Ayurveda & Tibetan Medicine
Ayurveda literally means “The Science of Life” and is basically a complete healing system to prevent illness by adhering to certain principles and philosophies. Its core beliefs are to focus on establishing balance of life energies within us and not on individual symptoms, recognising constitutional differences of each individual and recommending personal treatment regimes for different people. It seeks to preserve and restore harmony between body and mind.
Although Ayurveda is principally thought to have originated from Northern India some 3,000 – 5,000 years ago, the underlying philosophy is the basis of many health systems throughout Asia; including Tibet, Burma, parts of Thailand and Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Mongolia with individual regional interpretations.
It would be impossible to try and explain the whole concept of Ayurvedic and Tibetan Medicine within the scope of this short leaflet because of the complexity of the subject. However, to give you an idea there are 3 vital ‘energies’ in Ayurveda known as “Doshas”.
Each Dosha is a combination of two elements and are responsible for all the physiological and psychological processes in the body and mind. They are:
- VATA – combination of air and space elements with air predominating.
- PITTA – primarily fire element with water as the secondary element.
- KAPHA – combination of water and earth elements, with water as the primary element.
In Tibetan Medicine there is the concept of the 3 humours (or characteristics) – WIND (resides in the head), BILE (resides in the upper part of the stomach) & PHLEGM (resides in the chest). They govern every aspect of how the body and mind function.
The Tibetan Acupressure Head Massage…
…involves a 5 stage massage and acupressure* of the scalp, face, throat, neck, shoulders and upper arms which is performed through clothing.
In Tibetan traditional medicine, massage is carried-out to re-balance the body’s energy in order to allow the body to heal itself.
*Tibetan bon points are worked by a gentle press and release method whereas Ayurvedic acupressure uses a different technique by gently circling around the point with the fingers as opposed to pressing directly on it.
All movements are slow, gentle and relaxing
VATA, or wind, works together with Bile to control hormonal function and with Phlegm to control the movement of fluids in and through the body. Without the wind, the other two humours are inert (unmoving).
There are 5 winds; the most important is the “Life Sustaining Wind” which resides in the top of the head. It governs all bodily functions and sustains life and controls actions such as breathing, swallowing as well as the 5 senses. It also strengthens the other winds.
…lasts about 45 minutes and is extremely relaxing and less vigorous than other types of head massage. It is this wind element within the body that we work with during the 5 stages of the massage so that it is slowed, soothed, balanced and then gently re-started.
STAGE 1: works on the head, neck, shoulders and throat and heart chakra points (slowing the wind).
STAGE 2: concentrates more deeply on the face – (slowing the wind and balancing the Phlegm humour).
STAGE 3: involves deeply massaging the back of the head and at this time there is the option to apply warmed oil which is run through the hair (reducing the wind).
STAGE 4: concentrates on massaging the head to balance the head. (The rhythmical strokes balance the Bile humour.)
STAGE 5: uses quicker massage techniques on the head and ears to energise and revitalise (restarting the wind).