Tibetan Medicine

gSowa Rigpa – Tibetan Healing Practice

The very roots of the Tibetan medicine reach to ancient kingdom of Shangshung in central Asia and the Buddha Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche of the Bon religion, born there more than 17977 years ago.

Bon religion is not only a shamanic tradition but in fact an ancient form of Buddhism. I received an initiation and teaching on practice of Sandzie Men Lha – Medicine Buddha of Bon tradition, from Chongtul Tenzin Namgyal Rinpoche (https://www.bonshenling.org/chongtul-rinpoche).

The Tibetan medicine, as we know it today, was formed in 7th century, under the rule of Tibetan emperor Songtsan Gampo. He invited to Tibet number of distinguished physicians from India, Persia, and China. They formed a synthesis of their medical systems with the local Tibetan medicine. Particularly influential were the Galeno tradition and Ayurveda. Chinese medical tradition did not leave a lasting impression on Tibetan medical system.

The main text with the teaching of Tibetan Medicine, are the Gyud-shi – the four medical tantras. The final text used until this day was updated and finalised in 12th century by younger Yuthok Yonten Gonpo, great Buddhist Master and physician.

Diagnostic methods

There are many diagnostic methods used in Tibetan medicine that allow to have an insight into the state of the body, its organs, and to an extent, even the mind and karma of the person under examination. The main diagnostic methods I use in my practice are examination of the pulse, urine, tongue, ears and eyes veins. When necessary I supplement with examination of the iris of the eye, which is not part of the Tibetan medical tradition, and contemporary laboratory testing including genetic testing.

Tibetan Medicine therapies used in my practice:

  • Moxibustion practice – technique of warming certain points on the body with smoking herbal bundles. It is not at all based on the concept of meridian, therefore it is independent from Chinese moxibustion. Tibetan moxibustion is based on number of points called sang which are vital energy gates of the body.
  • Hor-me therapy – technique of warming or of heating specific local body points with oily substance bundles. Hor-me is often joined with fomentation techniques.
  • Cupping therapy – practised in many traditional medical systems – in Tibetan medicine as well as in Polish traditional medicine. I was taught the basics of cupping therapy by my grandmother as it is a therapy practice passed from generation to generation in my family. I expanded and supplemented my knowledge in this area with professor Passang.
  • Fomentation – application of cold or hot fomentation with different medium (oils, extracts, salts, stones etc.) on chosen parts of the body
  • Ku nye massage – technique of massaging certain points and lines of the body particularly helpful in situation of stress and mental distress.

The above mentioned therapies are but a few most often used in practice. These therapies may be supplemented as necessary by many types of Tibetan medicine therapies that are less often practised.