Thailand to build its first alternative medicine hospital
Thailand is to build an alternative hospital offering holistic and
herbal treatments -- the most serious test to date of the efficacy of
ayurvedic and natural remedies including Thai cures, a report said on
BANGKOK (AFP-Khaleej Times / May 18, 2003) -- The public health ministry
will support the construction of the traditional healing hospital to
by the Ayurvedic College, Vichai Chokeviwat, director general of the
ministry’s department for development of Thai traditional and alternative
medicine, told the Bangkok Post.
The hospital is expected to be built within three years in Suphan Buri
province, 100 kilometres (62 miles) northwest of Bangkok, and could be
a government-approved showcase of the alternative and traditional healing
methods that have a long and respected tradition in Thailand.
The hospital will not, however, be equipped to offer emergency medical
care, surgical treatment or to replace Western medicine in its entirety,
stressed Kamala Kumarpawa of Thammasat University’s faculty of
There are 14,000 certified traditional “healers”, 16,000
traditional pharmacists and 400 licensed traditional doctors in Thailand,
the paper said. The Ayurvedic College has already trained 500 healers
of its own.
Thai remedies including herbs -- a 700 million-dollar a year business
-- are attracting global attention, with hospitals here reporting growing
interest in traditional medicine among their foreign patients.
The origins of traditional Thai medicine are not certifiably known,
but the Thai government says on an official website that it blends Indian
and Chinese medicine as well as astrological and superstitious beliefs
dating back to the 14th century.