Wellness and wellbeing are integral to the Bhutanese way of life. In fact, the old name for Bhutan was ‘southern land of medicinal herbs’. Bhutan’s unique approach to development, as reflected in the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH), places a strong emphasis on holistic well-being, encompassing physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. Here are some key aspects of wellness and wellbeing in Bhutan.


The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is infused with a deep and all-encompassing spirituality. Although it is often connected to teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, spirituality here also includes the sense of connection with all living beings and the universal search for a higher truth.

Spirituality in Bhutan is unmistakable. It is seen in the care of street dogs, lighting butter lamps and care for the environment. Mountains, rivers, and woods are considered as the abodes of gods, goddesses, and guardian deities. Buddhist teachings preach harmony and hope for the well-being of all sentient beings.

With its pristine environment, peaceful people  and ancient spiritual roots, Bhutan is the ideal destination for recuperation and relief.

Popular activities for spiritual travelers include meditation, yoga, soaking in healing hot stone baths and using traditional medicine.

Hot Stone Baths

In ancient times, Bhutan was known as ‘Menjung’ or ‘Land of Medicinal Herbs.’ The history of holistic medicine in Bhutan goes back to the 7th century and borrows heavily from Indian Ayurveda. With this history, it should come as no surprise that the Bhutanese firmly believe in the healing properties of taking hot stone baths in medicinal water. In the past families would look forward to a relaxing soak in a wa (traditional wooden tub), especially after a long day in the fields. Many Bhutanese still visit hot stone baths to treat a variety of illnesses.

If you are looking to participate in this time-honoured tradition of healing and   rejuvenating, you must try Bhutan’s traditional hot stone baths. This is one of the most popular spa experiences and can be enjoyed at local hotels, homestays and also at certain campsites after an exhausting trek or hike.

What makes the bath different is that the water is heated by hot river stones that are roasted in open fires near the bath house. The minerals in the river stones are believed to be good for the body and the water is also soaked in fresh artemisia leaves.