63 Year Old Traditional Healer In Bhutan Has Fixed More Than A Thousand Sprains And Fractured Bones

Email

For more than three decades, Tashi Wangdi has been fixing fractures and sprained joints in Trashigang.

Institute of Traditional Medicine Services in Bhutan. (Source: dmcofbhutan)

 

By Younten Tshedup | Kuensel

It is 11pm and the pain on Sangay Dorji’s left ankle has intensified even after medical assistance. The 28-year-old had sprained his ankle during a basketball game recently. He was then rushed to Rongthong village in Kanglung where a traditional healer resides.

The healer, Tashi Wangdi, examined the injured leg as he closes his eyes and starts rubbing the swollen ankle.

“Don’t worry. It’s not broken. You’ll be fine,” the healer assured.

 

 

Caption: A traditional healer in Rongthong for sprains and fractured bones          Source: Kuensel Online

As he orders his nephew to prepare the fire, Tashi Wangdi continues rubbing the ankle.

“It will be a little painful so you have to bear with it for some time,” he tells Sangay Dorji.

Some 30 minutes later, the nephew comes in with a heated iron rod. Tashi Wangdi puts the iron rod on his tongue which produces intense smoke in the process.

“Are you ready,” he asks as he begins hitting the swollen ankle with the iron rod.

More about the healer of Trashigang, Tashi Wangdi

For more than three decades, Tashi Wangdi has been fixing fractures and sprained joints in Trashigang. The 63-year-old has fixed more than a thousand fractures and sprains in the locality.

However, his patients are not just restricted to the locals. It includes Project DANTAK workers, tourists and even the expatriate lecturers of Sherubtse College.

“Everything I know today is from my own personal experience and some help from my friends,” he said. “Before applying my methods on others, I’ve used the same techniques on myself to see if it works.”

He said that one of his late friends whose father was a traditional healer in Merak taught him a nga (incantation) for broken bones.

“I practised the nga for many years before it worked on my patients,” he said. “The nga helps in healing the fractures and the patients do not feel any pain when I blow the nga.”

Jigme Dorji, another student of Sherubtse College said, “Just like magic, the air blown from the healer’s mouth washed away all the pain in my fractured wrist.”

The healing methods employed by Tashi Wangdi

Tashi Wangdi said that while patients with fractured bones require the hot iron treatment, minor fractures require the correct technique to put the joints back into its normal position.

“The hot iron helps in joining the broken bones together and also dry up the fluids surrounding the joint.”

While the healer treats all sorts of fractures, he said that he does not attend to patients who come with open wounds and also cases involving infants.

Limitations of traditional healing

“I’m not a trained medical practitioner and I cannot take the risk so I advise them to go to the hospital.”

He said that he always makes it a point to inform the patients to first visit the hospital and get an X-Ray copy of their fractures.

“But people come to me directly before going to hospital. I’m here to provide my assistance but the things I cannot do, I ask them to see the doctors for they are the right person.”

Doctors at the Trashigang hospital said that most of the skin infection cases at the hospital are the results of those who had undergone traditional treatments.

“The use of un-sterilised iron rods on skin can cause blisters and swellings that could lead to serious infection if left untreated,” a doctor said.

However, Tashi Wangdi said that the wounds generated from the iron rods disappear within a week if they are not touched.

“I ask my patients to strictly follow my instructions for if they don’t, they will get an infection,” he said. “So far I have received no complaints from any of my patients.”

Besides treating people, Tashi Wangdi also fixes fractures in animals such as cattle, horses and yaks among others.

“Animals suffer just like us so the same treatment also works for them,” he said.

Meanwhile, the healer is looking for someone who is willing to take up this practice and make it available for the people if he dies.

“There were a few people asking me to teach them but they never showed up,” said Tashi Wangdi. “I’m willing to teach anyone who would like to continue this practice.”

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan.


Related Posts

Traditional Medicine Marks 50 Years Of Services In Bhutan

Bhutan's traditional medicine system was formally established on May 28, 1968.

Jun 08, 2018 15:08

Traditional Art Of Making Wooden Bowls (Dhapas) Thrives In...

There is a strong demand for Trashiyangtse's dhapas and dzas both locally and internationally.

May 30, 2018 18:13

Conserving Traditional Bhutanese Architecture

“The old buildings are important as a testimony of the past. It is not only important to preserve these houses, but also...

Mar 15, 2018 11:47

Conserving the Traditional Art of Weaving

The mission of the Royal Textile Academy is to preserve and promote the traditional form of weaving.

Nov 18, 2017 10:36

Revival of Traditional Bhutanese Dining

The Trashiyangtse dzongrab, Lam Dorji, said that since the handicrafts were locally produced, it was found to be...

Mar 08, 2018 05:52

Loss of the Brokpa Dress Culture in Bhutan

The impact of declining sheep rearing practice would lead to the loss of the brokpa dress culture, which is unique in...

Mar 28, 2018 17:57

Latest

News

The Great Fourth King and Fifth King of Bhutan on Royal Tours amid the COVID-19 pandemic brought tears to many Bhutanese.

Many Bhutanese people eyes brimmed with tears. The heart was a knot of inexplicable emotions when they saw His Majesty the fourth King...

Oct 07, 2020 09:16

Australia supports Bhutan in its COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery

Extending support to Bhutan in its fight against COVID-19, the Australian Government has supplied medical equipment in response to the Royal...

Sep 22, 2020 09:39

Features

Ngultrum- The Bhutanese Currency but does Bhutanese address the money Nu or ?

Ngultrum is pegged at par with the Indian rupee. Ngultrum is the identity of the Bhutanese monetary system. But most Bhutanese refer to the...

Oct 23, 2020 16:00

Significance of the Stupa of two lovebirds across Lungtenzampa- the Bridge of Prophecy

According to the caretaker, many believe that couple who wishes to have children gets their wishes fulfilled if they pray at this sacred...

Oct 17, 2020 17:32

Sports

Football clubs in Bhutan gearing up for Bhutan Premier League (BPL) 2020

Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top national football tournament in Bhutan is set to commence on August 1.

Jul 24, 2020 14:33

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Business

Bhutan- The Kingdom of Peppers

Bhutan is a country with the highest per-capita consumption of chilli.

Sep 26, 2020 09:15

Are Local Vendors Earning More Money Than the Civil Servant?

A Farmer from Lango, Paro gave up farming to be vendor while office goers are switching into agriculture as the remedy to curb their...

Jul 27, 2020 19:15

Travel

October the Peak Trekking Season in Bhutan- Where are you trekking this season ?

The mountains are the most prominent natural geography features of Bhutan. located on the southern end of the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan has...

Oct 30, 2020 17:10

Harvest Time in Bhutan- It is the happy time for peasants for the bountiful harvest

This time of the year, the lush green valleys and hills have turned into a mellow yellow field. Farmers are seen at their field to harvest...

Oct 26, 2020 12:52

Lifestyle

Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!