Thailand campaigns for Thai massage to be added to UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list

Thailand wants traditional Thai massage to be added to UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list. Plans are being made for Thailand to lobby to ensure that traditional Thai massage secures a place on the list.

According to Health Service Support Department Director-General Dr, Boonruang Trairuangworawat, recent conversations between his department, the Department for Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, the Ministry of Culture and UNESCO implied agreement that Thai massage should be added to UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list.

However, certain steps must be undertaken before such inclusion on the UNESCO list becomes a possibility.

The Health Service Support Department must present the World Heritage Protection Convention National Committee, run by Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn, with extensive information and details about traditional Thai massage and why it belongs on the list.

The issue will then need endorsement from the cabinet’s members before submission to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee, located in Paris, reported Thai PBS.

The Labor Ministry must also be made aware of this issue as labor law needs to be updated to ensure traditional Thai massage remains an occupation reserved only for Thai nationals. Practices related to the traditional massage must also become standardized as it’s legacy dates back more than 600 years in the form of local wisdom that was practiced among commoners and those in the Royal Court.

If the campaign to include Thai massage on UNESCO’s list is successful, the therapy will join Sukothai, Ayutthaya, Ban Chiang, Thung Yai-Huey Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, and Khao Yai forest as being honored with inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage lists.

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