Tibetan Medicine Draws International Followers


Polish student Slawomir Kosciuk doesn't speak Tibetan, but that does not discourage him from following his teacher, veteran physician Lankga, into the consulting room at a Tibetan hospital in northwest China's Qinghai Province.

As Kosciuk closely watched Lankga's every movement, his fellow student, Matthew Schmookler from the United States, recorded everything with his video camera.

"I was amazed by the magic effects of Tibetan medicine," said Kosciuk, who secured his medical license in Poland in 1992. "During my practice, I found Tibetan medicine was surprisingly effective in treating illnesses that Western medicine could not cure, especially when it came to liver or gallbladder diseases."

After four years of study at the U.S. branch of Shang Shung Institute, an institute for Tibetan medicine studies, Kosciuk said he hoped to combine Tibetan and Western medicines in treating liver disease in his home country.

"If my practice proves successful, I will apply to the Polish government to legalize Tibetan medicine practices," he said.

Kosciuk is among seven international interns who have traveled from the U.S. branch of Shang Shung Institute in Massachusetts for three months of clinical practice at the Qinghai Provincial Hospital of Tibetan Medicine in Xining before their graduation.

The institute's U.S. branch, set up in 2005, has 28 students aged from 24 to 58. They are from the United States, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Slovakia and Brazil.

Nashalla Bwyn Nyinda, 58, said she became interested in Tibetan medicine when she was living in India. "I found the practice unique," she said.

Her fellow student Anasuya Weil, on the other hand, had studied Chinese acupuncture, the practice of inserting needles into specific points on the body, before she took up Tibetan medicine.

Weil is now hoping to open a clinic with her husband, a Tibetan doctor, in the United States.
Similar to traditional Chinese medicine and in sharp contrast to biomedicine, Tibetan medicine uses herbs, minerals and sometimes insects and animals for treatment.

"Besides the clinical practice, the students also went on a field trip to identify and collect herbs," said Phhntsog Wangmo, president of Shang Shung Institute USA Branch who has accompanied the students to Xining.

Wangmo, a Tibetan born in southwest China's Sichuan Province, has worked to promote Tibetan medicine in the United States for a decade. "Despite our different backgrounds and languages, kindness and care for the human race have brought us together. These are also among the most important qualities that make a good doctor."

On her part, Wangmo said she would attend lectures at Tibetan Medical School of Qinghai University to update textbooks and improve her own teaching when she gets back to the States.

She also interprets for the students, who do not speak Tibetan but have learned to write enough to make prescriptions in Tibetan.

The Qinghai Provincial Hospital for Tibetan Medicine has been accepting foreign interns since 2004.

Among the most recent interns were seven students from Harvard, Stanford and Columbia University who arrived Wednesday for one-month study.

Tibetan medicine, also known as Sowa Rigpa in the Tibetan language, is an ancient form of natural medicine indigenous to the Tibetan people.

It is in practice in Tibet and the Himalayan region.

Tibetan medicine schools have a presence in more than 30 countries. The four medical tantras, the primary teaching texts for training Tibetan physicians, have been translated into many languages, including English, German, French, Russian and Japanese.

No comments:

Post a Comment