Songporn Srinuan gave her doctor the green light to perform an operation to fix her herniated disc with the hope it would help alleviate leg pain and numbness she had been suffering for years. The situation, unfortunately, went from bad to worse right after she returned from the operating room.
"The numbness worsened after the surgery," recalled Songporn. "The operation just couldn't enable me to walk better. Worse, in the end I could not even do household chores. All my daily activities would lead to unbearable pain."
A native of Ratchaburi, Songporn blamed her suffering on an accident more than 10 years ago when she fell from a tree, combined with poor body posture. The 65-year-old visited both conventional and traditional Thai doctors but there was no sign of improvement.
Songporn's daughter finally recommended her mother visit a bone and body structure adjustment specialist at the Thai Traditional Medicine Development Centre in Pracha Uthit Road, Bangkok. The centre eventually provided the cure and successfully drove her pain way.
"I felt better right after the first visit which took a few hours," she said. "From now on, it is imperative for me to change my behaviour. I will no longer lift or carry heavy stuff and will also avoid activities that might potentially put myself at risk of developing leg pain again."
At first glance, Songporn's remedy appeared like traditional Thai massage, but in fact the treatment was traditional Thai bone adjustment and body restructuring. According to specialist Jutharat Vongnarisit, the treatment aims mainly at adjusting any or all 206 bones inside the body which might be misshaped or distorted so that they are put back in their right locations.
"The traditional Thai bone adjustment and body restructuring is different from traditional Thai massage in that the former goes deeper than the muscle layer. It corrects misshaped bones _ the consequence of bad body posture or injuries from sport or accidents," explained the 55-year-old specialist.
And the traditional Thai bone adjustment approach is also different from chiropractic care.
"Western chiropractic involves a number of medical technologies and machines for diagnosis and treatments," added Jutharat. "This traditional Thai treatment, on the other hand, involves no machine. We only use our brain and our hands. We also listen carefully to the sound of bone movements as part of the diagnosis."
Operated under the Union of Thai Traditional Medicine Society under the Ministry of Public Health, the centre provides treatment for a number of illnesses including muscle pain, herniated discs, paralysis, migraines, allergies, breathing difficulties, sleeping difficulties, loss of appetite, to name but a few. Jutharat said misshaped bones were actually the root cause of those complaints. When a bone is misshaped or twisted, it presses against adjacent muscles, tendons as well as other organs, resulting in poor blood circulation to the affected area followed by muscle tension, pain and other symptoms.
Therefore, fixing the bones means fixing the body balance _ a stepping stone to healthier organ function and overall good health.
"If the body restores its balance, all the organ systems will function better especially blood circulatory and lymphatic system. There will be no more muscle pain, muscle tension and so forth," she noted.
For the diagnosis, patients will be questioned about their behaviour, such as diet, sleeping conditions, underlying diseases, medication and family history. The diagnosis will be made also by looking at patients' postures especially while they walk, sit and stand.
A bone adjustment and body restructuring session usually takes two to three hours. How many sessions are required depends on the severity of each patient's condition.
Vasu Prasannate was suffering terrible pain under his left knee for more than two years following repetitive injuries from basketball matches. The 49-year-old lawyer had visited several hospitals and tried both conventional and traditional medicine therapies. Unfortunately, those treatments and all the money he spent did him no good.
"During the past two years, many times the pain at my left knee was so severe I could not sleep at night," said Vasu. "I was on many types of medication and had many sessions of physiotherapy but there was no improvement at all."
Vasu's older sister, who works for the Ministry of Public Health, recommended he check out traditional Thai bone adjustment therapy. After his second visit, the pain had almost completely disappeared.
"No more medication is needed. Now I can walk properly," Vasu commented. "Mention bone adjustment and we might associate it with chiropractic care which frightens a lot of people. But this technique is not the same. It costs less than Western chiropractic and involves no technology. It is purely local wisdom."
Jutharat's patients are of all ages. Most are elderly who fall victim to bone deterioration, muscle and joint pain and paralysis. Many others are those whose jobs require excessive computer use while a small number of her patients are kids.
Four-year-old Rita (not her real name) underwent bone adjustment therapy for the third time after she was diagnosed by her doctor with physical developmental delay. At one year old, Rita suddenly stopped growing. It seemed the little girl did not want to eat anything at all.
"Rita just goes to school and she is 10cm shorter than her peers," said her mother. At the hospital, she was prescribed blood and bone marrow testing to check her endocrine system. Her relatives refused, claiming that such diagnostic procedures were too much for the little girl to bear. Losing hope in conventional medicine, the mother decided to opt for traditional Thai approach.
"Right after the first session, surprisingly, Rita gained one more centimetre. She also regained her appetite," said Rita's mother, adding that the treatment adjusts and stretches the girl's spine and at the same time stimulates her appetite.
When it comes to taking care of our health, Jutharat recommended modern people to look no further than their behaviour and lifestyle. Unhealthy ways of carrying ourselves and bad body postures while doing daily activities will, without doubt, lead to sickness.
"All organ systems in the human body are like road traffic," Jutharat said. "If one road is out of order, it affects the rest and in the end it causes traffic congestion all over the city. The human body is just like that. If the body structure is misshaped, it affects the entire body. So to treat diseases, we need to look at the root cause. And by this I mean we need to treat the bones."
Beside healthy diets, enough sleep and regular exercise, good body posture is also essential for good health.
"It all comes down to body posture," she commented. "I see a lot of my patients suffering muscle pain, migraines and many other diseases. What is in fact responsible for those ailments is the word 'too much'. People these days have 'too much' of everything. They work too much, eat too much, smoke too much and use computer too much. And medicines are apparently not the solution. They are just a quick fix. The actual cure is behavioural change."
Traditional Thai bone adjustment and body restructuring aims to correct misshaped bones, which are the root cause of several diseases. It is also claimed to be able to cure physical developmental delay in children.
About the author
- Writer: Arusa Pisuthipan