Tibetan medicine is one of the oldest healing systems known to the mankind. More than 2,500 years – old medicine system was taught by the Medicine Buddha for the benefit of all sentient beings. The healing system has its own origin in the Tibetan plateau, but has widely practiced in the Himalayan regions such as Mongolia, Bhutan, Nepal, Ladakh, , Lahoul Spiti, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh etc.
Tibet had rich indigenous healing system since Bon Civilization. Bon Tonpa Sherab and his son Chedbu Trishey had great contribution to this unique healing system. When Buddhism came to Tibet in fourth century, Dungi Thorchog became first medical lineage holder. In the eight century King Trisong Deutsen organized the first International Medical Conference in Tibet invited physicians from neighbouring countries such as India, China, Persia and Greece.
Yutog Yonten Gonpo was great master healer who wrote and compiled the fundamental Tibetan medical text book called rGyudshi which is translated as The Four Treatises. Yutog Yonten Gonpo is known as the founder or father of Tibetan Medicine.
In the year, 1696 Desi Sangay Gyatso established official medical school called Chagpori Drophenling Dratsang during the fifth Dalai Lama where only monks can study medicine and healing.
In the year, 1916 The Thirteen Dalai Lama established Men Tsee Khang, Tibetan Medical and Astrology Institute in Lhasa, Tibet as a public health care centre where lay people can study medicine and healing. In the year, 1959 when Chinese occupied Tibet, Chagpori Drophenling Dratsang was completely destroyed but Men Tsee Khang in Lhasa is still flourishing without spiritual practice.
When Tibetan people came to India as refugee, His Holiness The fourteen Dalai Lama re-established Men Tsee Khang at Dharamshala, India in the year, 1961 with few doctors and medical students. Now it has more than fifty branch clinics all over the world.
In the year, 1992, Dr. Trogawa Rinpoche founded Chagpori Tibetan Medical Institute in Darjeeling to preserve and promote Chagpori lineage.
Central Tibetan Administration established Central Council for Tibetan Medicine in the year, 2004.
There are four Tibetan medical schools registered under the council
- Men Tsee Khang in Dharamshala,
- Chagpori Tibetan Medical Institute in Darjeeling
- Department of Sowa Rigpa, CUT, Varanasi
- Department of Sowa Rigpa, CIBS Ladakh
In the year, 2010 Indian Government officially recognized Tibetan Medicine as Sowa Rigpa.