In Asia/ Travel

Checkup with a Tibetan Doctor

Nobody likes going to the doctor. For men it inevitably involves a swift grab to the loins and being told to cough like some sort of sick ventriloquism joke. Others will be told to bend over as the sound of latex snapping rings in their ears. Of course this all pales in comparison to what I’ve been told women have to endure during any medical visit. I do not envy the ladies.

Tibetans, however, have found a much more peaceful, less invasive approach to practicing medicine.  In fact, a simple checkup requires only a pulse. Lovely sounding, isn’t it?

Utilizing a sixth sense of consciousness,  Tibetans rely mainly on pulse reading in conjunction with basic visual diagnoses and health history. With the kind of focus Americans typically reserve for observing a fourth and goal in overtime, the Tibetan doctor senses how the blood is flowing through various organs in order to make his or her diagnosis. No electronic gizmos beeping and buzzing whatsoever. And I’m not entirely convinced it’s the hooey western doctors married to MRIs and x-rays would have you believe.

Checkup with a Tibetan DoctorI’ll admit it’s quite possible I tricked myself into revealing more than I needed to during the doctor’s questioning. Like a psychic asking, “I’m sensing you have a mother, and that she is a woman…?” many of the questions lent themselves the opportunity for me to reveal my health history without the doctor actually reading it through my pulse, yet making it seem as if he figured it out through his reading. Still, I walked away with the impression that he was able to pinpoint some old problems I used to have without my leading him on. Of course when I reiterate this story to my friends, they look at me as if I told them Miss Cleo phoned me in with Abraham Lincoln.

Life is full of extremes and humanity has generally agreed that truth lies somewhere in the middle. Without question western civilization has embraced a medical philosophy entirely reliant on gadgets that can make patients feel like a broken down car at the autoshop. Now I’m not by any means saying we should drastically reverse course and start sprinkling flowers petals over our boo-boos. I’m content with an x-ray’s ability to tell me if a bone is broken or not. But I’m also willing to allow the possibility that we as a society could benefit by pushing the philosophical needle somewhere closer to the middle.

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