image:RMHI_logo
rmhiherbal.org
[RMHI Home]
[HerbalThinkTCM software] [Tutorials]
[RMHInet] [Courses/Certification] [FAQ]
[Subscribe] [Articles]
[About] [Contact]

— updated 2019-03-05

image:herbal_art_1

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.
 

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 #6:  Buying Chinese herbs requires a professional healthcare license.

 
Copyright ©2016-2019 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

 

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 overwhelmingly 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:

 

Myth #6:  Buying Chinese herbs requires a professional healthcare license.

Most herbal distributors that specialize in selling bulk Chinese herbs and herbal products to practitioners have stated policies of selling only to "licensed practitioners". However, it has been our experience that the vast majority of these distributors will make an exception if you can prove that you have had proper training (TCM-based) in the use of Chinese herbs, regardless of whether you are licensed. (One such distributor has actually stated that RMHI is the only school for which he has made that exception; most are not so strict.) RMHI has been teaching Chinese herbology to health professionals since 1988. Most Chinese herb distributors have become aware of the quality and thoroughness of our professional curriculum, especially since we have had numerous students enroll in our program after they had already graduated from a TCM college.

Most distributors also have a student sales provision, which allows enrolled students who are learning TCM herbology to submit proof of enrollment in order to open a student-buyer account. Such accounts may have restrictions, like preventing you from ordering dangerous herbs.

It may help you to understand the legal perspective of the distributors. There are quite a few Chinese herbs for which improper administration can lead to serious side effects, and proper training helps to minimize these incidents. However, the sad reality is that being a "licensed practitioner" is no guarantee of competence. Medical doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors, and other practitioners have made serious errors in judgment due to lack of proper training specific to the use of Chinese herbs. Most ethical distributors recognize this situation: they want to sell their products, but they also want to do so as safely as possible.

The vast majority of our graduates have never had a problem setting up buyer accounts with distributors once they explain their situation and offer to provide documentation, like a graduation certificate, which we provide to all successful graduates.

Also be aware that a very large number of Chinese herbs — generally the more popular, commonly-used ones that are also without serious side effects — are becoming available at many general herb and health food distributors. No credentials are required, the general public can order, and one can often set up a professional account with discounts for volume purchases. The reality is that even common kitchen substances like table salt and cayenne pepper can cause serious side effects if overdosed, taken to excess, or used by people for whom these may be contraindicated. Even a basic knowledge of Chinese herbal principles can help one to avoid the vast majority of such potentially harmful outcomes.













image:END