In my clinical practice I have seen everything from widespread issues such as anxiety, insomnia, and menstrual regularities to deep seated chronic conditions like lupus, cancer, and viral hepatitis to more acute and first aid type situations that include punctures, head wounds, and blunt trauma. I’m interested in all the ways in which the body can work and heal, but I admit an overriding fascination with first aid.
One thing I like about first aid is that it calls on me to adapt quickly to the situation, and get good, clear results. Certainly I like those kinds of results in any case, but in first aid it’s incredibly important that treatment be effective and quick. Hesitation or lack of skill can mean increased harm to someone, especially if they’re looking to you for care in an emergency situation. I enjoy this challenge, and also find I my learning increases very rapidly in cases where I am able to see results (or lack thereof) right there and then. Longer term healing results in first aid situations are also very helpful, but when someone is bleeding, running the risk of a serious infection, or has lost their mobility through an acute joint injury, we also need to see more immediate results.
First aid is also probably where I’ve seen many herbalists struggle. We’re rarely trained to act in the quick, efficient, and precise manner necessary not only for treatment, but perhaps more importantly, for triage and figuring out whether you should be tending the person yourself, getting them immediately into conventional medical care, or something in between. Knowing what herb (or not) to use is only one small piece of the equation, with keeping a cool head, good assessment skills, and other basic emergency medical training often being even more important.
Almost every year at the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous, Wolf and I have worked hard to make sure there’s at least one first aid or medic type class, because we believe these skills are crucial to those providing care to their family and communities. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to travel to attend a conference, medic training, or similar event. I also encourage folks to attend CPR classes, and even EMT training. Ideally, we then get to study with another herbalist who has hands-on experience in first aid and is willing to let us observe, hopefully while explaining the craft to us. It’s unfortunate then, that right now, these kind of opportunities can be difficult for many of us to come by.
With all that said then, you’ll understand why I was so incredibly excited when I first heard that John Gallagher of Learningherbs.com was collaborating with my dear friend and herbal mentor, 7Song, to create an online multimedia course focused specifically on first aid! 7Song has had extensive experience in first aid, both in the U.S., and internationally, including situations of mass water contamination, food poisoning, severe wounds and infections, and much more. Using a well integrated blend of conventional medical skills and herbal knowledge, he has a huge amount to offer anyone interested in furthering their understanding of acute care and first aid. He’s even spent decades doing medic work at the Rainbow Gatherings, gatherings of around ten thousand people in remote areas with scant medical care. There, he’s treated countless folks for free, his work often entirely funded by his own wallet and donations. He even brings students from his Northeast School of Botanical Medicine to train further generations in these important skills. Lucky students!
To top it off, John is being his usual generous self, and giving away significant amounts of material, starting right now, with a free video of 7Song at Rainbow! 7Song has never allowed his work there to be filmed before, so this is a great treat to those of us who haven’t been able to attend and work with 7Song. No matter what your experience level, I suggest you check this out. Even if you’ve been practicing herbalism for decades, you will likely learn a great deal from 7Song!
Even better, there will be more videos from 7Song teaching practical first aid later this week.