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

From Bhutan To The World: Working Remotely For Foreign Firms To Open Up New Employment Opportunities

A career fair will be held in Thimphu on January 29 where one can find opportunities to work from home with industries abroad through the...

Jan 16, 2019 14:22

Letter From The Editor: We’ve Changed Our Name To Daily Bhutan

Daily Bhutan was formerly known as New Bhutan Times.

Jan 16, 2019 09:56

Features

Bhutan Is The First Country To Record The Life Cycle Of Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory Successfully

Over 367 days, Tshering Dendup closely observed the metamorphosis of the national butterfly, recording each change in the physical...

Jan 13, 2019 14:42

Community Forest Members In Bumthang, Bhutan Undergo Training In Furniture Making

For some of the trainees who are still in their early 20s, the training enables them to be equipped with new job skills.

Jan 12, 2019 11:41

Sports

Japanese Volunteers Taught Football Skills To Some Young Monks And Hope to Reach Out To All Other Monastic Institutions In Bhutan

Held on World Children’s Day on 20 November, the programme was spearheaded by the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV).

Nov 24, 2018 06:06

Female Archer Dorji Dema Hopes To Inspire More Women To Take Up Archery In Bhutan

Dorji Dema, a mother of three is among the first women in Bhutan to play in an archery tournament.

Nov 05, 2018 08:11

Business

Housing.Bt Received Funding From An Investor Through The Jab-Chor Platform For Young Entrepreneurs In Bhutan

The Yarkay Group Private Limited supported Housing.bt with Nu 2 million.

Jan 07, 2019 13:58

Founder Of ‘Sushi’s Candles & Crafts’ Wants To Inspire More Women In Bhutan To Become Entrepreneurs

Sushanta wants to set a shining example for more women in Bhutan to fulfil their dreams of starting their own businesses.

Jan 05, 2019 15:19

Travel

A Tourism Office Slated To Be Established In Every District In East And Central Bhutan

Establishing a tourism office in every district will help to promote tourism across the country, said the Lyonpo.

Jan 16, 2019 08:16

Hidden ‘Igloos’ Of Dochula – Caves Where One Can Meditate And Find Inner Peace

The caves will benefit those who seek inner peace.

Jan 10, 2019 16:29

Lifestyle

Bhutanese Boyband O'Strangers To Play In Pattaya For 2 Months

They are the first Bhutanese rock band to perform at Hard Rock Cafe Pattaya in Thailand.

Jan 04, 2019 15:13

Learn How Some Kids Engage Themselves Meaningfully This Winter Vacation In Bhutan

Attracting more than 200 participants, the programme attempts at making children and youth learn some skills and explore new interests.

Dec 29, 2018 10:09

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!