Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Unesco heritage: Traditional Thai massage added to ‘cultural heritage’ list

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The back-cracking traditional Thai massage has been added to a prestigious Unesco heritage list.

Nuad Thai is now part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which features traditions and practices passed across the generations.

By being part of the list, Thai massage has been recognised as something to be preserved for future generations.

Unesco is the United Nations’ agency for education, culture, and science.

The intangible cultural heritage list is separate from the world heritage list, which recognises buildings and sites of prominence.

There are 550 items on the cultural heritage list – split into three categories – from 127 countries.

Items are added every year, with this year’s committee meeting in Bogota, Colombia.

Visitors receive traditional Thai massage at the 6th Thai culture festival held by the Royal Thai Embassy in MoscowImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionPeople in Moscow receiving a Thai massage

Unlike conventional massages, Thai massages involve a lot of movement and typically sees people assuming a series of different positions.

Therapists use not only their hands but sometimes their forearms and knees to apply pressure. There is also no oil involved in Nuad Thai massage.

According to Unesco, the practice has its “roots in self-care in Thai peasant society of the past, [where] every village had massage healers whom villagers would turn to when they had muscle aches from working the field”.






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