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Diagnosis/Consultation in Tibetan Medicine

The diagnostic techniques include visual observation, touch and interrogation.

Visual Observation

This involves checking a patient's skin complexion, the colour and texture of his/her blood, nails, sputum, faeces, and other general conditions. Special attention is paid to the condition of the patient's tongue and urine.

i. Disorders of Tongue:

In wind disorder, the tongue will red, dry and rough. In bile disorder, the tongue will be covered by a thick, pale yellow coating of phlegm. In phlegm disorder, the tongue will have a pale, thick coating of phlegm and dull, smCTAh and moist texture.

ii. Urine Disorder:

The doctor advises the patient, how and when to collect the urine sample. It is essential that patient avoid taking too much of tea, buttermilk or wine etc. which otherwise would cause discoloration of the urine sample. They are also suggested to have a sound and sufficient sleep, refrain from mental and emotional stress and desist irregular activities. It is best to satisfy these conditions a night before the examination. The urine in Wind disorder looks like water and has large bubbles when stirred. In Bile, the urine is reddish yellow and malodorous with much steam. In Phlegm, the urine is whitish with little odour or steam.

The first urine passed at dawn is suitable for examination,

since its colour is not affected by digestion and by the colour the doctor can detect diseases. The colour, steam and sediment should be tested. The urine should be kept in a plain container, so that the colour is not affected, and either a stick or straw of white colour must be used for stirring it during examination.

Left hand of patient examined by the right hand of the doctor

a. the tip of the index finger on the right side detects heart diseases and on the left intestinal diseases 
b. the tip of the middle finger on the right side detects diseases affecting the spleen, and on the left stomach diseases 
c. the tip of the ring finger on the right side detects kidney diseases and on the left diseases affecting the seminal vessel

Right hand of patient examined by the left hand of the doctor

d. the right tip of the index finger detects lung diseases, the left tip diseases affecting the guts 
e. the right tip of the middle finger detects liver diseases, the left tip diseases due to unbalanced bile 
f. the right tip of the ring finger detects kidney diseases, and the left tip diseases affecting the urinary bladder

The right hand pulse should be examined first in the case of female patients, and the left hand one in the case of males. The reason for this is that the tip of the female heart is tilted towards the right and vice versa with males. Interrogation
Interrogation forms the most important clinical aspect of the diagnosis. There are three main elements to a medical interrogation:

g. determining the causative factors 
h. determining the site of the illness 
i. studying the signs and symptoms - this involves the doctor asking the patient about the sort of food and drink s/he has been consuming, and what kind of physical and mental behaviour s/he has been experiencing

Traditional Tibetan Medical Treatments

Dietary and Lifestyle Factors At an immediate level, a disorder is primarily caused by an improper diet and/or lifestyle. In fact, a majority of health problems, both in developing and developed countries, can be either directly or indirectly traced to poor diet or lifestyle. Examples of this include alcoholism, hypertension and heart disease. The first form of treatment in Tibetan medicine is thus not medicines but changing a patient's diet and/or lifestyle. Only if this fails to remedy an ailment is the use of medicines considered.

Tibetan Medicines

Tibetan medicines take various forms, from decoctions, powders, general pills, precious pills, and syrups, and are prescribed in small doses -- a fact that reflects the emphasis Tibetan medicine places on gentle treatment.

Moxibustion and Other Treatments

Many disorders, caused by proliferation of bad blood and mKhris-pa are also treated by blood-letting at one of the body's seventy seven blood-letting points. For cold disorders, nerve malfunction and non-malignant tumors, moxibustion, golden-needle therapy may be used to stimulate the energy channels of the body. Many diseases of the nerves and muscles, as well as pain and insomnia related to rLung, are treated with gentle massage using various medicinal oils. Medicinal bath and natural spring baths are used to treat an assortment of skin disorders as well as chronic arthritis, gout and cold types of rheumatism, and rigid and stiffness of the extremities.


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