Doctor Nida Chenagtsang: a Tibetan doctor in the West

- through Fabrice Groult

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Meeting with a doctor who confronts traditional medicine with modernity.

« To heal ". The conference-event organized by Alex Fighter, launched a collective reflection on the various approaches to the healing process, bringing together an international panel of practitioners, including Dr. David Hamilton, author of How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body, neurologist Antoine Sénanque (Heal when it's impossible) and the Tibetan Doctor Nida Chenagtsang (The Yoga of Bliss). By common agreement, the speakers emphasized the mental dimension of the healing process and the uniqueness of the patient, emphasizing the relevance of a targeted approach to care, which questions the foundations of the doctor-patient relationship and the impact of its dynamics on healing success. An approach taking into account the unpredictable nature of healing, with regard to its psychological dimension. Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, a graduate in Tibetan medicine from the Medical University of Lhasa, is associated with this therapeutic approach focused on the individual's uniqueness. Born in Tibet, he moved to Rome after his studies in Lhasa and disseminates teachings of Tibetan medicine. Representing a new generation of practitioners, he evokes certain concepts of this millennial medicine.

What are the fundamentals of Tibetan medicine and its relationship to Buddhism?

Buddhism and the tibetan medicine are two sisters: Buddhism focuses on the relationship of cause and effect, just like Tibetan medicine. We seek the cause of the disease in order to propose a cure. In our tradition, there are three energies: solar and hot, lunar and cold, and that of the wind, neutral. It is important to balance these energies, mentally and physically. For this, we use natural solutions. Regarding certain states of depression, it is possible, for example, to go for a walk in nature, without necessarily having to take medication. Lifestyle, sleep problems… All of this must be taken into account in the treatment, because the solutions are often found in lifestyle and diet.

What kind of diseases does Tibetan medicine treat and who is it for?  

Tibetan medicine treats digestive and circulatory problems, cardiovascular disorders, anxiety, hypertension, high cholesterol levels… People who consult often follow drug treatment and seek an alternative.

“Buddhism and Tibetan medicine are two sisters: Buddhism focuses on the relationship of cause and effect, just like Tibetan medicine. »

Tibetan medicine offers other solutions than taking medication. Thus, massage, acupuncture, bleeding, acupressure, give good results on pain. There are several options for the same problem. There are also mantras, meditation, diet.

You mentioned people with trauma, a western concept. Has your approach to medicine changed since moving to the West?

Of course, you have to adapt and think about health differently, with new solutions, without however rejecting official medicine. Many remedies are found in nature. And each individual is unique: for some, the therapy will consist of practicing yoga; for others, a mantra. The same symptom can have different causes, so it is important to focus on the individual. Some bipolar patients want to practice meditation, but they are not ready for it; a spiritual approach would only make their condition worse. Hence the importance of scientific studies on yoga and meditation for the new generation of doctors.

New generation of which you are a part?

In effect. There was the school of Dharamsala and that of Lhasa, where I studied, a communist college, which did not lavish the teachings of mantras, meditation or yoga... That is what I wanted to learn, but everything this was not available in public education. Fortunately, we had old masters outside of the classroom who taught us these spiritual therapeutic approaches. The institute being Chinese, the teachings were designed by them. Tibetan medicine, three thousand years old, has received Chinese and Indian influences.

In what lis this mantra different from hypnosis? Isn't there a hypnotic factor in repeating a sound?

A mantra can have a hypnotic effect and put you to sleep, but other mantras will wake you up and provide energy. You don't give everyone a mantra, because sound can't help everything, and you have to make a diagnosis first. There are mantras for the heart, others for neurological problems… We therefore choose the appropriate mantra during the interview with the patient. Mantra practice is similar to music therapy. Moreover, listening to birds and animals in nature also has therapeutic virtues.

Are there countries more open to this medicine? And how do you see your role in the West?

Italy, Switzerland and Germany show a certain openness, and more and more people are interested in natural medicine. I hope that in the future, we will have freedom of choice of treatment; it is important to bring a new vision to rethink health. Sometimes the best antidepressant is to reconnect with nature and people, the absence of connection being harmful. And when friendship, family or social relationships are lacking, this relational lack is detrimental to health.

What is your relationship to the Dalai Lama?

It represents an inspiration. Its openness helped the new generation.

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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