Studying Acupuncture in Beijing With Dr. Bai

I recently read an article about Dr. Bai Yulan. It brought back memories of my internship in Beijing at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital where Dr. Bai was in charge of the Acupuncture Department. I thought you might enjoy meeting her and some of the other Chinese Doctors.

Some of this article is excerpted from China Daily

“Foe Tai Ling rushed into a room at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital when she heard screams and cries. In the consulting room, she saw Dr Bai Yulan treating a wailing 9-year-old boy with acupuncture needles. The boy’s father told Ling, an Indonesian intern in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), that his child’s hearing had improved because of it and that if she wanted to learn acupuncture, she should apprentice herself to Bai.”

In the 1950s, there were only 10 foreign students a year studying in China. There were about 400 in 2006 and it has grown steadily since but, when I studied there in the summer of 2000, it was not as common as it today.

“Dr Bai is one of Beijing’s most renowned practitioners, but as Ling learned, it is not easy to get a job with a master. When Ling asked to assist, Bai, ‘didn’t say anything – she just turned her back on me.’”

This is the Dr. Bai I remember. She was a tough cookie and was feared by most of the other doctors.

“Ling did get to work with her some weeks later. Other students did, too. Bai has taught some 6,460 foreigners from 30 countries over the past 30 years.”

Dr. Bai was a formidable practitioner and well known in the hospital. Another practitioner, Dr. Zhao Yu Xiang was also very memorable, for different reasons. He was called “Dr. 1 needle” because of his ability to do so much with only 1 needle. He was also a generous man, Dr. Zhao took a group of us to lunch and showed us some qi gong moves, as well as teaching us the secrets of the needle. I learned so much from my experiences at the hospital and am very grateful to have had such skilled teachers.

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