Ladakh 9

July 9th

With Valerie, I went to the 2nd Annual Amchi Seminar on Tibetan Medicine and the Art of Healing. The particular session we attended was ‘Child Care in Tibetan Medical Traditions’. Speeches in Tibetan were translated into Ladakhi, and parts were translated into English for Val and I. We’ll hopefully get a translation of the key paper later (We didn’t.)

Two points come immediately to mind. The first is an assumption that there are many reasons to emulate Western gynaecological systems – hospitals, painkillers, etc. – a process aided in part by the breakdown in the Amchi tradition.

Secondly, there seems to be an emphasis on raising levels of intelligence-cleverness by the use of medicines during pregnancy and shortly after in the new born child. To what end? And what is the Tibetan definition of ‘cleverness’? The power of a community medicine (wo)man could be absolute if by the the use of local herbal potions and powders the ability balance of a community is defined.

Whatever, it was an interesting experience: it was obvious that attendance at a conference was a first time experience for many of the Ladakhis. Reputedly too, this was the first Amchi gathering in their lifetimes. One can only hope that the strengthening of the Amchi tradition will ameliorate much of the potentially harmful ‘health’ doctrines introduced from the West by the army and tourists.

Chart of Tibetan Medicinal plants

(Re-reading what I wrote then, I’m aware of a certain ‘naivety’. This may have been due to the language barrier(s), perhaps bolstered by the influences I carried with me from my previous involvement with ‘green’ groups back home. That said, at the time I was very grateful to have access to imodium which proved semi-successful in dealing with my bouts of trots.)
Relevant links
Rinpoche teachings (.pdf)
Traditional Tibetan Healing
Medicinal plants of cold desert Ladakh used in the treatment of stomach disorders

About Jakartass

A Brit Abroad
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