Hot Stones in Bhutan
Baths have been an important part of Bhutanese family life and traditional medicine for centuries. These hot-stone baths are believed to heal ailments such as hypertension, stomach disorders, and arthritis. The addition of aromatic herbs in the water further enhances the healing power.
The bath itself is typically wooden and constructed in the ground outside the home. Large, round river boulders are set into a roaring fire and left to heat for hours. After filling the bath with clean mountain water, the hot stones are slowly dropped one by one into a cornered-off section of the tub. As the water heats you slowly enter the trough and sit immersed up to the neck. If you can take it, more hot stones are added. As the water heats to an intense level, the herbs float on the surface releasing a medicinal scent. Remain immersed for 20 minutes to an hour. It is said that a hot-stone-bath is most effective when the water is unbearably hot. The more you sweat, the better. To finish off the experience, it is best to go straight from the bath to bed and remain wrapped in a blanket!