Tag Archives: Thai Traditional Medicine

Thai Traditional Medicine

By Adanna Foley, Mingyu Hu, and Aubrey Louder

Traditional Thai medicine is a practice that has been used for generations. Contrary to Western medicine, traditional Thai medicine makes use of mostly local remedies and local healers. Massage and herb-based healing is an important part of tying the body and soul together. There are three ways of classifying herbal remedies; those takes orally, those applied to the body, and those inhaled (Hays, 2013). Homage is payed to different guardian spirits to ensure that health follows after a healing. These guardians include Shivaga Komarpaj, the Ayurvedic practitioner who treated the Lord Buddha and is considered the father of Thai traditional medicine, Shivago and the unbroken lineage of masters who have kept the tradition alive, and Phra Mae Thorani, or “Mother Earth,” (Hays, 2013). Those who partake in traditional Thai medicine make prayers and offerings, and chant as they collect plants to use in rituals. Small altars are made to honor the guardian spirits.

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Traditional Thai Medicine

By: Erin Ward & Heather Stuart

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Worms will not eat living wood where the vital sap is flowing;

rust will not hinder the opening of a gate when the hinges are used each day.

Movement gives health and life.

Stagnation brings disease and death.”
– proverb in traditional Chinese Medicine

(“Thai yoga history,” 2013)

The origins of traditional Thai medicine remain as mysterious as the Thai people themselves. One popular theory suggests that the Thai people migrated from China around the 8th century C.E. With neighbors such as Burma, Vietnam, and Laos, their indigenous culture is sure to have been influenced by the outside cultures of their new surroundings.  Consequently, traditional Thai medicine is extremely diverse, and is grounded in two traditions: the Folk tradition and the Royal tradition.

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Thai Traditional Medicine

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.

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