Twenty Tibetan medicine specialists were officially recognized at a ceremony in the autonomous region on Monday, as graduates of a program to boost the industry.
The 20 masters of traditional Tibetan medicine were certified in Lhasa, the regional capital, bringing the number of acknowledged specialists to 72. Two of those certified Monday hold doctor's degree and eight have master's degree.
Under the program, a specialist must undergo a three-year apprenticeship with a senior Tibetan medicine master.
“After 19 years of being involved in Tibetan medicine, my dreams have come true,” said Cering Samzhub, 44, gesturing to his certificate. “I feel honored to be one of the few to hold such an important title.”
Cering Samzhub is thankful for the apprenticeship. “I achieved so much thanks to the guidance of my teacher.”
Tibetan medicine, known as Sowa Rigpa in Tibetan, has been used to cure aches and ailments for over 3,800 years. It draws on traditional Chinese, Indian and Arab medicine and is mainly practised in Tibet and the Himalayan region. It uses herbs, minerals and sometimes insects and animal parts.
Fifteen Tibetan medicine therapies and practices have been inscribed on the national intangible cultural heritage list.
“In the past, it was unusual for Tibetan medicine practitioners to have received formal education. This new system not only provides nationally recognized qualifications but, more importantly, it ensures that knowledge and practice are passed down to future generations,” said Hu Xuejun, deputy head of Tibet Health and Family Planning Commission.
The first graduates of the master or doctor degrees completed their studies in 2012. Since then, the region has continued to increase support for Tibetan medicine practitioners.
Nyima Tsering, president the Tibet College of Tibetan Medicine, in Lhasa, said the college has more than 1,500 students at present, the most since it was founded in 1989.
“It is an exciting, dynamic time for the Tibetan medicine industry,” he said.