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Tibetan Medicine

Special Nepal Travel Activit

Many people who travel to Nepal will come across a Tibetan Medicine doctor (or shop) by accidentally finding it in a seemingly odd alleyway or just by chance while they are exploring the country. The average person that comes to Nepal does not even think about the possible opportunity of seeing this type of doctor as a travel option. While travel to Nepal is popular for many tourists, visiting the Tibetan doctor in Nepal is usually only done by various celebrities, Nepali locals, and people that have heard about it being in Nepal and are unhappy with the typical western medicines.

Although there is a wide scope of knowledge in the world about Tibetan medicine and the practice, the Tibetan – medicine – curious people who travel to Nepal wonder how such a famous form of healing was developed, what types of ailments does it help to cure, and they still have the simple question “What exactly is Tibetan Medicine?”

Tibetan Medicine is the science of healing that uses a holistic approach to heal illness by using different (mostly natural) ingredients. Although the majority of the medicine is herb-based there are a variety of other ingredients used such as rocks, resins, soil, trees, saps, precious metals, etc. If the doctor is able to make a correct diagnosis (and most of the diagnosis is correctly and miraculously checked by pulse) and has the right medicine available, then Tibetan Medicine is good for many types of illnesses. Some chronic diseases that the medicine is particularly successful at treating (although not limited to) are: anxiety, arthritis, asthma, blood disorders, chronic digestive problems, eczema, hepatitis, liver problems, rheumatism, sinus problems, and other problems associated with the nervous system. Tibetan doctors also use a tree chart that shows all the different ways an illness can manifest from within the body.


Tibetan Medical Center, Nepal

Some forms of treatment can even vary from specific exercises or even dietary items to add or subtract from your daily meals. Most of the herbs and other ingredients are formed into small brown balls that are to be taken as directed by the doctor. Most of the medicines are compounded at the medical center from plants that were gathered from Tibet and in the high mountain regions of Nepal. Some can be one to three times a day or occasionally more depending on the ailment. The medicine is quite bitter in taste and is usually supposed to be chewed and then swallowed with warm or cold water. Another form of the Tibetan medicine that a doctor might prescribe is a weed-looking ball that is to be dissolved in boiling water creating a tea-like drink that again will be drank after chewing the brown ball medicine first.

Tibetans have been successful with their medical approach and developments by synthesizing knowledge of many different medical systems from around the world. Traditional sources claim that in the beginning of the 4th century (even though the Tibetans had already had a significant degree of medical knowledge) new ideas of medicine started to flood into Tibet. India brought information on Ayurvedic medicine while Buddhists and other sources brought their information and beliefs about healing by using more spiritual and psychologically based systems.

Around the 7th-8th centuries, the Tibetan government started to sponsor different discussions and meetings between skilled doctors from other countries like China, India, Persia and Greece to present their medical beliefs and debate their ideas regarding health and the treatment of illness. For the doctors that had superior abilities to diagnose, treat and had a high understanding of illness, they were invited to stay and add their information to the Tibet’s medical knowledge base.


Tibetan Medicine Tree

From these discussions and research a comprehension of physical and psychological medicine imbued with a Buddhist spiritual understanding using a holistic approach to health care, formed a solid foundation for Tibetan medicine. This base has benefited patients and doctors alike because it acknowledges how health and illness are both connected to the persons mind and body as well as to their environment and personal spirituality.

This type of medicine seems like a perfect fit for Nepal because of its connection to body, mind, environment and spirituality. It is really popular with Nepali and Tibetan locals and is still considered an “off the beaten track” of travel activities in Nepal for visitors. With the increase of tourism in Nepal as well as growing interest in this type of healing, there will be undoubtedly more centers opening around the Kathmandu and Pokhara Valleys with more convenient locations to cater to the visiting traveler.

Because this type of treatment is known to work for various ailments, it is popular and with that so are the waiting rooms to see a Tibetan doctor. If your travel time in Nepal is limited or you do not want to anticipate waiting for hours to see the doctor, it will save you a lot of waiting time to make an appointment or have an appointment made for you by a travel agent or contact in Nepal so you can enjoy the rest of your Nepal travel program.


Tibetan Doctor Doing Pulse Diagnose

As for the education of the Tibetan doctors in Nepal (and everywhere), they will have a minimum of seven years training. The to-be doctor will learn and understand Tibetan linguistics, grammar, and poetry so they can read and gain the ancient knowledge from the medical textbooks. The first four years of learning are spent studying the four main medical tantras: root tantra, exegetical tantra, oral tradition tantra which explains methods and instructions and the subsequent tantra. During their fifth year, students take their oral and written exams on the four tantras. The sixth and seventh years are dedicated to practical training with the guidance and under supervision of an experienced and practicing doctor.

Besides Tibet having various centers, most of the training for Tibetan Medicine doctors as well as the production of the medicines is done in Dharamsala in Northern India. Currently there are more than 30 branches that practice Tibetan Medicine in Nepal and India with an addition of private clinics all with the same goal to spread the healing abilities of this medicine to all that visit.

Through the gained knowledge of Tibet and with the success of teaching this unique holistic medical approach to healing, they have created the traditional system of medicine which has now been practiced for over 2500 years. Countless people from all over the world have visited Nepal and been healed by these ancient forms of treatment which will undoubtedly continue and strive in the future. Take time from your Nepal travel program to see a Tibetan doctor and like the rest of the country, let it change your life.

To view pre-designed Nepal travel packages, see the programs page or see the encyclopedia for more Nepal Travel items.