In Thailand, the application of Buddhism and Buddhist rites and rituals for mental health care is included in the official Thai Traditional Medicine framework.
Dhammanamai is a practice of holistic care of the body, the mind, our society and environment, and is based on Buddhist relaxation techniques and moral precepts.
It corresponds with principles of health promotion, and its goal is to enable people to increase control over their health and achieve a state of physical, mental and social well-being.
The practice of Dhammanamai is generally divided into three areas: Kayanamai (a healthy body), Jitanamai (a healthy mind) and Chevitanamai (a healthy lifestyle).
Kayanamai – Healthy Body
Kayanamai includes a proper diet and practicing Thai Yoga (Reusi Dat Ton), the latter being Thai traditional ascetic self-stretching and self-massage exercises.
Nutrition is important to balance the basic elements of the body in order to stay healthy. For instance, changes in the weather or other elements during different seasons affect the balance of the body’s elements and its health.
Thus, medicinal plants, vegetables and fruits with certain health benefits, suitable for people with different dominant basic elements, are advised for consumption during different seasons.
Jitanamai – Healthy Mind
Jitanamai is about training and strengthening the mind to be able to focus and concentrate better. Techniques used are practicing meditation — such as Metta Meditation or Vipassana Meditation — prayers, studying and following Buddhist teachings (or other applicable religious beliefs).
Other benefits of Jitanamai are mental relaxation, inner peace and happiness, stress relief, stimulation of the immune system and prevention of psychosomatic disorders.
Chevitanamai – Healthy Lifestyle
Chevitanamai is based on the idea of the “Middle Path” of Buddhist teachings and furthermore to earn one’s living by doing an honest job always abiding by the law.
In addition, Chevitanamai is also about keeping one’s home and environment in a clean and healthy condition, which is believed to lead to a peaceful mind and healthy lifestyle.
Note that Kayanamai and Jitanamai are seen as instrumental to achieve Chevitanamai.