Brief History of Tibetan Medicine
Tibetan medicine is an assimilation of the Ayurvedic medical tradition, which it imported with Buddhism from India; and many forms of Chinese medicine which were gradually incorporated. These layers of medical knowledge and traditions merged with pre-Buddhist shamanic traditions and have continued to develop up to the present as a thriving and highly effective indigenous medical system.
During the first half of the 7th century, Buddhism was adopted in Tibet by King Songsten Gampo. It was during his reign that physicians from India, China, Nepal, Byzantium and Persia were invited to Tibet for an international medical conference and to translate their medical text into Tibetan. This became the basis for the founding of a sophisticated medical system in Tibet, and led to many years of academic and intellectual exchange.
To this spiritual and philosophical core, based on the unique concept of healing as developed by Buddhist philosophy, (which sees the mind as inextricably linked to all phenomena, including illness and wellness), the Tibetans added a whole array of ideas and concepts along with actual treatments and medications. This original blend created a complex system of healing which interweaves spiritual, magical, and rational healing practices based on the view of health as a harmonious balance between Man's deep relationship with his physical, mental, spiritual and natural worlds.
The Tibetan medical system developed a vast body of medical literature, the oldest surviving written system of medical psychiatry, an enormous herbal pharmacopoeia and a complete system of diagnosis and treatment. The diverse and complex elements that constitute Tibetan medicine -- its highly refined ethical principles, its philosophical and psychological structure -- deserve serious attention, study, documentation and preservation by the international scientific community.
Diagnosis, Tibetan Style, Underlies Small Herbal Study of Advanced Breast Cancer by Judith Randal
Faced with metastatic breast cancer, hundreds of women from around the world have flocked for treatment to Yeshi Dhonden, a traditional Tibetan practitioner who was the Dalai Lama's personal physician for 20 years, and who is based in Dharamsala, India, but regularly visits the United States