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Tibetan Medicine: Health & Happiness

INTERDEPENDENCE OF BODY, MIND & ENERGY

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Tibetan Medicine is a holistic system that understands the deep interdependence of body, mind and energy. Because of this interdependence, both illness and healing can take place at any of these three levels.

For example, at the level of the mind, disease is often caused by one of the three mental poisons of ignorance, anger or attachment. The presence of these negative emotions alters the functioning and balance of the body in real ways. Alternatively, if one of the body’s fundamental substances is out of balance because of, for example, wrong diet, this can in turn manifest through the emotions, causing mental suffering. This means that we can affect our health and happiness by making positive changes on the level of the body or mind.

For example, at the level of the mind, disease is often caused by one of the three mental poisons of ignorance, anger or attachment. The presence of these negative emotions alters the functioning and balance of the body in real ways. Alternatively, if one of the body’s fundamental substances is out of balance because of, for example, wrong diet, this can in turn manifest through the emotions, causing mental suffering. This means that we can affect our health and happiness by making positive changes on the level of the body or mind.

VITAL SUBSTANCES

Tibetan Medicine recognizes the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind and space as archetypal energies that also manifest into the more substantial components of the body, such as the three humors. The humors—bile (tripa), wind (lung) and phlegm (beken)—are vital substances and primary energies, which, in their various forms, perform all functions of the body. The balance of the humors relative to each other determines whether the body is strong and healthy or if it is experiencing illness. Many factors affect the balance of the humors, such as: diet, exercise, inner body temperature, external environment and mental state. In all things, we strive for the harmonious balance of these primary energies. All else then follows.

The diagnostic systems used in Tibetan Medicine—observation, pulse and urinalysis—categorize all disease as either hot or cold. Next, the imbalance of the humors is assessed. Treatments include herbal medicine, moxibustion, massage and behavioral advice (diet, sleep, meditation).

ANCIENT WISDOM, MODERN TIMES

Although it is a deep-rooted system, with evidence of its practice as early as 200 BC, Tibetan Medicine remains very relevant today. It is possible to study and practice this healing art in our modern circumstances. Tulku Lobsang also offers a certification program in Traditional Tibetan Medicine. A deeper recognition between the body and mind can be a benefit to us all.