Introduction to Tibetan Medicine
Buddhism underlies and informs all aspects of Tibetan medicine and
the medical texts are regarded as teachings of the Buddha himself.
The Buddha taught that the mind is the basis for the existence of
all phenomena and thus developing the means both to know the mind
and to control it is the key to overcoming suffering. It is the
fundamental ignorance of our situation which keeps us trapped in
the cycle of birth and death and from this ignorance arise three
aspects of mind: desire, hatred and indifference. Closely connected
with these aspects are the three energies of wind, bile and phlegm.
All living creatures and everything that grows are compounded from
the five elements of water, earth, fire, air, and space and it is
in this material basis of elements, in other words the body, that
the wind, bile and phlegm energies can
In Tibetan medicine the art of living and healing is related to
the concept of harmony, and disease can result when these energies
are out of balance.
Wind energy is present in everything
that moves in our body, the nervous system, the sensory functions,
breathing, digestion, movement and circulation. Wind energy also
governs mental well-being and stress.
Bile energy controls the regulation
of warmth in the body, liver function and blood circulation.
Phlegm energy regulates the cold energy
in the body as well as fluids, hormones and the lymph system.
These three energies arise from emotions and deep underlying attitudes
that are conditioned by primordial ignorance. We go from life to
death and again to life without understanding this cause.
From the point of view of Tibetan medicine the connection between
body and mind is clearly seen. When the basic energies are disturbed
by emotions, seasonal changes, ways of eating or behaviour, they
can give rise to many different kinds of disease.