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The benefits of Thai traditional medicine in Phuket

PHUKET: The National Health Security Office (NHSO) set aside a B400 million fund as part of its ongoing promotion of traditional Thai medicine last month, and around 1 million people have received traditional Thai medicine and treatment in the past year.

By Jody Houton

Thursday 26 December 2013, 12:00PM

Ekkarin Warittikorn, Puttachard Sangpapun and Somnuk Hasem at the Phuket Provincial Health Office.

Ekkarin Warittikorn, Puttachard Sangpapun and Somnuk Hasem at the Phuket Provincial Health Office.

It’s undoubtedly popular, and set to become increasingly so, but what exactly is traditional Thai medicine? The Phuket News paid a visit to the Phuket Provincial Health Office to find out.

Somnuk Hasem from the Consumer Protection Department of the Phuket Provincial Health Office explained, “The Thai government has been promoting Thai traditional medicine, Thai massage, Thai midwifery and treatments for around nine years now.”

Mr Somnuk said that any hospital patient who wishes to receive traditional Thai medicine treatment as opposed to Western can do so, complimentary, as part of the universal healthcare coverage scheme.

There are around 6,000 hospitals throughout the Kingdom – labelled as Health Promoting Hospitals (HPH) – that already offer a range of more holistic, ‘alternative’ methods of Thai treatment.

On the island, these include Vachira Phuket Hospital, Patong Hospital and Thalang Hospital, while smaller facilities are also available at Vachira Phuket Hospital Yi Teng branch, Kamala HPH, Karon HPH, Charlerm Phrakiet HPH in Chalong, and others.

Treatments include the use of Thai herbs like ginger and fa thalai chon (Andrographis paniculata), which can be administered either as capsules or herbal teas.

Diamond Resort Phuket

Massage and herbal steam treatments are used as a form of rehabilitation in Thailand, and they are believed to reduce the symptoms of illnesses such as colds, constipation or gastric disorders.

However, Thai medicine does have its limitations, as Ekkarin Warittikorn, also from the Consumer Protection Department, explained, “This is for basic problems and symptoms like headaches or stomach-aches. Traditional Thai medicine is not for serious issues or emergencies.”

Mr Ekkarin said that one of the main reasons that traditional Thai medicine is being increasingly promoted is its comparatively low cost. “Using traditional Thai medicine decreases the budget, as many Western medicines need to be imported.

“Of course, we also have the know-how and knowledge of Thai traditional medicine, so it’s something we would like to preserve and continue doing in the future.”

Contact your local hospital for more information on traditional Thai medicine and its benefits.

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