Harnessing The Power Of Traditional Medicine, Wellness Tourism Set To Take Off In Bhutan

Email

Traditional medicine has been gaining popularity in providing health care services to the Bhutanese.

Infusing herbal therapy as part of wellness tourism in Bhutan. (Source: Amankora Bhutan)

 

By Dechen Tshomo Kuensel

From a single indigenous dispensary unit which started some 51 years ago, traditional medicine in Bhutan has come a long way.

Today, the reach of traditional medicine has spread to about 70 traditional medicine units across the country, including the National Traditional Medicine Hospital in Thimphu.

The units are attached to modern medical services at the regional and dzongkhag hospitals as well as Basic Health Units.

Traditional medicine becoming more popular in Bhutan

Traditional medicine has been gaining popularity in providing health care services to the Bhutanese. In fact, in 2018, more than 300,000 patients have already availed of traditional medicine service across the country. 

There are about 60 drungtshos (doctors of traditional Bhutanese and Tibetan medicine) and more than 100 menpas (clinical assistants) providing such services in the country.

 Photo: Facebook/Faculty of Traditional Medicine

 

The Department of Traditional Medicine Services’ Director General, Kuenga Tshering who was at the celebration of Traditional Medicine Day in Thimphu on 28 May, said that while the units have made huge improvements in terms of the number of services, the treatment methods have not changed much.

“Until now, traditional medicine was mostly about giving medicines to treat an ailment,” he said. 

At the event, a traditional medicine health promotion manual, an herbal tea and a herbal elixir were also launched. 

Tapping on Traditional medicine as therapeutic treatments

In the 12th Plan, different treatment methods or techniques including herbal therapies and meditation as per the health care needs would be initiated. This will help to reduce overall healthcare costs. 

According to Dr Pandup Tshering, the Director General and Officiating Health Minister from the Department of medical services, global trend demonstrates that people are willing to opt for various traditional medicine therapeutic treatments.

“I would like to emphasise traditional medicine to develop wellness services in the promotion of health as people are willing to spend more on such services due to a rise in lifestyle-related diseases.”

Kuenga Tshering said that in the neighbouring countries, when people talk of traditional medicine, it is mostly about therapies.

“Studies have proven that it is more effective if you take medicine together with therapy.”

 Photo: Facebook/Faculty of Traditional Medicine

 

Moreover, the Faculty of Traditional Medicine (FoTM) has also started courses in Traditional medicine to diversify and specialise in therapeutic massages. A batch of students would be graduating soon. 

Promoting wellness tourism in Bhutan

Health officials revealed that Sorig wellness services are also a key and integral element in promoting wellness tourism in Bhutan.

“In collaboration with the tourism industry, we would like to start herbal therapies in hotels across the country,” he said.

“Drungtshos and  menpas  who don’t get employed in civil services can set up massage centres.This would help to create alternative employment opportunities.”

However, those who are keen to set up wellness centres must be certified to practice.

 

Source: Facebook/Faculty of Traditional Medicine

 

“We have standards and regulations in place. If people wants to pursue it, then they should be trained by the FoTM.”

Traditional medicine services do have therapeutic properties but not many people avail of them.

“But now, we are stressing to use therapy along with medicine which would result in better and quicker healing.”

One of the activities that traditional medicine is working on is to engage traditional medicine in health promotion, along with allopathic medicine. 

“We feel that since our drungtshos are more fluent from the religious point of view as well as in language, they could effectively convince people during the health promotion,” he said.

“We would like to involve ourselves and be proactive now, not just wait for the patient to come to us but to go forward and help in promoting health,” he said.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for 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

Exploring The Usage Of Minerals In Traditional Bhutanese Medicine

One of the challenges in the usage of minerals as ingredients in traditional medicine is the rarity of minerals.

Nov 16, 2018 15:58

Efficacy of Traditional Bhutanese Medicine

Research carried out by a postgraduate student at the faculty of traditional medicine under Khesar Gyalpo University of...

Nov 07, 2017 07:39

Bhutan Aims To Harness Its Unique Features As A Top Wellness And...

At the moment, the spa and wellness services offered by the hotels in the country are not our own. It’s either Swedish...

Aug 28, 2018 16:03

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

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

Mar 25, 2019 14:38

Therapeutic Power of the Gasa Hot Springs

Known for its healing powers, the Gasa tshachu attracts about 3,000 visitors every year, making it the most visited...

Apr 29, 2018 03:45

Latest

News

Bhutan Moves Closer To Becoming 100% Organic With National Organic Flagship Programme

The flagship programme’s Annual Performance Agreement was signed between Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering and the Agriculture and Forests...

Aug 24, 2019 22:38

Training Of Trainers On ‘Search Inside Yourself’ To Build Mindfulness Among Civil Servants In Bhutan

The Royal Civil Service Commission and the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (USA) organised the training.

Aug 23, 2019 23:58

Features

Bhutan Women Parliamentary Caucus Launched To Promote Gender Equality

It is expected to address the need for women role models at leadership and decision-making levels in Bhutan.

Aug 20, 2019 17:08

Fulfilling His Majesty The King’s Vision, Digital Drukyul Is Set To Improve Public Service Delivery And Empower Citizens Digitally

Digital Drukyul will help create a digital ecosystem for citizens which is unencumbered by bureaucratic red tape.

Aug 19, 2019 15:28

Sports

Two Young Bhutanese Swimmers Competed In 18th FINA World Championship

The duo are proud to represent Bhutan and compete on a worldwide stage for the first time.

Jul 28, 2019 21:32

Bhutan’s Dragon Boys Starts FIFA World Cup Qualifiers With A 1-0 Win Over Guam

Midfielder, Tshering Dorji’s 35th minute strike was enough to make Bhutan win the first leg of the first round of the 2022 World Cup and...

Jun 08, 2019 22:18

Business

Southeast Asian Company Invests Over US$100,000 In Bhutanese Start-up Drukfood

The investment includes a mix of cash and investment-in-kind.

Aug 15, 2019 14:26

Bhutan’s First Crowdfunding Platform Gaining Traction, Opens Doors For Entrepreneurs To Raise Funds

So far, three promoters - Bhutan Alternatives, Freelancer Bhutan and Himalayan food have registered with the Bhutan crowdfunding platform.

Aug 05, 2019 22:10

Travel

7 Facts You Never Knew About Flying Into Bhutan

Druk Asia interviewed Namgyal Wangchuk, Senior First Officer with Drukair to find out what it's like to fly into Paro International Airport.

Aug 07, 2019 23:18

Bhutan Has Great Potential To Be A Top Eco-Tourism Spot: Albert Teo

Despite Bhutan being home to a wide array of flora and fauna, it is still not a top ecotourism destination.

Jul 19, 2019 23:58

Lifestyle

Many Lives, Many Stories - 10th Edition of Bhutan’s Mountain Echoes Literary Festival Underway

About 80 speakers and performers came from different parts of the world with different stories to narrate.

Aug 25, 2019 22:42

Bali-Bhutan Art Exhibition Hosted By VAST Bhutan To Enhance Friendship And Exchange Of Ideas

Founded in 1998, VAST Bhutan has been promoting and facilitating art exchange programmes with various nationalities.

Aug 22, 2019 14:28

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!