from our College Principal Richard Blackwell
I know very well from my own experience in practice (and as a patient) just how powerful Chinese herbal medicine is. The theory and practice of this medicine is a summation of the experience of practitioners going back over two millennia. They carefully observed the actions of many hundreds of herbs and their synergistic combinations in formulae, and matched the formulae to the patterns they diagnosed. This enables us as Chinese medicine practitioners to carefully select the best formula for each patient, and then to adapt it to match the individual’s requirements as precisely as possible. The therapeutic power of this process is, of course, why this tradition of medicine has thrived through the centuries and spread throughout the world. Throughout history Chinese medicine has evolved in response to new discoveries and new challenges, and in recent times this evolution has included new understandings from scientific research into herbs and formulae. Practitioners are able to draw on all the richness of this long-lived tradition of medicine, from its roots in pre-Han history to its current flowering in the modern age, to benefit a huge variety of patients and conditions.
Many acupuncturists are keen to learn how to use Chinese herbal medicine, to enhance and extend their current acupuncture practice. The challenge is how to do so in a way that is accessible and affordable, whilst also of a high enough quality to enable you to be both safe and clinically effective. The NCA course is designed with these challenges in mind. There is enough weekend-based classroom contact, supported by high quality e-learning resources and home study, to ensure you gain confidence in your knowledge. The e-learning resources make learning the basics easier, and you can revisit them as much as you like, and the e-learning is supported by online discussion forums with fellow students and your tutors. Most crucial of all, there is plenty of hands-on experience in our teaching clinic, and this is not just about students observing a practitioner at work – it is about you the student taking cases and writing your own prescriptions, with expert guidance from our highly experienced supervisors. By providing this engaged clinical experience for you, and combining it with teaching from our expert team of NCA tutors, supplemented further by our guest tutors, we ensure that you are fully ready and able to practise when you qualify. You will be launched into practising as a fully-fledged Chinese medicine practitioner, with the confidence you need, and with the knowledge that there is additional support available from us at this stage if required.
We further support you by using assessments, such as open book exams, which test your grasp of how to work with the broad body of knowledge (ancient and modern) that you'll engage with on the course. We're interested in helping you to develop an effective way of working with herbs in your clinic, rather than simply testing your short term memory.
I hope this prospectus will inspire you to join us. I know your patients will be glad you did.