Traditional Thai Medicine

January 6, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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To many people, Thai medicine is all about exotic massages with herbs and essence oils but the truth is that is just a small part of what it is. Thai medicine is actually about examination and diagnosis and also about curing and preventing diseases with the use of traditional Thai medicines. The entire process of learning Thai medicine covers theory as well as practice sessions. 

Medical work experience student Ashleigh learning practical skills from her mentor in Thailand Though this field is now being brought into the limelight, it has been used for several centuries. While there is no doubt that modern medicine can work wonders, traditional Thai medicines and treatments has also proven to be very effective. Moreover, since it is based on the use of natural products like herbs, the chances of any side effects are also very slim.

The basic model on which Thai medicine works is far removed from the model on which modern medicine functions. As far as possible, modern medicine explains diseases on the basis of science. Doctors of modern science spotlight the abnormality in the human body that has been created by the disease, like infected cells or organs. They then either treat that abnormality with medication or with surgery.

How Traditional Thai Medicine Works 

Thai medicine is a little different, in that traditional Thai medicine students study and gain all the basic knowledge about the causes of illnesses as well as pathophysiology. They are also taught about the approach that modern medicine applies to any treatment. Very importantly, traditional Thai medicine also studies the relationship between the different elements in the body, the age and the behaviour of the patient, the place, time and season.

All these factors are viewed to be integrally connected. Thai herbs like fa thalai chon and ginger are used and the medication may be prescribed in the form of herbal teas or capsules. Steam treatments and massages are also used as part of the overall treatment and may be used to treat a variety of ailments. But traditional Thai medicine has some limitations and cannot be necessarily used for emergencies or any serious issues. But it is still a natural and effective form of treatment that many people opt for in case of common ailments. 

A Mix Of Studies 

In Thai medical school, the theory sessions deal with the diagnosis that is based on traditional Thai medicine with reference to the old scriptures, such as the Chantasat Scripture, the Pathomjinda Scripture and the Takkasila Scripture. In addition to this, causes of a particular disease, its specific pathology and symptoms are compared between traditional Thai treatments and modern medicine. The final step deals with treatment. Thai medicinal recipes are formulated and medication prescribed. The study sessions include discussions about references and prescriptions. The practice sessions emphasize various practical considerations.

Students undertake field work by visiting patients in various hospitals. Traditionally, they study and learn techniques that other experienced Thai doctors use and they understand how the diagnosis is carried out in hospitals where Thai medicine is practiced. Part of their study also includes observing the behaviour and development of children at nurseries as Thai medicine is also used in the treatment of children. Part of their education also involves undertaking internships at hospitals where Thai medicine is practiced.

The expectation is that graduates should apply their learning of traditional Thai medicine to the fullest and treat patients in an effective manner based on the objectives and principles of traditional Thai medicine.