Incantations In Thai Medicine (泰医口功)

In the past, Thai herbalists were also shamans, so the use of mantras together with herbs or other physical healing techniques were common. This practice has not changed over the years.

Herbalists in the past paid much respects to lineage gurus, gods and the Buddha and they believed that by praying to these holy beings that the evil spirits that caused harm would stay away from the patients and also the holy spirits will empower the herbalists' healing works.

In the learning process of becoming a Thai herbalist, in the collection and processing of herbs and also during treating patients; herbalists would first perform prayers to their lineage gurus, ancestors and the Buddha for blessing and protection.

In order to enhance the healing power of herbs, herbalists too will perform rituals and recite incantations while making offerings to their lineage gurus, seniors, ancestors, gods and also the Buddha to aid in their herbs collection and subsequent processing.

In such a way, carrying the belief of being blessed and protected; herbalists would be more confident in handling more severe cases in the field.

During clinical treatments, herbalists utilized the methods of observations, hearing, asking, touching and illness identification to apply suitable herbs to bridge the faith between the patient and the healer. At the same time, using 'khata' or mantras and praying to holy spirits during the treatment process would not only increase the confident of both parties but also calming the already tension atmosphere.

On the positive side, these addition rituals of praying to gurus and the Buddha can enhance the will of living and survival to the patients and indirectly enhancing the healing process both psychologically and physiologically.

In short, the integrated approach of physical and spiritual treatments is not only necessary but also a must and very effective too. So we should not brush aside the incantations as merely worthless superstitions. Perhaps there are more things we can learn from the wisdom of the past.