Traditional Thai medicine is a holistic discipline involving extensive use of indigenous herbal and massage-pressure treatments combined with aspects of spirituality and mental wellbeing. Having been influenced by Indian and Chinese concepts of healing, traditional Thai medicine understands disease not as a physical matter alone, but also as an imbalance of the patient with his or her social and spiritual world. Thai medical manuscripts written during the 19th century give a broad overview of different methods of treatment and prevention, of the understanding and knowledge of the human body, of mind-spirit, and of diseases. In 1831, King Rama III ordered the compilation of various medical treatises to be used as teaching materials for the newly established royal medical schools at Wat Phrachetuphon (Wat Pho) and Wat Ratcha-orot in Bangkok. Wat Phrachetuphon formally became the first royal medical school in 1889 and still runs a Thai Traditional Medical School today. The treatise presented here provides instructions for massage and includes 30 illustrations of the human body with massage points.
References: Jana Igunma, “Thai massage in the early 19th century," Asian and African Studies Blog, May 15, 2013, http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/2013/05/thai-massage-in-the-early-19th-century.html.
Note: British Library manuscript reference number: Or 13922
Place: Southeast Asia; Thailand
Institution: The British Library
Physical description: Paper folding book with 57 folios ; 355 x 127 millimeters