For the first time in history, the office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with doctors from the Medical and Astrological Tibetan Institute of Men Tsee Khang, have endorsed and signed a book written by a Spanish author about the Tibetan KuNye Massage.
Cesar Tejedor, CEO and Co-founder of Massage Around the World and one of the authors of the book, talked to reporter Kira Schroeder about Tibetan medicine and the KuNye massage project. Being a Physical Therapist , teacher, lover of Oriental culture and author of a total of 19 books related to traditional medicines and massages techniques, Cesar has many stories to tell about the world of holistic wellness. Before posing our first question, he explained us the difficulties and challenges of his quest for studying and spreading the KuNye massage and the Tibetan medicine:
“The real difficulty of the whole project has not only been researching hundreds of texts written in Sanskrit and Tibetan language, but the didactic adaptation of these to Western mentality and understanding.”
As described in the preface that Cesar proudly shows us, with the official seal of the house of HH the Dalai Lama, Tibetan medicine is one of the great achievements and treasures of Tibetan Buddhist civilization, that has benefited its people for thousands of years. Tibetan doctors examine the pulse, urine and general appearance of the patient in order to assess the overall balance of their health. But even there, not much different from Western medicine.
“Actually one of the big differences is how they analyze the person, and how they study not only the body, but pay attention to every little detail about you: what you eat or drink, the weather conditions around you, which seasons will benefit or harm you, and an endless list of other external conditions that directly affect the health of the individual “
So in Tibetan medicine, the treatment of a person living in a tropical island will be different from a person who lives in a Nordic country?
Absolutely. But it is not only the weather and environment, the person’s own characteristics also directly affect the type of treatment that is recommended. The date, time, month and year of birth, the anatomical features, skin color, bone structure, type of digestion, including the behavioral characteristics, all influence the treatment. Hence no two treatments are equal. However, it is important to note that Tibetan medicine is focused on preserving the heath and the balance of the body, mind and spirit, instead of curing the sickness. And that is why in most cases the treatment consists of a series of recommendations and tips for healthy life habits. Of course the Tibetan doctors also treat the sickness and sometimes also prescribe pills, but the concept is totally different to what we are used to in the Western world.
And how does the KuNye massage, or massage in general, fit into this complex medical system?
Massage is one of the main medical treatments within Tibetan medicine and its function is to maintain or restore the state of equilibrium in our body. Applied by itself and/or sporadic, it provides some very positive effects on the body and mind; however, these effects will multiply tremendously when it is combined with an appropiate diet, behavior and lifestyle and a proper use of the body and mind. We are very used to listening that this or that is holistic, but most of the time, people use this term without knowing the real meaning of it. Tibetan doctors don’t use this term, because they do not conceive the medicine in any other way…
How can Tibetan medicine be applied in the daily lives of individual patients? Any advice or recommendations?
Not really (laughs). As I mentioned earlier, what can work perfectly on me, could cause you real problems, and vice versa. Each person requires a tailored and specific treatment and recommendations adapted to their constitution. A tomato can be very healthy for you, but when I eat it, it causes me digestive problems. That is why we cannot say that tomatoes are healthy, because it is not true. It is healthy for you, but for me it is really unhealthy. We have many preconceived misconceptions, and we must begin to change.
But let me think…Ok, I got one, let me give you one recommendation: Today, many young people think that they are going to be in good shape, have a nice body, and be healthy and beautiful, if they go to the gym, and eat “healthy”, in other words, eat salads and proteins, and that is absolutely false. There is no magic diet that you can download from internet, watch on TV or follow through a book. Remember that you are unique and that the diet that worked great on your friend, maybe does not work on you. So please, let’s take this seriously, because what we eat is a big part of how we are. Our inner state affects directly our outside, but unfortunately we very often forget about this. What I would recommend is that in addition to eating a balanced diet and making exercise, we should take care of our mind and spirit. Meditation, yoga and introspection, would surely be of great help.
Let’s go back to your book about the KuNye massage. How have you been able to get a prologue by the office of the Dalai Lama and from one of His personal doctors?
The truth is that I’ve been very fortunate to having received such an honor; I can hardly still believe it. But on the other side, this is the product of many years of hard work and dedication. It is not easy, you cannot knock on His Holiness door and ask for a prologue. This is not the way things work. First of all, I spend a few years searching, studying, and meeting different Tibetan doctors all around the world, then, I met my Master (Dr. Tsultrim Kalasang) and waited for months, actually, years, until he was available to teach me in private classes after his hard daily work in the Men Tsee Khang Institute. Through him, I met other doctors, and working closely with some of the most important doctors of Tibetan medicine in these days, gave me enough credibility to have the approval of the secretary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Of course, that all the contents that I wrote, had to pass a strict control before I got the prologue.
What is the next step in your career?
This book has given me many positive experiences, a lot of new knowledge and many new friends, on a professional as well as personal level. This experience and the difficulties I encountered when trying to find masters and schools in order to study Tibetan medicine and the KuNye massage, really made me realize that there is a need for someone who acts as an intermediary, connecting the people who are willing to learn with those who give teachings in these ancient healing methods. Out of this insight my recently established organization Massage Around the World was born, with the aim to spread the awareness and study of traditional medicines and massage through online courses and also by providing traditional teachers to Western schools, as well as helping Western students to study in Asian schools.
Basically my next step is very similar to what I have been doing during the last 14 years of my life. The only difference is that I have had to leave the publishing house because Massage around the World requires most of my time. Other than that I am still writing and working in the preservation of ancient techniques of massage, also trying to find time for teaching and sharing my experiences with others through massage courses, congresses and fairs. I also provide Spa Consulting services, as I consider that there is a big need for them in the field. Many believe that a beautiful design and a good treatment menu guarantee a great Spa, but they forget the most important: the Soul, Identity, Culture, Structure, protocolization and a good and smart management. So, said in a few words, I´m still definitely doing what I love, and I feel very fortunate for that.
- Drink water. The body is composed of 80 % liquid, so we must hydrate it properly. A widely used method in Asian countries is to drink warm beverages. Try it out for 3 days, and tell me how you feel!
- Eat smartly. In the same way that we do not operate ourselves when we get injured, but rather put ourselves in the hands of a specialist, we should also get in the hands of a nutritionist before creating our own diet that might consist of lettuce, tomato and chicken breasts. According to Ayurvedic medicine, when eating we must fill 1/3 of our stomach with liquid, another 1/ 3 with air and the last 1/3 with food. It is not good to eat until you burst.
- Take care of your body and mind and practice a daily moderate exercise. Yoga is a very good example as it combines physical activity and breathing. Also meditation exercises are very recommendable. It is very important that we listen to our body, and reduce the pace whenever our body asks for it.
And if you let me, I ‘ll give you one last advice that should always be a priority. A positive attitude, love and compassion are qualities that if we strive to implement them, we will receive a lot of happiness and inner peace, which undoubtedly revert on our outside. Beauty and health come from the inside.
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