Tibetan medicine is a distinct medical system. This medical system has stood the test of time more than two thousand years. Tibetan medicine is similar to other Asian medical systems such as the Ayurveda and the Chinese medical system, however there are many differences including the philosophy, diagnosis, as well as the treatment approach including the uses of medicinal plants. Tibetan medicine is very relevant to this modern age, and has the potential to help clients with various problems including chronic diseases as well as modern day diseases. That is why Tibetan medicine has gained admiration even from western trained medical professionals and health care providers who have directly or indirectly experienced the benefits of Tibetan medicine for themselves or for their own patients.
Benefits of Tibetan medicine
Tibetan medicine is beneficial for chronic problems such as: digestive disorders, heartburn, back pain, asthma, arthritis, eczema, sinusitis, liver, heart and kidney problems , circulation problems , anxiety, sleep disorders and problems related to nervous system as well as in some cancer cases and others. There are many modern day problems for which Tibetan Medicine has been effective such as high blood pressure, stress and tension, allergic skin reactions, sexual dysfunction and to regain overall health and vitality.
Tibetan Medical Doctors
Tibetan doctors are primary health care practitioners who are trained in natural holistic health care. Physicians have to undergo a minimum of six years of post secondary education. This includes five years of theory and a year of practical training at an accredited Tibetan medical clinic. Students then receive their Doctor of Tibetan Medicine degree. However, six years full-time study in this field is not sufficient to become a competent practitioner. Therefore, one needs further studies and training to become a competent practitioner. At present, it is very rare to find a westerner trained properly in a recognized Tibetan medical institution. This is because not all the Tibetan medical literatures are available in English; this includes even the most basic fundamental Tibetan medical text. Therefore one needs to become proficient in Tibetan grammar and language first before taking the actual Tibetan medicine course.
Tibetan Medical Treatments
Treatment includes treating both acute and chronic conditions. When treating patients, a holistic approach is highlighted. Tibetan doctors look at patient's lifestyle, physiological, psychological, physical, social, external and environmental factors and prescribe the most gentle and natural form of treatment to restore health. Prescribed treatments may include diet and lifestyle changes as well as a wide range of natural therapies including herbal pills, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, cupping, moxibustion, massage and counseling.
Why do people choose Tibetan Medicine?
Tibetan medicines are formulated mostly by using natural grown Himalayan herbs. These are formulated carefully by considering the negative side effects that might occur during and after the course of treatment. Therefore each herbal composition is carefully formulated to avert side effects by treating the disease as a whole rather than giving a symptomatic relief. This is one of the main reasons why most people who know Tibetan medicine continue to approach Tibetan medicine as a means of safe treatment as well as a preventive care.
In addition it is effective toward diseases such as hepatitis, ulcers, paralysis, gall and kidney stones, diabetes, arthritis, rheumatism, blocked energy channels, digestive issues, stress, tension, depression, skin problems, hair loss and conditions like certain cancers that are difficult to treat successfully.
What to expect during a visit to the clinic:
During your initial visit, physician will make a detailed examination. This includes interrogation, pulse reading, tongue analysis and urine examination. Therefore it is best to bring your first morning urine sample of about 60 ml in a clean water bottle free of any perfume smell and colour. Prior to the actual day of the examination abstain from sexual intercourse, drinking strong coffee, alcohol, vitamins and beetroot. At the same time, your past health history is properly discussed in order to consider a more suitable treatment. Thus, it would be helpful if you can bring your past medical records.
Tibetan doctors analyze a patient’s illness through three methods of diagnosis: Sight diagnosis, touch diagnosis and asking questions. The sight diagnosis includes tongue and urine analysis. Therefore generally a patient is required to bring the first morning urine sample of about 60 ml in a clean water bottle free of any other smell and colour. However, if one is unable to bring a urine sample, then the physician will analyze the tongue characteristics of the patient as well as examine patient's skin complexion, the colour and texture of his/her nails, blood, sputum, feces, and other general conditions when necessary. However focus is mainly to examine patient's tongue and urine. On top of these examinations, the physician checks the radial pulse on both the hands of the patient and any other related problems a patient may be experiencing. Tibetan physician uses empathetic listening skills to experiences shared by the patients. Through these gestures of calm and relax manner, physician is able to understand both the mental and physical state of the patient.
After the examination, patients may receive few days of herbal treatment during the first visit and then may have to do follow-ups depending upon the severity of the ailments. At the same time, dietary recommendation and corrections of lifestyle are part of the treatment, so that a disease is not only tackled by the use of herbal remedies, but also with the help of favourable diets and lifestyle changes. In many cases, these lifestyle changes and diet corrections also assist the patient to heal naturally through natural healthy and safe habits. Sometimes based on the experience of the Tibetan physician, patients are referred to modern treatment as well as acupuncture and other means of health care which are suitable to work hand-in-hand with Tibetan herbal treatments. Occasionally moxibustion, cupping and hydrotherapies are combined in the treatment. In short, Tibetan methods of treatment are mild and gentle and are suitable for most people.
Tibetan herbal pills:
Tibetan pills are not pleasant in taste. However, the most important part is, Tibetan pills are not sugar coated. They are left to their natural herbal taste, and it is intentionally designed to be devoid of artificial flavours to avoid unwanted side effects that may arise due to various factors including sugar and artificial coatings. This reminds me of a Norwegian proverb stating,"Everything that taste bad is good for your health".
Traditional Medicinal Paintings:
In the Tibetan Medical System, there are total of 79 medical paintings or thangkas like the ones which are displayed here on the left side. The origin of these paintings goes back to 17th century AD during the reign of regent Desi Sangye Gyatso. These medical thangkas hold great historical legacy and serve as an important resource of reference for students, researchers and physicians. Likewise, the traditional illustrations of the high altitude medicinal plants in these paintings help in preserving the knowledge of plant identification as well as to pass the knowledge in an unbroken continuity from generation to generation.
Online Consultation available:
During Covid19 pandemic, when maintaining social distance becomes a priority, other means of consultation through phone, email or virtual online videos becomes a necessity. This somehow aligns to Tibetan approach of distant consultation. Distant consultation in Tibetan medicine is recommended specially when a patient is unable to see a physician in person due to limited mode of transportation severity of his/her health condition, aging, disability and the sheer distance to travel.
Click to Play: Medicine Buddha Mantra