Application period for the 2024/26 cohort opens in the spring | Program begins Autumn 2024

Foundations Level I Mentorship Training

Program Overview

The Apricot Grove Foundations Level I Training is a comprehensive professional mentorship training program that teaches the principles and practices of Neijing-Nature Based Medicine (NNBM) and is held over 2 years with seasonal breaks and built in time for reflection, experiential learning, integration, and direct clinical mentorship with experienced teachers.

Neijing-Nature Based Medicine is a comprehensive healthcare system developed on over 20 years of rigorous classical text research on the Huangdi Neijing, the primary source text of Chinese medicine.

This course has been offered annually by Dr. Edward Neal, MD, MSOM for more than 15 years. In 2023, the course has expanded to a full 2-year program.

Our Training

With the assistance of professional educational consultants, we have developed a curriculum that blends the best aspects of traditional mentorship learning, contemporary approaches and reflective integration. In a flipped classroom experience, students first learn theoretical material through online recorded content and then have live online mentorship learning with instructors to delve more deeply into the material. Online learning is further enhanced with in-person clinical training, where students are taught hands–on clinical skills.

Foundations Level I Mentorship Training

Course Overview

The Apricot Grove Foundation’s Level I Training is a comprehensive 2-year professional mentorship program that teaches the principles and practices of Neijing-Nature Based Medicine (NNBM). Neijing-Nature Based Medicine is a comprehensive healthcare system developed on over 20 years of rigorous classical text research on the Huangdi Neijing, the primary source text of Chinese medicine.

Nature of our Training

We have developed a curriculum that blends the finest aspects of traditional mentorship learning with contemporary approaches. In a flipped classroom experience, students initially learn theoretical material through online recorded content, with live online mentorship time with instructors to delve more deeply into the material. This online experience is then enriched with in-person clinical training.

Our training is divided into two parts

Primary Course Objectives

At the completion of this training, students will:
  • Practice medicine from a firm grasp of the basic principles and practices of Chinese medicine as written in the original texts.
  • Develop a deep appreciation of the original vision of Chinese medicine.
  • Practice through a direct assessment of the natural landscape of the patient’s body and the principles of ecological restoration.
  • Begin a process of lifelong learning by following in the footsteps of traditional physician-scholars who studied directly from classical texts.
  • Significantly increase clinical assurance and abilities, patient results, and clinical success through a deep understanding of basic principles.
  • Develop confidence in treating clinical problems typically seen in primary care, using the techniques of Neijing Nature-Based Medicine.
  • Join a thriving collection of global learners and practitioners who are involved in an classical text revival.
  • Begin a path of becoming a respected teacher, leader, or researcher in your community, if desired.

Primary Course Objectives

At the completion of this training, students will:
  • Practice medicine with a firm grasp of the basic principles and practices of of Chinese medicine contained in classical texts.
  • Develop a deep understanding of the original vision of Chinese medicine.
  • Practice through a direct assessment of the natural landscape of the patient’s body and the principles of ecological restoration.
  • Begin a process of lifelong learning by following in the footsteps of traditional physician-scholars who studied directly from classical texts.
  • Significantly increase clinical assurance and abilities, patient results, and clinical success through a deep understanding of basic principles.
  • Develop confidence in treating basic clinical problems typically seen in primary care, using the techniques of Neijing Nature-Based Medicine.
  • Join a thriving collection of global learners and practitioners who are involved in an classical text revival.
  • Begin a path of becoming a respected teacher, leader, or researcher in your community, if desired.
ONLINE LEARNING & MENTORSHIP

Online Lecture Series

The 4-semester course is held over two years with seasonal breaks and built in time for reflection, experiential learning, integration, and direct clinical mentorship with experienced teachers.

Theoretical aspects of Neijing Nature-Based Medicine are taught through distance learning on our Canvas LMS platform, in both live and recorded formats. Our training is divided into four academic semesters, with winter and summer seasonal breaks. After the first several introductory lectures, the course content is divided into two-week study blocks, each focusing on a specific topic of Neijing Nature-Based Medicine.

At the start of each study block, students are provided with access to a one-hour pre-recorded lecture on a particular topic, which they can view at their convenience based on their schedule and time zone. During the first week of study, students and teachers engage in online discussion forums to discuss the course content. In the first Sunday class, students and teachers meet in person for live discussions, mentorship, and to review the week’s material. This class also includes weekly reading of classical texts.

The second week of the study block is dedicated to integration, based on the specific needs and desires of the student. Students are encouraged to select a topic from the week’s lecture to investigate more deeply. Some examples may include observing patterns in nature, reflecting on a specific classical text passage, exploring a new concept in their clinical practice, exploring the meaning of a specific character, or working on a creative project. Students with busy schedules can also use this time to manage their time and keep up with the course material without falling behind.

During the second Sunday class of the study week, students meet to discuss their experiences and reflections as their understanding of the current topic deepens. All course material is recorded and available for viewing at later times to accommodate students living in different time zones or with different schedules.

CANVAS LMS ONLINE CLASSROOM

Autumn Semester 2024

NNBM 101

In the Autumn Semester of the first year, we begin studying the Huangdi Neijing and Neijing Nature-Based Medicine (NNBM), with an introduction to the history, language, and culture of ancient China, as well as the practices of Classical Text Archaeology (CTA). This is followed by a discussion of Neijing space-time theory, which are the theoretical principles that have guided the practice of Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years.

Spring Semester 2025

NNBM 102

In the Spring Semester of the first year, we continue the study of the Huangdi neijing and Neijing Nature–Based Medicine (NNBM) by examining Neijing concepts of anatomy and physiology. Included is a study of the twelve primary watersheds, the basic architecture and structure of the human body, and a discussion of the tissue planes, internal organs, and basic physiological processes.

Autumn Semester 2025

NNBM 103

In the Autumn Semester of the second year, we begin studying the clinical principles of the Huangdi Neijing and Neijing Nature-Based Medicine (NNBM). The importance of the concept of Shen is reviewed, as well as the practice of directional medicine (fangyi), the primary causes of human disease, and the primary pathological process of obstruction patterns. We also study the fundamentals of physical diagnosis, the Nine Ancient Needles, and traditional Neijing surgical techniques. Clinical applications are examined in greater detail.

Spring Semester 2026

NNBM 104

In the Spring Semester of the second year, we examine a variety of special topics related to the Huangdi Neijing and Neijing Nature–Based Medicine (NNBM). Subjects discussed include taking a medical interview, advanced clinical decision making, the doctor-patient relationship and medical ethics, heaven and earth interactions, emotional diseases, guest–host illnesses, special considerations in treating patients in the age of climate change, and clinic management.

Watch excerpts from the Online Lecture Series

Lecture #25 Excerpt
Physical Diagnosis and the Artist’s Eye

Lecture #26 Excerpt
Physical Diagnosis and the Artist’s Eye

Lecture #30 Excerpt
Obtaining the Qi

In-Person Clinical Training

Clinical Practicums

Three 6-day clinical training retreats

Theoretical knowledge learned during the online distance learning and applied clinical skills come together in our three 6-day clinical training retreats. During these content-packed weeks, students and teachers study the body’s ecological landscape and begin to learn the diverse diagnostic and clinical techniques of Neijing Nature–Based Medicine.

For the upcoming 2024/26 training program, the in-person Clinical Practicums are being held at the Trout Lake Abbey in Trout Lake, Washington (US). In this beautiful mountain setting, students take a much-needed respite from the rigors of daily practice to regenerate their medical practice based on the original writings of Chinese medicine. In addition, there is plenty of time for rest and exploration with new friends and colleagues.

Trout Lake Abbey main building
Trout Lake Abbey

Still Have Questions?

Explore the FAQ page to answer any lingering questions

Not sure if this program is right for you?

Consider enrolling in the “Introduction to Neijing Nature-Based Medicine” class, a one-semester course that covers all of the materials and teachings included in the first semester of the two-year Foundations Level I program.
Trout Lake Abbey main building

Dr. Neal has a true gift for teaching. From the first 5 minutes listening to him, I could tell that I was about to have my whole world flipped upside down. His lectures are beautifully crafted as he takes unbelievably complex material and relays it in a way that a 6-year old could understand it. I began this class looking for ways to hone my treatment skills, but what I got out of it was so much more. Dr. Neal opened my eyes to how nature works and how the universe patterns itself and that is a gift for which I am forever in gratitude. He is absolutely inspiring. He is definitely an inspiration to me.

Joseph F.
ACUPUNCTURIST

Dr. Neal has a gift for teaching. From the first 5 minutes listening to him, I could tell that I was about to have my whole world flipped upside down. His lectures are beautifully crafted as he takes unbelievably complex material and relays it in a way that a 6-year old could understand it. I began this class looking for ways to hone my treatment skills, but what I got out of it was so much more. Dr. Neal opened my eyes to how nature works and how the universe patterns itself and that is a gift for which I am forever in gratitude. He is absolutely inspiring. He is definitely an inspiration to me.

Joseph F.
ACUPUNCTURIST, FATHER

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Hours of Continuing Education

Our Work Together

Click on an image to view the slideshow

Continuing Education and Professional Certification

The Apricot Grove Foundation’s Level I Training is accredited by the NCCAOM for 84 hours of distance learning and pending 126 hours of in–person training. Courses are accredited by semester and PDA credits can be applied for at the end of each semester. To obtain PDA credits, students are required to watch or participate in all class content and complete weekly quizzes with a score of 75% or greater.

In addition, we offer a Certificate of Completion once the entire training series is successfully completed.

Continuing Education and Professional Certification

The Apricot Grove Foundation’s Level I Training is accredited by the NCCAOM for 84 hours of distance learning and 126 hours of in–person training. Courses are accredited by semester and PDA credits can be applied for at the end of each semester. To obtain PDA credits, students are required to watch or participate in all class content and complete weekly quizzes with a score of 75% or greater.

In addition, we offer a Certificate of Completion once the entire training series is successfully completed.

Foundations Level I Mentorship Training

Early Start Access

Register early to get a head start on your studies

Students are granted access to the first ten lectures from the previous year’s class to get a head start on their education. Past students have indicated that this provides a substantial advantage when the live course begins. For the 2024/26 program, the Early Start Access begins when students register and pay the deposit.


This course gave me back the wish of studying Chinese medicine for the rest of my life. I was looking for something like this years before I knew of this course’s existence.

Luciano S.
ACUPUNCTURE PRACTITIONER


This course gave me back the wish of studying Chinese medicine for the rest of my life. I was looking for something like this years before I knew this course’s existence.

Luciano S.
ACUPUNCTURE PRACTITIONER