The practice of age-old traditional Thai massage, Nuad Thai recently gained global recognition after being included in the list of UNESCO’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’. By Ritika Dixit
UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity features traditions and customs passed across generations. As of now, the cultural list includes 550 items from 127 countries. The most recent addition to this list is Nuad Thai, which is an age-old traditional practise of Thai massage. According to sources, UNESCO hopes that the inclusion of the practice will help promote it on a global level. By being a part of the list, the practice has been recognised as something which should be preserved for future generations.
According to UNESCO, this ancient practise is rooted in self-care in the Thai peasant society of the past when every village had massage healers whom village healers used to turn to after having muscle aches from working the field. The practise originated in India and has been put to work in Thailand for centuries. The Nuad Thai School has trained more than 200,000 massage therapists who are now practicing their knowledge in more than 45 countries.
An unconventional practice of massage, Nuad Thai involves therapists using not just their hands, but sometimes their knees and forearms to apply pressure without the use of any kind of oil. The practice of Nuad Thai focusses on directing blood circulation to the problem area to cure all types of muscle aches. Studies suggest that Nuad Thai has been proven to be a successful help with back pain, headaches, insomnia amongst other issues. Other practices added to this years list include Irish harping, Celestinian forgiveness in Italy, the Carnival of Podence in Portugal and the Silat self-defence in Malaysia.