Therapeutic Thai Massage in Thailand is regarded as a branch of Traditional Thai Medicine (TTM). The Thai Ministry of Public Health regulates the registration and licensing of TTM practitioners and the conditions wherein Thai Medical Doctors, and Thai Pharmacy, Thai Midwifery, and Thai Massage therapists practice their profession.
Note that Buddhism and its rites and rituals are likewise considered part of TTM but there’s no specific regulation from out the Thai Ministry of Public Health guiding this practice. Buddhism is basically the responsibility of temples, monasteries and national Buddhist institutes.
The Ministry of Public Health has developed standard study curricula for the TTM profession. For Thai Massage (Nuad Thai) we find the therapeutic Thai Massage 800-hours course (total duration of training not less than 2 years), the Thai Traditional Medicine assistant course of 330 hours, and a 372-hour Thai Massage therapy training also called Thai Royal Massage training, among some other official training syllabi.
Most of the time, the 800-hours Thai Massage study will be offered by colleges & universities that have a Thai Traditional Medicine faculty attached to them or one can study under apprenticeship with an authorized licensed TTM practitioner (although the latter situation is relatively rare).
2. The 800-hours Thai Massage Course Curriculum
Officially, the total duration of training should not be less than 2 years, with a theoretical part not less than 290 hours, a practical training part not less than 210 hours, and a professional real-life experience part not less than 300 hours. This makes a total of 800 hours of training divided up into:
Basic professional subjects
1. Philosophy and basics of Thai Traditional Medicine – 50 hours
2. Code of professional conduct and law – 30 hours
3. Health promotion the Thai way – 30 hours
4. Patient care – 15 hours
5. National health system – 15 hours
Thai Massage subjects
1. Human Body & Anatomy – 75 hours
2. Etiology of diseases and diagnosis 1 – 25 hours
3. Etiology of diseases and diagnosis 2 – 20 hours
4. Thai Massage 1 – 70 hours
5. Thai Massage 2 – 70 hours
6. Thai Massage 3 – 70 hours
7. The use of Thai Herbal medicines & massage instruments – 30 hours
3. Trainers in Thailand
At Thai Colleges and Universities with a faculty of TTM or Oriental medicines you may find the 2-year 800-hours Thai Massage course offered. Sometimes these trainings are open for international students, sometimes only for Thai students (or for those who speak the Thai language fluently). You can find more info about TTM faculties in our post Thai Massage College and University Courses in Thailand.
A few private Thai Massage schools in Thailand offer the 800-hours Thai Massage training. Below some examples:
- Jongrak Massage School in Chiang Mai offers a 3-year 800-hours program.
- Lanna Thai Massage Traditional Medical School in Chiang Mai offers a Diploma in Traditional Thai Massage of 134 Days – 800 Hours.
- The Thai Traditional Medicine Development Foundation in Nonthaburi offers a 800 hours course which builds on the Thai Massage 372-hours course and includes 5 months study, 30 practical treatment cases and 45 days of internship.
- The Phuket Traditional Thai Massage School runs a Thai Massage 800 hours weekend course with the goal to become a registered medical practitioner in the field of Thai Traditional Medicine and Thai Massage.
- The Wat Pho Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School in Bangkok offers an 800-hours program.