Live Oak School of Natural Healing 

Live Oak School of Natural Healing

The Live Oak School of Natural Healing was started and is run by a nurse, and professional herbalist, Dawn Gates, RN, AHG, MH; she believes that there is wisdom in both ancient teachings and modern science and created an herbal school that combines both.
The Live Oak School of Natural Healing offers individual herb, and aromatherapy classes but also offers Herbalist Certification and Master Herbalist Certification programs to people who want to become a practicing herbalist. This school is perfect for the beginner to advanced student who wants to know how to heal people with herbs and natural healing based on ancient folk wisdom, Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM), Ayurvedic, Native American and Unani. 

We teach students a variety of levels of students all the way from beginners to advanced and even teach massage therapists. Nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, and physicians about herbalism and natural healing. We are in the process of getting CEUs for Massage therapists, dietitians, and nurses and should have them in place by January 2016.

Most of the live classes are taught in
Orlando Florida but we do have an on-line or correspondence course for those people who want a quality herbal certification program who do not live in the area. We have students all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and in Russia who have graduated from our program and gone on to start herbal practices. If you are living in the state of Florida and want the option to attend live classes but live far away I give you the option to take the online programs, but also attend live classes and field trips when you can.   

Students in the long distance program can chose to do an on-line course with e-groups, video classes, or can choose to do a paper correspondence course where you receive the material in modules with assignments that need to be sent in. Students in the long distance benefit from the education platform which allows for one-to-one interaction similar to a live teaching environment. Also they can watch the video recordings anytime they have time just with a click on a link. Its the perfect combination of live interaction and convenience.  

Meeting the needs of students: in person via live classroom or on-line via virtual classroom

The Live Oak School of Natural Healing was formed when some of my herbal students in Minnesota told me they wanted to keep learning from me even after I moved to Orlando, FL. I now have international students and a large part of my student body consists of natural healers, doctors, nurses, massage therapists, chiropractors and many other medical professionals.

I designed the Herbalist Certification programs to be "life-friendly" which means that I wanted it to be self-paced, and easy to follow for all of the students there who have busy lives. I also designed it so that the students can take it in modules that dove-tail (or fit) into one another so that they can take a section at a time based on their educational goals.

The school has three levels of certification: Lay (survival) Herbalist, Certified Herbalist, and Master Herbalist. Each of these programs fit into into the next higher level so if you start out at the Lay (Survival) Herbalist level and later decide to become a Master Herbalist and treat clients, all you will have to do is take the next sets of modules.  


Here is a link to a video that will give you an idea of what the online program is like. It gives a sample of a few of the classes and the quality of information you will receive. Just click on the link and it will take you to the online classroom. If you are using an IPad, you may have to download the WizIq app, and follow me in order to get access.

The symbolism behind our name
The live oak tree is the native oak of Florida and is a member of the white oak family of trees. The live oak is a strong oak tree that lives to be hundreds of years old, can withstand hurricane winds, and can grow to be very large and magnificent. The tree’s beauty, strength, and elegance made it the perfect symbol of the school. The oaks in the white oak tree family are used as medicine and have the ability to heal and tone the body when it needs it. White oak bark is a powerful medicine in Native American Lore and is highly regarded as not only a medicine but as a spiritual symbol. The tree in the picture was in the middle of a pasture in Ocala Florida, and was taken by one of my students. These trees provide shade, food, and medicine and are valuable resources.

The theory behind the school:Vitalism

Vitalism, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is

  1. a doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from biochemical reactions
  2. a doctrine that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone and that life is in some part self-determining

The school is based on the Vitalist Theory of herbal healing which takes care of symptoms of dis-orders by treating the whole body. The vitalist approach starts with the concept that the body wants to be well and has the innate ability to heal if given what it needs to obtain it. In herbal medicine the theory is that if an organ or system is out of balance the herbs help restore homeostasis and therefore allows the body to heal back into a balanced state. This concept was documented as far back at the Egyptians and was promoted by such greats as Aristotle, Lois Pasteur, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, and Neuroscientist Roger Sperry (winner of the 1981 Peace Prize on the nature of consciousness and brain functions). I learned about the concept from Mathew Wood who was my teacher and now is a dear friend. I base my school on not only what I learned from Mathew and all of the other herbalists that I studied from but from modern research and biochemical processes. This knowledge base that I pass onto my students gives them the best education from both the holistic and alliopathic world of healing. This is what sets the Live Oak School of Natural Healing apart from all of the others.


Philosophy and Goals for our students
The main goal of the Live Oak School of Natural healing is to produce the best and most rounded herbalists as possible. It is my goal that they understand the chemical, holistic, historical, and spiritual side of each plant we study. My goal with this school is to have the Master Herbalists that go onto have successful herbal practices  be able to understand the allopathic system enough to be able to look at research, talk to physicians, and work with other healthcare and holistic practitioners to get the best
care for their clients. The schools goals are simple and set us apart from other programs. Our goals are:


1) The students will know the herbs, their Latin names, their chemical signature, history, contraindications, uses, dosing, formulations, the folklore and spiritual side of the plants.
2) The students will understand how the herbs work in the human body using modern anatomy, physiology and biochemistry a system at a time using modern bio-process' and be able to overlay it with ancient TCM, and Ayurvedic teachings.
3) The students will learn basic Western, Eclectic, Chinese, Ayurvedic methods of dis-ease recognition and treatment of imbalances using facial diagnosis, pulse testing, tongue and ear assessment techniques.
4) The students will understand allopathic diagnosis, how to look at lab results, read research studies, understand holistic nutrition, and how
to apply modern data to holistic therapies.

5) The students will know how to make their own herbal medicines,  create a formulary, and how to create individual treatment plans (including herbs, nutrition, and lifestyle changes)for their family and clients.
6) The students will be able to start their own practice and treat clients upon completing the Herbalist and Master Herbalist certification programs.
The students will have a broad base of support within their peer group and with the education staff even after they complete the program.

After graduation my herbal students continue with me for as long as they like in my mentorship program. This program is unique in that my students can contact me at any time to go over a case study, ask a practice question or get confirmation on what they did to help a client. I do this because most of my students become more then just students, they become like family.

Students who wish to apprentice can as well in my clinic and for my long distance students I connect them with the AHG herbalists in their area so that they can get some hands-on experience.
It should be noted that you do not have to be "Certified" to be an herbalist in the United States, and graduating from my program (or anyone else's program) does not guarantee a job in any company. However, if certification is ever mandated my students will have an advanced education and should do well in any testing required for a board or mandated certification process.   


Check out my other websites:
my herbalist website with articles on healing, recipes and more a website devoted to the art of creating and drinking tea. (in the works)













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