Go To Icarus Films RSS file with home page updates in XML RSS Info divider Bookmark and Share divider email Join our email list! divider cartCart
32 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201divider(718) 488 8900
The Knowledge of Healing
A Film by Franz Reichle
Featuring S.H. Tenzin Gyatso, XIV. Dalai Lama, Tenzin Choedrak, Tschimit-Dorschi Dugarow and Karl Lutz
 Text Size Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size divider Printable VersionPrintable Version
film still

The first feature documentary dealing extensively with Tibetan medicine, one of the most highly developed medical systems, THE KNOWLEDGE OF HEALING presents evidence that deserves serious consideration as a supplement to Western medical technology.

The original Tibetan book of medicine - the Gyüschi (knowledge of healing) - dates back to the 12th century. The medications used comprise herbs, roots, minerals, etc. Successes have been achieved with chronic sicknesses that, in the West, are regarded as incurable.

Instead of being based on biochemistry, Tibetan medical thinking, which is strongly rooted in Buddhist principles, views the human body as governed by an elaborately organized and codified system of energies flowing through a system of channels. Its practice has been taught over last four centuries in Tibetan medical schools, most of which were destroyed by the Chinese in the late 1950's and early 60's.

The few Tibetan physicians who weren't executed went into exile. Some of them reestablished themselves in Dharamsala, in northern India. The film introduces Tenzin Choedrak, a leading Tibetan medical authority, and shows him treating the 14th Dalai Lama for a minor ailment. The Dalai Lama himself appears twice in the film to argue forcefully for the acceptance of Tibetan medicine as a valuable addition to the Western system.

The film begins with a brief outline of the principles of Tibetan medicine and goes on to show physicians in Dharamasala and in Buryatia (part of Siberian Russia) treating patients with a variety of ailments. Although there are no overnight miracle cures, the Buryat center claims a remarkably high cure rate for radiation-related ailments associated with the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl.

After visiting these centers and observing diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from everything from partial paralysis to the traumas of torture, the film moves westward to research centers in Israel and Switzerland where clinical studies are being conducted and several Tibetan medications industrially manufactured. The researchers have discovered that the Tibetan remedies work (the most remarkable testimony comes from a man whose heart disease was so advanced that a bypass operation wouldn't have helped him and whose clogged arteries were unblocked by a Tibetan medication), although the actual chemical processes by which they heal remains largely mysterious.

THE KNOWLEDGE OF HEALING is not propaganda for alternative medicine, but a thorough, objective examination of an ancient interpretation of human physiology, and an investigation into an amazingly succesful method of healing.

"A surprisingly compelling medical narrative...Fascinating [and] persuasive."—LA Weekly

"A captivating documentary about the intricate and fascinating medical procedures Tibetans have practiced for centuries."—The Boston Globe

"This information-packed film is an absorbing glimpse at illness and injury as viewed by another culture. It also comes across as a careful study of specific cases in which remedies are applied, results recorded and expert commentary given. There is almost too much technical detail - the complex formulae of Tibetan medicines and scientific analysis by traditional Western physicians."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Documents the painstaking preparation of medicines, from forest herbs to the alchemical "jewel pills," that have helped treat countless Chernobyl victims. Case studies show how these ancient cures work where modern ones have failed, even against paralysis and kidney failure."—Boston Phoenix

"A gentle, optimistic film... An invitation to examine a useful alternative approach to the human body and its mechanisms."—Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"An intriguing glimpse at the art of Tibetan medicine, its relation to Western science and, implicitly, the idea that China's relationship with Tibet can be viewed as a crime against humanity."—Newsday

"Excellent! May surprise hardcore aspirin takers."—Time Out

2005 Association for Asian Studies Film Festival
2004 Annual Conference on South Asia (University of Wisconsin)
Second International Congress on Tibetan Medicine (2003)

89 minutes / color
Closed Captioned
Release: 2004
Copyright: 1996
DVD Sale: $Please inquire

This DVD is sold above for home video use only. If you require a license for institutional use or Public Performance rights, click here.


Stream Online

Rent DVD

Subject areas:
Asia, Buddhism, Medicine, Philosophy, Religion, Tibet

Related Titles:
Angry Monk: Gendun Choephel, a legendary figure in Tibet, turned from the monastic life he was born to (as the reincarnation of a Buddhist lama), to become a fierce critic of his country's religious conservatism and isolationism.

Old Dog: A family on the Himalayan plains discovers their dog is worth a fortune, but selling it comes at a terrible price.

Monte Grande: How do body and mind exist as an integrated whole? The eminent neurobiologist Francisco Varela devoted his entire life to answering this question. Featuring His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama

Paths of the Soul: An astonishing journey of redemption, faith, and devotion, following a group of villagers who leave their families and homes to make a Buddhist "bowing pilgrimage" to the holy capital of Tibet.

Tharlo: Tibetan director Pema Tseden adapts his own novella about the story of a Tibetan shepherd's encounter with the big city.

Home | New | Titles | Filmmakers | Latest News | Ordering | Site Map   
About | Best Sellers | Sell Sheets | Press Materials | Resources | RSS   
  Follow Us! On...
Facebook Follow Icarus Films on Twitter YouTube
Copyright (c) 2015, Icarus Films
Last Updated February 28, 2017
Privacy Policy