- Takes note that Thailand has nominated Nuad Thai, traditional Thai massage (No. 01384) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
Nuad Thai, traditional Thai massage is regarded as part of the art, science and culture of traditional Thai healthcare. As a non-medicinal remedy and manual therapy, it involves bodily manipulation in which the practitioner helps rebalance the patient’s body, energy and structure to treat illnesses believed to be caused by the obstruction of energy flow along ‘sen’, lines understood to crisscross the human body. This manipulation is intended to normalize the four body elements: earth, water, wind and fire. To open up blocked routes, Nuad Thai therapists perform a combination of manipulations using their hands, elbows, knees and feet, together with herbal hot compresses to reduce inflammation. Presently, Nuad Thai is classified into two main types: Nuad Thai therapy and Nuad Thai for health promotion. Nuad Thai has its roots in self-care in Thai peasant society of the past; every village had massage healers whom villagers would turn to when they had muscle aches from working in the field. Over time, these experiences have evolved into a formal system of knowledge, and Nuad Thai is now an income-generating occupation. In 1985, the Project for the Revitalization of Thai Massage was launched to revitalize and maximize knowledge of Nuad Thai, and an initiative has also been taken to form an alliance of Nuad Thai practitioners who come together annually.
- Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
R.1: Within the family and community, the practice of Nuad Thai is an expression of love and care for others. It strengthens social solidarity, enhances self-reliance and is an example of love and kindness, a quality that has inspired and come to define Thailand as a caring society. The continuation of the tradition helps uphold the community’s identity, which is firmly anchored in its history and local wisdom. Massage healers in rural communities are mostly farmers who inherit the art from generation to generation and practise it to help relieve the suffering of others.
R.2: The inscription of Nuad Thai, traditional Thai massage would serve as a sign of recognition of this folk wisdom-based medicine and of traditional medicines in general around the world. It could also positively impact perceptions of the practice at all levels, encouraging locals to preserve the related knowledge and inspiring the younger generation to inherit the practice from older practitioners and carry on the tradition.
R.4: The nomination process involved community organizations, practitioner groups, professional organizations, private business organizations, governmental agencies concerned and key individuals through formal and informal meetings. Free, prior and informed consent for the nomination was obtained from the communities concerned, various Nuad Thai practitioner groups, individuals, State officials, national-level committees, Nuad Thai practitioners, academics and representatives of non-governmental organizations.
R.5: Nuad Thai was officially included in the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Thailand in 2016. The Department of Cultural Promotion, Ministry of Culture is the body responsible for maintaining and updating the inventory in a three-year cycle with the active participation of the individuals, groups, communities, organizations and state agencies concerned.
- Further considers that the information included in the file was not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is satisfied:
R.3: The proposed safeguarding measures include the promotion of Nuad Thai, training and education, transmission, documentation, legal policy and regulations. State health organizations and other agencies concerned have committed to effectively and financially supporting the implementation of the proposed safeguarding measures. However, while these measures would safeguard Nuad Thai in a broad context, especially through the promotional activities, clarification is required on how the safeguarding measures would benefit the communities concerned specifically.
- Further takes note that, having considered that the information included in the file was not sufficient to determine whether criterion R.3 is satisfied and that a short question and answer process with the submitting State might clarify whether the nomination meets the criterion concerned, the Evaluation Body decided, pursuant to Decision 13.COM 10, to initiate a ‘dialogue’ process in order to obtain information on the following question:
How will the proposed safeguarding measures benefit the communities concerned?
- Also takes note of the information provided thereon by the submitting State as well as the subsequent opinion of the Evaluation Body, as documented in LHE/19/14.COM/INF.10, which considers that the answer provided adequately addresses the question (under paragraph 4);
- Considers that, on the basis of the information included in the file and the information provided by the submitting State through the ‘dialogue’ process as well as the subsequent opinion of the Evaluation Body, criterion R.3 is satisfied;
- Decides to inscribe Nuad Thai, traditional Thai massage on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.