Tibetan Medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare based on Buddhist principles.
What can Tibetan Medicine treat?
Practitioners claim that Tibetan Medicine works well with conventional medicine and can help treat a wide range of illnesses including:
Tibetan Medicine has existed since the beginning of Tibetan civilisation. It flourished before the arrival of Buddhism and continued to grow in popularity and importance and to be further enriched after Buddhism had taken hold from the seventh century onwards.
Buddhist medical texts from this period still constitute part of the programme of study of all students and doctors of Tibetan Medicine and further important texts have been written over the centuries. The main source of knowledge comes from the Four Tantras on Medicine which have been upheld and enriched over the centuries by great doctors and scholars.
Tibetan Medicine is based on Buddhist principles of the ultimate causes of illness, the importance of a compassionate attitude in both the patient and the doctor and the inter-related nature of illnesses.
Illnesses are caused by a disturbance or imbalance of the three important energies of wind, bile and phlegm which regulate all physical functions. Bringing these energies back into balance is the main aim and cure of the Tibetan doctor.
Patients are not required to be Buddhist nor to have any familiarity with Buddhism.
Consultation and treatment
Pulse diagnosis is the most important technique used by Tibetan doctors to determine the exact nature of the patientís illness. Urine diagnosis is also used.
Once a diagnosis has been made, a combination of treatments may be prescribed. Tibetan Medicine is based mainly on the use of herbs and minerals but it also places great importance on a balanced diet and correct behaviour and includes advice on such things as exercise, massage and acupressure.
Medicines are mostly in the form of pills and sometimes powders. These must be taken in conjunction with the dietary and behavioural restrictions advised by the doctor. All pills are compounded according to strict pharmacological rules and are blessed in Buddhist ceremonies invoking the Buddha of Medicine.
Tibetan Medicine is not a quick fix therapy and requires commitment from its patients. Duration of treatment will depend on the patientís condition and progress.
Fees for the initial consultation, which lasts about 15 minutes, start at £25. Subsequent sessions cost £15.
Tibetan Medicine is not a therapy that should be practised without guidance from a qualified, experienced practitioner.
Your practitioner will prescribe dietary, exercise and lifestyle restrictions to you to carry out in your own time.
How To find a practitioner
Contact the Tibet Foundation for a list of practitioners who have trained at the Tibetan Astro Medical Institute in Dharamsala, Kangra, India. Tibetan doctors train for five years; this is followed by supervised practise under a qualified physician for three years. Training combines Western and Eastern medical knowledge and includes psychology, physiology and astrology.
Let your doctor know that you are also consulting a Tibetan practitioner.