Miriam Lee Was a Pioneer in the Legalization of Acupuncture in the U.S.

Last year a leader in the field of Chinese medicine passed away. Her name was Miriam Lee. Amy wrote a memorial for this outstanding practitioner on her blog, the Portland Acupuncture Blog, and I am re posting it here.

a prominent figure in the legalization of acupuncture in the US, died at the end of June 2009 in Palo Alto, California. Lee is a well-known name in the United States for allowing the legalization of acupuncture in California, and later the rest of the states (most of them, at least).
She was born in China, and when she came to the United States later in life, she worked in a factory for Hewlett Packard. It was here that she began treating her co-workers out of her house, and was eventually arrested. Circle Community Acupuncture writes about important this event in their blog:

“In 1974 Miriam Lee was arrested for practicing medicine without a license. Her patient’s filled the courthouse at her hearing, and demanded to have the right to receive acupuncture. Many of them had found relief from long-standing chronic complaints, and were angered that this was being taken away from them. Miriam Lee had offered them compassion and health, and now they came to her defense. Thanks to this public outcry, acupuncture was declared an “experimental procedure” and Miriam Lee was granted the right to see patients at San Francisco University. In 1976, acupuncture was legalized in California.”

We have gone from an “experimental procedure” to being recommended by doctors. It has certainly been a long road for the pioneering acupuncture practitioners. Because of Miriam Lee’s refusal to stop treating those in need, acupuncture practitioners are now allowed to work with patients in the US. Those of us who have reaped the benefits of receiving acupuncture have her to thank. She will be a missed presence in the thousands of lives she has healed and changed.

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