Tibetan Medicine - Karma Choeling Buddhist Monastery

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Tibetan Medicine


Traditional Tibetan Healthcare
is an ancient system of healing which uses gentle herbal remedies without unpleasant side-effects, and provides advice on how to prevent the energy imbalances which cause illnesses.  It is an integral part of Tibetan culture,  and one of the oldest medical systems in the world, dating to around 300 BC.  Based on the traditional text of the Four Tantras, (teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha) as well as some elements from pre-Buddhist Bon culture,  Ayurveda from India, with essential aspects of Chinese, Persian, and Greek medical wisdom, Tibetan Healthcare has a good reputation throughout Asia and more recently in Europe, Britain and the United States. Diagnosis involves assessment of the patient's symptoms, pulses and tongue, along with analysis of urine and consideration of the physical appearance and daily habits of the patient and the influence of the seasons.  Tibetan healthcare provides advice on behaviour, diet, exercise, as well as acupuncture, and moxibustion; deriving remedies from a large number of natural sources.  Although teas and powders are used, pills made from a wide range of herbal ingredients, are the most common type of Tibetan remedies and there is a strong focus on digestive system functions, which are considered the key to health.  The table below shows the three humours of Ayurveda and their meanings.  An imbalance of these humours is responsible for the development of illness.

Traditional Tibetan Healthcare travelled to the west via Mongolia, Russia and Europe in the early 20th century as well as through Nepal and India via Tibetan refugees during the Cultural Revolution.  Traditional texts are being translated into English, Chinese and other languages, as Tibetan Healthcare experiences a revival, but at present there is a shortage of trained doctors and a limited supply of herbs and other ingredients for making the increasingly popular remedies.
the coordinator at Sowa Rigpa for information on the next doctor visit.


Tibetan Doctor Visits Starting in 2002 the New Zealand Karma Kagyu Trust has from time to time brought a traditional Tibetan doctor to visit centres throughout New Zealand for education, and consultation in Tibetan Ayurvedic medicine.  Sowa Rigpa (Art of Healing) NZ, is a committee of the New Zealand Karma Kagyu Trust which now organises these visits. Our motivation in bringing Tibetan doctors to NZ is primarily to benefit sick people and to help prevent illness and suffering. We also supply Tibetan herbal remedies(with doctor’s prescription), in addition to a variety of herbal teas, face creams, and ointments.   Contact the coordinator on 07-8551288 or 02108381392, or email sowarigpanz@gmail.com

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