The Miraculous Healing Abilities of Yao Yingfeng

Chinese herbs, a pot, a mortar and pestle, and paper packets tied with string sit on a wooden surface.

Ancient Chinese medicine was profound and inherited from the Taoist culture. (Image: HongChan001 via Dreamstime)

Are you curious about the miraculous cures and techniques of ancient Chinese doctors like Yao Yingfeng? Then, join us on a journey across time and space to uncover ancient Chinese medicine’s mysterious secrets and power!

Ancient Chinese medicine

Ancient Chinese medicine was profound and inherited from the Taoist culture. Throughout the dynasties, many doctors who served the imperial family and communities were good at healing. Some of their medical skills were learned from ancient recipes, while some were secret techniques and fairy recipes imparted by practitioners.

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Yao Yingfeng: A doctor with predestined relationships

In the Ming Dynasty, a doctor named Yao Yingfeng was in Renhe County (now Hangzhou, Zhejiang). At 30 years old, one day, he went to the mountain to collect herbs and met an older woman. The old woman pointed to a plant called “green essence” on the ground and told him: “It is edible. People will feel vigorous and energetic after eating it.” Not long after, he went to Mount Qiyun to seek the immortal way.

Mount Qiyun was called “Baiyue” in ancient times, and the legend had it that the Taoist deity Emperor Zhenwu once had a spiritual manifestation there. Yao Yingfeng met a Taoist soon after he entered the mountain.

One day, when it was snowing, Yao saw an older man lying in the snow, his body like a steamer, constantly emitting hot air. Yao believed the older man was not ordinary, so he stepped forward to greet him and asked for his advice.

The old man looked at him and said: “You and I have predestined relationships. So I will pass you my elixir and secret recipes.” After that, Yao Yingfeng made some progress in his medical skills. After coming down from the mountain, he began to practice medicine in Jiangsu and Zhejiang and soon became famous.

A Taoist temple on Mount Qiyun.
A Taoist temple on Mount Qiyun. (Image: via Wikipedia)

Yao Yingfeng’s unique skills

Yao was proficient in medicine, especially in treating traumas. The locals regarded him as a famous surgeon, but his skin-cutting and bone-scraping techniques could also cure diseases in the body or viscera. Therefore, all the patients with sores, headaches, or any internal illness came to him for treatment. His treatment method was so peculiar that no similar record existed in the general medical books.

Yao Yingfeng’s ability to foretell one’s death

Instructed by a Taoist, Yao Yingfeng could foretell people’s death dates from their traumas. For example, a person called Shi Shengyu in Yanzhou had a headache for three years and asked for Yao’s cure.

After checking him, Yao said: “Cut open your forehead and remove the bone inside. You will not alleviate your headache until August, but it cannot be eradicated. So why not wait until next spring?”

In the following early spring, Yao removed the patient’s bone from the head, letting the blood stasis flow out. Then, Yao Yingfeng completely cured Shi’s headache by draining away several liters of blood.

An older man had been suffering from abdominal distension, but he could not be cured. Yao said: “Your sickness is lung abscess.”

Then he poured a bottle of water down on the patient’s head. When he was shocked, Yao took a knife and stabbed his heart. After discharging several bowls of pus, the patient was healed.

After that, people asked him: “When you stabbed him in the heart, weren’t you afraid he would die?” Yao replied: “Generally, the heart is in a sagging condition. But when I suddenly sprayed the patient with water, he would be shocked, and thus his heart would be lifted. So it would not be hurt by my stabbing it.”

Yao Yingfeng’s miraculous cures

During Emperor Chongzhen, Yu Sixun, Governor of Zhejiang, led the army to fight against a group of pirates. The battle was not over yet, but he grew a severe boil on his back. It was excruciating, and he asked Yao to treat him. After Yao dug out two large bowls of rotten flesh from his back and applied the secret potion from the Taoist to the wound, Yao Yingfeng cured the ulcer in only two days.

The locals were amazed by Yao’s miraculous cures. An older man had something attached to his left arm, and Yao Yingfeng said: “When you ate meat, you had rat poisoning, and now you have rats growing on your left arm.” After speaking, he picked up a knife and pretended to cut it. At this moment, as expected, a mouse fell from that person and quickly ran away. 

A patient with grain-sized scabies all over his body asked Yao for a cure. Yao Yingfeng said: “It is ‘clean sea sore.’ In general, it will grow all over the body before age 60. So it would be best if you did not cure it. You can live if you don’t cure it. If you cure it, you will die soon.” However, that person didn’t listen to him and saw another doctor for treatment. As a result, that patient died as soon as it was cured.

Instructed by a Taoist, Yao Yingfeng could foretell people's time of death from their traumas.
Instructed by a Taoist, Yao Yingfeng could foretell people’s time of death from their traumas. (Image: Evgeniy Fesenko via Dreamstime)

Yao Yingfeng’s ability to diagnose without observation

Generally, doctors need to observe, listen to breathing, ask about symptoms, and take the pulse (the four fundamental methods for diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine) to know the patient’s condition or cause.

However, observing outside the body, Yao could tell whether the viscera were healthy. By watching the wound, he could know the disease, how to treat it, and even accurately foretell whether the patient could survive and how long to live.

A patient had something growing on his back. Yao Yingfeng looked at him and then said: “Not so serious.” But a person next to the patient, who did not seem ill, just had a red mole on the corner of his left lip. Yao said: “Your teeth have been useless, and you will not live more than three years.”

While listening to it, the man was so angry that he said nothing. Three years later, the man’s teeth were broken. So the man ran to ask Yao for help. Yao waved and said: “You will die in three years. It’s the punishment of Heaven; how can I change it?” In addition, a patient had a carbuncle on his neck. Yao Yingfeng told him, “It’s hopeless. You will lose your head in three years and can hardly keep yourself alive.” It turned out to be the case.

Yao Yingfeng’s legacy

One day in his old age, Yao called his children and grandchildren and told them: “I’m leaving, and I will come back later.” After speaking, he meditated with his legs crossed and passed away with his eyes closed.

Yao Yingfeng didn’t go after fame and gain but wanted to cure people and benefit them. His legacy lives on through his unique medical skills and ability to diagnose and foretell death dates without observation.

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