Thai-Style Natural Healing. A
to restore balance between the elements.
A herbal sauna to cleanse and rejuvenate
the body. A herbal pack to calm nerves
and redirect energy. All this may sound
very New Agey in the West, but it has
been part of daily life here for centuries.
the arrival of modern medicine, herbalists
filled the dual role of doctor and pharmacist.
Originally, village doctors were monks
or former monks, since Buddhist temples
were the center of learning, not only
of religion but of more worldly matters
such as astrology and medicine.
traditional medicine holds that the body
has four elements: wind, water, earth
and fire, and ill health results from
an imbalance between them. To remedy an
ailment, the village “doctor”
would make a herbal pack for the patient
to ingest, rub onto the skin, or add to
a steam compress. Another major component
of traditional medicine is energy. When
the energy lines are blocked, the individual
will become ill, physically or emotionally.
A massage or sauna would be prescribed.
Thai massage is a proven physical therapy
that dates back to ancient India sometime
before the lifetime of Buddha. It has
been practiced here for centuries, and
many swear by it as an effective cure
for common ailments such as aches and
pains, fevers and nervous strains.
massage reached the peak of popularity
in the early 18th century. King Rama III,
great-grandfather of the present monarch,
had all available knowledge on the subject
gathered and inscribed on stone slabs.
These now stand in a corner of the Temple
of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), along
with stone figures of rishis demonstrating
various massage postures. You can try
this ancient therapy in its original form
at the temple; masseuses trained at Wat
Pho massage school offer their service
seven days a week at very reasonable prices.
hotels rated three stars and above offer
traditional massage as part of their
health and fitness services. All the spa
resorts include it in their therapy programs.
Despite common misconceptions, clothes
stay on the whole time. If you are interested
in learning the techniques, Wat Pho’s
massage school offers a 10-day course
that costs 6,000 baht. Contact the school,
in the temple’s compounds, Chetupon Road,
or call (662) 225-4771.