Few things in life can help soak away aches and pains as well as a hot bath. The satisfying feeling of luxury has been taken to the extreme in Bhutan. Hot Stone Baths are a traditional healing practice in Bhutan that dates back thousands of years. And in this land of spirituality and wellness, the Hot Stone Bath has become one of the most popular tourist activities for international travellers during their Bhutan tour, especially those that have just finished one of the arduous and exhausting treks through the mountains of Bhutan.
History of Traditional Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath
Traditionally built in local farmhouses near rivers, the traditional Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath is a long-standing practice in Bhutan. In ancient times, it was a luxury that only the rich and well-to-do families could afford. The whole day was for the event. Whole families would take turns bathing. Many noble families would consult their local astrologers for the most auspicious time to hold the events. The Bhutanese believe that any medicinal act done on auspicious days has more healing potential.
The traditional Hot Stone Bath later became a way of healing the tired limbs and aches of the farmers at the end of their seasonal work. Often done over several weeks, with the eating of rich nutritious food, the bath is thought to make the body more receptive to the medicinal power of the natural spring or river water.
Health Benefits of Taking a Hot Stone Bath
In Bhutan, the Hot Stone Bath is a traditional method of healing the body after strenuous exercise and work. Many believe the healing properties of the Hot Stone Baths relate to relieving bodily stress. The addition of medicinal herbs and the minerals released from the stones help ailments like hypertension, arthritis, joint pain, stomach disorders, and muscle aches.
The Hot Stone Baths also help get rid of skin ailments including psoriasis, eczema, and many others. It can also help reduce teenage acne. Whatever the claims of the Bhutanese, it has a very relaxing effect on both the body and mind. It has no side effects aside from feeling better in general.
Experience Authentic Hot Stone Bath in Local Farm House in Bhutan
There are farmhouse locations all across Bhutan that have the traditional Hot Stone Baths. Many of them bulit of wood and use local river water and rocks. These are in remote regions in central and eastern Bhutan, especially around Bumthang and Trashigang Dzongkhags.
The Sherab Dema Farmhouse Homestay in Bumthang is very popular. There you can take a bath as the locals do. Without the elaborate settings and with a picturesque view, the bath is more enjoyable and relaxing. You can finish it off with some traditional Ema Datshi and Ara, the local strawberry-flavoured spirit.
Bjagoe Menchu in Paro is a Hot Stone Bath location that is near a local natural spring. The bath is a traditional wood tub, similar to those in the ancient bathing events, and large enough for couples. The local stones are from the Paro Chhu and heated in a blazing open fire to get the right temperature before being dunked into the bath.
Hot Stone Bath and SPA in Hotels in Bhutan
There are several locations that have Hot Stone Baths in their spas, including the Uma by COMO in Paro and Punakha. There you can include a Hot Stone Bath as part of your whole-day spa treatment therapy.
The Amankora Hotel in Gangtey is also a great hotel spa with a traditional Hot Stone Bath. Set in a spa room with wide windows that look out over the valley below, the room is lit by candlelight. For the ultimate in healing therapy in a luxurious setting, the Gangtey Lodge is the best in Bhutan.