Introduction to Chinese Medicine

practical, 4-session class in English

Dates: Tuesday evenings , 7pm to 9pm;  April 16, 23 and May 7,  14

Cost: 300/class; 1,000 for all four sessions

Register:add Shelley on Wechat 13439386197

Chinese medicine is based upon unique concepts of the body and the cosmos which differ from both modern, Western medicine and other forms of “natural” medicine. This class will show students how the core ideas of Han dynasty philosophy have formed the foundation of concepts of health and disease in Chinese medicine all the way up to the present day. We will then see how these key ideas are applied in the practice of acupuncture, herbal medicine and dietary therapy. Each class will include lecture, discussion, and hands-on practice.

Class 1

We will discuss the concepts of Qi, yin-yang, five phases (elements), and the internal landscape of the body. The body is a microcosm that reflects patterns of change and continuity in the macrocosm of the universe. Martial arts, landscape painting, feng-shui and medicine in China are all based upon this insight. Understanding these central ideas helps us see how Chinese medicine is an essential component of Chinese culture. Students will also engage in a writing exercise and a guided meditation to further explore how and why Chinese physicians insist upon using bodily experience to directly grasp the reality of qi and its movement.

Class 2

The core of clinical Chinese medicine is an understanding of patterns of disharmony in the body and the modalities to re-harmonize or regulate those imbalances. We will discuss the internal organs and their functions, as well as the roles of qi, blood and fluids. The “gestalt” nature of organ patterns of health and disease will be explained though case examples. Students will have an opportunity to practice analyzing case studies and to complete a survey about their own health in order to better understand the nature of “diagnosis” in Chinese medicine.

Class 3

The acupuncture channel system has been used to diagnose and cure ailments for at least 2500 years, making it one of the oldest forms of healing on the planet, yet many questions regarding its efficacy and mechanism of action remain unanswered. Acupuncture channels are neither purely anatomical nor are they purely “energetic.” They make use of multiple structures in the body without being reducible to any one set of anatomical tissues. This class will explore the paradox of clinical evidence showing the positive results of acupuncture treatment and the lack of a “scientific” explanation for its effects. Students will also practice palpating the channels with their hands in order to understand how they reflect past and present injuries and disharmonies.

Class 4

Almost all cultures have used plants to heal ailments and improve health. Chinese herbal medicine is exceptional, however, for the continuity of its tradition and the scope of the medical literature on the use and preparation of herbal medicines. The recognized, mainstream canon of traditional texts alone contains more than 10,000 volumes, of which less than 5% have been translated into any European language. In this system, plant, animal and mineral substances are classified into categories based on their properties and physiological functions. This class will introduce the principles of Chinese herbal medicine and their main applications in decoction, patent, and external medicines. We will also sample teas made by steeping one to three herbs that can be used at home to maintain healthy digestion, sleep and moods.

About the Instructor:

Shelley Ochs is a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, a translator of modern and classical Chinese medical texts, and a scholar specializing in the cultural and intellectual history of medicine in early China. She was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky in the United States. From 1989-93 she lived in Taizhong, Taiwan, where she studied Chinese language and literature.


Her clinical training began with an M.S. in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Bilingual Program of the American College of Traditional Chinese medicine in San Francisco (2000). Upon graduation, Dr. Ochs practiced in public health settings in the San Francisco Bay Area, including SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation) and Oakland Mental Health Services. She worked with clients suffering from drug addition, mental illness, autism, developmental disorders, and trauma, in addition to common ailments such as injuries, insomnia, and headaches. From 2003-2007 she had a private practice in Louisville, Kentucky, Bluegrass Chinese Medicine, where she saw a wide variety of ailments, from rare autoimmune diseases to common colds. She maintained a full herbal pharmacy in addition to providing acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping and guasha therapy..


In 2007, Dr. Ochs came to Beijing for traditional apprenticeship training with senior acupuncturist Dr. Wang juyi in Beijing. She has been in Beijing ever since, and lives with her husband, a native of Beijing, and their two children. Dr. Ochs completed her Ph.D. in the History of Chinese Medicine and Chinese Literature at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (2013), Beijing, China. Her current research focuses on the role of culture and religion in the early formation of Chinese medical theory and practice. She regularly writes articles on Chinese medicine for both academic and clinical journals. She has been teaching a class on Chinese medicine for undergraduates at the Beijing Center for China Studies (TBC) every semester since 2008.


Dr. Ochs’s clinical work includes acupuncture, Daoist organ-balancing acupressure, nutritional therapy, and Qi-healing therapy. She treats and advises patients who want to address gynecological disorders, male and female infertility, post-partum recovery, insomnia, depression, anxiety, compulsive behavior, chronic pain, acute pain, sports injuries, skin disorders, acne, poor digestion, slow metabolism, and weight loss  Dr. Ochs is also committed to educating the public about Chinese medicine. Since 2017,she has been studying and teaching with Peng Haitao, senior disciple of Dr. Pang Heming, founder of Wisdom Healing Qigong. She has taught multiple cycles of introductory classes on Chinese medicine self-care at the China Culture Center.

Location: The Beijing Center UIBE No. 10 Huixin East Street, 4th Floor Ningyuan Bldg. (south gate); 对外经济贸易大学;宁远楼4层

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