Bhutan has been called by different names in the past. The country of sandalwood, the highlands, the country south of Tibet and the land of medicinal herbs. The land of medicinal herbs can’t be more true when medicinal herbs are in abundance through out the length and breadth of the country. Hot stone bath is one of the medical remedies.
Hot stone bath has been in the country since time immemorial. There is no recorded history of how it started and where it started but its been an integral part of our tradition.
A huge wooden trough of roughly the size of modern bath tub. The trough is made from simple blue pine planks. One end has a space to immerse hot stones heated over fire. Big stones the size of a European football is heated over a wood-fire till they turn red. Big forceps are used to take this stones from the fire and immerse in the trough. The cold water (filled from a spring) is heated with these stones.
Depending on the heat endurance of the person taking bath, stones are added. Additional stone means additional heat.
Different herbs are added to the bath thus making it medicinally beneficial. There is no fixed duration for this bath. Most Bhutanese stay immersed for several hours.
A good 30 minutes or little lesser dip would be recommended for most tourists wanting to experience this traditional bath.
Hot stone bath is a good remedy for skin diseases, joint pains, body aches and to relax after a hard days work. No scientific study has been done but its believed that the herbs and the chemical in the stones are a good source of medicine.
Hot stone bath facility is available in almost all the places in Bhutan. Since it takes time to heat the rocks you will have to inform your agent/guide at least several hours in advance. The cost for one bath is US$10. With the bath you will be provided a glass of local beer.
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