As the culmination to our journey through the mind- body connection in Dharamsala, we had the opportunity to learn and receive a consultation by an amazing Tibetan doctor, Amchi Dorjee. He was the in the second graduating class at Men-tsee-khang, where we visited just a week ago, and he has been practicing Tibetan Medicine for over 35 years. After learning all about the tenets, principles and elements of Tibetan medicine in class, we got to experience this holistic medicine in practice during a private consultation with him.
During the consultation Dr. Dorjee used the three ways Tibetan medicine uses to diagnose disease- visual diagnosis, palpation, and questioning. First he checked my pulse, pressing his pointer, middle, and ring finger on the radial artery of both my left and right arm, asking if I had certain symptoms. Then he moved onto pressing on specific points on my back, shoulders, neck, face, and arms. On this particular day I was suffering from a migraine, and he could tell that my body was stiff and sensitive to touch. Each direct point he pressed- top of the shoulders, underneath the occipital ridge, at the top of the crown of my head, above my eyes, outside of my jaw, and so forth- sent a direct jolt of energy throughout my body. During class the following day he actually used this wooden stick, I would like to call a wand (as it was magical at the immense heat it produced when rubbed against another plank of wood and the immense healing qualities it has brought to patients), on the same points. Rubbing the wooden wand against the plank of wood, he generated the heat required and then placed the tip of it on four different points on the back of my head- one on each side above my ears, one at the crown spot, and one at the base of my skull. Dr. Dorjee told us that a man who had suffered from a migraine that lasted over two years, had gone all over the world to consult doctors for cure, and landed at his wife’s office in Delhi. After receiving this particular treatment with the wooden stick two times, his migraine left and never returned. Believe what you will, but I still have not had a migraine since the brief treatment in class and hope for the best! Miracles are bound to happen when we are open to them.
Next he looked at my tongue, as Tibetan doctors read the texture and color of the patients tongue to tell the state of the internal body. After this he examined my urine, swishing it around to look at the size and duration of the bubbles, as well as the color and sediments, which allow him to further confirm the nye-pa or humour that is out of balance. Throughout the consultation he asked if I had specific symptoms, relating to psychological states and physical symptoms. From this thorough and holistic inquiry, all done without the use of any technology, he told me that the cause of my migraines and other symptoms was due to a problem with my circulation. Then I received lifestyle and dietary recommendations, which I was told would help balance out the nye-pas in my body. Many students also received Tibetan prescriptions, made with specific Tibetan plants, concocted during special lunar dates, and empowered with certain mantras, which help this process toward equilibrium of the nye-pas.
While Western medicine provides the best assistance in emergencies and acute issues, chronic diseases still strike America with fervor as thousands continue to suffer, despite our increasing technologies. Therefore I believe we can learn immensely from the Tibetan medical system on how to create a holistic system of medicine in our own culture. Not only do we need to start looking our lifestyles and our diets, we need to look into the interaction of the doctor and patient, as well as the motivation of the doctor in his or her practice. We need to shift our own perspective of how we view health, to one that is more than the lack of disease. We need to start inquiring how our mental state is affecting our physical body, and how our current environment is affecting our spirit. We need to realize we are already whole and we need to be open and committed to personal transformation, as it is truly the way we can benefit all beings. As Dr. Dorjee asked at the beginning of one of our classes, why do you want to be healthy? Further, how does one best go about creating it? And lastly, how do we generate holistic health in the West?