2500 Years of Health Knowledge – Sowa Rigpa

Sowa Rigpa - Tibetan medicine

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Ancient Himalayan knowledge of healing or Traditional Tibetan Medicine, which is called Sowa Rigpa in Tibetan, is based on centuries of experience and a systematic, logical approach and provides the complete understanding of the inner body and its relation with the outer environment. Its aim is the treatment of diseases by creating the balance of fundamental energies and elements and maintaining a good health and long life.

This is not just medicine, but the basis of medical knowledge.Basically it means the Knowledge of Healing, which refers to the Tibetan and Himalayan regional system of natural medicine. It has thousands of years of history, passed down through the generations. Carrying its own unique wisdom cultivated at the high plateau of Himalaya, Sowa Rigpa has also met and integrated much of the local systems of Ayurvedic, Greek, and Chinese medicine. It has been a popular practice in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Bhutan, Nepal, Himalayan region of India and a few parts of former Soviet Union.

Himalayan knowledge of Healing philosophy and treatments offers time-proven solutions for health and longevity due to its unique ability to restore proper balance and harmony inside the body organs and energy systems.

These philosophies are holistic, meaning that they look at the “big picture” of overall health, and therefore they are based on restoring balance to the body and organs involved, so the body can heal itself.

The Basics 

The Himalayan knowledge of healing is based on the concept that health depends on a delicate balance of vital forces known as the three humours and is related to the principles of the five elements: earth, fire, water, air and space. Through these five elements, humans are in contact with the world and the universe. Everything in the universe – plants, animals, and human beings, including all of our body tissues, internal organs, skin, skeletal system and even emotions – are composed of these five elements.

The Mind and Body Concept

In the Himalayan knowledge of Healing, the mind and the body are interdependent and cannot be separated. If the mind has a problem, the body shows symptoms, and vice versa. Therefore, Eastern doctors always look at an individual as a whole to understand the status of their health.

The physical body is composed of  the three humours – Wind (rLung), Bile (Tripa) and Phlegm (Beken). These are the principles of the life-energy that govern all the processes of the body, physiological, mental and emotional. If these three principles are in balance, both the body and the mind are healthy.


  • Wind (rLung) ir responsible for respiration, movement, excretion, clarity of the senses and sustenance of the body. The nature of wind is coarse, light, cold, subtle, hard and mobile. The pathways of wind disorders are the bones, ears, pores of the skin, channels, blood vessels, heart, life channel and the large intestine.
  • Bile (Tripa) is responsible for the feeling of hunger and thirst, digestion, bodily heat, clarity of complexion, courage and intelligence. The nature of bile is oily, sharp, hot, light, malodorous, laxative and moist. The pathways of bile disorders are the blood, sweat, eyes, liver, gallbladder and the small intestine.
  • Phlegm (Beken) is responsible for firmness of mind and body, sleep, joint lubrication, patience and smoothness of the skin. The nature of phlegm is oily, cool, heavy, blunt, smooth, firm, steady and viscous. The pathways of phlegm disorders are chyme, muscle, fat, marrow, reproductive fluids, stool, urine, the nose, tongue, lungs, spleen, stomach, kidneys and bladder.


Primary causes of health disorders

Himalayan knowledge of healing posits that all disorders arise in relation to the mind in one way or another. Obviously external physical factors and events intervene too, but they are seen as the result of karma, which is the sum of total of an individual’s good and bad past actions. Thus, even seemingly external events are the result of volitional action that arises in the individuals mind, which can be an action that has been performed in this life or in the previous life.

Buddhist philosophy holds the three factors of desire, hatred and ignorance as the root psychological factors that lead to negative action. These three factors, called the three poisons of the mind.

  • The primary cause of Wind disorders is DESIRE.
  • The primary cause of Bile disorders is HATRED.
  • The primary cause of Phlegm disorders is IGNORANCE.


Goals of the Himalayan knowledge of Healing

The major goals are maintaining a healthy constitution through balance as an overall preventative approach, providing treatment methods for sick people, aiding in longevity, and assisting those who want to be successful in their physical  and spiritual capacities.


Himalayan knowledge of Healing Benefits the Body as a Holistic approach

Besides treating symptoms, Himalayan knowledge concentrates on treating the whole person to promote healing through diet, lifestyle, using herbal formulas, and engaging in spiritual practices. It emphasizes the three poisons of attachment, anger, and ignorance as the fundamental causes of emotional disturbances and mental disorders.

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