Sherwood Institute for Healing Arts

The educational institute at Sherwood Healing Arts aims to preserve and spread high-quality training in natural medicine and the healing arts in Ireland.

The primary emphasis of the institute is Chinese Medicine as an incredibly deep and rich medical tradition that offers an extraordinary path of skills to master. Embarking on a path of practitionership in Chinese Medicine is a life’s journey, one that is as much about self-cultivation and spiritual growth as it is about health and healing.

Self-cultivation is regarded as a fundamental component for skilful practitionership and therefore, Daoist Arts of Qigong and Neigong will be a core element for all professional programmes alongside rigorous academics and the continual practice of therapeutic, energetic and clinical skills.

Programmes supporting spiritual practices and self-cultivation with meditation, Qigong and Neigong are available for both students of professional training programmes and those simply seeking personal growth and healing.


Tui Na

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Graduate Mentorship Programme

Classical Chinese Medicine Study Group

Daoist Arts and Neigong

Acupuncture – 3 Years Diploma

The practice of Acupuncture has undergone significant changes in the last century as authorities in China sought to radically and rapidly modernize many aspects of their culture. Following a major overhaul of their healthcare, their own medical tradition of Acupuncture was stripped back to a simpler and more commodifiable version that was then ironically christened Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), although this is in fact, a relatively recent development. While TCM does still contain many essential elements of Acupuncture theory and practice, it has, in this form, arguably lost much of its heart and soul. In response to this, there is a growing renaissance world-wide that seeks to reclaim, revive and preserve the deeper teachings and skills of practitionership, generally referred to as Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM).

At Sherwood Healing Arts, we are dedicated to studying, researching, practicing and teaching Chinese Medicine in a way that honours the more esoteric heart and soul of this medical tradition whilst rigorously training students in the extant medical theory and clinical skills necessary for competent practitionership. As such, we aim to pioneer a new programme in Ireland that embraces and teaches both TCM and CCM with a consistent focus on self-cultivation throughout.

Programme syllabus coming soon, details TBC
Please email us with your expression of interest as places will be limited.

Qigong Tuina

Coming soon, details TBC



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  • REGISTRATION PAGE:  Qigong Tuina

Chinese Herbal Medicine – 2 year diploma in CHM

Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is a rich tapestry of medical lineages and navigating the diverse range of schools of thought and clinical application can be baffling for a newcomer to this healing art. Stephen Schleipfer and Freya Sherlock have extensive knowledge and experience of both the more modern Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach and the much older, original Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM).

In this new course, they aim to offer a pioneering approach to learning Chinese Herbal Medicine in Ireland, one that is deeply rooted in studying the classics that form the bedrock of CHM (but which are rarely taught in modern programmes) whilst giving a rigorous course of study in all aspects of the theory, practice and clinical application of CHM. Students will work towards developing an advanced understanding of diagnostics and internal energetics so they are equipped to prescribe herbs at a highly competent level. Student clinics will operate in conjunction with the Sherwood Cottage Hospital project.

This course is for qualified acupuncturists only.
Programme syllabus coming soon, details TBC
Please email us with your expression of interest as places will be limited.

Graduate Mentorship Programme

Graduates of Chinese Medicine colleges often find it difficult to bridge the gap between their formal training and developing confident proficiency in professional practice. At Sherwood Healing Arts, we are committed to providing an inspiring and supportive selection of CPD programmes to facilitate bridging this gap and help graduates transition successfully to becoming accomplished practitioners of Chinese Medicine.

Classical Chinese Medicine Study Group

Coming soon, details TBC

Neigong for Chinese Medicine Practitioners with Sophie Johnson

As practitioners of Chinese Medicine is important to develop a regular practice of self-cultivation in Qigong and Neigong. This has a two-fold purpose. Firstly, we are ourselves, the instrument through which we work and therefore, we need to be continually cultivating ourselves physically, energetically and spiritually in order to evolve and refine our practitionership. Secondly, in working closely with our patients, it is inevitable that we will be subject to energetic debris that needs to be purged and transformed so that our own health is not adversely affected by our work.

Nei Gong is a transformative system of alchemical energy work; working with the body, breath and mind to awaken spontaneity, change and deeper self-expression.

To initiate and support this process we use a variety of tools. Bodywork and conditioning, theory, meditation, Qi Gong and its forms, Dao Yin (guiding and leading) and transmission are used to facilitate this journey. Sophie teaches the process of Nei Gong she has studied with her teacher Damo Mitchell in a systematic and classical way. Sophie is a Senior Teacher for Lotus Nei Gong and aims to pass the teaching and transmission she has been so blessed to receive, onto her students in the clearest way possible. It is something she feels deeply about, it has profoundly deepened her spiritual journey and as such she sees it as a great treasure and privilege to be able to pass it on.

The fundamentals of the Nei Gong process involve working diligently with the physical body, regulating the breath, awakening the energy body, and purging toxins from the mind and body. The body needs be to opened and conditioned to allow the increase in energy to pass through efficiently once the energy body has been awakened. The breath must be regulated to soften the rhythm of movement of Qi through the system, and increasingly tensions in the mind and heart need to be shed. To do this we use stretching, standing postures, breath-work, Dao Yin (leading and guiding) forms, and foundation Qi Gong forms to balance the Jing Luo (acquired meridian systems). Great attention is given in classes and retreats to these fundamentals, which are often overlooked. Learning to stand with correct alignments, the attention to the physical body, understanding and applying the process of Sung (systematic release of tension physically, energetically and spiritually) and purging of stagnation from the system.

After these vital foundations have been established there are practices specific to women, connecting to the breasts, uterus and working a little earlier with the heart.

Nei Gong is best suited for those adventurous in spirit, with a capacity for discipline, looking for internal transformation, and spiritual development. The signs of progression initially manifest in the body similar to the Kriya’s in Yoga. There is no need to wonder if energy is moving, the signs are perfectly clear! We train seriously but have a lot of fun in our classes and retreats, everyone soon learns to not take themselves to seriously as we are all learning and releasing nonsense together!

If you are new to Neigong, please read the article below before booking:

Neigong is a challenging and intense process, suited only to those who are really looking for transformation. We advise that anyone considering taking such a study as Neigong really enquire honestly what outcomes they are after… stress reduction or transformation?

If you are already a practitioner and know that you are looking to go deeper, want an honest, open and kind environment to do it in, with a focus on body/energy techniques, then the Neigong process may suit you, it’s not for the faint of heart, it is often confronting, difficult and uncomfortable. Once the Neigong process has become active, everything will accelerate, enabling deep and real change.. with which, of course, comes challenges.

Pain (physical, emotional, mental) is going to be part of any transformative practice, it’s an indication of tension/conflict which, when dispersed correctly, is part of the healing process.

In other words don’t go and learn flower arranging when our ultimate goal is to understand the complexity of the soil. If you are after techniques to apply to a stressful period of life, to calm down a little, to improve the quality of the muscle in your bottom, or a new hobby/holiday, then there are many other far more efficient teachers and courses for such things. Neigong training may not suit you.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for truth, for an uncompromising approach to your inner life, to having a continued and active practice, looking to find a teacher or a course that takes you to your personal edge within an atmosphere of compassionate commitment to truth, then this may be the school for you. For it is only at your edge that you can transform.

It needs to be an approach that makes us uncomfortable, either emotionally and/or physically, where the teaching and the teacher has an earthed, honest approach with a sense of humour! For safeguards look for a lack of pretentiousness, a lack of focus on money, humility about their attainments, and abundant humour. These are things that are in abundance with the Lotus Neigong school, and equally, are what you will find here training with Sophie at Sherwood Healing Arts.

This statement is not intended to be remotely offensive to anyone, but we do have a duty of care and need to ensure that the training is conducive to those participating. Kindness and heartfulness are central to our teaching – please know that if this type of training appeals to you, you will be very welcome…all of you.

NB Neigong is definitely NOT suitable for those who:

  • Are under 18 yrs old
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a heart condition

For further information, please visit

Teaching Faculty at Sherwood Institute

Stephen Schleipfer, Lic. Ac

Stephen has an extensive background in the healing arts. Through his martial arts training and growing up in Africa, he was introduced to the healing arts at a young age. In the United States he had an opportunity to study with Stephen K. Hayes (Author and Master of Japanese Martial Arts), Glenn Morris (Author and Founder of Hoshin Tao Healing and Martial Arts), Mantak Chia (Founder of the Universal Tao System), Michael Winn (Author and former President of the National Qigong Association), Walter Beckley (Senior Universal Tao Instructor), Bruce Frantzis (Author and Lineage Holder of Qigong and Internal Martial Arts), Bernard Shannon (Director of the International College of Medical Qigong), and Damo Mitchell (Author and Senior Instructor of the Lotus Neigong School).

Stephen graduated from the Dayton School of Medical Massage in Dayton, Ohio in 2002. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in International Business from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio in 2004. In 2011, he graduated from the National College of Natural Medicine where he received his Master of Science in Oriental Medicine and has an active Acupuncture License from the Oregon Medical Board. Currently, Stephen is studying with Damo Mitchell.
Through his studies and personal health challenges, Stephen has found a deep compassion for people. He uses his knowledge and intuition to extract the best results for each of his patients through individualized treatment using acupuncture, qigong tuina massage treatments, and medical qigong therapy. He is committed to bridge excellent care to quality of life for his patients. Stephen teaches classes in qigong fundamentals, as well as one-on-one qigong training, and has been hosted to teach advanced classes to Chinese medicine practitioners.

For more information, visit Mokuti Medical Arts

Freya Sherlock Lic. Ac, MSc CHM

Freya Sherlock began her career and vocation in Chinese Medicine in 1988 with a two-year diploma in Shen Dao Acupressure. With this foundation woven into the fabric of her being, she practised these formative skills whilst raising her four children, co-running the family organic farm and co-founding and project managing a Steiner-based school for 3-12 year olds. Keen to deepen her knowledge and skills, she went on to study a four-year BSc Hons level in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture, Tui Na, Moxibustion, Cupping), followed by a five-year Master’s Degree in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She trains ongoingly with her Neigong and Daoist Medicine teacher, Damo Mitchell of Lotus Neigong International to continually deepen her self-cultivation and acupuncture practice. Alongside this, she is researching and extensively studying Classical Chinese Herbal Medicine with Dr. Feng Shi-Lun and Dr. Suzanne Robidoux in China, an almost lost but profound Chinese medical tradition.

Women’s Health and Fertility: following her specialist training in gynaecology and obstetrics with Dr. Trevor Wing, Freya offers natural treatment for women’s health, fertility, pregnancy, birth support and post-natal care as well as providing adjunct treatment to support those undergoing IVF.

Private practice: Freya provides Acupuncture and Moxibustion together with bespoke personalised prescriptions of Chinese Herbal Medicine as a powerful but natural treatment regimen for a wide range of medical condition, in addition to Tui Na Medical Massage and Cupping Therapy for musculo-skeletal conditions and sports injuries. In response to the emerging needs in the current health climate, she is increasingly sought for primary healthcare, natural fertility, neurological conditions, digestive disorders and chemotherapy support.

Sophie Johnson

My practice of meditation and inner work began when I was fifteen, establishing spiritual practice as the focus for the rest of my life. My journey began within the Daoist arts as I was deeply interested in the relationship between the body, the subtle energy system, and the psychological work I was doing. After exploring many spiritual traditions at that time I couldn’t find a Daoist teacher that fulfilled the rounded development I was looking for. So I found myself on the way to Denmark in 1989 to meet the Irish spiritual teacher Bob Moore. It was with Bob’s work I found a form of development that brought together many of the things I had found of value in different approaches. This period of study and training lasted around 20 years, during which time i brought up my three children and set up Bonhays as a retreat and meditation centre here in the Southwest.

After Bob’s death I spent some years without a teacher. I knew I needed another teacher, there were many ‘blank’ spots not just within myself but also within my learning and understanding of the energy arts. During a period of difficult upheaval and disintegration within my personal life I found my current teacher Damo Mitchell with whom I am in on-going training, returning again, full circle to Daoism! I am so fortunate to have found such an exceptional teacher with whom I am learning a great deal. Deepening my lifelong study of energywork, integrating this with the body, and returning to Taiji, Neigong, Nei Dan and now a study of traditional and ancient Chinese medicine. Having undertaken various trainings and on-going development I am proud to be a inner door, Nei Gong, and Senior teacher for Lotus Nei Gong, an internationally renowned school for the Daoist arts.

For the last 20 years I have been teaching meditation, running residential courses and retreats and developing the spiritual development programme at Bonhays, the retreat centre I set up and run with the help of many exceptional people. My study and work continues to change and develop, I have a particular passion for supporting serious female practitioners, an area often overlooked in the internal arts and spiritual traditions generally. I am fortunate to teach for a school that not only honours the differences within the female energy system, but also supports this with women specific practices.

The sole focus of my work now is teaching Nei Gong, and developing the meditation work established here over many years. When not teaching you will find me training, studying, walking or wild swimming.

For further information, please visit