A conversation with Menpa Matthew Schmookler, Menpa Adam Okerblom and Tenzin Wangyal

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In conversation with host Tenzin Wangyal, Tibetan doctors (menpas) Matthew Schmookler and Adam Okerblom introduce you to Tibetan Kunye massage and external therapies. Both doctors teach at the Shang Shung Institute School of Tibetan Medicine, an institution founded by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu that offers educational programs on traditional Tibetan medicine internationally and online for the general public as well as for health care and wellness practitioners.

An integral aspect of Tibetan medicine, the practice of Kunye is described in ancient texts. References to its hands-on healing techniques are found throughout Tibetan culture. The term Kunye is formed from the Tibetan words ku (བསྐུ་), which means “oil” or “ointment”; and nye (མཉེ་), meaning “massaging or rubbing.” Tibetan Kunye massage and external therapies utilize everything from herbal infused oils to hot and cold compresses, hot stones, heated sand and salt compresses, herbal poultices, fire cupping, joint mobilization and therapeutic points. Tibetan Kunye massage relies on treatment principles from traditional Tibetan medicine theory and is indicated for various conditions including mental/emotional stress, physical or mental exhaustion, insomnia, depression, anxiety and indigestion.

About the Presenters

Menpa Matthew Schmookler completed the Shang Shung Institute School of Tibetan Medicine four-year program in 2009. There he studied under the celebrated Tibetan menpa Phuntsog Wangmo. He then spent several months interning with master Tibetan medicine doctors at the Tso Ngon Tibetan Medicine College at Qinghai University, where he received his menpa degree. Matthew went on to be authorized by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu to teach Tibetan medicine. He is also a certified Instructor of Tibetan yantra yoga, harmonious breathing and khaita joyful dances. Matthew serves on the board of directors of the Shang Shung School of Tibetan Medicine, where he helps to develop and implement international educational programs. Matthew has offered guest lectures and teachings at a variety of venues, including Five Branches University, San Francisco State University, Stanford School of Medicine, Smith College, the Berkeley West Coast Dzogchen Community Center, the Richmond Tibetan Community Center, as well as venues in Spain, Italy, Mexico, Russia, and more. With more than 15 years’ experience in the practice of holistic health and wellness, Matthew co-founded Sowa Wellness, a Bay Area (California) mobile wellness company. He is a California certified massage therapist specialized in Tibetan kunye massage. More about Menpa Matthew Schmookler / article about kunye points

Menpa Adam Okerblom, DAOM, LAc., received his doctorate of acupuncture and oriental medicine (DAOM) from Five Branches University, San Jose, California, in August 2019. In 2018 Adam was authorized as an instructor of Tibetan medicine by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu in Tenerife, Spain. He received his masters of science in oriental medicine (MSOM) in 2016 from the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College (AIMC) in Berkeley, California. Adam graduated from the four-year program of Shang Shung Institute School of Tibetan Medicine, Conway Massachusetts, in 2012. He completed a three-month internship and studies at the Tso Ngon Tibetan Medicine College at Qinghai University, where he received his menpa degree. Adam practices and teaches traditional Tibetan medicine and acupuncture in the San Francisco Bay area. He offers clinical treatments using the theory and practical therapeutic methods of Tibetan and Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal formulae, Tibetan kunye massage and other techniques. Adam also sits on the board of directors of the Shang Shung Institute School of Tibetan Medicine, USA. More about Menpa Adam Okerblom, DAOM / article “What Makes Tibetan Kunye Massage Therapy Unique?”

About the School of Tibetan Medicine

The Shang Shung Institute (SSI) School of Tibetan Medicine offers courses with its director, Menpa Phuntsog Wangmo, and her team of certified instructors, alumni and senior students. The school’s most advanced training is a four-year program of traditional Tibetan medicine based on the study of the four classical root texts of Tibetan medicine, or the Gyud Zhi. Graduates of this advanced program may go on to intern at the Institute’s sister school, the Tso Ngon College of Tibetan Medicine, at Qinghai University, where they can attain the menpa-level practitioner certification. On February 19, 2020, a new online class of the four-year program will begin. This online program includes two-year onsite intensives that provide extensive training in Tibetan Kunye massage. Additionally, from February 29 through March 1 in Berkeley, California, SSI will offer a weekend intensive course on Tibetan Kunye and external therapies, primarily intended for current health and wellness practitioners. More information about Shang Shung Institute of America / about its School of Tibetan Medicine

About the Host

Tenzin Wangyal is an acclaimed author and a respected teacher of students worldwide. As the founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha International, he has established numerous centers and institutes of learning in the United States, Mexico, South America, Europe and India. Fluent in English, Rinpoche regularly offers online teachings in the form of live webcasts, online workshops and YouTube videos. He is renowned for his depth of wisdom; his clear, engaging teaching style; and his dedication to making the ancient Tibetan teachings highly accessible and relevant to the lives of Westerners. More about Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche