The Xiantian (先天) College of Chinese Medicine (XCCM) is a newly-established organisation that will be teaching courses in various aspects of Chinese medicine to a professional level beginning in 2016. The college was established by long-time Daoist teacher Damo Mitchell and experienced Chinese medical practitioner Rob Aspell. The aim was to establish a place where students could come to learn Chinese medicine, both conventional TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) style and more classical esoteric practices, independent from university establishments.
The main focus of the college is in teaching three-year-long Diploma-level courses in combined Chinese medicine with a strong emphasis on classical principles and technical skill in diagnosis and treatment of disease according to the underlying ethos of both Chinese medicine and Daoism.
What is Xiantian?
The term Xiantian is an important philosophical concept as well as a form of categorisation within alchemical Daoism. It is often translated as meaning ‘pre-Heaven’ or ‘original Heaven’. In this case, ‘Heaven’ is referring to the more Yang aspect of human existence – namely the mind. The concept of ‘Heaven’ being in its ‘original’ state is a reference to a pure mental state, free from conditioned thinking, imbalance and disease. The original underlying tenet of Chinese medicine was that the majority of diseases have their root within an imbalanced emotional state and so a Chinese medical physician should always take their patient’s mind or spirit into account when diagnosing and treating their condition.
While it is true that the three-year long courses in Chinese medicine offered by UK universities provide a solid education in the subject, they are also not the only way to study subjects such as Tui Na and Acupuncture. Both Damo Mitchell and Rob Aspell have received university-level education in Chinese medicine; however, it is their belief that much of the information being taught within universities is not only far from essential but also counter-productive in developing a sound understanding of Chinese medical principles.
In a three-year-long degree programme, Chinese medicine is taught from a position of Western bias. Many of the classical principles have been removed from the teaching or else are given only lip-service. This is an attempt to make the subject more ‘scientific’ and thus to bring it in line with the expected standards for education within the university institutions that offer the courses. Subjects not relevant to Chinese medicine are also included and, consequently, many students leave, frustrated at the level of education they have received in acupuncture and Chinese medical theory.
At the Xiantian College of Chinese Medicine, we offer an education in Chinese medicine based strongly in classical principles. The only Western subjects that are taught are the ones which are absolutely essential to developing a sound and effective level of skill in diagnosis and treatment. Students are not marked according to their ability to write in an academic manner: they are marked on their skill in Chinese medicine.
Those beginning their education in Chinese medicine with the XCCM will be studying diagnosis and treatment from a classical standpoint. The more esoteric sides of Chinese medicine are also studied, including the energetics and the philosophy of Daoism. The personal cultivation of the practitioner is given as much importance as the level of skill they develop; as such, students will engage in a study of meditation and inner development alongside their study of acupuncture. This was long considered the most effective way to reach the higher levels of skill within Chinese medicine.
Please take some time to look around our site and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have on what we teach.