Kurze Einführung in die tibetische Medizin

Tibetan Medicine (Sowa Rigpa), commonly known as “Amchi”, is practiced in many countries (Tibet, China, Mongolia, Buddhist regions of Russia and Central Asia and the Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Ladakh and Northern India). It is often known as Tibetan medicine due to its origin in ancient Tibet. This comprehensive medical system is one of the oldest surviving forms of medicine and has been practiced for over 2500 years. Originating in the pre-Buddhist Bön era, many of its treatments resemble Ayurveda but it also includes principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Like other Asian medical systems, a basic premise upon which Tibetan Medicine is based is the universal life energy “prana” (Ayurvedic) or “ch’i” (Chinese). It provides a detailed look at the patterning of this energy and the manifestations of disruptions to it. The movement of prana in its continuous flow is called rlung (see below).

Tibetan Medicine is fundamentally concerned with maintaining a balance between the three nyes-pa(pronounced: “nyay-bas”); literally the three “defects”, “faults”, or “forms of punishment”. When the nyes-pa are kept in balance they maintain physical and mental health, but when they are disturbed, or when there is an excess or lack of them, they act as causes of disease. The nyes-pa are essential for life and for the continuance of the mind-body complex, and yet they must always be regarded as potential causers of harm. Consistent with the Buddhist view that existence itself contains the seed of suffering, the nyes-pa represent essential bodily processes that in themselves are a “form of punishment”.

The three nyes-pa are called rlung (pronounced “loong”, engl. wind), mKhris-pa (pronounced: “tri-pa”, engl. bile), and Bhad-kan (“bay-gan”, engl. phlegm). The common translations of “wind”, “bile” and “phlegm” roughly indicate general qualities, but among Tibetans very different connotations are triggered compared with Western associations. In any case, nyes-pa properties represent physical processes whose harmonious interaction is necessary for life – from the cellular to organismic level. Ultimately, imbalances are attributed to psychological causes. The three nyes-pa owe their arising to the three afflictive mental factors that serve as the roots of all unwholesome states of mind and that in Buddhist theory serve as the basis for birth in cyclic existence. Thus, disease states are seen as crystallizations of dominant states of mind and it is this mind that is considered to be the base, because all existence and moments depend on its movements. Mind is the creator (and destroyer) of every external and internal phenomena. Therefore, the main long-term cause of illness and suffering is mind-made through it’s primal factor, namely ignorance (ma-rig-pa). This ignorance generates in turn the three mental poisons of desire/attachment, anger/aversion and closed-mindedness, which in turn contribute to the development of every disease. In short, it is through the interrelationship between the energy of the mind, humors and physical constructions that the framework of the theory and practice of Tibetan Medicine is established.

Astrology is also a vital part of Tibetan Medicine. It is considered in the preparation of certain medicines, including the timing of herb collection as well as performance of therapies such as moxibustion.

Due to its holistic view, a great variety of treatment methods are used in Tibetan Medicine. Tibetan medical treatment of constitutional and psychopathological disorders includes specific diets and behaviors, Tibetan herbal medicine and mineral remedies, external therapies such as moxibustion, rejuvenation, Buddhist spiritual healing, meditation and Tibetan yoga in order to bring harmony, equilibrium and restoration to the system of three humors.