Narrative Bio

Dr. Versluys is one of the very few Western scholars to have received his full medical training in China. His passion for Chinese medicine started early in his teenage years. But it was not until at the age of eighteen, he enrolled at the Hubei College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Wuhan, China, to pursue the study of this medicine.


Dr. Versluys first studied Chinese language including medical terminology and classical Chinese. After his language training, he partook in the national HSK Chinese language proficiency exam which he passed royally, allowing him admittance to medical school in China.


His first four years of theoretical education were followed by a full year of rigorous internship in both inpatient and outpatient hospitals. For the first half of this yearlong internship, Arnaud attended the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology, where he trained at their Huguosi University Hospital in West-Beijing.


During his stay in Beijing, he lived with the family of late Qing dynasty doctor Cao Nianci’s daughter. It was she who introduced him to his first master outside of the university system: Beijing’s renowned physician Wang Huanlu 王焕禄 , the main disciple of the aforementioned Dr. Cao. Dr. Wang took Arnaud under his tutelage and for the next half year, he trained in internal medicine at several clinics in the capitol.


For the second half year, Arnaud returned to Wuhan where he practiced in the university hospital of his alma mater. There he spent most of his time training in broad general medicine, with rotations in pediatrics, gynecology, and dermatology. He also spent considerable time in inpatient setting as well as physical therapy and Chinese Tuina departments.


After his initial five years of study, in 1999, he passed the China’s national medical licensing exam for foreign Chinese medicine graduates and graduated as a doctor in general Chinese medicine and received his Bachelor degree in Medicine as the first non-Asian graduate of this college to have completed the full training.


But Dr. Versluys was not satisfied. He felt great commitment to the medicine and understood the need for further study and research. Hereupon, he decided to pursue specialization and apply for a Master training at the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Chengdu, China. The Chengdu Chinese Medicine University is one of the four oldest and most respected institutions in the country, and its reputation is one of loyalty to tradition. Dr. Versluys decided to apply for training under China’s top expert on herbal formulas, Dr. Deng Zhongjia 邓中甲 . He applied and participated in the highly competitive entrance exams requiring multiple days of test taking both written and oral. Dr. Versluys’ overall performance was outstanding and impressed his mentor who decided to enroll him.


Arnaud followed Dr. Deng Zhongjia closely and studied the basic principles of Chinese medicine thought in-depth. Dr. Deng’s authoritative courses on herbal formula architecture opened a new world of medicine and lay the foundation for a scientific mindset crucial for research. During his second year into the training, Dr. Versluys committed to the clinical research of Rheumatoid Arthritis and designed an elaborate herbal treatment protocol whose efficacy was observed in a clinical pilot study during his final year. At the end of the third year, Dr. Versluys satisfactorily passed the thesis defense for the expert jury and was allowed to graduate with a Master’s degree in Medical Science and a diploma in Chinese medicine formula studies.


In the winter of 1999, the most important event in Dr. Versluys’ academic life occurred with the encounter of his master, Dr. Zeng Rongxiu 曾荣修 . Dr. Zeng Rongxiu is a specialist in classical Chinese medicine of the Treatise on Cold Damage [shanghan lun] and the Essentials of the Golden Cabinet [jingui yaolue]. Dr. Zeng is a disciple of late physician Tian Heming 田鹤鸣 , who was the last grandmaster of the Shanghan Lun-tradition outside of the university circuit in West China. Dr. Tian was also known by his studio name ‘Tian Bawei’ or ‘Eight Ingredient Tian’ for he generally never prescribed more than 8 ingredients per herbal formula. Dr. Tian was born in late Qing dynasty and studied medicine with his older brother. He lived and practiced medicine close by the Daoist Temple of the Blue-green Goat in Chengdu.


At their time of meeting, Dr. Zeng was already in his late seventies, but he still practiced medicine every night in his private clinic. Dr. Versluys started following his teacher and rode his bike 20 kilometers back and forth every night come rain or shine. During the ensuing four years, Arnaud studied the clinical application of the Shanghan Lun and the classical formulas through this traditional discipleship. As such, all the knowledge gathered during his many years in college, was deepened and brought to life in clinic.


At the end of his Master training, Dr. Versluys also started up a part-time clinic in his hometown in Belgium where he saw patients for a few months per year, both to gather clinical experience as well as make sufficient money to fund his next academic endeavor: the pursuit of a doctoral degree in Chinese medicine as the first European ever.


In 2002, Dr. Versluys committed to another three years of continued research with his advisor Dr. Deng Zhongjia, by participating in the ambitious entrance exams for doctoral training at the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. His research field remained herbal formulas, but this time he chose to engage in textual research on the origins of the canonical prescriptions of the Shanghan Lun. While continuing to train in clinic with his master, Dr. Zeng, Arnaud spent most of his time in the university library, bent over numerous historical books and manuscripts. His 200+ page research dissertation was hailed by his advisor as groundbreaking, and the first in-depth research to ultimately reveal the true origins of the classical herbal formulas as part of the lineage of Shennong, the Divine Farmer.


Meanwhile, Arnaud had been living in China for a total of 9 years already when he got in contact with Dr. Heiner Fruehauf. Heiner and Arnaud apparently had been trained by many professors in common and after a long phone conversation in the summer of 2002, Arnaud was invited to Portland, OR, in the USA to visit the School of Classical Chinese Medicine at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, and offer a trial lecture to its Chinese medicine faculty base. The lecture was very well received and Dr. Versluys was offered a full-time teaching position at the college. He accepted this offer in the winter of 2002 and joined the ranks of the full-time faculty of the college in September 2003.


At the School of Classical Chinese Medicine, Arnaud teaches herbal formulas as well as pathology and etiology. As a medical board certified clinical supervisor, he conducts both observation and intern shifts at the teaching clinic of the college. During the past years, Dr. Versluys has advised many student research projects on the Shanghan Lun, and his advisees have consistently received first prizes and honors for their academic achievements.


In clinic, Arnaud specializes in internal medicine but with focus on immunology and rheumatology, including Crohn’s disease, Auto-immune Hepatitis, Scleroderma, Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Lupus, Raynaud’s, etc. He has also worked extensively on suspected auto-immune disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome and interstitial cystitis.


Arnaud’s scholastic passion lays in the Han-dynasty classics of the Treatise on Cold Damage [shanghan Lun], the Essentials of the Golden Cabinet [jingui yaolue], the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic [huangdi neijing] and the Divine Husbandman’s Classic of Materia Medica [shennong bencao jing]. He teaches extensively in the international community and he has lectured in China, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and the US. Several of his publications on Chinese medicine have been published in these countries.


Arnaud has two boys and in his free time he loves to windsurf in the beautiful Colombia River Gorge. He still travels to China frequently and in his private life, he directs his not-for-profit organization in setting up humanitarian and medical projects in the under-developed regions of West-China and Tibet, an area where he has spent over one and a half years for study and humanitarian aid. He is a practicing Buddhist and has translated up to a dozen books on Buddhism and Tibetan culture.