Sunday, 3 February 2008

The Basic Theories of Tibetan Medicine

While In Tibet I went to a lecture on Tibetan Medicine. Its is a very interesting system and is almost unheard of in the West. It was first taught by Yutok Yonten Gompo in the eighth century, who combined Chinese, Ayurvedic and Persian medicine systems with the shamanic Tibetan system. The theories are all written down on the Four Medical Tantras. It embraces the Buddhist concept that illness is caused by the 3 poisons of the mind, ignorance, attachment and aversion. The Tantras can be broken down into Thangkas, many of which are theoretical diagrams and all the basics are represented by 3 trees.
The first tree has 2 trunks. The first representing a state of sickness and the second health, this is pictured above.
The first branch of the first trunk explains the 3 energies. Whereas in Chinese medicine there is two basic energies Yin and Yang, in Tibetan theory there is 3-Loong, Tiba and Bigen.
Loong is shown as blue and represents the nervous system, Tiba is shown as yellow and represents cold and Bigen is white and represents heat.
The second branch has 7 leaves all representing the 7 bodily functions and the third shows the 3 excretions.
A Tibetan doctor will use 3 ways to observe a patient: visual, looking at tongue colour and urine. Touch, by the pulse. And talking to the patient to find out about lifestyle.
In Tibetan medicine prevention is better than cure. So the first step would be to try and prevent an illness before it happens, the second step would be through herbs and the final step would be through acupunture with golden needles or massage etc.