Thai traditional medicine has a long history with Thailand since the Sukhothai era in 1718. Back in the days where no other medicine fields were introduced to Thai society, Thai people mainly relied on Thai traditional medicine in taking care of their health. Thai medical science mostly focuses on preventive solutions rather than curing solutions which are initiated from experienced adaptation and application of local Thai knowledge that pass on from generations to generations.
Thai traditional medical consists of 4 practices including
- Traditional medicine: practices based on Thai traditional diagnosis which the main treatment focuses on herbal medicines.
- Medical Plants: development of pharmacy and herbal supply.
- Thai Therapy: treatments to cure disease such as Thai massage and hot herbal compress.
- Thai obstetrics: take care of mom since pregnant to postpartum stage
Thai traditional medicine, especially Thai traditional massage, is well-recognized among Thais and foreigners. The turning point of Thai traditional medicine starts back In 1985 where organizations and institutions attempted to revive Thai traditional medicine by holding the very first Thai traditional massage seminar and program resulting in the widespread popularity of Thai traditional massage. Moreover, the Ministry of Health and Primary Health Care Institutions have been working with the federal state of Germany in developing and applying 5 herbals in the local healthcare system paving way to the application of Thai herbals and traditional massage in Thai healthcare service ever since.
Thai traditional medicine has been deeply supported by the government. In 2019, health reforming plan states to apply Thai traditional medicine with conventional medicine in order to uplift the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare system in terms of health support, disease prevention, disease curing and health rehabilitation in the aim for the full coverage of Thai traditional medicine to individuals and society.
With the support from the government, the effective treatment of Thai traditional medicine itself and constant media PR, Thai traditional medicine starts to become popular once again as Thai herbs is now the main exporting source of income and hospitals start to apply Thai traditional medicine in conventional one.
Additionally, during Covid-19 pandemic, Thai traditional medicine gained its popularity again due to the failure of the Thai healthcare system in providing facilities, medical support and vaccines resulting in many infectious patients needing home isolation and doing self quarantine. Even though Telemedicine is being used, not everyone can afford such treatment. Hence, Thai traditional herbs such as Andrographis paniculate and Kaempferia which are proven for its effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 are one of the treatments that people go for.
One of the key highlights of Thai traditional medicine is that it does not only prevent the disease, but it also facilitates holistic health wellness covering physical, mental and societal aspects based on ‘Dhammanamai’, the famous Buddhist teaching. Dhammanamai consists of 3 aspects which are:
- Healthy Body: taking care of physical health such as having a good eating diet (5 nutritions or food that is compatible with one’s ‘tard’, herbal drinks), practicing Thai hermit exercise and doing Thai massage.
- Healthy Mind: practicing mental health such as doing meditation. Meditation can help one with emotional control and stress release that genuinely deliver positive impact to holistic mental and physical health.
- Healthy Behavior: living life with consciousness and according to Buddhist teaching such as doing honest jobs, not causing problems to self and others, adhering to good practice for a better living environment such as cleaning places and planting trees.