The art of chiropractics 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 chiropractics in programs quite similar to the ones for conventional medicine, but focus is much more on body structure and bio-mechanics. 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 set 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 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
- Menstrual pains
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: bones or joints simply go/flip back into their natural position, which feels and sounds like a “pop” or “crack.”
The massage practitioner can also deliberately help cracking or realign bones by using certain manual techniques putting pressure on surrounding muscle areas and support immediate realignment. 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/spine-cracks, hands, fingers, feet, 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 Chiropractics and cracking.
In general however, students will learn gentle cracking or realignment techniques in most advanced Thai Massage training courses offered in Thailand.