The history of the Tibetan Traditional Hospital can be traced back to 1916. Named Mentsekhang in Tibetan, it began as a regional government teaching organ in which Tibetan doctors and astronomers were trained. In 1959, the government merged Mentsekhang with another medical college, which was formerly situated on the Chakpori Hill. In this way the Tibetan Traditional Hospital and its associated Tibetan medicine factory, were founded. The clinic of the hospital lies in the Barkhor Street , to the west of the Jokhang Temple.
Besides the Tibetan people’s own experience, the development of Tibetan traditional medical science has a close relationship with Chinese and Indian traditional medical science. The main diagnostic methods Tibetan doctors use today are almost the same as traditional Chinese medicine. In the seventh century, when the Princess Wencheng came to Tibet, she brought a Chinese medical book and Chinese doctors to the Tibetan People. The next Chinese Princess, Jincheng brought another medical book to Tibet and some more doctors as well. In the eighth century, a famous Tibetan doctor, Yutok Yonten Gonpo went to India to study Indian medicine. This knowledge greatly accelerated the development of Tibetan medical science. This doctor learned a lot from Chinese and Indian traditional medical science and incorporated his knowledge into the system of Tibetan medical science.
Numerous Thangkas , hanging on the walls of the hospital, contain the Tibetan medicinal knowledge in all of its aspects, from the beginning of Tibetan medicine, to pictures of human anatomy, to methods of treatments, dietetics, acupuncture and so on. The medical Thangkas depict them with succinct pictures and brief words. This kind of Thangka is an important tool in the teaching of Tibetan medicine.
Tibetan medicine has drawn a great deal of attention from all over the world because of its striking effects on a variety of diseases, such as cranial vascular disease, chronic hepatitis, atrophic gastritis, hypertension, cardiac disease, and cerebral hemorrhage, to name a few. Large numbers of foreign experts and scholars come to Tibet each year to study and investigate Tibetan medicine. Some countries have even introduced Tibetan medicine to their home countries.
Like other hospitals, hospitals in Tibet are divided into several departments, such as Medical Department, Surgical Department, Dental Department, Dermatology Department, and Department of Gynecology. Some hospitals mix Tibetan Medicine, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Western Medicine together with surprisingly good outcomes. Some hospitals feature in research on the unique functions of Tibetan Medicine.
the People’s Hospital of TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region), the Second People’s Hospital of TAR, the People’s Hospital of Lhasa, and the General Hospital of Tibetan Military Region, and the Fukhang Hospital (nearby Potala Palace). Patients receive a warm reception and careful treatment in these hospitals. Hospital conditions in remote counties may not as good as those of Tibet and in mountainous areas; one may not access any medical service. Accordingly, tourists should take with them necessary medicines.
Before you go:
Get as fit and healthy as possible, both physically and psychologically. Don’t be too nervous.
A medical examination is necessary if you’ve never been to plateaus.
Avoid catching cold or respiratory problems before entering Tibet.
Prepare AMS medication with your doctor’s advice.
See what else you need to pack for Tibet travel
After your arrival:
Avoid brisk walking or running immediate after your arrival, especially if you arrive by air.
Avoid strenuous activity or move higher during your first 24 hours in Tibet. But light activity during the daytime is better than sleeping because respiration decreases during sleeping, exacerbating the symptoms.
Don’t take shower at the first day! Avoid catching cold!
Drink plenty of fluids (3 to 4 liters daily).
Eat high-carbohydrate food.
Avoid tobacco, alcohol or depressant drugs, including barbiturates, tranquilizers, or sleeping pills.
Better not to take oxygen if your AMS symptoms are mild. It helps you acclimatize faster. If your symptoms become worse and worse, please take oxygen and go to hospital.
Take it easy and move to higher altitude gradually. Breathe deeply and take more rest than usual. Stop move higher if you begin feeling ill. If symptoms increase, move to lower altitude!
Who Can’t Go to Tibet?
It’s advisable to have a body check-up or have your doctor’s advice before visiting Tibet. Visitors having record of heart, lung, liver, kidney problems must seek medical advice before making the decision to go to Tibet! Generally speaking, the following persons should not go to Tibet:
Have already caught a cold
Have severe anemia
Have high blood pressure or severe heart disease
Have pneumonia, tuberculosis, tracheitis, or bronchitis