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— updated 2017-01-28

5 common myths about learning and practicing Chinese herbology
— and how expert-systems technology and computer simulations have transformed our curriculum

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.
 

Copyright ©2016 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved. Published by the Rocky Mountain Herbal Institute; c/o PO Box 579; Hot Springs, Montana [59845] USA. Education and software for health professionals:   www.rmhiherbal.org

Subtopics on this page…

  • Myth #1:  Legally practicing Chinese herbology requires paying years of expensive tuition at an accredited school and a professional (acupuncture/Chinese medicine) state-issued license.
  • Myths #2-4:
        #2:   To become a really good practitioner requires learning Chinese language and studying the ancient classics.
        #3:   One cannot safely begin practicing unless one has memorized by rote hundreds of herbs and their indications and properties.
        #4:   Learning traditional pulse palpation requires many years of study and practice before one can obtain reliable information from this method.
  • Myth #5:  A college/university degree will help to prepare a student for the study of Chinese herbology and make them a better practitioner

 

Myth #1:  Legally practicing Chinese herbology requires paying years of expensive tuition at an accredited school and a professional (acupuncture/Chinese medicine) state-issued license.

The following article explains why this is false.

  • The right to practice herbology, legal history and basis
    by Roger W. Wicke; 1996, updated 2013 March
    "How to avoid the sin of "practicing medicine" without a license is systematically explored from a historical and legal perspective, stripping it of its mystery. Herbalists helping people regain health are not practicing medicine if they follow specific guidelines. The article below includes the unchanged original article from 1996 plus an update and commentary on events and experiences since that date."

The vast majority of American herbalists, and for that matter, worldwide, are unlicensed herbalists continuing a tradition recognized since ancient times as a right of free people to choose herbs and foods necessary to restore and maintain health.

This article has never been refuted and has been affirmed by numerous legal scholars, judges, and individual court cases over the many decades since it was first written.
Note: if you are a licensed acupuncturist, for which insertion of needles into the skin is considered a regulated activity, the entire nature of your practice can be regulated, including what other things you may or may not do and how you perform those activities, including dispensing herbal formulas.
If you are an unlicensed herbalist, and as long as you avoid the "practice of medicine" as defined in the article, you are not affected by such regulations. It is the author's experience that many officials at TCM colleges commonly misrepresent these facts to the public and to prospective students.

Though I originally studied and practiced acupuncture, in 1992 I gave up my license to practice acupuncture because I recognized that over 90% of my results were clearly due to the herbal formulas and lifestyle changes that I recommended to clients. Since, then I have practiced as an unlicensed herbalist as do tens of thousands of others throughout the USA.

Fact: The trend toward professional licensing overwhemlingly originates from lobbying pressure by professional organizations themselves, not from any demand by the general public for "protection". Instead, it is a shameless strategy that serves to protect economic turf by creating de facto professional monopolies. My fellow herbalists are generally a staunchly libertarian lot, and every time someone within our profession suggests professional licensing, that individual gets a strong dose of verbal abuse. So this situation is highly unlikely to change in the future.

 

    Myth #2:  To become a really good practitioner requires learning Chinese language and studying the ancient classics.
    Myth #3:  One cannot safely begin practicing unless one has memorized by rote hundreds of herbs and their indications and properties.
    Myth #4:  Learning traditional pulse palpation requires many years of study and practice before one can obtain reliable information from this method.

The following article explains why all the preceding myths are now false. Myth #2 may have been true as late as the 1990's. Myths #3 and #4 may have been true until only a few years ago. Give us the chance now to prove it to you.

Read the following article:

If you finish reading the article and wish to become part of a revolution in healthcare, just follow the instructions within that article for applying for membership in RMHInet — or for applying for admission to an RMHI certification course, the procedure is the same.

 

Myth #5:  A college/university degree will help to prepare a student for the study of Chinese herbology and make them a better practitioner

15 years ago, I assumed this to be true. However, over the next 15 years, detailed statistics that we have kept of student admissions, student performance using our interactive game software, clinical ability during 2nd-year internship, and graduation rates have revealed a very clear trend: Modern American colleges and universities are dysfunctional. They are graduating many people who are not fully literate, lack critical thinking skills, and whose natural pattern-recognition skills (crucial to the art of TCM symptom-sign pattern analysis) have actually been suppressed. Consistently, our best students have been home-schooled individuals and those with minimal "higher" education. These facts initially shocked me, myself a college graduate with a Ph.D. I attempted to understand what was happening, and over the next few years I delved into any information I could find regarding educational psychology, mind control, cognitive function, etc.

My findings and experiences are summarized in the following articles: