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Dr. Bing Yin Lee

A Life in Chinese Medicine

As a teenager in Shanghai, Bing Yin Lee contracted a severe case of typhoid fever that was pronounced incurable by western-trained medical doctors. Her father would not give up hope and desperately sought treatment for her from various practitioners. With his daughter near death, he sought out the most renowned doctor of Chinese medicine in Shanghai, Dr. Ding Jie Wan. Though he had little faith in traditional medicine, he was willing to do anything to save his daughter’s life.

Dr. Ding treated his young patient successfully, and Bing Yin Lee began to recuperate from her illness. When she was better, her father sent Bing Yin to study Traditional Chinese Medicine. During her severe illness, her father had made a vow to Guan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, that if Chinese Medicine could save his daughter, he would send her to study medicine to benefit the world.

Bing Yin Lee enrolled at the Chinese Medical Institute of Shanghai in 1929, at a time when Traditional Chinese Medicine was fighting to survive in China. The Manchu Dynasty had collapsed, and the new government considered traditional medicine superstitious and unscientific. Bing Yin graduated in 1934 amidst a climate of repression and distrust of TCM. She continued her studies, and in 1935, graduated from the Senior Research Class at the Oriental Acupuncture Institute of Shanghai.

Bing Yin went on to continue her studies at the Chinese Acupuncture Research Institute in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and taught at the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hong Kong. In 1974, she relocated to the United States, opening a practice in San Francisco’s Chinatown. In 1984, she completed her Ph.D. at the San Francisco College of Acupuncture.

Dr. Bing Yin Lee recently retired at age 94, and lives in Oakland, California. Even in retirement, she continues to teach and publish on topics in Traditional Chinese Medicine.