Principles of Tibetan Medicine

Tibetan medicine is an ancient healing system that developed over 1300 years ago. It derives from a variety of medical traditions including Ayurveda, Western (Greek), Persian, Chinese, and the Buddhist and indigenous Bonpo religions of Tibet. The synthesis of these major approaches to health and healing evolved over centuries and are recorded in the Zhud-Shi (Four Roots) – the Atlas of Tibetan Medicine.

Until the 20th century, Tibetan medicine was taught only in Buddhist monasteries and its practitioners were Lama Physicians (Emchi). The recent spread of Tibetan culture into the modern world has made its healing principles and treatments available on a global scale.

Tibetan Monastery

Tibetan medicine is based on the triadic, or three-element theory of rLung, Tripa, Badkan, which are known in the Dr. Badmaev Buryat Tradition as Chi, Schara, and Badahan. rLung/Chi represents air and space, Tripa/Schara represents fire and energy, and Badkan/Badahan, the material factors of earth and water. The three elements represent an interdependent natural order that forms the basis of all perceived phenomenon in the universe and an imbalance among them gives rise to not being well emotionally, psychologically and physically.

Illustration from Zhud-Shi

In Tibetan medicine theory, it is important for a patient to keep the disciplines necessary to maintain a state of spiritual, mental and physical health. These disciplines include proper nutrition, healthy lifestyle, adequate exercise and rest, keeping a psychological stability and spiritual peace. This is considered a primary approach to health and disease prior to correcting an imbalance and the resulting illness. The Tibetan physician makes a careful and holistic evaluation, taking into diagnostic account aspects of body, mind, and spirit in their diagnostic procedure and in applying appropriate remedies.

Tibetan physician