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What is Vital Ways?

//What is Vital Ways?

We are so often asked, what Vital Ways is, and what do we do,  that we felt that its best to answer in a blog post.

It is a School,
1-4 years long, in which students meet 1 weekend per month, for 8 or 9 months, to learn holistic healing with a passionate, highly experienced faculty and a like-minded community of amazing people. Each program can be taken as a stand-alone course, or as part of our Holistic Clinical Practitioner Sequence, culminating in a Practicum where Student Clinicians serve the public in our Community Free Clinic.

Classes at Vital Ways integrate Traditional Healing Wisdom from ancient healers, with the most modern interdisciplinary holistic health information from science and clinical practice. With this synergy of knowledge and wisdom, students develop the skills to be able to address complex presentations effectively. Our classes are diverse, dynamic, and experiential to ensure that each student is guided and empowered to understand holistic herbal healing both intellectually and experientially.

At Vital Ways, students learn an entire method of practice that focuses on nutrition, herbalism, and holistic lifestyle. The holistic curriculum at Vital Ways emphasizes not just addressing symptoms but also on resolving root causes and facilitating vibrant health for the whole person, mind, body and spirit. Since a person’s health is influenced by numerous things including history, food, and lifestyle, we teach students how to guide others to be healthy by working with each of these.

Afterall, we like to say, no one has ever gotten sick from a Goldenseal deficiency, so no one herb, even a perfectly chosen one, can bring a person back to health when the cause of their condition is their nutrition, sleep patterns, or toxicity etc.

Therefore, Vital Ways is very unique among herbal education programs because we teach an extensive holistic coursework that focuses on addressing the entire person; their history, nutrition and lifestyle.

2019 Foundation Group DInner

It is a Public Apothecary.
Our public apothecary provides information, guidance, herbs and supplements to the community. Our mission at the Apothecary, which is shared by the entire program, is to help others achieve their vibrant health goals. As our Apothecary is a part of our center and so is not dependent on sales to be sustained, we’re very fortunate to be able to transcend retail store pressure and instead focus on fulfilling the Center mission by offering education and guidance to patrons. In fact, when assisting the community, we are just as likely to share valuable health information and resources for free rather than sell them any products. In addition, each person staffing the Apothecary is well trained in holistic herbalism, and a practitioner or advanced student. The Apothecary is also a training environment, a place where newer students of the program can apprentice to further hone their skills.

It is a Free Community Clinic.
Our 3rd and 4th year students are Community Free Clinic Student Practitioners. Under the guidance of our clinic faculty, clinic students help those in the community who are seeking guidance to address chronic health conditions. The amazing work being done in our Free Clinic by our Clinic Practicum students has served as an important healing resource for many people who would otherwise go without effective health care. Offering 100% free chronic condition care to the community is an honor, a privilege, and a responsibility that we take extremely seriously.

Vital Ways is also a Public Education Center that offers multiple short-term public classes on subjects ranging from Holistic Approaches to Stress and Adaptogens, to Holistic Herbal Approaches to IBS, to Detoxification, Nutrition and Mushroom and Plant Field Walks. Classes are offered throughout the year, and each class, except the walks, can be taken not just in-person, but online, and recorded for future viewing. To hear about classes being offered, you can join our monthly newsletter list here: https://www.portlandherbalschool.com/mailing-list/

Lastly, Vital Ways is a Community

of like-minded faculty, students, staff, alumni, and patrons who gather in multiple ways including classes, events and informally to share effective holistic healing, inspiration, support and laughs. With our shared view of health as a positive state of vibrancy, not just an absence of symptoms, we have a perspective and interests that in modern times can be socially isolating. So, having the support of a like-minded group of inspiring people who are on a similar path, is an invaluable benefit that helps us all as we strive to achieve a healthy mind, body and spirit.

With our extensive class offerings, programming, clinic, apothecary and community, we hope to have something for just about everyone to get involved. And we’re always open to new collaborations as well, so if you feel called to join our community in one of our offerings, or if there is something that you offer, a class or product or skill that you think might be a harmonious fit, then please reach out, we’d love to hear from you.

Until we see you next, we wish you every success reaching your vibrant health goals.

Vital Ways Director and Your Friend on the Path,
Christopher Smaka