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Tibetan Medicine

Tibet's Ancient Heritage of Healing Science

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What is Tibetan Medicine?



Known as, "Sowa Rigpa", Tibetan Medicine is one of humanity's ancient systems of medical science. It's origin traces back many thousands of years, into the ancient indigenous roots of Tibetan culture. In later centuries, Tibet rose to become a powerful empire, extensively interacting with neighboring regions, through trade, diplomacy, and military campaigns. At this time, Tibetan Medicine adopted elements of Ayurvedic Medicine from India, Chinese Medicine, as well as Persian and Hellenestic traditions. 

Tibetan Medicine theory is based on a set of four classical roots texts, known as the "Four Tantras" or Gyud zhi (rgyud bzhi). These texts have been used in their complete form continuously since the 12th century C.E. Tibetan Medicine is a rich and dynamic medical science, with unique systems of theory, diagnostics, and methods of treatment. Today, it is practiced around the world, and taught at traditional universities, modern schools and other programs in various countries. 


Tibetan Medicine is based on a system of Five Elements, which include Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space. These elements form the basis of all matter and energy in the universe. The Five Elements combine and express within the human condition as the Three Nyepa (nyepa), a.k.a. the Three Humors. These include Loong (rlung), Tripa (mkhris pa), and Pedkan (bad kan). The interaction of the Three Nyepa with their corresponding physiological systems within the human dimension, form the basis of theory in Tibetan Medicine. 


Tibetan Medicine uses several key methods of diagnosis. These methods are hands-on, complex and nuanced. They requiring years of training to develop great sensitivity and knowledge of the subtle intricacies and fleeting signs presented by each unique patient. Tibetan diagnostic methods include:

  • Palpation of the pulse

  • observation of the tongue

  • observation of the urine

  • Examination of the external body 

  • Extensive interview of the patient  

Methods of Treatment

Tibetan Medicine works with each patient's unique condition. We apply a variety of treatments to address the symptomatic expression as well as the root causes and conditions of disease. However, most importantly, we work to promote balance and long-term health holistically. We develop treatment plans based on our patients' unique elemental constitution, their lifestyle, age, geographic environment, health history, the season, and other factors.

The four main methods of treatment include: 

  • Healthy Diet​​

    • meal plans

    • nutrition

    • beneficial foods

    • recipes

    • seasonal diets

    • fasting and cleansing

    • supplements

    • portions

    • meal timing 

  • Healthy Lifestyle

    • daily habits

    • exercise

    • sleep hygeine

    • work wellness

    • stress management

    • mental-emotional wellness

    • meditation

    • breathing exercises

  • Herbal Medicines

    • herbal formulae

    • topical products

    • DIY herbal recipes

  • Therapeutic Treatments

    • moxibustion​

    • cupping

    • Kunye Tibetan massage

    • herbal compress therapies

    • hot stones and other heated compresses

    • nasal and ear cleansing treatments

What conditions can Tibetan Medicine Benefit?

Tibetan Medicine provides theory and practical methods for the treatment of many different conditions. It offers potential benefits for many health conditions that affect people in our world today. In my clinical practice, I work with a variety of health challenges.

Some of the conditions I work with in my Tibetan Medicine practice include:

  • anxiety 

  • PTSD

  • depression

  • insomnia

  • bereavement 

  • gastrointestinal conditions

  • oncology treatment supportive care

  • autoimmune conditions

  • liver/gallbladder support

  • kidney support

  • women's health 

  • men's health 

Where can I learn more?

To learn more about Tibetan Medicine, I can recommend a few sources:

Tibetan Medicine
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