Tibetan Medicine is almost solely based on herbal remedies, and has been around for over 2,500 years. It is called “gSoba Rig-pa”. Tibetans mostly live in India because they have been in exile since the late 1950’s. They practice Tibetan Buddhism.
There is a Tibetan Medical Institute in Northern India, where doctors studying Tibetan medicine attend for 7 years before earning a degree.
The underlying belief in Tibetan medicine is that all illnesses are caused by poisonous thinking which include dread, denial, and want. This concept ties to the principles of Buddhist philosophy.
The three poisonous thoughts are believed to be caused by poor diet, inappropriate behavior, and the imbalance of time and season. This concept is more complicated than this, but this simplification will give a general sense of it.
Cures are linked to all systems of the body working together. The elimination of sweat, feces and urine contributes to this harmony.
Similar to the Chinese “Qi”, the Tibetans have the Rlung, which is the overall life force that connects us to the universe. Rlung has five types:
Centered in the brain. Life grasping – controls breathing, intellect, sneezing and swallowing.
Centered in the chest. Upward moving – controls verbal ability and stamina.
Centered in the heart. All pervading – controls all movement like that of the orifices of the body and walking.
Centered in the stomach. Fire accompanying – controls digestion and metabolism.
Centered in the rectum. Downward cleansing – controls everything that is expelled from the body, such as babies, menstrual blood or semen.
Tibetan medicine usually handles sickness diagnosis by analysis of the tongue and urine. The spiritual element is also at play in Tibetan medicine, with much attention spent focusing on the type and temperament of spirits in the body.