Wellness Immersions In The Land Of The Thunder Dragon

Sustainable hospitality has a new address in the Land of the Thunder Dragon. We tried their wellness immersions and here are the ones we cannot stop talking about. Bhutan is an enigma that doesn't beg to be understood but explored responsibly, instead. The flight to Paro, albeit a shaky one, is something travellers seldom forget because of the views of Mt Everest and Kanchenjunga (especially, if you are seated on the left side of the aircraft).

The Six Senses properties are pioneers of sustainable hospitality and have plans to build 5 lodges in the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Their offering, a marriage between sustainability and understated luxury, is a state of the art retreat allowing bespoke itineraries for the conscientious traveller.

The wellness excursions at Six Senses are highly individualised and customised on the basis of your goals, energy levels and preferences. There’s more than enough to do to stay active while you are here. From long walks, hikes, swimming in the gorgeous pool, cycling in the valley, archery or even running on some beautiful trails. Please don’t rush yourself though, it is wise to rest for the first 24 hours and allow your body to acclimatise to the change in altitude. If you would rather have tea and curl up with a book, you could do that in your room or in the many patios offering breathtaking views of the valley. Bhutan reminded me that doing things slowly can be deeply meditative too. 

Since we knew we weren't going to leave Bhutan without the hot stone bath, we had it scheduled for day 2 when we had settled in rather nicely.  This treatment is highly sought after for its therapeutic and medicinal properties, particularly for those of us with joint pain, arthritis and sore muscles from hiking. It takes place in a wooden bath where hot river stones are gently lowered into the water where they steam and release minerals into the water. The bath also uses a generous amount of Artemisia leaves for its curative properties. You are required to sip on cold water at regular intervals to stay hydrated and the hotel also had ice-cold towels to pat your neck and your forehead during the treatment. 

The lodges offer yoga, yoga nidra, guided walks and personalised classes if required. However, the session that I was really looking forward to was the ‘wellness screening’, exclusively offered at only a few Six Senses properties worldwide. Dr Apurva Tamhane sat me down to brief me on the screening. I was made to remove all jewellery and any metallic objects as they could influence the readings. Next up, my finger was wired up to an Oximeter which measures heart rate and blood oxygen level (particularly relevant for travellers in that altitude). Then came the foot and palm pads on the Electro Interstitial Scan-Galvanic Skin monitors. I am very conscientious but I have to admit that I worry more than I should inside a doctors office so I was very relieved to receive a score of 86 per cent on my overall wellbeing. Dr Apurva then took me through the test and answered each of my questions. He told me exactly what was okay and which areas needed improvement. The test takes only about a few minutes, is painless as it is non-invasive but the results you are armed with can help you a great deal in knowing more about your mind-body connection as well as your stress levels. While Six Senses Paro has enough hikes from short 2 hour hikes to overnight itineraries that involve camping in the mountains, they recommend that you must brave an early morning to climb Tiger's Nest in Paro.

I returned home 5 days later, with an undeniable regard for the Bhutanese people and their resolve for world peace and care for the environment. Time moved slowly back in Bhutan and it took me a little while to ease back into the frantic pace of big city life. My regular yoga and yoga nidra sessions have certainly helped my sleep a great deal and I make it a point to prioritise some meditation into my day. I also decided to incorporate more massages into my self-care regimen. Oh, and I am learning how to make Buckwheat momos this weekend (you must try them). 

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