Traditional Bone Setting and Chiropractic in Thailand

Published: Jun 3, 2019 | Revised: Sep 9, 2023
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Thai Traditional Bone Setting and Chiropractics in Thailand

The art of Chiropractic is based on the theory that diseases and disorders are caused by misalignment of the bones, especially those in the spine, thus obstructing proper and uninhibited nerve functions.

In the West, practitioners study Chiropractic in programs quite similar to the ones for conventional medicine, but focus is much more on body structure and biomechanics. Students learn to manipulate the body to realign it and medicines are not used. In addition, chiropractors prescribe exercises and diets to treat different illnesses or disorders.

Thai Bone Setting as an Indigenous Chiropractic Method

Traditional Thai indigenous healers or Bone Setters (also written Bonesetters) mend broken bones by pulling them back into place, and the area around the fracture is stabilized with wooden sticks and the like. Medicinal herbal compresses and packs are applied also, including Thai Massage, and various rituals and incantations are performed to speed up the healing process.

Apart from the above, bone setting is thought to be particularly helpful with:

  • Joint pains;
  • Muscle pains;
  • Swelling;
  • Contusions;
  • Sprains;
  • Menstrual pains;
  • Stomachaches;
  • Headaches;
  • Dizziness;
  • Backaches.

Bone Setting as a General Practice within Thai Massage

Many receivers and practitioners are acquainted with the so-called “Bone Cracks” or “Cracking” in Thai Massage. Usually, cracking (or realignment) happens spontaneously and automatically during a Thai Massage session when muscles get relaxed. Often bones or joints simply go or flip back into their natural position, which feels and sounds like a “pop,” “click,” or “crack.”

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The Massage practitioner can also deliberately help cracking or realign bones by using certain manual techniques to support immediate realignment and readjustment. This is typically done at the end of a Thai Massage treatment session when the receiver’s muscles are in the most relaxed state possible.

In Thailand, we can recognize certain types of cracks being applied, of which neck cracks, back and spine cracks, hands, fingers, feet, hip, ankles and toe cracks are perhaps the best known.

Although relatively rare to be found, there are some teachers in Thailand who have specifically designed training courses or parts of training courses to teach bone setting, Thai Traditional Chiropractic, and cracking.

In general, however, students will learn gentle cracking or realignment techniques in most advanced Thai Massage training courses offered in Thailand.

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