My Experience with Tibetan Medicine

A Story from Mariela Dominguez Leandro

February 4, 2021

Mariela in the forest of her new home in Scotland

On this important day, on World Cancer Day [ed.February 4, 2021], I would like to share my experience with you. My name is Mariela and I am part of the Tibetan Medicine School Tenerife Team. But on this occasion, I am writing as a patient.

In 2019, I started to have some symptoms that were affecting my daily life: dizziness, general weakness, strong pain in the bones, physical and cognitive fatigue, it was not easy for me to focus, to work, to function normally. My Western doctor conducted all kinds of tests, and finally it was discovered that I had an abnormal level of a certain protein in my blood. So that’s how the journey started.

At that time I was living in Dzamling Gar, and Ilaria Faccioli, a very dear friend and the executive manager of the Shang Shung School of Tibetan Medicine Tenerife, invited me to work with her. Soon after that, she also suggested booking a consultation with Menpa Phuntsog Wangmo, who was in the gar for the season.

Menpa Phuntsog Wangmo saw me in November and December that year, and after evaluating my general condition, she arrived at the conclusion that I had a condition caused by an excess of the fire element in my body, and I had a general weak state. So Menpa. Phuntsog, along with her junior doctors Irina Pankevich and Medegma Budaeva, started treating me: the objective was to strengthen my body and balance the excess of the fire element.

I’ve been studying Tibetan Medicine since 2015, when I met Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, who is the founder of the Shang Shung School of Tibetan Medicine and a renowned Tibetan scholar and Buddhist teacher. But it was only then that I really started to understand its principles and how to apply them in daily life, especially when you have a condition due to an imbalance of the elements.

I continued seeing Western doctors for more tests, and after being transferred to an haematologist, in January 2020 I had a bone marrow puncture done and I was diagnosed with lymphoma, a disease which corresponds to an excess of the fire element in Tibetan Medicine.

According to Western Medicine, even though I have symptoms, the cancer is not aggressive at this time, so the oncologist decided to put me on “active monitoring” or “watch and wait” as they call it, which means I need to be checked every three months to see if the cancer is “at bay”.  But Western Medicine did not offer me a solution about my symptoms. Just to “adapt to my new life, and not think too much about it”. Not easy to do when you feel weak, you cannot do as much exercise as you used to, you suffer from bone pain and your mind is foggy.

So Tibetan Medicine turned into my main treatment: following the advice of Menpa. Phuntsog, I made changes in my diet and in my daily life behaviour, and I started taking Tibetan Medicines and being treated with external therapies, like Kunye massage. Furthermore, I started training in breathwork with Fabio Andrico, completing his Respira Method training program. Both the breathing exercises and the Tibetan Medicine treatment became great tools to improve my quality of life.

It was wonderful! In about three months, I recovered my strength and started to feel better, stronger and I was able to considerably improve the quality of my life.

I also had the opportunity to study the Diet and Behavior program of the Tibetan Medicine School Tenerife. That helped me a lot to implement all the advice and changes I needed in my life. And It is not only useful for me, but with this knowledge I can also help my loved ones. It is a way to apply presence and be mindful about what you eat, how you eat, your habits in daily life, your rest, the way you relate to others. It is a way to apply presence on how you take care of your body, energy and mind in order to have a healthy life.

Nowadays, I continue doing check-ups according to Western Medicine, but also with Tibetan Medicine. Even though I live in the UK at the moment, I continue having online appointments with my dear doctors Irina and Medegma. They check on my condition, adjust the treatment with Tibetan Medicines if necessary, and always offer their warm support and advice.

My last two blood tests show a reduction of the levels of the protein. And I am sure that this is the result of the precious treatment that Tibetan Medicine offered.

So it is not about choosing Tibetan Medicine over Western medicine, or the other way round. I do believe that the integration of both can help in the treatment of any medical condition, not only cancer. And what is more, Tibetan Medicine offers a variety of tools to help maintain our health and prevent disease. In order to avoid an imbalance of the elements of your body that can lead to ill health, it is crucial to learn healthy patterns of behavior. To have an integrative approach like the one Tibetan Medicine offers helps us to eat healthy food, to breathe correctly, to rest, to take care of our body, energy and mind according to our own individual condition. I really hope that in sharing my experience I can help others to discover the precious tools we have at hand, like Tibetan Medicine, that are part of the legacy of our teacher Prof. Namkhai Norbu.

I want to thank Menpa Phuntsog Wangmo for all the compassion and generosity she dedicates to her patients and students in the Shang Shung School of Tibetan Medicine branches around the world, and to Ilaria Faccioli, whose strength and dedication help to manifest all the activities of the School in Tenerife. And of course, to my dear doctors Irina and Medegma, who hold my hand along this journey at all times.

If you would like to know more about Tibetan Medicine School Tenerife, please, visit the website

For information on all international programs:

Download PDF