I encountered Tibetan medicine in Pokhara, Nepal. I have had the chance to meet a friend who went to that Tibetan hospital and told me about her positive experience there, so of course, I paid them a visit, willing to learn more about this practice.
The Men-Tsee-Khang institution preserves, promotes and practices Sowa Rigpa, the ancient Tibetan system of medicine, astronomy and astrology. It also aims to improve the health and sanitation of the refugees in particular and the public in general and to establish dispensaries in order to provide accessible health care to the people regardless of caste, creed or colour.
I went there one morning and was welcomed by a Tibetan doctor who had just arrived in Pokhara after spending the last years practicing in India. He took the time to explain me a few things about Tibetan medicine that I’m happy to share with you…
This medicine is based on the 5 elements, like most of the alternative and Eastern medicines. Tibetan medicine is based on Ayurveda (we can consider that 40% of this practice is about the same as Ayurveda) and Chinese medicine, so you might see some similarities with these methods.
Tibetan medicine is designed for people living in high altitude (which makes sense for Tibetans) and treats patients only with the use of herbal ingredients and is thus, a natural medicine.
The practitioner will focus on observing the symptoms and imbalance of the body by a complete check-up:
- Patient’s figure
- Patient’s silhouette
- Patient’s Diet
The 5 elements are divided into 3 categories that determine the constitution of your body, that are called the nyepas (the equivalent of doshas in Ayurveda) that are :
Air & Ether – equivalent to Vata in Ayurveda
Fire – equivalent to Pitta in Ayurveda
Water and Earth – equivalent to Kapha in Ayurveda
Each individual has specific characteristics according to their constitution and receives “customized treatments” in line with their nyepa in terms of medicines, acupuncture, diet etc. to rebalance any unbalances or blockages within their constitution (nyepa) and thus within their body.
He confirmed that I was Loong/Beakan. Which is weird because I’m a strong Pitta in Ayurveda. Although, what he advised me was very relevant and exactly in line with what I received from my Ayurvedic retreat: No sugar, no cold drinks, no late night food, no caffeine, no black tea (should I go on??, my life seems pretty boring now), slow yoga practice like yin yoga, oil massage preferably versus Chinese/strong massages (I wanna say “haha” knowing my history with massages) and not work too much/too fast (this I love and agree!).
I’m mostly sharing this in order for you to see how precise the recommendations can be after a check-up.
After the diagnosis, the Doctor then prescribed me natural medicines and performed acupuncture as well as cupping therapy on me to help heal the triggers I had (back problems, sciatica etc.).
I had never tested the cupping technique and it’s quite interesting. It feels like a pressure at first where the cup is located and then heat. It’s totally bearable. The cupping therapy is an ancient form of medicine with suction cups that mobilizes blood flow to boost the natural healing abilities of the body in the area where it’s needed.
I went back 3 days in a row, on Doctor’s recommendation and received the same treatment every time. I had the best night after I came back from the first session, feeling so relaxed and slept like a baby. I had the best nap on the second day while having the treatment. It really seems that this mix of acupuncture and cupping relaxes me a lot.
I have not taken the medicines since it was not practical while traveling (needed to take the medicine with warm water) and I feel I needed more sessions for it to work on a longer term on my back pain.
I really enjoyed the relaxation provided by these treatments and I trust this ancient practice for being very effective on short and long terms and I will experience it again if I ever cross path with these methods again.
This post is a small introduction from the discussion I had with the Doctor this one time. I hope it still helps understand its field of action.
Do not hesitate to contact me for more information or to share your experiences in the comments part.
PS: I don’t remember well how to find that place. I remember it was near a famous cave and near a tibetan monastery (at the bottom of the big Pagoda up the mountain)…And I had to hop on 2 buses from the center of Pokhara to reach that place. But I’ve never had the exact address or the bus number :)… It’s a tibetan hospital. I really hope you can go! It’s also an incredible experience!