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

USD 25.3m Green Climate Fund To Address Climate Change Adaption In Bhutan

The project can help address climate change adaptation challenges facing Bhutan, particularly in the agriculture sector.

Jan 15, 2020 16:28

Bhutan’s Target To Become A 100% Organic Nation By 2020 Delayed – Pushed To 2035

Efforts to translate Bhutan’s organic vision into reality has met with various challenges thus far.

Jan 04, 2020 23:28

Features

How The Advent Of Internet Services Has Changed The Isolated Highlanders Of Bhutan

Many Layaps agreed that they find their lives much easier compared to just a decade ago.

Jan 21, 2020 21:48

Bhutan’s Government Ramped Up Support For More To Drive Electric Vehicles, Help Reduce Harmful Emissions

The dealers and the manager have given the taxi drivers their guarantee on battery and the important parts of the EV.

Jan 16, 2020 23:28

Sports

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

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Business

Economic Roadmap Needed To Steer Bhutan Towards Higher GDP Growth

The Lyonchhen said that the economic figures will improve in 2020 as 70 percent of the capital investments still lie unused.

Jan 17, 2020 23:38

Celebrating Bhutan’s entrepreneurs: Tashi Wangdi of iHub

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Jan 12, 2020 23:38

Travel

Forging the Unbeaten Trail Towards Wangdue Nye

When you dedicate year 2020 to hike on unbeaten trails in Bhutan.

Jan 21, 2020 10:58

Make Your Own Personalised Stamps And Discover Bhutan’s Postal History At The Postal Museum

The Bhutan Postal Museum in Thimphu is also a major tourist attraction.

Jan 18, 2020 21:08

Lifestyle

Relish Your Taste Buds With 8 Delectable Bhutanese Staple Food

One of the best places to try authentic Bhutanese cuisine is through a homestay, where you will get to sample what most locals eat at home.

Jan 19, 2020 21:08

Here’s What it is like inside Hotel River Valley, Punakha in Bhutan

River Valley Hotel offers professional and customer oriented services and thereby has become the leading hotel in the region ’. Experience...

Jan 05, 2020 10:48

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!