UNESCO protection

Sowa Rigpa, the classic Tibetan term for “knowledge of healing” is an important part of the Tibetan-Buddhist culture shared by many cultures throughout the Himalayas and in central Asia. Sowa Rigpa was shaped on the Tibetan Plateau and in the Himalayas into a unique medical system and then spreaded to central Asia – especially to the Mongolia and China. Later, the Buryates carried it to the Baikal area and the Kalmyks to the area of lower Wolga in Russia. Via the Buryates and Kalmyks, all following Buddhist teachings, Sowa Rigpa was brought to Western Russia (St. Petersburg), Poland, Switzerland and other parts of Europe and the Western hemisphere. This medical system is transmitted from teacher to students and is connected to long-established medical universities and schools. It is based on the Tibetan medical standard text called “Four tantras” or “Gyüshi” collected by Yuthok Yontan Gompo the younger during the 12th century following documents from the 8th century and older. Sowa Rigpa is an integral medicine describing the basic principles and functions of the human body, disease and healing with regard to the universe. In this, the human body as the universe are considered to be depending on the five basic elements. Sowa Rigpa has a systematic approach to human health, causes for diseases and their treatment. It is based in Buddhist philosophy, uses diagnoses of the pulse and urine as well as four methods of treatment: correcting the nutrition, the behaviour and lifestyle, therapies with and without medication. The formulas and ingredients of materia medica have been adapted to the local conditions where Sowa Rigpa is being applied. However, the main principles of taste and potency connected to the five elements are always maintained. Today, Sowa Rigpa represents an officially acknowledged traditional medicine which is integrated into the public health system in China, India, Mongolia and Bhutan. It is also being practised and taught in Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand as well as in several South American countries.