22 Sep

A Brief History of Tibetan medicine

gSowa Rigpa origins trace back to a time when the Bon religion, the indigenous religion of Tibet, was prominent. There are extensive historical records of the practice of gSowa Rigpa including the gSo-rig Bhoomshi, a complete written textbook on Tibetan medicine. It was commonly used for academic study and as a clinical and research guide. Although the body of knowledge described in this book does not conform to modern Western scientific research standards which utilize methods such as control groups and tests for the placebo effect, the gSo Rig Bhoomshi documents and summarizes centuries of experiential knowledge utilizing Tibetan Medicine healing methods. For example, using melted butter to stop bleeding or heal wounds and drinking boiled hot water to treat indigestive problems.
Around the 6th and 7th century, the Bon religion lost its popularity and Buddhism became a strong influence on Tibetan culture, belief, and medicine. During this time, one of the famous Tibetan kings, Songsten Gampo, hosted what is now recognized as the First International Conference on Tibetan Medicine in Samye, the original capital of Tibet. He invited many doctors, scholars, and researchers from neighboring countries including Afghanistan, China, Greece, India, Nepal and Persia to exchange valuable knowledge. Since that time, TM also has been considered the essence of medicine because wisdom and unique features of other healing traditions such as Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, and Greek medicine, contributed to TM. However, TM has continually developed its own healing system and methodologies based in part on Buddhist philosophy, Bon religion, and the unique culture and environment of Tibet.
Although little known for many years, Tibetan Medicine has gradually become more widely practiced throughout the world. This is due in large part to the work of sMan rTsis Khang, the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute, Dhramasala in India and Lhasa, Amdo, Kham in Tibet. TM has been practiced not only in Tibet, but also in most of the Himalayan Kingdoms such as India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikim. Because of its unique and effective approach to natural healing, TM also has been eagerly welcomed in many European countries such as Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland over the last couple of decades.
More and more westerners realize that the healing art of Tibetan Medicine has relieved suffering and sickness for millennia and is based on a profound, theoretical and experiential understanding of the body. However, TM is still a relatively new healing modality in the United States.

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