Introduction to the Level 1-H option: Personal and family health (Family Health Educator program)
Instructor: Roger Wicke, Ph.D.
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In traditional cultures worldwide, each tribe or extended family typically had at least one member who was known for his or her skill in basic health care, knowledge of common illnesses, methods for preparing foods and herbs to resolve such illnesses, dealing with injuries, etc. For example, only one hundred years ago in the American West, such skills among the new settlers were necessary for survival. Knowledge of the healing properties of herbs and foods was an important aspect of the traditional culture of that era. Another major advantage that the traditional herbalist-healer had was an ongoing familiarity with the individual lives of their tribal or family relations. Without needing to ask, they already knew the hazards and risks unique to the local environment and the stresses, weaknesses, and idiosyncracies of individuals that might lead to specific illnesses.
In modern times, specific lifestyle, environmental, and occupational hazards may well account for over 80% of all chronic disease in the U.S. and other industrialized nations. An increasingly toxic commercial food supply, unnecessary vaccinations, and pharmaceutical drugs account for most of this 80%. (Proper diet alone can often have a huge impact on our health, as I can attest from observing health improvements that my clients, students, and I have personally experienced after making dietary changes. An increasing number of medical professionals like Drs. Jonathan Wright, Weston Price, William Kelley, Nicholas Gonzales, Max Gerson, James Howenstine, and Joseph Mercola have acknowledged this and have emphasized proper diet as the first priority in helping someone regain their health from a chronic illness.) When I do individual client counseling, I often schedule three hours for the initial interview in order to take a thorough health history that includes occupational, home environment, social/emotional stresses, and food intake habit patterns that will help me to spot factors likely to be related to the client's health problems. However, even after such an interview, I may know only a fraction of a client's relevant life details, details that may be well known to the client's family.
Even many of the best TCM herbalists in China and the U.S. rarely delve into diet, environmental, home and workplace toxicity issues, because it's simply too time consuming. However, in many cases eliminating toxic substances from one's life can often result in major health improvements, and sometimes even simple changes can have dramatic results. Determining the offending chemical, dietary toxin or nutrient deficiency can be like doing detective work it requires time, patience, and attention to detail, which is best accomplished in an educational context by reading, discussion, and targeted questions to experts when necessary. It is unreasonable to expect your health practitioner to know all the relevant details of your life and your home and family situation and to give you a comprehensive list of changes that you need to make. On the other hand, if you arrive at your health appointment having already done your homework by preparing a list of relevant symptoms and observations, questions, and possibilities, you will be much more likely to access the practitioner's expertise in the limited time allowed.
Our modern industrialized medical system is designed to extract huge profits from people whose dietary habits and lifestyles are setting them up for a lifetime of chronic disease; standardized medical protocols and toxic pharmaceutical drugs commonly alleviate symptoms while burdening the body with ever greater toxicity and sowing the seeds of future disease. The system is not designed to restore the health of people with complex health problems caused by multiple toxic factors from diets and from home and work environments. The assembly-line economics do not allow it, even when well-intentioned practitioners try to buck the system and give thoughtful advice. Many years ago, a pediatrician friend with a considerable knowledge of herbs and holistic treatment methods complained to me that it was simply not possible to give meaningful personalized advice when her medical partners were demanding that she see at least 6 patients each hour. Ten minutes per patient! Her partners warned her that the difference between 15 minutes and 10 minutes was the difference between meeting their clinic overhead costs and making a profit. Even alternative health practitioners who graduate from schools of naturopathy or Chinese medicine with student-loan debts of $100,000 or more are under pressure to limit patient appointment times.
I empathize with the frustration my pediatrician friend expressed, and in the remainder of this document, I outline what I believe is a solution. To give you a hint of what I'm proposing, imagine that before you made an appointment with her, you did the following:
I know from experience that this system can be very effective, because some of my own clients have done this, improving their health through their own efforts and, in the process, often avoiding wasting huge amounts of money on unnecessary and ineffective medical care. By their own reading and study, they have already tried and eliminated the obvious, simple solutions, popularly recommended dietary changes, etc. I can then quickly scan the written summary and spend the remainder of the appointment discussing what I know about the problem, give my opinions about which solutions are most appropriate, or refer the client to someone else if it is beyond my expertise. It's even possible that the pediatrician I described above, if you had handed her your typed summary in the first minute, would have been able to give you appropriate advice tailored to your unique situation in the remaining 9 minutes that her medical partners allowed her.
As I learned by personal experience 20 years ago, if anyone was ever going to systematically unravel my own health problems, it would have to be me. Various practitioners, textbooks, and information sources held pieces of the puzzle, but ultimately, I had to spend the time to assemble them all together into a coherent whole that led to practical solutions. Below, I outline the program that we at RMHI have designed to give you the same reference and study tools that we have used to train health professionals for the past 20 years, in an easy-to-understand, self-explanatory software and distance-learning package.
How Level 1-H (Family Health Educator program) differs from Level 1, our introductory-level professional course
In recognition of the traditional importance of families and tribes to health and survival in the midst of an increasingly toxic, inhumane, and spiritually corrupted industrial culture, in 2011, we at RMHI have initiated a new certification option the Family Health Educator.
This program, designated in our listing of courses and certification options as "Level 1-H", is mostly identical in content to the Level-1 professional course in Traditional Chinese Herbal Sciences, but the requirements are not as stringent:
A significant portion of the course material is devoted to exposing the toxic aspects of our environments, diets, lifestyles, corporate media, and culture. We explore the use of music, sound, exercise forms, outdoor activities, esoteric spiritual traditions, and the study of suppressed world history as some of the means available to help people overcome addictive and dysfunctional behaviors and unplug themselves from The Matrix.
Chinese herbology is one of the most sophisticated systems for understanding how to practically apply herbs to improve health, and this course will show you how to apply its insights to far more than just "Chinese" herbs. Many people are rightly concerned about questionable quality of products from China (see our article: "Trends that will affect the practice of TCM herbology over the next 10 years — the Internet Revolution, the College Bubble, Chinese adulteration scandals, regulatory wars"), and we show you how to use insights from the Chinese herbal system to understand the effects of any herb, food, exercise form, and even music on the human body.
If you participate in this program and realize that you have an aptitude for Chinese herbology, upgrading to the full Level-1 certification program is easy. All you will need to do is to complete the anatomy and physiology prerequisites (we accept documented independent study) and upgrade to the full Pro version-option of the HerbalThink-TCM software.
Since 1987, our curriculum has steadily evolved with technology, incorporating interactive game software, computerized and searchable databases, student email discussion groups, and the Internet. Consequently, we have been able to offer this program at greatly reduced tuition costs relative to conventional colleges.
All the starting materials that you will need for completing your application for admission, including the free download of the HerbalThink-TCM software, are available on our website. See the following step-by-step outline for how to get started:
We've placed one of the more challenging parts of the Level-1H curriculum right at the beginning in the form of an aptitude test, which is accessible in the Free version-option of HerbalThink-TCM. (This knowledge is essential for using herbs without side effects and for matching patterns of symptoms with appropriate herbal formulas.) That way you can determine for yourself whether this course is right for you.
Note: If you discover that you enjoy studying Chinese herbology and want to enroll in RMHI's full professional course, upgrading from the Level-1H to the Level-1 program is easy.