(There are very few things in life that are as satisfactory as a hot stone bath to help you unwind after a long day. Infact, for some of our guests, the hot stone bath is the real draw card; they visit with the implicit hope of experiencing a piece of this ancient Bhutanese culture.
The alchemy behind Bhutan’s hot stone baths draws on both Indian Ayurvedic practices and the traditional 7th century Tibetan medicine. Traditionally, these baths served as a source of relaxation for the family after a hard day’s work. It helped them recuperate faster. Some families would even consult their astrologer to identify an auspicious day for the bath as the prevalent belief was that the auspiciousness of the day would lead to the beneficial effects being boosted.
Bhutanese hot stone baths are a form of traditional Bhutanese medicine where water is heated by depositing red hot fire-roasted river stones into a chamber of a large wooden tub. The bath is normally sprinkled with pink Himalayan salt flakes and a variety of colourful wildflowers in addition to the herby green Artemisia leaves. The tub itself is commonly made of oak as it is said to hold the water’s heat better than pine. Besides healing joint pains, hypertension, stomach disorders and arthritis, the release of high concentration of minerals into the water from the stones, combined with the meditative effect triggered by the Artemisia leaves, certainly does result in setting the tone of your trip to deeply relaxed and tranquil. Sipping on the generously served homebrewed Ara – a light pinkish Shochu like spirit made from millet and strawberries, while you soak your joint ache away, only adds to the sublimity of the experience. Versions of these baths exist all over Bhutan, from luxurious five-star resorts to charming rustic farmhouses.
But it needs to be noted that prior appointments are necessary, so that the organizers have adequate time to take care of the logistics, hence the need to inform your guide in advance if you decide to avail the facility.
If desired, the bath may also be followed by a salt scrub to remove dead skin cells and an oil massage to relieve tired muscles.
Relish, savor and bask in the glory of the satisfaction of adding the fresh magical adventures you experienced in the last couple of days to your repertoire of memorable memories. )