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Thai medicine – Buddhist medicine – Impermanence

Shiatsu has it’s roots in Chinese medicine. Shirodhara (the treatment of warm oil poured on the forehead of the patient) comes from the Ayurvedic understanding. Thai massage springs from Thai medicine. What is Thai medicine I hear you ask. This is a lot to pick apart but at it’s center, Thai medicine is Buddhist medicine. Buddhist thought and theory inhabits all aspects of Thai medicine. Here’s one example. Buddhism notes that impermanence (anicca) is one of the three fundamental aspects of existance. In other words, by having a body, we are subject to the law of impermanence. All things change, all things are changing. Every second, every moment. We feel good, we feel bad, we have a nice sensation, we have a painful sensation, we are healthy, we get sick. And from the Buddhist perspective, none of this is bad or wrong. In fact, it is the natural way of things. It makes sense that sometimes we are healthy and sometimes we are not. Sometimes we feel good and sometimes we feel sick. Therefore, Buddhist medicine, ie Thai medicine, doesn’t see sickness or disease so much as a bad thing but simply as a sign of imbalance that needs to be tended to. By shifting perspective in this way, there may be a little less tension and fear and a little more relaxation and acceptance when the body does get sick as it inevitably will.