Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine benefits patients in the capital

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/27 19:58:40

A doctor reads a Tibetan calendar in the Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Lama'ala holds the hand of a monk, quickly murmuring in Tibetan.

The monk, in brick-red colored robes, came all the way from the Tibet Autonomous Region to meet Lama'ala, an attending doctor at the Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine, to treat his lumbar spine problems.

Fifty three-year-old Lama'ala is a star of the hospital. The wall of his office has been covered with scarlet silk banners of his patients' appreciation.

In the consulting room next door, Limao Cairang is applying Tibetan moxibustion on a Beijing patient, surnamed Liu, who suffers from poor digestion. Liu said that she came for "Doctor Li" on the recommendation of her friend, who treats osteoarthritis here.

Doctor Limao Cairang makes mugwort powder into small tower shapes and then puts them on the acupressure points of the patient's belly. She then ignited the towers two at a time, while silently reading a Tibetan medicine scripture of treatment.

Limao Cairang is applying Tibetan moxibustion on a patient in Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Built in 1992, the Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine is the only national-level ethic hospital in Beijing. It has three departments - the Tibetan medical cardiovascular department, Tibetan medical gastroenterological department and Lum medicinal bathing department - and more than 20 Tibetan doctors. 

The hospital offers Tibetan medicine to people of different ethnic groups.

"Many people came to us after trying Western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine," Qiejunjia, director at Cardiovascular department of Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine. "Then they found Tibetan medicine works."

"The Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine is a proof of more people recognizing and accepting Tibetan medicine," Luobu Zhaxi, vice director of the Tibetan Medical Center of China Tibetology Research Center in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday.

Unique hospital

Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine has many Tibetan elements - the burning Tibetan incenses, the colorful roof decorations and a Tibetan medicine pharmacy besides a traditional medicine pharmacy and a Western medicine pharmacy.

The hospital recently opened its new gastroenterological sickroom. Suojinlan, director at gastroenterological department, told the Global Times that gastroenterological diseases are very common in the Tibetan region due to the climate and eating habits there. Tibetan medicine has much experience in treating such diseases.

The hospital combines traditional Tibetan medicine with modern medicine.

Doctor Qiejunjia said he also refers to CT or magnetic resonance images to help him diagnose. "In this way the patients could be more assured about the diagnosis," he said, adding that young Tibetan medicine doctors all learn about Western medicine theory at university too.

Photo: Li Hao/GT

Doctor Qiejunjia uses Tibetan medicines to treat his patients. Pearls are believed by Tibetan medicine practitioners to have the effect of detoxification and curing nerves in the brain.

He said that the Tibetan medicine is very effective in treating cardiovascular diseases, especially the early-stage prevention of brain stroke which should largely reduce the disability rate and improve quality of life.

Every year since 2010, the hospital has hosted a national training class, which provides opportunities for Tibetan medicine doctors from the grassroots to learn directly from the most famous Tibetan doctors, whom each has their own unique skill set. 

The class has trained at least 1,500 doctors in the past 10 years for free.

International outreach

The Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine has also been serving as a window of promoting Tibetan medicine around the world.

It has received patients from many countries.

Left: A medical organization from Chile visit the Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine. Photo: Courtesy of The Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine

Feng Xin, deputy director at Department of Medical Affairs at the Beijing Hospital of Tibetan Medicine said that experts from the hospital have visited many countries, including Argentina, Australia and Russia.

Medical organizations from countries like Argentina, the US and Chile have cooperated with the hospital to understand Tibetan medicine, according to Feng.

Doctor Qiejiajun noted that just like the spread of Tibetan Buddhism culture, the Tibetan medicine spread from Tibetan region to the Mongolian region, then to nearby regions such as Russia and Kazakhstan, where the system is gaining popularity.

Photo: Global Times