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Originally published February 6 2015

Soba rigpa is Bhutan's way of healing through the mind

by UB Hawthorn

(NaturalNews) Soba rigpa (also known as Sowa rigpa or gSo-BA Rig-PA) is a traditional form of medicine practiced in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. This forward-thinking country integrates soba rigpa (which means "science of healing") into their national healthcare system to work alongside modern medicine.

Practitioners of soba rigpa assess patients based on the status of their somatic humors, which are representative of the different elements: lung (air and ether), thriba (water and fire) and bethken (earth and water). Though good health means having a balance of these three humors, it's likely for most people to have one that is dominant. And when there's an imbalance of any of these, illness results.

Balancing these humors can be achieved through certain lifestyle changes. For example, in the summer, temperature rises, causing a natural increase of thriba (the element of fire). Soba rigpa would suggest keeping exercise to a minimum, avoiding sunbathing and consuming cold food and drinks and more easily digestible foods.

But where soba rigpa really stands out is in its philosophical outlook towards health. Since the country is closely linked to Buddhism, its healing methods are reflected in the same philosophical outlook: that all suffering is caused by ignorance. The first of the Buddha's Four Noble Truths is that life is suffering. Once this is realized, it's possible to understand the nature of suffering and to then overcome it. Soba rigpa treats health conditions through standard means, including herbs, physiotherapy and minor surgery, but it also helps patients get better through spiritual healing and by encouraging them to change their behavior.

Though balancing humors can improve one's health in the short-term, long-term health has to come about through the knowledge that good health is all in the mind. That's easier said than done -- a lot of people know about the placebo effect and the power of the mind but are unable to get the mind to work positively for them.

Knowing that our mind is in a constant struggle of craving after things that are deemed "good" and avoiding things that are deemed "bad" is the delusion that doctors of soba rigpa want their patients to understand, which is much the same as what the Buddha and other masters from India taught many years ago and is the same as what is being taught today.


About the author:
UB Hawthorn edits and writes for the Engaged Living Network. You can read more of his writing at
The Mindful Word, Green Home Gnome and Green Building Canada.

UB Hawthorn edits and writes for the Engaged Living Network. You can read more of his writing at The Mindful Word, Green Home Gnome and Green Building Canada.

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