History of the Thailand Chiropractic Association
The first known Chiropractors to practice in Thailand arrived in the l980’s. They were soon forced to leave the country with the threat of arrest for practicing Medicine without a license. The first continuously running businesses offering Chiropractic opened in 1993. By 1998 there were 10 Chiropractors operating in registered businesses. While the Chiropractors working at that time were working with work permits and paying taxes, their status was still grey. While the Labor Department was issuing the work permits, The Ministry of Public Health had yet to recognize Chiropractic as a legal healthcare profession.
In the period from 1993-1999, several Chiropractors were arrested and charged with practicing medicine without a license. One Chiropractor was additionally charged with running an unlicensed Sanitarium. The Chiropractors working in the country at that time worked with the constant fear of arrest. This predicament was very similar to the early days of the Chiropractic profession in America, and many other countries for that matter. Like the early Chiropractic pioneers in America, those practicing in Thailand persevered with the knowledge their intentions were good.
One of those early Chiropractic pioneers in Thailand was Dr. Oat Burana, a Thai citizen who had received his Chiropractic education in America. He recognized that something had to be done to; a) stop the arrests, and b) pursue legal recognition for the profession in Thailand. In 1999, he decided to start The Thailand Chiropractic Association. Dr. Oat contacted all the known Chiropractors working in Thailand at that time and invited all of them to join his new association. Much to his credit, he chose not to discriminate against the foreign Chiropractors practicing in Thailand, inviting all to join. Most of the Chiropractors chose to join while a few chose not to participate, as is always the case when starting anything new.
The Association wasted little time in beginning to engage in a dialogue with the Ministry of Public Health with the goal of getting legal recognition of Chiropractic. The Thailand Chiropractic Association was successful in getting the Ministry of Public Health to set up a subcommittee dedicated to studying the viability of recognizing Chiropractic. The Association participated in many presentations and demonstrations at The Ministry of Public Health.
Thousands of hours of collaboration were spent by the members of the Thailand Chiropractic Association to reach our common goal of official recognition. Comprehensive reports on the efficacy of Chiropractic treatment were translated to Thai and submitted to the Ministry of Public Health. The Ministry of Public Health sent staff to all the operating clinics to review patient records. The staff then independently contacted the patients of the clinics to assess their satisfaction with the services provided. Fortunately, we had a great group of Chiropractors working here, offering top notch services, so we passed these assessments with flying colors.
Several years passed with several setbacks along the way. Certain Medical Professional Associations objected to our efforts for legal recognition. Letters of protest were filed with the Ministry of Public Health which delayed our march toward legalization but we continued to persevere.Finally, in 2007, after 8 years of hard work, our efforts were rewarded with the enactment of Chiropractic Regulations, recognizing the profession in Thailand.
Seeing through the passage of Chiropractic Regulations has been a great accomplishment for the Thailand Chiropractic Association, allowing us Chiropractors to now practice openly without the fear of arrest so we can fulfill our ultimate mission to serve the public to the best of our abilities while giving the public access to an alternative to only taking western medicines or having surgeries to overcome their health challenges.