Philosophy of Traditional Thai Medicine in Thailand

Edited by: Marce Ferreira | Published: Jul 3, 2018 | Updated: Jul 21, 2021

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Fundaments of Traditional Thai Medicine

© Image by Helissa Grundemann

In Thailand, Thai Massage is not considered an independent healing method, but an integral part of the Traditional Thai Medicine framework. To understand the place of Traditional Thai Massage we need to have a basic comprehension of the concepts of Traditional Thai Medicine.

In Thai philosophy, human life is holistically viewed as a combination of three essences: Body, Citta and Energy. The constant interconnection between these three essences is called the Circle of Life.

Body, Citta, and Energy

Body refers to the substance of which we are made, the combination of atoms that make up our physical self.

Citta (a Thai word), is usually translated as mind/heart, and is understood to be the entire non-physical human being— all of our thoughts, emotions, and spirit that makes up our inner lives, or our inner self. Being rooted in Buddhism, which does not recognize the existence of a soul, Thai philosophy states that the Citta is a part of our being, not a separate entity, but tied to the physical body.

And Energy, in the Thai system, holds or connects Citta (mind/heart) and Body together. Energy (Life Energy or Prana) is believed to be absorbed by the air we breathe and the food we digest. Like the Chinese idea of Qi (or Chi) and the Indian concept of Prana, this energy is an intangible flow that runs through the body via specific meridians called Nadis or Sen.

Holistic Balance

In the Thai system, the root cause of all disease is the imbalance of the Body, Citta, and Energy. When the three essences are balanced, the human organism enjoys health and well-being.

The imbalance of the three essences causes this natural health and immunity to break down, leaving the organism vulnerable to disease.

Thai medicine, like all holistic systems, approaches disease not as a merely physical phenomenon, but as simultaneously a mental, physical, and energetic phenomenon. Thus, in the Thai tradition, all ailments are treated holistically. All parts of the circle are interconnected. Maintaining balance of the three essences is therefore the primary focus of Thai Traditional Medicine.


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