traditional medicine practiced in bhutan is known as sowa rigpa. it is a fusion of indian (ayur vedic), mongolian, chinese and greek (unani) medicine that is based on humourism. the base of medicine was believed to be taught by the medicine buddha. along with the buddhism, the medicine did also flourish in tibet in the 8th century. though the name cannot be mentioned, it's very obvious that king sindu raja had a personal physician. that means traditional medicine was practiced in the country even before the arrival of guru rinpoche.
traditional medicine was institutionalised by zhabrung ngawang namgyel along with the establishment of dual system of government in the 17th century. further it was propagated by desi tenzin drukdra (the 2nd desi of bhutan) and other physicians.
his majesty the druk gyelpo jiigme dorji wangchuk, the third king of bhutan established the traditional hospital in 1967 at dechencholing in thimphu. late drungtsho pema dorji and drungtsho sherub jorden were first drungtshos who served at the first hospital.
like other medical systems of asia, the basic theory of sowa rigpa is to mantain the balance of three humours. three humours are wind, bile and phlegm. when three humours are imbalance, we become sick.
there are two causative factors that imbalances the three humours. t he long-term causative factors are the three poisons of desire, hatred and ignorance. the short term causative factors are change of seasons, influence of spirits, diet and behavior.
the system employs three ways of diagnosis. they are observation, palpation and interrogation. there are four steps of medication. change in diet and behavior followed by drugs and therapies.