Traditional Healing and Practices in Bhutan

In Bhutan, traditional healers have different names pawo, pamo, terdag, nyeljom, lhapa, jankhri, bonpo, but all are comparable to mediums and shamans.
They belong to the Himalayan and Inner Asian general context of healing practices prevalent from Ladakh to Mongolia, from Tibet to Nepal and Sikkim.
Performing special ceremonies on the patient to diagnose and remove sickness, they play an important psychological and curative role in a rural society where the supernatural is part of life.

Bhutanese believe that diseases are due to an imbalance in the different “channels” which compose the body and that they are often caused by one of the numerous revengeful spirits which are associated to certain symptoms.
It is therefore necessary to find out which spirit is upset with the patient and then provide a cure for the patient as well as apease the spirit.

Besides the traditional healers, rmonks or lay religious practitioners, are called, if they are available, to perform specific rituals for the patient in order to remove obstacles and impurities which cause the sickness.

Most of the government hospitals in Bhutan have an indigenous medicine unit which relies on a holistic view of the body and treats with plants, as well as acupuncture.
The indigenous doctors go through a five-year rigorous academic training in a government college established in Thimphu.

All these healers are not exclusive of each other, and people can use one or the other according to the urgency and proximity.

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