By: Sarah Pierson and Leah Jeglum
Thai traditional medicine is defined as “the medical processes dealing with the examination, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, or prevention of diseases, or promotion and rehabilitation of the health of humans or animals, midwifery, Thai massage, as well as the preparation, production of Thai traditional medicines and the making of devices and instruments for medical purposes. All of these are based on the knowledge or textbooks that were passed on and developed from generation to generation”. (Chokevivat,2005) Thai traditional medicine began during the Sukhothai period (1238-1377) and continued to the early 20th century. It then was dismissed and replaced with western medicine became integrated back into the Thai culture in the 1970s.
There are four elements of the body involved in Thai traditional medicine: earth, water, wind and fire. If there is an imbalance of these then it can cause illness. Illness can also be caused by: supernatural powers, power of nature, power of the universe and kimijati. Health can also be influenced by: the elements, the seasons, age, geography, time and inappropriate behaviors.