Getting a beating with Yukcho Can be Good Therapy!
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Yuk means stick and Chö is therapy, so literally ‘stick Therapy’. This practice has its own special place within the external therapies of Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM). Not cited in the Four Tantras, it’s relatively new to TTM although it dervies from various ancient lineages.
Stick Therapy remains relatively unknown because its transmission historically has been passed directly from master to pupil very discreetly.
Stick therapy can be traced to various historic periods of both medical and spiritual practice, within in the Bon culture, the Ngakpa tradition, and the Buddhist traditions – particularly the Nyingmapa school.
The sticks used for this therapy are traditionally made from rattan cane, and at one end there are little pouches containing medicinal herbs or small egg-shaped bulbs of wood of different sizes. The sticks can be used in a variety of ways: tapping, rubbing, prodding and rolling. Apart from the purely mechanical therapeutic effect, Stick Therapy is animated by the resonance or the echo of each stroke. As with all aspects of TTM, if the spiritual aspect of the practice is not alive, no matter how effective the therapy, it is incomplete in its ability to heal.
Stick Therapy depends entirely on the expertise of the practitioner – knowing where to tap, how to tap, with what to tap, for what reason, and with what intention to tap. This requires a healer to understand the constituents of health and disease, physical anatomy, physiology and pathology, the anatomy and functioning of the subtle energetic body, as well as consummate knowledge of oneself.
Stick Therapy is also linked to the (spiritual) practices of Vajrapani, Yamantaka and Hayagriva.
Text courtesy of P Gonin.