Day: March 2, 2012

Experiencing Tibetan Medicine

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The past couple of days I’ve been hanging out at the Tibetan library, expanding my horizon. The library is in the same little area as the government in exile and the medical & astrological institute so in a way you have the essence of Tibet represented in one place. To me, that place is pretty much perfect; the view of the mountains, full exposure to the culture and ancient knowledge readily available – what’s not to love?!

Outside the library, a number of very content dogs are hanging out. The dogs here are much healthier, happier and relaxed than other places in India – here they have their own place in society and are not just outlawed and homeless animals.

A few days back a friend gave me a tour of the area, including the astrological museum. I had been wanting to get an astrological consultation, which is a little different from our western classical astrology – among other factors, past and future lives as well as the influences of the elements are included. It turned out that because of the huge demand of horoscopes, the department have been forced to put all consultations on hold and focus on catching up on analyzing. They still had two kinds of consultations available; partner compatibility and death prediction – one I don’t need and one I don’t want :D

So instead we visited the astrological museum and that was actually very interesting – astrology and health are very much related as opposed to the western world where astrology is mostly considered on the more alternative side.

Then a couple of days later, I meet someone who is suggesting that I should get a physical by a Tibetan doctor. He says that might be interesting and describes it a little bit. There’s more to the story regarding that meet but that’s down a completely different path – let’s just say that I was ready to follow whatever suggestion he might have had. So the next day, yesterday, bringing a small plastic container with urine, seriously, I walk down to the Drungtso Healing and Astrological Centre. I think this was the most excited I’ve ever been about going to get examined by the doctor, it was definitely the adventure of the day.

The clinic is very simple and the people working there are very nice – the whole thing has got what I’ve come to understand as the ‘Tibetan atmosphere’, happy and relaxed in perfect balance :) I go meet the doctor and sit down and she starts by measuring my pulse – with three fingers. index, middle, and ring finger, each finger doing its own thing*. Very accurately she goes through the process of diagnosis, once in a while asking me questions. Afterwards she takes the container with urine and shakes it. She does that a couple of times, making little remarks about the size of the bubbles and such. I’m just sitting there fascinated and if she had let me, we could have stayed there all day, me asking a million questions. She concludes the consultations by prescribing me four different kinds of medicine, one for the cold that is creeping up on me and three other kinds for making my whole system get into perfect balance. She also makes a few suggestions as to what I should and shouldn’t eat.

Out in the clinic again I first go to the cashier with my prescriptions and then afterwards I go to the dispensary where they take almost 15 minutes counting the exact number of pills needed, carefully putting them in small plastic bags with little notes of guidance.

After the doctor, I headed straight to the library and spend the next few hours reading about Tibetan medicine, which is just amazingly fascinating – and not just because I’m easily fascinated. Its approach to health is holistic in the most holistic way possible and I can’t wait to learn more about it!

Okay, so the pills look like little goat poop, you know, the little round things that could assemble licorice.. They’re different variations of brown and smell very nature’ish. I’m supposed to crush them and then mix with hot water – three at the time, spread out across the day.

This morning I then started my treatment towards perfect balance. I don’t have a pill crusher here but the doctor said it would be fine just crushing them between my teeth and then drink hot water to flush them down.

My first thought was that the pills were actually harder than expected. My second thought was pure panic. The taste was awful! I wanted to rip out the whole interior of my mouth to make it stop. Horrible!

So this afternoon I tried to crush the pills, using two forks, and then mixing them with water. Two forks are not sufficient for crushing Tibetan goat poop but the experience was definitely less traumatizing and I feel confident that this too will lead somewhere satisfying :D

* If you should feel like learning just a little more about Tibetan medicine, the website of the Drungtso Centre is very informative;

http://www.tibetanmedical-astro.com/about_tibetan_medicine.php

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