Alternative Treatments: Tibetan Medicine


KATE O’BRIEN takes you off the beaten track with a few alternative treatments to reboot body and mind. Today we take a look at one of the world’s oldest healing traditions, Tibetan Medicine.

Traditional Tibetan medicine, or Sowa-Rigpa, is one of the world’s oldest healing traditions, long practised in Tibet and the Himalayan region. The fundamental principle is that everything in the universe – plants, animals, humans, indeed every living cell and emotion – are composed of five essential elements (earth, fire, water, air, and space), with each playing a key role, both individually and collectively, in achieving ultimate health and harmony.

In Tibetan wisdom, the mind
and body are inseparable, so when treating patients, physicians will
use a combination of foods, herbs, targeted massage, meditation and other accessory therapies to rebalance disturbed elements and realign body, mind and spirit in the most natural way possible.


Dzogchen Beara is a Tibetan Buddhist retreat centre in West Cork. Under the spiritual direction of Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, this profoundly peaceful environment runs regular meditation and Buddhism retreats that cannot fail to still even the weariest of minds,


Vana Malsi Estate in Dehradun, northern India is like a contemporary ashram, combining indigenous Ayurveda, Sowa-Rigpa, yoga and other natural therapies, with the aim of cleansing and nurturing body and mind,

Situated in a remote Tibetan valley
in the heart of the famed Shangri-La region of the Yunnan province, China, the Spa at Banyan Tree Ringha offers a range of authentic Tibetan-inspired therapies, including traditional Tibetan massage, hot stones, muds, scrubs and much more, all performed in one of the world’s most secluded hideaways,

This article originally appeared in the February issue of IMAGE. The March issue is on shelves now. 

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