He was a scholar of the I-Ching, and a traditional Chinese physician from the Shandong Province in Northern China, famous for the miraculous and spontaneous results he would obtain using just a few needles. The acupuncture points he used are unique in that they are located opposite the affected area. In most cases, the patient notices the effect immediately upon insertion of the needle.
Dr. Tung’s Points were a treasured family secret, handed down and refined over many generations. After fleeing for his life during the cultural revolution in China, Master Tung began to teach his secret acupuncture point system.
When Dr. Tung died in 1975, he left behind his point book and his legacy. Two of his students, Dr. Miriam Lee and Dr. Wei-Chieh Young, introduced Master Tung’s Points to the U.S.
Dr. Wei-Chieh Young studied with Master Tung in Taiwan. Today he is considered the leading authority on Master Tung’s acupuncture. Susan Johnson has been Dr. Young’s student since 1987.
Dr. Wei-Chieh Young is a certified Chinese Medical Doctor in Taiwan, and a NCCA-certified acupuncturist and herbalist in the United States. Now practicing in Rowland Heights, California, he is originally from Taiwan. He was born into a family with a Traditional Chinese Medicine background, and so he began learning TCM, orthopedics, traumatology, and acupuncture from a young age. In 1965, he began to study with Master Tung Ching Chang as a direct-line disciple, and after four years of apprenticeship, he became Master Tung’s clinic assistant and taught Tung’s Acupuncture.
After graduation he started his own clinic. In the early 1970s, Dr. Young developed a powerful needling technique named Chien-Yin (Pulling & Guiding) Needling Technique, as well as a theory to explain Master Tung’s Acupuncture, Zhang-Fu Bei Tong (Organ Divergent Communications) theory. Dr. Young published Zhen Jiao Jing Wei (The Longitude and Latitude of Acupuncture and Moxibustion), the first book documenting Master Tung’s Points with expanded theories and clinical experiences. Master Tung highly commended the work.
Over the past thirty years, Dr. Young has continued to share his discoveries by teaching seminars and publishing books and journal articles. After decades of clinical practice, independent study, and learning from master-level doctors, Dr. Young decided to reach for a higher level. He received his Doctorate degree in Medicine at Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ph.D. in Philosophy at Beijing University, and Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine from Samra University of Oriental Medicine.
At her trial, her patients filled the courtroom in protest of her arrest, claiming their right to the only medicine that had truly helped them. Within a few days of Dr. Lee’s trial, acupuncture was authorized as an experimental procedure in California. In 1976, Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation that finally legalized acupuncture.
The Acupuncture Association of America was founded by Dr. Miriam Lee in July 1980; Dr. Lee continued to lead the organization until her retirement in 1998. The Acupuncture Association of America was created to promote public education about acupuncture, provide continuing education classes for licensed practitioners, to guide and support legislative advocacy, and to promote research in the field of acupuncture.
For nearly a decade, the Acupuncture Association of America supported Art Krause, a California lobbyist whose primary work has been on behalf of acupuncturists. Dr. Lee offered classes in order to raise funds needed to support this legislative work. Mr. Krause, well respected in Sacramento, was able to negotiate agreements with influential politicians. Among the friends of the Acupuncture Association of America and acupuncture were Dr. Bill Filante, Senators Art Torres and Herschel Rosenthal, all instrumental in getting many acupuncture bills made into law. It is because of the monumental efforts of Dr. Miriam Lee, Art Krause and others that California acupuncturists are now licensed, have a very comprehensive scope of practice, primary care physician status, primary insurance coverage and have been able to accept Medi-Cal.
In 1989, the Council of Acupuncture Organizations was formed to unite the profession in the legislative process. This group was composed of nine different acupuncture organizations throughout California, including three Chinese, two Japanese, two Korean and two Caucasian groups. This was the first attempt to bring together these different acupuncture communities. Unfortunately, the group met for only two years, but during that time, the Council of Acupuncture Organizations was able to procure acupuncture coverage through Worker’s Compensation.
Many new acupuncture organizations were formed during the 1990’s, both in California and nationwide. The Acupuncture Association of America, having had a very significant role in the early formation and legalization of California acupuncture, was then able to focus on providing continuing education classes. Dr. Miriam Lee sponsored many well-known practitioners from China to come to her clinic in Palo Alto to teach seminars. These courses covered a variety of topics such as Tung’s Points, herbal formulation, scalp acupuncture, wrist and ankle points, and Traditional Chinese Medicine gynecology and oncology.
Dr. Miriam Lee retired in 1998, and moved to Southern California to be with her family. Dr. Lee passed away June 24th, 2009. Miriam Lee was a pioneering doctor whose tireless work led to the recognition and legalization of the medical practice of acupuncture in California.