Sowa-Rigpa is based on the principles of Jung-wa-nga (Skt: panchamahabhutas) and Ngepa-Sum (Skt: Tridosa). Bodies of all the living beings and non living objects of the universe are composed of Jung-wa-nga; viz Sa, Chu, Me, Lung and Nam-kha (Skt: Prithvi, Jal, Agni, Vayu and Akash). The physiology, pathology Pharmacology and metria -medica of this system are established on these theories. Our body is composed of these five Cosmo physical elements of Jung-wa-nga; when the proportion of these elements is in imbalance in our body disorder results. The medicine and diet used for the treatment of disorders are also composed of the same five basic elements. In the body these elements are present in the form of Ngepa-Sum (Skt: Tri-dosa) Lus-sung-dun (Skt: Sapta Dhatu) and Dri-ma-Sum (Skt: Trimala). In drugs, diet and drinks they exist in the form of Ro-dug (Skt: Shast-rasa) Nus-pa (Virya) Yontan (Skt: Guna) and Zhu-jes (Skt: Vipaka). It is in context of this theory that a physician would use his knowledge, skills and experience in treating a patient, using the theory of similarity and dissimilarity (Skt: Samanaya and Vísesa) of five elements.
The basic theory of Sowa-Rigpa may be adumbrated in terms of the following five points:
- The body in disease as the locus of treatment;
- Antidote, i.e., the treatment;
- The method of treatment through antidote;
- Medicine that cures the disease;
- Materia Medica, Pharmacy & Pharmacology