin word ‘docere,’ meaning ‘to teach.’ Dr. Chrystal emphasizes that doctors are educators. “Our job is to help you understand your own health and teach you how you can live your best life based on what your goals and needs are.”

She also plays the critical role of ‘healthcare strategist.’ Instead of merely handing over test results with a vague interpretation, Dr. Chrystal adopts a strategic approach, meticulously analyzing your risk factors and offering proactive solutions. “We don’t just treat your symptoms and call it a day. We strategize with you to ensure you age gracefully, and show you how you can be proactive versus reactive.

“When you come into this place, you feel welcomed. There’s a special energy in the air. You know that the people here want to help you.”

Connecting to People

What could be more personal than your health? Unfortunately, the modern healthcare system’s emphasis on efficiency and cost-saving measures allows the human connection to fall through the cracks. Physicians find fewer moments to truly listen to their patients, transforming what should be deeply personal interactions into brisk transactions.

“A lot of people feel like they’re at their last resort. They’ve tried it all — all the different specialists, all the different ‘ologies. They don’t feel like they’re being heard,” Dr. Chrystal says. “Then they come to us, and it’s a totally different experience.”

It starts with listening. Dr. Chrystal believes deep listening skills are one of the most important tools in the doctor’s toolbox. “If you can hear what a person is really saying, what kind of help they are really asking for, then you can build a connection. They are not just another number,” she says.

She recalls the story of a patient with a rare blood cancer. She was immunocompromised and struggling with non-healing wounds so severe they exposed bone and tissue. The patient could barely walk, requiring support from a carer or a cane to ensure she didn’t fall. She had seen multiple doctors and none could heal the wound causing her so much agony.

After working with Dr. Chrystal, taking a holistic and multi-modal treatment approach, her wound finally began to heal. She could walk without pain and was able to take a long-awaited trip back home.

“That’s one of my favorite stories,” Dr. Chrystal says. “I love knowing that I can help people, that I’m making a difference, even if it’s something as small as bringing a smile to someone’s day.”

“Everyone who walks through our doors is someone’s loved one. And they deserve nothing less than the compassionate care we’d wish for our own families.”

Connecting Mind and Body

Dr. Chrystal’s life is a testament to her deep belief in the holistic nature of health and wellness. She regularly practices yoga, which she sees as a way to destress and achieve mental clarity as well as exercise. This passion for mindfulness extends to her kitchen, where she embraces diverse flavors and ingredients, experimenting with dishes from every corner of the globe. “I love to eat all around the world,” she says. “My goal is to learn how to cook a dish from every ethnicity.”

In her culinary adventures, she doesn’t just taste; she notices patterns, like the prevalence of certain ingredients and health problems between populations. Her belief? “Food is medicine.” She practices what she preaches, maintaining a mostly paleo diet and understanding the intimate relationship between what we consume and how we feel.

“Our food is no longer nutritionally dense,” she explains. “If you think about agriculture 20 to 50 years ago, we used to rotate our crops, but now we don’t. That’s why so many Americans are deficient. That’s why we don’t feel good.”

To counteract the deficiencies she sees in the modern diet, Dr. Chrystal champions intravenous therapies, and reminds patients that wellness is not just about looking good outside, but about feeling good inside.

“Health is not just physical, it’s both physical and mental. If you’re not physically healthy and you’re not mentally healthy, then you’re not healthy period.”

Connecting Past and Future

Dr. Chrystal sees exciting things on the horizon for medical care. She’s enthusiastic about the potential of epigenetics, the study of how environmental and lifestyle factors can turn genes “on” or “off.” In her eyes, it represents a bridge between our genetic inheritance and our capacity to impact our future. “Imagine having the power to shift your health trajectory by influencing how your genes express themselves. It’s thrilling to think of how this could help us treat patients,” she says.

As she talks about the future of medicine, Dr. Chrystal isn’t solely focused on advancements of knowledge or technology. She speaks warmly of a past when doctors were more than just medical professionals; they were confidants, advisors and community pillars who made house calls and knew their patients by name.

The future and past intersect in her vision for a better healthcare system. She looks forward to innovations that will improve patient outcomes, but hopes to see the current system evolve beyond its limitations into a model with more attentive and integrated care.

“Each patient should have a care team. It shouldn’t just be one provider,” she explains. “I want a system where doctors communicate with each other and work in sync. Ultimately, that model produces better care for the patient.”

The broader healthcare system is still finding its way toward this vision, but that future is now at YNC. By seeking connections between cultures, eras, methodologies and more, Dr. Chrystal is helping to set the standard for what’s to come.

Visit Dr. Chrystal at the Young Naturopathic Center for Wellness

Discover a new paradigm in healthcare under Dr. Chrystal’s compassionate and expert care. To schedule your consultation at the Young Naturopathic Center for Wellness, call us at 408-761-6781 or complete our online contact form.