Traditional Thai Medicine & Traditional Thai Massage
Traditional Thai medicine, or traditional Thai massage, as taught and practiced today, has only been around since the mid-1980s.
Traditional healing methods have been around in Asia for thousands of years, but with the advent of Western medicine, they have been pushed into the background or even banned altogether. The laws passed in 1923 and 1936 AD (“The Medical Act B.E. 2466” and “Control of the Practice of the Art of Healing Act B.E. 2479”) criminalised the free practice of traditional healing methods in Thailand.
Similar to traditional martial arts, the illegalization of traditional healing methods led to great losses within this field of knowledge. It was only on the advice of the WHO (see “Alma Ata Declaration” of 1978) that this ban was lifted after more than sixty years and a “revival program” was launched under the leadership of the government. This measure should, among other things, provide a legal professional alternative to prostitution and, on the other hand, an attractive offer for wealthy tourists from all over the world.
However, the newly created curricula for traditional Thai medicine and traditional Thai massage (nuad thai) contain only a tiny fraction of the original knowledge. Entire subject areas and sub-areas were removed or not even found in the course of the creation of this “new” curriculum of traditional Thai medicine. The results were newly invented, wellness-oriented forms of medicine, which have since been marketed as “Traditional Thai Medicine” or “Traditional Thai Massage”, but no longer have much in common with the original healing knowledge.