Shennong Relational Herb Method


Do you want to overcome your overwhelm, boredom and confusion about Chinese herbalism so you can be a force of transformation in the lives of your patients?

There’s a simple secret at the heart of learning Chinese herbs well enough to help your patients at the deepest level, every time. It’s honestly not much of a secret, though, because it’s right there in the stories and texts that lie at the foundation of Chinese medicine.

The secret? Engage your whole self in the learning, and never stop.

Unfortunately – most of our Chinese herbs education doesn’t take this secret seriously In general, Chinese herbs are taught in much the same way algebra, world history, physiology and any other subject. Lecture classes, busywork, lots of strings of foreign words and unfamiliar concepts, perhaps a joke or story or two, some tests, and a grade on a transcript. The herbs are reduced to category, a few actions, maybe a flavor and temperature, and if you’re lucky, a mention of the doctrine of signatures. Even the best professors find the material difficult to teach – there’s just so much of it, and it’s hard to know how to deliver it in a way that really lights a fire in students – thus the “data point” model has become the norm. This is a real tragedy. For most people just starting out in Chinese medicine, herbs are one of the tools that most intrigue them. Herbs are fascinating, living, transformative things – and most people know that right away when they begin their study.

But the data point model of learning herbs simply sucks the life out of it

Some students drop out. Some simply check out. Even worse, the most engaged and excited students get to clinic and find they just don’t know how to prescribe the herbs. Even if they did well on the tests, when confronted with patients, their knowledge seems to fail them! Many fall back on just a couple of formulas or patents, and don’t dare to go beyond, despite knowing that deep power resides in the “beyond.”

I had the same problem

I struggled too. While I found the tests in school to be pretty easy, and my professor was a wonderful man full of great clinical gems, I found myself losing passion. From the first day I noticed that, I made it my quest to wake each day completely excited out of my mind to learn more about herbs. I read books on diverse topics, I talked to professors, I mentored other students, I dove deep into the classics and into my own self-cultivation. Later, as a practitioner, I taught classes about Chinese herbs – which I do to this day. In creating that class from the ground up, I learned what worked and what didn’t work. What was inspiring food for the heart, and what was just distraction. I also continued my own process, acquiring skills and knowledge, building a base of experience and continually refining my techniques.

All this learning became a method

Eventually, I realized that what I’d built was really a unique method for learning Chinese herbs that I could teach anyone (and actually was teaching everyone who would listen).

The method integrates information from a variety of sciences and arts, the deep practice of radical intuition, important time tested scholarly resources, the major classical texts of our medicine and the input and experience of students just like you. It is a living, breathing creation that grows with each encounter with new students. Most of all it teaches a method of engagement that you will use throughout your life to learn herbs in a way that works for YOU and your patients.
Along the way, we address all the basic information learned in most schools about herbs (category, channel affinity, flavor, nature and so on) in a way that is substantiated by the classics & grounded by sensory and relational experience. In learning to see Chinese herbs as more than bits of data to be arranged on a chart, everything we learn makes more sense, and our practice of the medicine becomes more potent. The course admits students on a rolling basis, but we are currently making some changes to the structure of the course to make it more useful to students. If you would like to hear when the course is ready to take new students, please feel free to add your information to the form below. This list will ONLY be used for the Shennong method class and is entirely separate from all other informational newsletters on the site. We expect the course to be available in January 2015.

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