As one of the world’s most unique and mysterious medicine branch, Tibetan Medicine has been known and experienced by very few people outside the Tibetan Plateau. Rooted from the harsh, primitive lifestyle on the roof of the world, it took shape and grew over 10,000 years. Isolated as it appears to be, it is influenced by Chinese Medicine from the 7th-8th century AD, when Chinese princesses, who married Tibetan kings, brought the first medical manuals to Tibet. Later, Buddhist monks such as Attisha introduced Buddhist and Indian medical scriptures here. Outside wisdom merged with indigenous knowledge, making Tibetan Medicine a thriving tree.
Today, Tibetan Medicine still retains its distinguishing feature: the strong connection with religion, addressing both spiritual and physical aspects of human health. (For example, greed, hatred and ignorance are considered as the primary causes of diseases.) Meanwhile, all ingredients of Tibetan drugs come from the pure, unpolluted nature, and an established medicine is required to be tasted by doctors for three times before prescription, which makes its efficacy and safety beyond imagination. Believe it or not, it works.
This tour serves as a trial introduction for you to get to know Tibetan Medicine, especially in the Amdo area. Historically, it is the cradle and base for the spread of Tibetan Medicine. The first craniotomy in Tibet was conducted here 4000 years ago. Besides, Menpa Dratsang, or Medical Colleges of Tibetan monasteries, are mainly found in the Amdo region. Starting from the medical college of Labrang Monastery, you’ll be impressed by the “Medicine Trees”-the vivid images of Tibetan Medical knowledge. Gathering medical herbs with a Tibetan doctor, you can savor the beauty of Tibetan nature. Having a Tibetan massage or exercise will help you further ease both your mind and body. Finally, a visit to the world’s only museum dedicated for Tibetan Medicine will make it an eye-opening experience for you.
Participants are suggested to book in advance, at least one month prior to arrival;
Itinerary may vary according to season, availability, and individual needs.
Labrang Monastery, one of the most comprehensive Tibetan monastery universities in the world. Among its six colleges, the medical college is the second largest college, and is one of the largest monastery medical colleges in Amdo region.
Shachong Monastery, a mountain-top Tibetan Buddhism monastery with a stunning view and one of the few Tibetan Buddhist monastery with a medical college in Amdo.
Tibetan Culturel & Medicine Museum, the only Museum of its type in the world.
Herb-picking, at beautiful alpine grasslands near Labrang.
Tibetan massage / medicine experience.
Medical College of Labrang Monastery, Xiahe
On arrival you’ll be met with a local guide and get settled at a hotel near Labrang Monastery. Afterwards, an English-speaking Tibetan doctor will accompany you to the medical college, where a monk will show you around the garden-like courtyard surrounded by “Medicine Trees” representing the knowledge and theories of Tibetan Medicine. Inside the temple, there are statues of Medicine Buddha and White Tara, which is supposed to help people avoid diseases and achieve happiness and peace even before death. A traditional Tibetan rite is performed here to pray for your good health.
Tiger Mountain, Dajiutan Grasslands, Labrang
In the morning you’ll be driven to one of the most beautiful grasslands near Labrang, which are at their very best from May till August. Following the Tibetan doctor, you’ll entre a valley with a brook murmuring and bird songs, free from mobile signals and crowd noises. Surrounded by numerous wild flowers and herbs, breathing pure and fragrant air, you’ll forget all the troubles and worries.
Soon after being taught by the Tibetan doctor how to identify medical herbs, you’ll be able to pick herbs independently. Gradually, you’re moving onto the top of Tiger Mountain, where a bird’s eye view of the vast alpine grasslands will make your mind broaden and peaceful.
Tibetan medicine clinic & factory, Labrang
Booking in advance, you’ll be seeing a Tibetan doctor in the morning, to experience the Tibetan style of diagnosis: visual /smelling inspection, palpation, and asking your history of symptoms. If needed, you will be prescribed herb medicine or a massage, which will help you regain energy and balance
In the afternoon, a visit to a Tibetan medicine factory will give your insight into the processing of medical herbs. By combining different herbs, drugs and Tibetan incense are made by hand.
Labrang Monastery to Shachong Monastery
In the morning you’ll have chance to watch Tibetans burning fragrant plants to worship their God and purify air. Join them for two forms of their most popular exercises: prostration and kora, which aims to release diseases and karma, and are both spiritual and physical exercises.
Afterwards, a three-hour drive will take you to Shachong Monastery, located on a mountain top in Qinghai province. A magnificent view of sunset on the snow mountain range and the Yellow River, can be appreciated from its medical school.
Nowhere is better than Shachong Monastery to observe and ponder on the connection between Medicine and religion in Tibet, because of its unworldly position, and the special status as the original monastery of Tsongkhap, the most prominent Master of Tibetan Buddhism.
You’ll spend the day witnessing the daily life of a Tibetan monk in the medical school: taking lectures and reciting classics, plus meditation and chanting sutras. Asking a monk, he will tell you how important the self-cultivation is for a Tibetan doctor, to have compassion and dedication for his patients.
Tibetan Culture & Medicine Museum, Xining
The tour concludes at the Tibetan Culture & Medicine Museum in Xining, the only museum of its type in the world. There you can see the longest Tangka (scrolled painting) in the world, more than 2000 pieces of medical ingredient specimens, and the surgical instruments for performing the first craniotomy (a surgical opening through the skull)……An overview of Tibetan Medicine makes the trip memorable.
Return home from Xining
English speaking local native tour guide+local Tibetan doctor consultant
Mineral water during the tour
Pick-up and drop-off in Labrang(Xiahe) and Xining
Accommodation, meals at mountain-top Shachong Monastery
Transportation for getting around
Health Insurance during the tour
Any costs incurred for medical treatments booked by individuals