THE AMCHI PROJECT
THE AMCHI PROJECT
The AMCHI Project began in 2003 with 9 nuns, hailing from the most remote nunneries of Ladakh and Zanskar, to study AMCHI (Traditional Tibetan Medicine) in Darjeeling for 3 years. Since then, all the nuns completed their further clinical studies in Ladakh and since 2009, all nuns have successfully graduated. In fact this was the first group of nuns to be trained as Amchis (health practitioners), a historic first for the LNA and Ladakh. As well as supporting the intial training of this group of nuns, Bioligo (a Swiss health organisation) has also supported LNA in other health related activities such as herb collection and the establishment of a small herbal dispensary. Initially LNA opened two clinics in Leh, but then a number of the Amchis practitioners decided to return to their own regions, so LNA continued to run the clinic in Skalzaling and another on site at the nunnery. Today the Amchis continue to deepen their skills and knowledge, for example, by learning to give water therapy treatment, acupuncture and massage.
The LNA is pioneering in the preparation of herbal medicines in Ladakh; each Summer the Amchis and other nuns travel to local and remote mountain areas to collect herbs and build ongoing relationships with villagers, so that they too will protect the herbs. Back at the nunnery, herbal medicines are produced. Feedback from patients has been very positive, as they feel that the fresh herbal medicines are more effective than other medicines.
Currently there are 4 students in the AMCHI program at the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS) at Choglamsar, a short distance from Leh. The project involving training, operational clinics and preparation of herbal medicines, will continue to be a key aspect of LNA’s work in serving the local community whilst empowering and educating the nuns.
The AMCHI (Traditional Tibetan Medicine) Project is a wonderful example of collaboration and cooperation between LNA and foreign supporter Bioligo (Switzerland), who were committed to Dr. Palmo’s vision of education for nuns in Ladakh, enabling them to become independent Dharma practitioners and contributors towards the well being of their communities. The value of this long-term support cannot be overestimated, as it has allowed LNA to make long-term plans and to achieve them. Bioligo’s support is an excellent example of a true partnership between an international supporter and a Ladakhi organization.
AMCHI – TRADITIONAL TIBETAN MEDICINE
‘AMCHI Tibetan Medicine’ also known as Sowa-Rigpa in Ladakh, has similarities with the Ayurvedic medicines in India and for more then 2,500 years has been the traditional medicine throughout many parts of the Himalayas. It is in fact one of the most ancient living medical traditions in the world. In true form and practise AMCHI medicine is a ‘science of healing’ and is known for its rich integration of science, nature and Buddhist philosophy. It aims to systematically and logically understand the body and disease, in relation to the mind, heart and our environment.