Short history of Tibetan Medicine

Tibetan Medicine is one of the oldest medical systems practiced in Asia, along with the Indian Ayurveda and Chinese medicines. All of them have several thousands of years of history and practical experiences. In the 7th century AD, Indian Buddhism was flourishing in northwestern countries, and Persian empires were enjoying prosperity. The Chinese Tang Empire, inspired by the Indian Mahayanic Buddhism and Trans-arabian wealth, developed the Meridian like Silk Road to the West.

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Buddhism and Medicine

Gautama Buddha, the historical Buddha, stated the doctrine more than 2,500 years ago. Since then, it has become the salvation for people seeking liberation from sickness and death. It is a doctrine without discrimination of caste, race or wealth. It respects equality between human beings and animals and solves everyday life difficulties. With time, it has become a religion and system that protects millions of people from suffering.

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Schools and training of physicians in Tibet

Training and education have always been a central interest throughout history of Tibetan Medicine and Buddhism and are influenced by the Buddhist tradition. They were first mainly given by elders or scholar physicians who freely trained young people on the Buddhist basis of ethic and moral responsibility to save one's own and others’ life. Therefore physicians have gained respect in the Tibetan society.

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The Development of Tibetan Medicine in the West

The first European to approach Tibetan Medicine was probably Csoma de Koros (1790-1842), a Hungarian philologist who sought to learn the origin of his own people and to do so, went to Tibet. Based in Ladakh, he compiled the “Tibetan-English Dictionary and Grammar” which was published in Calcutta in 1834. Later, numerous scientists and writers discovered the Tibetan Sowa Rigpa “science of healing” and many of them wrote books about the subject, which were sometimes reviewed by the international media.

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Current legal status of Tibetan Medicine in the West

As Tibetan Medicine is gradually gaining respect and support in Eastern Europe, it is, in the Western countries, a form of medicine raising curiosity and thus not legally accepted as no one has ever worked on the issue of its recognition so far. However, the New Yuthok Institute for Tibetan Medicine in Milan has made an appeal at the Italian Parliament in order to have Tibetan Medicine recognized at the same level as other natural medicines.

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