The Wisdom of Thai Indigenous Massage: Case study of 5 Indigenous Healers

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Siriratana Juntaramano
Janerawee Swangareeruk
Thanida Khunboonchan


The objective of this qualitative research (case study) was to identify indigenous wisdom, herbs and herbal recipes used in Thai indigenous massage. Five indigenous healers were selected form the four regions of registry of such healers using three steps: cluster sampling, purposive sampling and the case study method. Data were collected through in-depth interviews, observation, note-taking, tape recording and photography. The content was analyzed and returned to the indigenous healers for validity confirmation and revision of the extent of disclosure. The result showed that:  1) Indigenous healers wisdom of therapeutic massage for holistic health care; physical healing in accordance with anatomy and physiology, the massage devices, setting up exercising instruments, mental and societal healing, and also practicing walking were done, focus on positive communication with patients and families and spiritual healing was concreted,  such as using herbs and the oil recipe together with direct spells, using rituals to worship teachers before treatment and  rituals to terminate after treatment,  the annual Wai Khru ceremony, where indigenous healers pay respect to their teachers. And 2) Four herbal recipes have been found. The common diseases were Hemiplegia, Paraplegia, Herniated Nucleus Pulposus, Joint Stiffness, Osteoarthritis and Trigger Finger. It is suggested that incorporating Thai indigenous massage into nursing may help patients to relax and also for planning the next research by developing knowledge for self-care in Thai people. 


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