• Tibetan medicine consists of philosophy, science and healing
practices that can help to create and maintain a healthy mind and
• The Tibetan name for this holistic healing system is Sowa Rigpa
or Amchi medicine, which means the science of healing. The
practitioners of this medicine are known as Amchis.
• Tibetan medicine teaches that the purpose of life is to be HAPPY.
• By using Tibetan medicine for self-care, you will become aware of
how your thoughts and behaviours influence your health and
• Tibetan medicine can be part of any program of integrative
3. History of Tibetan medicine
• The Tibetan medical system is one of the world's oldest
known medical traditions with the living history of more
than 2500 years.
• It has been popularly practiced in Himalayan regions
throughout central Asia.
• Originated from India Sowa-Rigpa is based on Jung-wa-
lna (Panch Mahabhuta/five elements) and Nespa
gSum (Tri-dosha/ three humours) theories.
• The Tibetan medical heritage is based on the book of
the Four Tantras (rGyud-bZhi), which remains the
fundamental medical text even today.
• The philosophy of Tibetan Medicine also got motivated by
rGyud-bZhi and the influences are clearly visible in it.
4. • Buddha Shakyamuni (961-881 B.C.,) (according to Phuglug
Tradition of Tibetan Astrology)
• Lha Thothori Nyantsan (245-364 A.D.,) (according to gSo-rig
• Dung gi Thorchog (Dates Unknown)
• Dharma King Songtsen Gampo (617-650 A.D.,) (according
to Dungkar tsigzod chenmo )
• Dharma King Trisong Deutsen (742-797 A.D.,) (according
to Dungkar tsigzod chenmo)
• Elder Yuthog Yonten Gonpo (708-833 A.D.,) (according
to gSo-rig Kuns ‘Dus)
• The Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute founded by
His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1959. It its headquarter in
Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh).
5. Principles & Philosophy
Tibetan Medicine is…
A science, art and philosophy that provides a
holistic approach to health care.
Based on an understanding of the body and its
relationship to the environment.
An art, as well as a science because it uses
diagnostic techniques based on the
insight(deep understanding of a person or
thing), creativity and compassion(concern) of
the medical practitioner.
6. • The Buddhist philosophy states that everything
in the universe is in a constant state of
• There are 5 key elements that make up the
universe, according to the theory of Tibetan
• Sa – Earth
• Chu - Water
• Me - Fire
• rLung - Wind
• Nam-mkha - Space
7. The Five Elements
– exerts a strong influence over the formation of muscle
cells, and bones
– responsible for the formation of blood and body fluids, as
well as the tongue and sense of taste
– responsible for the body’s internal temperature and
complexion, as well as the eyes and the sense of sight
– responsible for breathing, skin and the sense of touch
– responsible for hollow body spaces, the ears and the sense
• Three main tools for diagnosing a patient i.e
1. Visual diagnosis
2. Touch diagnosis
3. Questioning diagnosis
9. 1. Visual diagnosis
• Visual diagnosis comprises of two main methods of
tongue examination and Urine analysis.
• Various diseases can be diagnosed by checking the
nature, colour and smoothness, etc. of the tongue.
• Urine can be analyzed on various different stages of
fresh urine, while it is cooling down and when it is
cold by looking at its colour, speed of discolouring,
vapour, odour, bubbles, sediments, etc.
10. 2. Touch diagnosis
• Diagnosis by touch is represented by the advanced
technique of pulse examination followed by
touching the body for temperature and
• Pulse is the most important and major diagnostic
tool in Sowa-Rigpa, which is explained under
thirteen general topics like preparatory conduct,
proper time for examination, place, pressure of
physician’s finger, technique, constitutional pulse,
astonishing pulse, general and specific pulse, death
11. 3. Questioning diagnosis
• Questioning is another mode of diagnosing a
patient; history of case, present condition,
family background and changes in body, etc.
are main questions asked.
12. Tibetan Treatment Plan
• Behavior Modification
• Diet Modification
• Herbal Medicines
• Physical Therapies
The 1st step in the treatment of any disease starts with the
proper administration of diets followed by the changes in
the behavioural regimens. If the ensuing cannot be controlled
through the former two steps, then the medicines are
prescribed with the varying degree of strength in the 3rd
steps. The last or the 4th step involves giving various
accessory therapies like moxa-bustion, vene-
section(surgical incision in vein), purging(to remove
unwanted feeling from memory) and enemas, hot and cold
fomentation, medicine bath, massage, cupping, etc.
13. Behaviour Modification
• Meditation Clinical Study
– Two groups: Intensive and Non-intensive meditation
– Tested for levels of attention and memory
– In all cases the attention and memory levels
improved after meditating
• Meditating allows for “increased tendencies for
compassion, kindness and attentiveness to
14. Herbal Medicine
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome Clinical Study
– A group of people suffering from IBS took Padma Lax
– Tested for regularity and pain management
– Those that took Padma Lax had reduced symptoms and
• Type 2 Diabetes Clinical Study
– 200 untreated Type 2 Diabetes patients were treated
with a combination of two or four Tibetan Medicinal
– They were tested for their glycemic control
– After 3 months there was an improvement in glycemic
control and after 6 months it was even greater
15. Physical Therapies
• Tibetan Medicated-Bath Clinical Study
– Study was tested on rats induced with rheumatoid
arthritis. Some of the rats were subjected to the
Tibetan Medicated-Bath some were not
– Baths were at 40 Degrees Celsius, for 15 minutes for
– Tested for the amount of cartilage left and the non-
– Photographs of the cartilage left in the joints were
taken showed rats subjected to the medicated baths
were less harmed by the arthritis
17. • As a matter of fact, the Clinical
research department of Tibetan
Medical Institute in collaboration with
All India Medical Institute of Science
(AIIMS), New Delhi, has already
proved beyond doubt the effectiveness
of Tibetan Medicine against Diabetes
(1998–1999) and cancer in its various
• Based on the theory of Jung-wa-lna, Sowa-Rigpa believes that
every substance on the earth has medicinal value and therapeutic
• Medicinal substances are classified into eight major categories i.e.
1. Rinpoche sman (prized metal and stone)
2. Sa sman (drugs from mud and earth)
3. Rdo sman (stones)
4. Shing sman (drugs from trees)
5. Rtsi sman (essence and exudates medicines)
6. Thang sman (plant ingredient for decoction/ shrub)
7. Sno sman (herb)
8. Srog chags sman (animal parts).
23. • Compound medicine is based on two major permutation and
combination that is ro (taste) based combination and nus
pa (potencies)-based combination.
• There are about seventeen different categories of medicinal
preparation out of which some important preparations are
decoction, powder, pills, linctus, medicated ghee, Bhasmas,
medicated wine, paste, medicated bath.