How can Tibetan Medicine nourish your soul?
Mystical Tibet’s medical system is called Sowa Rigpa or the science of healing. For millennia Tibetan traditions have been treasured for their insights into happiness and health.
Tibetan Medicine is believed to be based on four texts known as Tantras written by Yuthok Yönten Gönpo the Elder (729-854 AD). These detail diseases, diagnostic techniques, diet, body therapies, herbal medicine and many medical subjects.
Tibet’s profound healing science has survived turbulent times over 2,500 years thanks to governing bodies including the Central Council of Tibetan Medicine and The Australian Tibetan Medicine Association. In 2011 the Australian Traditional Medicine Association accepted Tibetan Medicine. To be eligible for accreditation in Tibetan Medicine, a practitioner is required to hold qualifications equivalent to an Advanced Diploma including at least 500 hours of tuition in Tibetan Medicine.
Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM) aims to alleviate physical, psychological and spiritual suffering by establishing equilibrium. It blends Buddhist beliefs, Indian Ayurveda, TCM and Persian Galenism to pinpoint problems and prescribe potential cures.
According to Tibetan Medicine, the origin of all imbalances are attachment (Llung), anger (Tripa) and ignorance (Bakan). These emotions affect the five elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth. Subsequently 84,000 types of diseases can develop due to one’s early life, present lifestyle, past life (karma) or the influence of spirits. Eliminating ignorance by sharing healing wisdom is the ultimate aim of Tibetan Medicine. Hence Sowa Rigpa can also be translated as ‘nourishment of awareness’.
Tibetan Medicine practitioners employ four main treatment methods including diet, lifestyle, medicine and external therapies. Treatments tailored to individual requirements are focused on prevention, treatment, longevity and education. Advice often encompass self-care regimes, dietary modifications, lifestyle adjustments, medicinal preparations, body therapies and mindfulness meditation.
Popular treatments associated with Tibetan Medicine
Aromatherapy is the art and science of applying extracted aromatic plant essences for mental, physical and spiritual harmony. An example of a Tibetan Medicine essential oil is Jatamansi oil for healthy hair.
Astro-Science considers astral influences in the cause and cure of a condition. The planetary influence on the patient, plant preparation and time of treatment are all considered for optimal outcomes.
Cupping Therapy utilises copper or glass cups on the body. This can clear stagnant chi and purify the body. Evidence also supports that cupping can alleviate pain associated with brachialgia, carpal tunnel syndrome and musculoskeletal issues.
Herbal wraps involve heated herbal poultices dipped in medicinal oil and massaged over affected areas.
Hot herbal oils is a treatment of herbal infused hot oils applied to the body.
Massage in Tibetan Medicine is a herbal oil massage ranging from soft to deep tissue. It can strengthen tissues, soothe nerves, realign connective tissue and restore energy flow.
Nutrition involves an individualised diet to balance the three primary energies: movement, heat and cold. Often restrictions are recommended such as minimal alcohol, fried foods and hot spices.
Music therapy employs mantras and Tibetan singing bowls crafted from seven metals - gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, tin and zinc. These can induce healing theta brainwaves. Music therapy has been shown to appease anger, anxiety, depression, fatigue and tension.
Tibetan Cranial is a body therapy that can balance the cranial plates and encourage flowing fluids throughout the body.
Benefits of Tibetan Medicine
Thousands of years of clinical empirical evidence supports Tibetan Medicine’s efficacy however more rigorous research and large-scale scientific studies are essential for it to be accepted as a mainstream medical science. Small scale studies have validated the benefits of many specialty Tibetan herbs. In an overview of 40 studies on Tibetan Medicine, 34 had positive outcomes.
Conditions conclusively improved in these studies included arteriosclerosis, arthritis, bipolar disorder, chronic constipation, chronic dental pulpitis, hepatitis B, insomnia, migraines, multiple sclerosis, respiratory tract infections, and Type 2 diabetes.
Tibetan Medicine may assist in relieving symptoms related to:
- Arthritis, rheumatism and osteoarthritis
- Detoxing and cleansing
- Digestive and gastrointestinal issues
- Fatigue, burnout and exhaustion
- Headaches and migraines
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Pain relief
- Respiratory and breathing issues
- Skin, hair and nail issues
- Stress and tension
A Tibetan Medicine practitioner is qualified not only through their advanced studies but by their qualities outlined in Tibet’s medical texts. According to the second Tantra a physician should be analytical, compassionate, ethical, patient, focused and wise. During an initial consultation the holistic practitioner aims to understand the client’s condition and underlying causes.
This is achieved through questioning, observing and examining. A Tibetan Medicine expert often checks the eyes, pulse, tongue and urine. Detailed questions regarding one’s mental state, bodily functions, daily habits, diet, and environment are standard procedure.
After assessing the client’s constitution and current imbalances a therapeutic program is outlined. This integrates the most effective therapies to eliminate root causes and instil enduring relief without negative side effects.
To ensure efficacy and safety always check a practitioner’s credentials and purchase Tibetan Medicine approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).