Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Shang Shung Institute four-year program in Tibetan Medicine?
The Shang Shung Institute, under the direction of Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo, has developed a complete training program in Tibetan medicine that integrates theory, experiential applications through clinical practicum and intensive training in Tibetan language and culture.
The Shang Shung program offers eight consecutive semesters, each consisting of 300 total hours. Each week, students will participate in 20 hours of classes. Among these 20 hours per week; 16 hours are used for lecture, 2 hours for Tibetan language and culture studies, and 2 hours for a clinical practicum. There are no electives or part/time study options in the Tibetan Medicine four-year program and students are expected to participate in all aspects covering each semester’s topics. Classes meet for 2.5 consecutive days a week.
Do I need any special background to attend programs?
While it is extremely useful to have a background in Tibetan Language, Tibetan Buddhism, or alternative or allopathic medicine, successfully completing the course of study is based more on commitment and good study habits. The main requirement is a deep commitment to study the material presented. Our students come from a variety of backgrounds. The Institute supports an environment of cooperation and non-competitive learning.
Is there Financial Aid?
While our program is not currently eligible for federal aid programs, we will try to work with you individually if you have a demonstrated commitment to attend the program. We offer monthly payment plans and a limited number of work-study positions for individuals with skills. It is enormously costly for the Institute to bring senior Tibetan Doctors with translators, visa costs, advertising for the program, and to maintain our resident doctors. The course fees do not even begin to cover the annual budget for our Tibetan Medicine program.
Is the Program accredited and can I receive a certificate of completion?
The Shang Shung Institute is not currently an accredited post-secondary institution that grants an academic degree. As soon as the conditions for candidacy are optimized, the institute will apply to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges or other US department of education approved agency for candidacy. If prospective students are concerned about receiving either undergraduate or graduate credits for their Tibetan medicine studies, please consult with your host college regarding independent study or institutions that foster independent study degree programs. Some parts of the four-year program are currently approved for Professional Development Activity (PDA’s) by NCCAOM (the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine).
The Shang Shung Institute of America's Tibetan Medicine Program is Licensed as a vocational school by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Education. While the Shang Shung Institute is not yet an accredited or degree granting institution, the Institute is committed to pursuing the necessary criteria to become a candidate for this process in the future. The License to operate as a post secondary proprietary school in the State of Massachusetts is a first step in this lengthy process and a fundamental cornerstone for the Institute's future goals of expansion as a cultural and educational institution with the mission to preserve and promote Tibetan Culture, Arts, Language, History, Medicine, and Philosophy.
A certificate of completion will be given upon completion of the four-year course, and/or any summer intensive program or course outside of the regular curriculum.
Will I be able to practice Tibetan Medicine upon completion?
Our four-year medical program was recently approved as a valid massage therapy training in the state of Massachusetts. Thus, our students who fulfill the required courses may now submit applications for MA state massage licenses. This is a big step for our program, as it enables a legal license to practice Kunye Massage and gentle external therapies as taught in our School of Tibetan Medicine.
The Shang Shung Institute in America does not offer any credentials to authorize the general practice of Tibetan Medicine, however, nor does the US currently have licensing for Tibetan Medical practitioners. There are several avenues to pursue especially if one is already licensed in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, or as an H. H. P. "holistic health practitioner." The regulations for these vary from state to state.
At this point, the only guarantee is that the Shang Shung Institute is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for Westerners interested in developing knowledge of Tibetan Medicine. In recent years, a national grass roots effort to recognize consumer’s access to the alternative therapies of their choice has been embraced by a number of US States. Please visit www.nationalhealthfreedom.org for a list of states that have passed legislation for unlicensed practitioners of alternative therapies to work --- within specific guidelines outlined by their States.
What is the Audio Self-Study Course?
The audio self-study course is based on the three level foundation course in Tibetan medicine previously presented at the Shang Shung Institute from 1999-2003 by Drs. Thubten Phuntsok and Phuntsog Wangmo. The course was conceived by Dr. Thubten Phuntsok as an introductory survey course of the Four Tibetan Medical Tantras (rGyud-bzhi), the cornerstone of training for Tibetan physicians and the theoretical basis for advanced clinical training. The curriculum covered in the foundation course is intellectually rigorous and highly theoretical while presenting a survey of all the major topics of Tibetan medicine in a systematic progression. Each level was audio taped and resulted in an English translation from Dr. Thubten’s presentation in Tibetan by translator, Elio Guarisco. Levels I and II were repeated by Dr. Phuntsog Wangmo in a slightly different version using the same text. Later, these tapes were edited and compiled into MP3s.
The Shang Shung Institute store makes these important educational resources available in MP3 format including the three volumes that go along with the recorded material. It should be understood that this is a work in progress and there are gaps in the text as well as some places where the recording departs from the texts. However, the information contained in the audio self-study course is a milestone for presenting this material in English previously unpublished to individuals seriously interested in Tibetan Medicine. It also serves as an excellent introduction to the ”foundation” of Tibetan medicine theory as a basis for further study in the field. We highly recommend the audio self-study course if you are unable to attend any of the residential programs as a place to begin at your own pace.
Where can I find housing?
You can check these webpages for local listings:
Shang Shung institute School of Tibetan Medicine P.O. Box 278 Conway, MA 01341 firstname.lastname@example.org P: 413-369-4928 F: 413-369-4473