How and why could learning classical Chinese make you a better clinician? Here are a couple of possible reasons: Reading the Chinese medicine classics directly, instead of modern textbooks about them, facilitates a more direct and hence authentic transmission, thereby giving you maximum clarity and efficacy through precise diagnosis and treatments rooted in the Chinese medicine paradigm. 

It enriches your medical vocabulary by introducing you to concepts that simply don’t exist in Western languages or the biomedical paradigm, such as “Triple Burner” or “Gate of Life,” “Bi impediment syndrome,” or even Qi and Yin/Yang. By providing access to untranslated highly specialized information, it is certain to blow your mind and expand your tool chest.

Last, but definitely not least, however, reading the classics will invariably remind you why you chose this path in the first place, rekindling your love for the Dao, reinspiring you and creating a space for not just professional but also personal cultivation, and for promoting virtue inside you, your community, and your patients. Emphasizing the lofty ideal of “harmonizing heaven and earth,” the classics call on us to practice Medicine with a capital M.


Sabine Wilms, PhD, is the author and translator of more than a dozen books on Chinese medicine. In addition to writing, translating, and publishing her work through her company Happy Goat Productions, she lectures around the world and mentors students through her online mentorship programs “Imperial Tutor” and “Reading the Chinese Medicine Classics.”

She also runs the world’s only rigorous intensive training program on classical Chinese for practitioners of Chinese medicine ( and recently started the “Pebble in the Cosmic Pond” podcast. Some of her favorite topics are gynecology, pediatrics, medical ethics, and “nurturing life.”

Dr. Wilms is known for her historically and culturally sensitive approach to traditional Chinese Medicine, but also sees it as a living, effective, ever-changing, and much needed response to the issues of our modern times. She lives happy as a clam with her goats, chickens, and other wild and domesticated animals on Whidbey Island near Seattle.


Study Classical Chinese with Sabine, visit to learn more and register.

Sabine has a wonderful collection of work that she's translated, visit Happy Goat Productions to add her books to your collections of treasure on Chinese medicine.

Looking for a steady drip of thoughtful and clinically useful material and methods, sign on with the Imperial Tutor some nourishing mentoring.

Love podcasts? Of course you do, you listen to Qiological! Sabine's new podcast A Pebble in the Cosmic Pond is a collaborative effort with Leo Lok and other friends. Tune it and enjoy!