Translating Ancient Chinese Wisdom into Medicine for Today


Attuning the Spirit to the Four Qì

Orcas Island, November 17-21, 2019

A Five-Day Retreat with Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée, Z’ev Rosenberg, and Sabine Wilms

(sponsored by “Between Heaven and Earth Acupuncture and Herbs”)

Come join us!

Come join us!

November 17 - 21, 2019

Doe Bay Resort

Orcas Island, Washington

In a state of tranquility and ease, of emptiness and absence of desire, the genuine qì follows along. With the jīngshén safeguarded inside, where could disease possibly come from?
— Sù Wèn, Chapter 1
Preparing for the retreat…

Preparing for the retreat…

People in the most ancient past! Their knowledge of the Dào allowed them to model themselves after yīn and yáng, harmonize their actions with the various arts of divination and computation, know the perfect measure in their food and drink, have routine in their periods of rest and activity, and avoid recklessly taxing their bodies with excessive physical activity. For this reason, they were able to keep their body and spirit together and thus live out their heavenly years to the end, only departing after more than a hundred years of age.
— Sù Wèn, Chapter 1

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Orcas Island during this retreat. As you take the ferry over, you will feel the outside world slip away and your mind open to the possibilities of this gathering. This course will offer you an opportunity for deeper explorations of the Sù Wèn, with a special focus on Chapter Two, the “Great Treatise on Attuning the Shén to the Four [Seasonal] Qì” 四氣調神大論. Sabine Wilms, Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée, and Z’ev Rosenberg will alternate to lead sessions of scholarly discourse, clinical observations, and round-table discussions. Our days will be interspersed with nourishing shared meals, nature walks, Tai Chi, and visits to the gorgeous spa at Doe Bay resort to revive and nourish our spirits. At the end of our time together, you will leave with a deeper understanding of this text and its central message on aligning us to the seasonal changes in the universe through cosmic resonance. You will have learned practical concepts and treatments that you can apply directly in your practice.

  • For more information on Z’ev’s book on the Yellow Emperor’s ecological medicine, see here.

  • For more information on Sabine's translations of

    • the Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica, see here, and

    • Suwen Chapter 5, The “Great Treatise on the Resonant Manifestations of Yin and Yang,” see here.

  • For more information on Elisabeth’s publications, see the Monkey Press website.

  • For more information on our sponsor, see Between Heaven and Earth Acupuncture and Herbs.

Your Instructors

Z’ev Rosenberg, L.Ac.


Z’ev is one of the first practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine in America. Before opening his practice in acupuncture and herbal medicine in San Diego in 1983, he was a shiatsu therapist and macrobiotic counselor in Denver (CO) and Santa Fe (NM). Z’ev is chair emeritus at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, where he taught for 23  years.

Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée


Elisabeth has been exploring the ancient Chinese philosophical and medical classics for more than forty years. We are so fortunate to have her come all the way from France to join us in the US! She has published more than a dozen books on classical Chinese medicine through Monkey Press, lectures all over the world and gives webinars.

Sabine Wilms, PhD


Sabine is the author of numerous books on Chinese medicine (some sold at her publishing website Happy Goat Productions). She specializes in bringing ancient Chinese wisdom from the medical and philosophical classics to life. She lives, writes, and swims on an island in the Puget Sound.

RETREAT Includes

  • Morning Tai Chi (with special guest Rob Hoffman)

  • Morning and afternoon explorative lectures and discussions on the Sù Wèn

  • Daily nature walks on the beach or in the woods and reflection time

  • Optional evening meditation

  • Daily use of the hot tubs and sauna at the spa, along with optional (!) dips in the sea if you are as crazy as Sabine

  • An authentic Chinese tea ceremony

  • 4 nights lodging

  • Meals, snacks, tea and coffee during the retreat

  • 30.5 CEUs from NCCAOM and 30 CEUs CA Category I.


The three months of autumn: This is the season referred to as “receiving and balance.” The qì of heaven thereby is harsh and the qì of earth thereby is clear. Go to bed early and rise early, stirring with the chickens! Let your will be calm and tranquil, in order to relax the punishments of autumn! Gather in and restrain your spirit and your qì, to make the qì of autumn balanced. Do not allow your will to stray outside and thereby make your lung qì clear. This is responding to the qì of autumn and the way of nurturing harvest. If you go against it, you will damage the lung. [As the result,] in winter [you will see] swill diarrhea, and you will lack provisions to support storage.
— Sù Wèn Chapter Two, on the fall season

Registration and information

If interested and to start the application process, please complete this questionnaire. If you have any other questions, please contact the event coordinator Robyn Sodders at This retreat is capped at 18 participants so please contact us soon. 

  • Date: November 17 - 21, 2019 (starting at 3 pm on Sunday and ending at 2 pm on Thursday).

  • Cost: Includes tuition, food and lodging, Tai Chi and unlimited spa use at Doe Bay for the duration of the retreat. Note that you will have to arrange your own transportation to Doe Bay Retreat Center. Options available are $2600 for a shared cabin, $2500 for a private room in the retreat house, or $2400 for a shared room in the retreat house. See here for our refund policy.

  • Location: Tranquil Doe Bay Resort on Orcas Island, Wa. For more information on the retreat center, please click this link.

For this reason, yīn yáng and the four seasons are the beginning and end of the ten thousand things, and the foundation of life and death. If you go against them, disaster and harm will be born. If you accord with them, severe illness will not arise. This is what is called ‘obtaining the Dào.’ This Dào! Sages practice it, but fools adorn themselves with it. According with yīn and yáng results in life, going against it results in death...

Now to have an illness that has already formed and only afterwards treat it with medication, to have chaos that has already formed and only afterwards put it in order, this is just like being thirsty and then digging a well, or to be in the middle of combat and then forging sharp weapons. Isn’t it too late indeed at this point?
— Sù Wèn Chapter Two, Conclusion