Friends of Tibet

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"Ramblings On A Men-Tsee-Khang Visit"
(By Appu Jacob John of Friends of Tibet: Kottayam, February 22, 2011)

A Helping Hand: Dr Dorjee Rapten Neshar of Men-Tsee-Khang does a pulse diagnosis with Appu Jacob John during the 6th Traditional Tibetan Medical Camp conducted jointly by Friends of Tibet and Men-Tsee-Khang at Ashirbhavan, Ernakulam from February 17-20, 2011. (Photo: Friends of Tibet)

A Helping Hand: Dr Dorjee Rapten Neshar of Men-Tsee-Khang does a pulse diagnosis with Appu Jacob John during the 6th Traditional Tibetan Medical Camp conducted jointly by Friends of Tibet and Men-Tsee-Khang at Ashirbhavan, Ernakulam from February 17-20, 2011. (Photo: Friends of Tibet)

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Kochi: Do doctors know their patients? In this modern age we may say that they know them from their case sheet, lab results etc. This is really analytical and empirical. But do they know their patients intimately? The answer may be no! Any way the main stream medicine has developed into such an extent that there is no need even to feel the patients. There are still other branches where the technique and technology which has been developed to such an extent. Certainly they are developing on to the mechanical age. Any way there are still branches which are even when developing onto the modern age, they have kept up with the tradition. Ayurveda may be a well known example. More than the greater known ones the lesser known ones too have shown wonders on all these matters.

Men-Tsee-Khang or the 'Tibetan Ayurveda' is a good example. Much haven't even known about this school of medicine. Other than the Tibetan circles one or two from the northern and eastern part of India where there are Tibetan settlements; people seldom know about Tibet. The case is even worse with the southern and western reaches of India. Men-Tsee-Khang is different from others. The school is an amalgam of Ayurveda, Unanai, Tibetan and Chinese medical practices. Men-Tsee-Khang was crushed during the ages of Cultural Revolution. But it was revived by HH the XIV Dalai Lama in exile and is now all over the world. The system is known for its special ways of treatment. They believe in raising a personal relationship with the patient.

The state of Kerala though highly educated is yet to know about this school of traditional medicine. The first experiences of Kerala with this school of medicine are through the medical camp conducted by the Friends of Tibet (India) and the Men-Tsee-Khang (Bangalore) centre. The sixth edition of these medical camps were held from 17-20 of February 2011. I have read about Men-Tsee-Khang. But could not understand it completely it just sounded a bit different. What to do? The only way was to go and experience!

Due to some personal problems I was only able to attend the camp only on the last day. The day was Sunday and I thought there were very few persons to attend this camp. Besides the camp itself is non-conventional. How on earth is anybody going to believe on such a medical philosophy? We have to validate everything scientifically and rationally. Anything connected to sorcery, herbs and medicinal properties of object is definitely out of the frame work! With this preset notion I entered Ashirbhavan, Ernakulam, where the medical camps were located.

As usual I was warmly welcomed by Friends of Tibet Campaigners of Kochi. I was introduced to Dr Dorjee Rapten Neshar and Dr Tara Ngawang Lodoe. Both were jolly personalities; a thing one doesn't expect from a doctor. One should be serious to be a physician but one may be jolly when you are a healer! Even after having acquainted with the doctors I was still not convinced with the system. I was sitting in the counter gazing round observing what was happening. There was a rush of patients even though it was the last day of the camp. Sometime later during my visit Dr Dorjee and Friends of Tibet Campaigners went to have tea in the canteen of Ashirbhavan. We were all walking together. The doctor was walking behind me. He inquired me whether I have any problem. Problem? What problem? The only problem I know was with my flat feet. The answer was simple enough and I commented the only problem I had was regarding the feet. There were no questions further and I just remained as such. But the question was there in my mind. How can somebody and that too a doctor; know something without asking? I was amazed and thought perhaps the Tibetans were different.

After tea I found the doctor had no patients for a particular slot. So I thought of showing myself to the doctor. How will it be? This was my thought as I entered the room. The doctor asked me to remove my watch and he held my hand mumbling something which I could not understand. Then he inspected my pressure with a BP apparatus. The pressure was slightly over the mark. Then he touched my chest and asked whether I had any chest pains and other pains? Those intense questions revealed that I was having a bit of high BP with some left ventricular problems and lack of proper blood supply. This had caused intense body pain and swollen feet.

I was rather bewildered! Was I a heart patient? The doctor continued. The problem with me was that I was taking too much load on me and not allowing my body to get proper rest. This was true I have been running after every other thing. This I never thought will affect my health. Today it has really happened. I was given some pills, decoction and massage oil. I was told to move away from my hectic schedule and to spend some time for myself. I have started the medication and thing that this will give me sufficient cleansing of my system.

Now I am convinced that there are certain doctors who know their patients. Dr Dorjee is a good example. I understood that this was not some privileged treatment given to me being a Campaigner of Friends of Tibet. The doctors were like this to all. I personally felt it when I translated some of the patients' plea to the doctor. Now I understand that everything has a scientific base and that need not be seen as clear as others. It takes time to see them through the lenses of time.

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Friends of Tibet (India)

Friends of Tibet is a people's movement to keep alive the issue of Tibet through direct action. Our activities are aimed at ending China's occupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Friends of Tibet supports the continued struggle of the Tibetan people for independence. Friends of Tibet is also one of the principal organisers of World Tibet Day around the world.