Take Charge of Your Health

Traditional Thai Medicine does not see health as a static state but as an ongoing process of mindful engagement with our bodies, minds, and environment.

When I am teaching Thai massage, students sometimes need clarification on things that are not actual bodywork techniques. My explanation is that, contrary to our Western habit of pulling things out of context and taking bits and pieces of something to suit our ends, they need to see Thai massage within the context of Traditional Thai Medicine. Thai massage has many techniques that a practitioner can do on anybody, but the intention of the methods is very different than what we might be familiar with in the West.

In the West, we have inherited a worldview from Greek philosophy and Christianity that views everything in relation to a state of perfection. If I have a sickness or pain in my joints, my body is no longer in a state of perfection. To fix this problem, I seek out whatever experts or products can correct it. If I have muscle pain, I get a massage or take an aspirin. If I have foot problems, I find a podiatrist. If I have a faith crisis, I talk to my priest, or iman or pastor. The base assumption is that I need to find someone to fix me, and if one person can not do it, I go to another and another, and so on.

Traditional Thai Medicine is deeply rooted in Buddhism, offering a different worldview. In Buddhism, the primary human condition is suffering and not perfection. So, if something is wrong, I must recognize this state, and then I must become an agent for my change and begin to look for a cause. So, rather than going to a doctor or massage therapist to get fixed, I go to these people to help me on my journey to wellness. I don’t passively hope to get better; I actively participate in my healing journey. That means that I may need to change things in my life, like my diet, or that I may need to get off the couch and start doing yoga or Qigong or join a faith community for support. I may never “cure” myself, especially in cases like cancer or severe injury, but I can make myself better.

What I like best about this holistic approach is that it underscores the significance of viewing health maintenance as an ongoing journey rather than a destination. It calls for a mindfulness-based lifestyle where we take the bull by its horns. Each action and choice reflects a deeper awareness of its impact on our well-being. Engaging in daily practices that align with striving for wellness fosters a living environment conducive to health. This active mindfulness encourages us to lead lives that are not only physically healthy but also spiritually fulfilling.

How The Four Noble Truths Shape Thai Medicine

What are the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism? How do the Four Noble Truths influence Traditional Thai Medicine? How does Thai massage play a part in the healing process?

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