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You've heard my tales of woe if you are following the adventure on Facebook. The pollution here - think ghost town-type look with billowing clouds of dust yet filled with 700,000 to 2 million people depending upon the time of year - has wrecked havoc on this little Westerner.

I instantly got a sinus infection that turned into bronchitis. After 10 days of doing it the way that I was raised, I decided it was time for an intervention. Chhewang and I went to visit the local Tibetan doctor, Dr. Tengin Lektso.
As his office is right off the Boudha Stupa, the little Tibetan ladies who come to the Stupa to do their mediation rounds often stop in. Down a narrow hallway past racks of prayer beads and up a flight of stairs, I took my place in line, the tallest of the women, to find out what the Doc could do to cure me.

I sat down across from a guy younger than me, who probably went to boarding school in India and spoke wonderful English. A description of my aches and pains, what I had been taking, how long I had been in Nepal and my story of traveling around the world, was answered with nods, smiles and mental notes. Then he asked for my wrist.

After sitting there reading my pulse (on both wrists) for a full minute each, all the while me sitting there feeling like a contestant on Jeopardy with the background music of the clock ticking in the background, he looked me square in the eyes and rattled off everything that I know is wrong with my body. All from reading my pulse.
He pulled out my own personal prescription booklet...
And started writing...
This was the point where I started giggling about American doctor's handwriting, mentioning that his looked the same although he was writing in Tibetan.
Four prescriptions later, he had the plan laid out. Tackle the sinus infection and bronchitis first - two weeks of taking these little round pills that look like milk duds, but taste like spicy dirt. Then back for a check-up and starting the second round (remember this is a long-term commitment 3 to 6 months at least) to take care of my bad digestion (I eat good food, just not the right foods for my body) and circulation which will take care of my migraines, sinusitis, lower back pain, nausea and at the same time clean up my liver, kidneys, and blood. My blood being full of poisons and my elements unbalanced being the root of the problem for everything wrong with me.

Then he gave me the list of what to avoid. I now have to stay away from:

Cold food (easy enough)
Uncooked food (ditto that)
Salad (I like rabbit food! Oh well!)
Diary (Can't eat cheese or yoghurt...dammit!)
Sweets (gave that up in my 20's)
Radish (never been a big fan, but what do you know I bought one yesterday)
Carbonated (already do that)
Preservatives (already do that)
Fatty food (already do that)
Fried food (already do that)
Dust (impossible here)
Cold (amen to that!)
Stink (totally down with that...will be happy when I get this curry smell out of my body too!)

Dalai Lama

Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

The main Tibetan Medicinal Products are:

RINCHEN DANJOR CHENMO - blood purifier and effective antidote against all kinds of toxins
RINCHEN RATNA SAMPHEL - for paralysis, high blood pressure and excellent tonic for nerves
RINCHEN MANGJOR CHENMO - for acute stomach disorders
RINCHEN TSO TRU DASHEL - anti-infection and anti-inflammation
RINCHEN YU NING 25 - liver tonic for any kind of liver problem
RINCHEN JUMAR 25 - brain tonic especially for curing stress, headache and nervous disorders
RINCHEN CHAKRIL CHENMO - eye tonic for any kind of eye problems
MIRACLE PILLS (love that they call it that!) - for a happy and peaceful mind (stress, nervousness, depression)
ROCHHA - special tonic for sexual powers and for the kidneys
CHULEN - special tonic for good health
SHINGNGRA 8 & LAMEN RILBU - preventatives for high altitude sickness
I'm guessing that I'm taking #1 & #4 right now and will at some point over the next months get #1, #3, #5, #6, #7 and #10. Wonder if I could talk him into #9 too? I already know I will prep for my trek to Mt. Everest with #11!
So reading up on things, I had more questions. This morning I was at his office before he was and reading his book of the four Root Tantras. He gave me even more background into the Five Elements and the Three Energies (read further down on the page) which really helped me to understand this.
I have been a BIG, big believer in Eastern Medicines and Philosophy since shattering my collarbone into 9 pieces 10 years ago. The only relief and healing (back into almost perfect shape) came 5 months after the horse accident. After weekly visits to that same Doc who takes care of the Falcons and Braves players, an electrode device that was supposed to shock my bones back into healing (made me look like a robot) and the Doc looking at me and saying, "Next month we do surgery and you will have a scar across your shoulder that will stretch from your neck to your rotator cuff. " I went to visit Dr. Kim. Georgia's very first licensed acupuncturist. I LOVE that man! His wife knows it and is okay with my love for him. He completely and totally healed my collarbone within 2 months. There is SOMETHING to be said about this science and practice that dates back thousands of years!

This is another thing that I love about my morning visits...

me: "I'm going to go read some more!"
Dr. Lektso: "Ok, I'm going to do some prayers."
Do you have any Docs in the States that actually say prayers?!? Outside of "please don't let this patient die, I don't want to deal with the malpractice suit." I know today that I was probably mentioned in that prayer and I think that is WONDERFUL!
He also chatted with me about my meditations, the white light flowing in and out of the body and focusing the energies on my middle brain that controls your body's motor functions without your thinking....tapping into that is what cure your body.

Want to Know the History of Tibetan Medicine & More Details?

Tibetan medicine has been in use for over 2,500 years and thanks to the King, who brought in the wisest healers from China, India and Greece, is a combination of the best of each practice. The doctors who practice Tibetan Medicine study the four medical tantras for a minimum of seven years. The first four years are spent studying the Tibetan medical texts where they have to memorize approximately forty specific chapters. One month each year is also spent collecting herbs in the Himalayas. In addition to studying the medical texts they also have to study Tibetan linguistics, grammar, poetry and have a complete understanding of basic Tibetan Buddhist teachings contained in works such as Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. In the fifth year they have to take both oral and written exams on the four medical tantras and at the end of the fifth year they take the Medicine Buddha initiation both as a blessing and in order to enhance their powers of healing as practitioners of Tibetan medicine. Like a beautiful woman for whom jewels and fine clothes merely magnifies and reinforces her beauty, so the initiation magnifies and reinforces the healing powers of the practitioner. The sixth and seventh years are spent at a branch clinic of the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute where practical training is given in pulse reading, urinalysis and dealing with patients.
Tibetan medicine is very much connected with Buddhist philosophy. The main cause of illness according to Tibetan medicine is ma-rigpa, or delusion, which in turn generates the three poisons of ignorance, desire and hatred. The three poisons manifest an imbalance in the three principal energies of Loong (wind), mKhris-pa (bile) and Bad–Kan (flim). The three principal energies are also related to four of the five Tibetan elements: air (wind), water (bile), and fire and earth (flim). Tibetan medicine focuses on balancing both body and mind together, as we all know that mind is much more powerful than body.

Characteristics of the three principal energies:

Loong or Wind - moving, subtle, cold, circulation, light
nKKhris-pa or Bile - heat, metabolism
Bad-Kan or Flim - lymph, mucus
In the Tibetan medical tantras there is a special chapter on ethics and motivation. It focuses very much on compassion, for the physician to treat all patients as if they were treating their own mother. This mental training of the physician is based on the physician seeing the suffering of the patient, and then generating the compassion to help the patient to the best of their ability. If possible the Tibetan physician will also practice the six perfections of generosity, effort, ethical discipline, patience, concentration and wisdom.

Loong (pronounced as loong) is the subtle flow of energy which circulates throughout our body and aids all movements and activities connected with mind, speech and body. mKhrispa (pronounced as tree —pa) is heat energy which circulates throughout our body and balances bodily temperature, digestion and vitality. Bad-Kan (pronounced as Bad - kan) is a fluid energy which circulates throughout our body. It keeps our joints flexible and aids the functioning of bodily stability and the lymphatic system.

When the three principal energies are in balance we are healthy and when they are out of balance we are sick. In the Tibetan medical texts the main long-term cause of illnesses and suffering is ma-rig-pa, or ignorance. This ignorance generates in turn the three poisons of desire, anger and closed-mindedness. The short-term causes are improper diet, unwholesome lifestyle and seasonal factors. A combination of these causes makes us sick and the physician first has to diagnose the illness through questioning and listening with a sympathetic ear. The physician then makes an overall observation of the patient, especially through tongue diagnosis and urinalysis (in which the practitioner looks at the colour, smell, bubbles, steam and sediments of the urine). Finally the physician reads the pulse of the patient, and for the Tibetan physician pulse reading is a great source of information.

Once diagnosis is made treatment can begin. The main aim of the treatment is to balance and correct the three principal energies. For example, if one of the energies is in excess, treatment is given to decrease it or if one of the energies is deficient, treatment is given to increase it. Tibetan medicine is not based on any magic, mystery or miracle cures, rather it is based on an ancient system of medicine which has been passed down from generation to generation.

The Tibetan physician aims to treat the patient first of all through dietary advice according to each individual’s body constitution, and through advice on leading a wholesome lifestyle. If this is not enough, medicine is prescribed. Tibetan pharmacology is extremely rich in both depth and variety. It makes use of gems, minerals, metals, soils, saps, woods and herbal plants. Medicines can be a combination of as little as three ingredients or as many as 157.

Tibetan medicine is beneficial for chronic diseases such as digestive problems, arthritis, asthma, skin problems, problems related to the liver and kidneys, sinus problems, insomnia, anxiety, heart disease and problems related to the central nervous system. Tibetan gSo-ba Rig-pa also treats the roots of the disease and not just the symptoms. The Tibetan medical texts give the following example: A failure to treat the roots or the cause of the disease is the same as having a poisonous tree and just cutting off the leaves and branches without pulling it out from its roots; if you just cut the leaves and branches the tree continues to grow.

*Excerpts were taken from "Tibetan Medicine : The Science of Healing" By Dr Tamdin Sither Bradley

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