Tibetan and Western medical practices each have their own particular strengths and weaknesses which make them unique. Tibetan medicine draws on natural methods to heal, while modern techniques in the west rely on machines and technology. Some might agree that such medical equipment is necessary, and increases the efficiency and healing ability of western doctors, one must not discount the Tibetan claims of being able to diagnose patients with a greater degree of accuracy using only their knowledge of the human body. In my opinion, Tibetan and Western medicine can be seen as two sides of the same coin. Each method uses different means to achieve a similar goal: the wellness of a patient. With this in mind, it would seem that a blending of Western technology and Eastern ideology would allow each side to learn from the other in order to better fight the common adversary of disease.
Tibetan medical teachings could be used in a variety of ways in conjunction with current practices in the west. The American pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest and most profitable in the world. We synthetically produce drugs at a reasonable cost for use by nearly everyone on the planet. Although our drug manufactures have been accused of amassing too much money, the truth of the matter is that their world-wide distribution system has helped save the lives of millions of people, regardless of nationality.
Unlike laboratory produced western medicines, Tibetan drugs are natural, and have amazing restorative properties unlike anything our scientists can artificially produce: “We successfully treat diabetes, various forms of coronary disease, arthritis, hepatitis, Parkinson’s disease, cancers, ulcers and the common cold.” (Tibetan Medicine, pg. 282). With these type of results, it is immoral and inhumane for these “miracle drugs” to not be made available to the public at large. At present, Tibet has a monopoly on these herbs, due to their scarcity, keeping the medicines from those who need them. By combining Tibetan knowledge of these medicines properties and western synthesizing technologies, the healing agents could be isolated and reproduced to the benefit of the entire world, and not only a select few.
Tibetan medicine could also help doctors in their examination and diagnosis of patients. Although mainstream western medicine discounted the idea of humors in the Middle Ages, Tibetans seem to produce remarkable results using this archaic philosophy. They learn to become so in tune to a patients body that they can predict the nature of the sickness without even knowing the symptoms. This remarkable ability is one that can be learned, and taught to others. “If young Western doctors would come and train with us for a period of years- as well as relating their own system’s analysis of disease- then, I feel, a true exchange could occur.” (pg. 298). Such an exchange would be beneficial to both, by combining the best of both worlds. By allowing Tibetan medicine access to the 21st century and the ability to save lives on a grander scale, and giving Western doctors the knowledge to look beyond their machines, sickness, pain and death could be considerably lessened.