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

Their Majesties, Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering And Other Dignitaries Of Bhutan Offered Prayers For Sri Lanka

His Majesty also sent a message of condolence to the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, expressing the solidarity of the people...

Apr 24, 2019 20:08

WFP Shifts Focus To Capacity Development In Nutrition And Disaster Preparedness In Bhutan

The decision was made after consultations with Bhutan's government, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Apr 19, 2019 13:02

Features

Addressing Some Challenges As Bhutan Prepares For Rise In Tourist Arrivals

The gross receipt from tourism is expected to increase from Nu 10.6 billion in 2018 to about Nu 39.16 billion in the next five years.

Apr 23, 2019 17:40

How Bhutan Has Changed Me: Julie Chapman

Julie Chapman, who is from the California, speaks about how life was like for her while living in Bhutan.

Apr 18, 2019 10:20

Sports

Bhutan To Hold First 'Sports And Culture Festival' For Runners And Cyclists

There are two tiers to the event, comprising of a full-race distance of 50km and a half-race of 25km.

Mar 06, 2019 17:14

Bhutan’s HRH Princess Eeuphelma Choden Wangchuck Attended The General Assembly of the Asian Paralympic Committee In Dubai

The General Assembly is the highest decision making body of the Asian Paralympic Movement.

Feb 08, 2019 18:15

Business

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Kinley Dema Of BuBu Bakery, Lobesa

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

Apr 20, 2019 19:18

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Sonam Choden of Rolling Pin Bakery in Thimphu

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

Apr 11, 2019 11:08

Travel

Can Bhutan Take Its Happiness Brand To The Next Level?

Two key challenges: galvanising citizens as brand ambassadors and applying brand recognition to growth sectors.

Apr 21, 2019 10:40

The Magical Waters Of Gasa Tsachu – A Popular Hot Spring In Bhutan

While most people visit the hot spring in the hope that it could cure them of various ailments, it has become an annual visit for many to...

Mar 25, 2019 14:38

Lifestyle

Food Review: Cloud9 Cafe & Bar

Cloud9 has always been known in Thimphu for dishing out handcrafted gourmet burgers.

Mar 09, 2019 09:44

Tshering Zangmo Represents Bhutan At The 5th Young Chef Olympiad In India

Tshering Zangmo has successfully made it to round two of the Olympiad.

Feb 04, 2019 16:35

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!