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16:43 Dec 15 2008

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English>>Tibet Online>>Travel
Taking a bath in Tibetan medicinal water
13:38, December 12, 2008  

Lighting incense in a room and planting oneself into the environment scented by the smoke is one of the ways Tibetans keep fit. And they say they are taking a bath when doing so.

According to the Tibetan medical code, the Tibetans had long produced many ways for “taking baths” to cleanse themselves, build up their physique and prolong life. Most popular ones include taking baths in rivers or in medicated water, or by exposing themselves to steam or sunshine, plus the above-mentioned method.

The seventh Tibetan month is the best season for taking baths. The rainy season has ended, and river water temperature begins to pick up. Most of the plants have ripened. Tibetans believe the deity in charge of medicine will descend to the earth to gather medicinal herbs at this time.

Manager of the China Tibetan Medicinal Water Bathing Center in Beijing explaining the history of Tibetans taking baths in medicinal water to Wang Zhaoguo and other State leaders.

A bright star called Garma Duiba is the incarnation of the deity, who appears for seven days in early autumn. All water receiving his light becomes dew. Taking a dip in the dew will help build up one’s health and remove one’s sins. This marks the Bathing Festival, during which Tibetans rush to rivers for the purpose, especially at night when the deity star appears in the sky.

Bathing in medicated water is the continuation of the Bathing Festival. It takes in the good points of taking baths in rivers, in a smoky environment and in a house filled with steam.

What is popularly used for bathing in medicated water is “the five-taste dew”. It is actually a kind of soup prepared with cypress and azalea leaves and three kinds of medicinal herbs. Taking a bath in the soup does not mean dipping oneself in it. The soup is boiled and the steam produced provides the “smoke” for the bather. Tibetans believe such bathing is good for blood circulation and the kidney.

Through generations of research and study, more preparations have been developed to help treat internal diseases, skin diseases and those related to arthritis and nervous disability. In recent years, Tibetan medical circles have been encouraging the general public to adopt the bathing treatment.

In December 2001, the China Tibetan Medicinal Water Bathing Center, the first of its kind in China, was built in Beijing. It has since received many people from government and art circles in and outside China. The former premier of Kazakhstan took a special trip by air here for a dip in the medicated water for nine days running. He returned home lauding its magical effect.


The China Tibetan Medicinal Water Bathing Center,

located at No.133 Beisihuan Ring Road, Beijing.

Source:China Tibet Tourism Bureau

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