Science, technology and skill save lives. MRIs, CT Scans, ultrasounds, x-rays and blood tests detect cancer. Antibiotics has saved 100's of millions of lives and vaccinations have eradicated many serious infectious diseases. Surgeries help people walk, see and live again. The medical doctors involved in the aforementioned are true miracle workers. What then can herbal medicine offer? It is my opinion that as long as drug companies have financial goals as their priority, herbalists will have a role to play. How is it that some herbalists can treat hypothyroidism effectively, when the only other option is to take thyroxin for the rest of ones life. The primary herb to treat hypothyroidism is called, astragalus. This herb is there for any pharmaceutical company that wants it. Pharmaceutical drugs have their role, including those that get negative press such as statins. Using these drugs though in the correct scenario and understanding the potential dangers are critical.
In the big picture of medicine, herbal medicine has a small role to play but no matter how small the role, it can still be very important for many people. My philosophy to treatment is threefold. Firstly, a concrete medical diagnosis. Secondly, assuming the problem is not treatable with conventional methods or the risk/reward ratio or reward/side effect ratio is low, can the problem actually be treated with evidence based life style medicine. Thirdly, if it can't be treated with lifestyle medicine, can the problem be treated, safely and effectively with evidence based herbal medicine.
In regards to general health and wellness or preventing illness, I believe we need to focus on evolutionary biology. What was the human body originally designed for? Six points are especially important. (1) Nutrition and healthy eating, such as the importance of omega-3 oils, a diet free of sugar and refined carbohydrates, the importance of low glycemic index foods, the importance of flavonoids, high antioxidant rich foods, and the knowledge of how certain drugs and illnesses reduce the absorption of various vitamins and minerals.
As cardiovascular disease, sleep disorders and stress are three of the most predominant problems in the modern world, they are especially important. (2) Cardiovascular health is paramount as is the research on the prevention of cardiovascular disease through food and lifestyle changes. (3) Diaphragmatic breathing is a must for all those dealing with stress as are the techniques for (4) Better sleep for the treatment of sleep disorders without the use of medicine.
I also believe in the importance of daily meditation for overall health, with (5) Awareness meditation being one that seems especially effective. (6) Daily exercise is also paramount as is the importance of preventing injuries. In regards to exercise, my focus is on learning to engage the transverse abdominus, to increase intra-abdominal pressure, which stabilises the lumbar and recruits other supporting muscles to make the body the one unit. It is my belief that unless one is training body building, muscles should not be trained to work in isolation from each other.
Shaun Ramsden was born in Australia and grew up in Singapore where he first came in contact with Chinese medicine. While in Singapore he competed at the Singapore Nationals for both Tae Kwon Do and Ice Hockey, and also competed in numerous international horse riding competitions. Shaun then completed high school in Australia, where he represented his school in rugby, rowing, and athletics. Shaun was also the Chairman of the Students Representative Council and was awarded a Junior Citizen of the Year award.
After this he begun the study of Chinese martial arts and enrolled in Bachelor Commerce at the University of Western Australia. He trained in Wing Chun, Tiger Claw, qigong and Song Xingyi and eventually became a senior student and teacher. After completing his Bachelors degree, Shaun enrolled in a Master’s of Commerce degree and at the same time started studying tuina at the Australian College of Natural Therapies. On the completion of his Masters he enrolled at the Perth Academy of Natural Therapies to study Chinese medicine. Not long after this, he also started to learn Chinese calligraphy privately. Encouraged by his Chinese medicine teacher to learn mandarin, he enrolled in the 5 year Bachelor of Chinese Medicine at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM). It was in Beijing that he learnt to read, write and speak Mandarin fluently. He also took private lessons in calligraphy and Chinese history. In Beijing he was awarded two scholarships by BUCM based on grades. While in Beijing he studied with numerous well-known Chinese medicine practitioners, trained in Yang Taiji, Bagua and Brazilian Jiujitsu. In total, Shaun spent 6 years in Beijing and has travelled to nearly every province in China.
On completion of his degree in Beijing he moved to the mountains of Taiwan to further his Chinese medicine and martial art studies. He also begun studying meditation and Mahayana Buddhism. While in Taiwan he wrote a monthly health column for the local expatriate magazine. He continued to train in Yang Taiji and Brazilian Jiujitsu but also took up Judo. While in Taiwan he completed a 3 month course with the Taiwanese Tuina Association and went to Hong Kong 15 times to do further studies in Chinese medicine and Song Xingyi. On completion of these studies, Shaun moved back to Singapore for a short time to learn about the systems and methods of Chinese medicine there and eventually moved back to Perth where he opened a Chinese medicine clinic and became a licensed practitioner.
After arriving back in Perth Shaun recommenced his mentor-disciple relationship with his Chinese medicine teacher and also did some studies in Chinese shuai jiao. Two years after arriving back in Perth Shaun enrolled in a Masters of Buddhist Studies at the University of South Wales and has written a thesis comparing and contrasting the theories and meditation techniques of Brahmanism, Buddhism, yoga and Daoism. During this time he also studied Theravada Buddhism and practised the Thai Forest Tradition meditation style. In 2018 Shaun wrote a short philosophical book called, The Balance of Emptiness. He has also completed a 15 hour private pranayama course that was offered by Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram. Shaun has spent many hundreds of hours reading ancient Chinese texts in their original language on variety of subjects, he also written a paper discussing Indo-Europeans in China and is currently completing his translation of a textual analysis of the Dao De Jing. He has done numerous other translations and has recorded over 55 short lectures that can be found on Insight Timer.
Education and Certifications
University of South Wales 2017-2018
Post-graduate Diploma of Buddhist Studies
Beijing University of Chinese Medicine 2007-2011
Bachelor of Medicine (TCM major)
Perth Academy of Natural Therapies 2004-2006
Diploma of Chinese Medicine*
Australian College of Natural Therapies 2003-2004
Diploma of Remedial Massage*
Taiwan Tuina Association 2012
Certificate of Tuina Massage
University of Western Australia 2004-2006
Masters of Commerce
University of Western Australia 2004-2006
Bachelor of Commerce