I graduated from the ShangShung Institute School of Tibetan Medicine and the Qinghai University Tibetan Medicine School of Xining as a Doctor of Tibetan Medicine and am also a Licensed Massage Therapist. Previously I received a Master’s of Science from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. From 1991 to 1994 I directed the Tibetan Resettlement Project in New Mexico, where 50 Tibetan men and women were helped to resettle and eventually bring their families. Buddhist practice has been part of my life since the age of nineteen and I have been blessed with studying with many great teachers. In India where I lived for two years I spent 5 months in the Tibetan exile community and developed an abiding love and concern for the Tibetan people and their culture. That is also where I first became acquainted with Tibetan medicine and was impressed and intrigued with it’s efficacy. It is my hope to help acquaint Westerners with Tibetan medicine and its many healing modalities and benefits.I first saw how effective Tibetan medicine could be when I lived below Amala Lobsang in MacLeod Ganj, India. She was relaxed, kind and happy. I used to visit her, have tea and ask questions about Tibetan medicine, little realizing that I would one day have the opportunity to study it myself. I also met some of her patients, one of whom stuck in my mind, a young English man that she was treating for a birth trauma resulting in the atrophy of his whole right side. At the time I saw him he had gone from having an almost useless, curled up atrophied arm to an arm with about 80% mobility. He was amazed and extremely grateful with his progress.
When my teacher Gan Phuntsog Wangmo decided to open a school using the traditional Tibetan texts and teaching methods I was incredibly happy that it was so close and I was able to participate. For me, the study of Tibetan medicine is a continuation and extension of my Buddhist practice. There is a strong spiritual and ethical component in Tibetan medicine that is continually emphasized in doctor’s conduct. It is taught that the right motivation and attitude of compassion are absolutely necessary to practice medicine.
Tibetan medicine is an ancient healing tradition that is believed to have originated in the ShangShung area of Tibet. Over many, many centuries it evolved as a distinct practice that incorporates indigenous healing methods and formulas, ancient Greek, Persian, Chinese, and Indian knowledge. Based on the theory of the five elements and three humors (rlung, tripa, paykan) and through the use of diet, behavior, herbal/mineral medicines, and external therapies the Tibetan medicine practitioner seeks to bring about a balanced body and mind. Both our bodies and everything in the external world are made of the 5 elements, so when there is an imbalance in our bodies, the material to rebalance the body can be found in the external environment. In Tibetan medicine anything, with the proper knowledge, can be used as medicine; rocks, gems, all types of minerals, herbs, trees, leaves, roots, meats, grains, oils, different kinds of water, even the air we breathe can all be used to heal.
Tibetan medicine is rooted in Buddhism and reflects the connection between mind, emotions and the physical body. The Root cause of all illness is Ego, which is manifested in the form of ma-rigpa (ignorance). This leads to the three mental poisons of attachment, anger and delusion. These 3 mental poisons are associated with rLung, Tripa & Badkan and can give rise to physical ailments. Each person’s condition is considered according to their own unique constitution, physical and emotional circumstances.
A typical consultation consists of questions about the nature of the symptoms, diet, various circumstances of the person’s life and health history. It will also include examination of the pulse, eyes, tongue and possibly pressure points. Please bring an early morning urine sample collected mid-stream from your first urine of the morning with you to every consultation. This should be collected into a clean glass container with a tight fitting lid. Treatment is given based on all of this information. Because Tibetan medicine seeks to create balance it is sometimes useful to initially try gentler methods of diet and behavior, or if using herbs to begin with milder formulas. Tibetan herbal formulas work gently and deeply and can often take two weeks or more before a result is noticed and treatment can last from a few weeks to several months depending on the particular condition and if it is chronic or acute.