Chiropractic Regulations in Thailand
In 2006, the Ministry of Public Health issued a declaration on the licensing of Chiropractic in Thailand. Here are the key points to the declaration.
Definition of Chiropractic: The science of Chiropractic means an action to a human in relation with examining, diagnosing, treating and promoting physical health specifically in the part of the spine, and related tissue without using drugs of surgery.
To Practice Chiropractic Legally in Thailand, Chiropractors Must Meet the Following Criteria:
Not be Below the Age of 20. Not be a Handicapped Person. Not be Insane or Otherwise Mentally Disordered.
Graduate from an Approved Chiropractic College: The Thailand Chiropractic Association in collaboration with the Chiropractic Subcommittee has been given the authority to certify which college programs are considered adequate for being granted permission to take the Chiropractic exam. College programs must be of the Doctor of Chiropractic (DC degree) level. For colleges that use the Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science degree programs, those interested in sitting the examination must attain both the Bachelors of Science Degree and the more advanced Masters of Science Degree.
A Chiropractor Must Be of Good Moral Character, Must Not be Addicted to Drugs, and Must Not Have Been Convicted of a Crime Which Would Cause Harm to the Reputation of Commission of Practice to the Art of Healing: Every Chiropractor who applies to take the exam undergoes a rigorous background check which includes confirmation from their home countries law enforcement agencies that no criminal record is present. This includes finger print records being submitted to both the Thai Police Department and the Law enforcement agencies of the Chiropractors home country, such as the FBI in the United States of America for Citizens of America. A professional background check is also performed to screen for any previous cases of professional misconduct such as malpractice.
A Chiropractor Must Pass the Chiropractic Examination in Thailand: The examination is a rigorous 2 day exam covering written basic sciences such as spinal anatomy, neurology, physiology, and biomechanics, as well as written clinical sciences including pathology, differential diagnosis, radiology, orthopedics and neurology. A written section on Chiropractic theory is also included in the exam. A practical examination is also administered in medical clinical sciences and Chiropractic technique. Thailand health law and ethics is also tested in another section of the exam. Finally, an interview is given at the end of the exam. The official language of the exam is the Thai language. The examination is administered by a team of Thai Medical Doctors as well as Chiropractors who have already passed the licensing examination in Thailand. It is important to note that foreigners must reside in Thailand for 3 consecutive years to be eligible to take the examination. A foreign Chiropractor wishing to take the exam must be in the country for no less than 9 months of each consecutive year prior to the exam to meet the requirement to taking the examination. The immigration department carefully checks the records for each foreign applicant to confirm they have met the requirement. This rule, commonly referred to as the Residency Requirement, was not started specifically for the Chiropractic profession. It was first initiated for Traditional Chinese Medicine when that profession became officially recognized a couple years prior to Chiropractic attaining official recognition. The residency rule was then extended for all new health professions under the jurisdiction of the alternative medicine department. Upon passing the Chiropractic Examination, a Chiropractor is issued a Chiropractic Permit.
Chiropractic Must be Performed in a Licensed Clinic or a Hospital: A licensed clinic will always have a sign in front of the clinic or in the front window with the name of the clinic and the clinic’s registration number displayed on the sign.
Inside the clinic, the Chiropractors Professional Blue Permit should be displayed prominently in the clinic where it is easy to see. The permit should not be kept in a back office where the public can not readily see it upon entering the clinic. The Professional Blue Permit will Have the Chiropractors name, description of the profession (Chiropractor in Thai letters) and permit number. Below is a sample of a permit:
It is illegal to perform Chiropractic in other venues such as a spa or fitness center. We hear reports occasionally of Chiropractors working in spas or health resorts, particularly in the tourist areas such as Koh Samui, Krabi, Phuket, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai. Unlike spas, health resorts and fitness centers, licensed clinics undergo inspections to assure the quality of services provided. Chiropractors working in these non medical facilities are working illegally. They pose a risk to the public because they have not been properly screened or assessed for professional competence. The last thing we want is to have some Chiropractor lose his license in another country for professional misconduct and then come here to Thailand to further endanger the public. There have also been cases in the past when people with no formal Chiropractic training at all have promoted themselves as Chiropractors in Thailand.
Another tactic that has been used by some unlicensed Chiropractors in Thailand, is to practice without taking the examination and simply attempt to call what they are doing something other than Chiropractic, such as practicing as a “Musculoskeletal Specialist”, or a “Manual Therapist”. This is still illegal. To treat patients in any way in Thailand, a professional license must be obtained by the Ministry of Public Health.
In Addition to Meeting the Requirements Listed Above, All Foreign Chiropractors Must also Obtain a Work Permit to Practice Legally in Thailand. To obtain a Work Permit, the company that owns the clinic must apply for the Work Permit through the Ministry of Labor, Department of Employment, on behalf of the Foreign Chiropractor. The company must add 2 million baht of capital to the company bank account for each work permit obtained. The company must also employ 4 full time Thai employees for each foreigner the company gets a Work Permit for. In other words, if the company hires 1 foreign Chiropractor, they have to add 2 million baht to the company account and hire 4 full time Thai staff. If the company hires 2 foreign Chiropractors, they have to add 4 million baht of capital to the company account and hire 8 full time Thai staff. To apply for the Work Permit, the company must bring the foreign Chiropractor to the Ministry of Labor to apply in person. If the Ministry of Labor approves the application for a Work Permit, a Blue Book that looks similar to a passport is issued to the Foreigner. The Blue Book is intended to be held in the possession of the Foreigner and not held by the company. The foreigner should have the Work Permit in his or her possession while working. It is a serious offense for a foreigner to work in Thailand without a Work Permit. If a foreign Chiropractor is arrested for working illegally without a Work Permit, they will be disqualified from taking the Chiropractic Examination in Thailand (see above requirement for not being convicted of a crime that would cause harm to the reputation of the Commission of the Practice of the Art of Healing). Below is a sample of what a Work Permit looks like:
All Licensed Chiropractors Must Attend an Approved Relicensing Seminar of 12 Hours Every 2 Years. Please see the “News and Events” section for details of our latest relicensing seminar.
The Chiropractic Subcommittee
The Declaration on the licensing of Chiropractors called for the establishment of a Chiropractic Subcommittee at the Ministry of Public Health to oversee the administration of the Chiropractic Declaration. The Subcommittee is comprised of Chiropractors, other health care professionals of various specialties, and bureaucrats working at the Ministry of Public Health. It is important to note that all of the Chiropractors on the Subcommittee are members of the Thailand Chiropractic Association.
Why is Regulation Necessary?
The main objective of regulation is to protect the public from possible harm. Chiropractic is a demanding profession which requires years of training and practice to master. When someone without proper training attempts to perform Chiropractic techniques on someone, they put that person at great risk of injury. Unfortunately, Thailand has a reputation for attracting people of questionable backgrounds which makes screening all the more important.
Below is a list of all the Chiropractors who currently have Chiropractic Permits. By choosing a Chiropractor from the list below, you can be assured the Chiropractor is legally allowed to practice in Thailand and has been properly screened for both professional competence, and for a record without any history of wrongdoing that could endanger a potential patient. If you are being treated by a Chiropractor in Thailand who is not on the list of the 30 chiropractors below, they are practicing illegally.
List of the only Legal Chiropractors in Thailand
Note: DC stands for Doctor of Chiropractic
- Sorasish Saengnak, “Oat”, DC
- Teerasak Rodphaung DC
- Mark Leoni DC
- Ruj Rojjanasrirat DC
- Santi Chai DC
- Chase Schneier DC
- Jet Thongvichit DC
- Yupin Thongvichit DC
- Jane Thongvichit-Chin DC
- Jeff Thongvichit DC
- Patrick Erickson DC
- Thomas Walton DC
- Park Jinhee DC
- Suchit Tusiri DC
- Niwat Narin DC
- Chonan Jirahathaitham DC
- Samuel Adams DC
- Joseph Surette DC
- Vorrawat Borvornrubporn DC
- Rungthiwa Charoensetthakit DC
- Worawit Chaichanta DC
- Narathip Tiyaratanachai DC
- Derek Patriquin DC
- Beomjoon Kim, DC
- Nutt Narawit DC
- Jefri Metheany DC
- Mau Minh Huynh DC
- Andrew Bryant DC
- Justin Bashor DC
- Eunhwan Choi DC
- Kevin Hamasaki DC
- Seungyong Park DC
The Following 3 Chiropractors are licensed, but are not members of the Thailand Chiropractic Association.
- Satien Sawangloak DC
- Tom Smith DC
- Philip Perry DC
There have been several incidences of people promoting themselves as Chiropractors in Thailand who, upon investigation were found not to be real, fully trained Chiropractors. There have been several incidences of Chiropractors practicing without Chiropractic Permits and/or without a Work Permit in Thailand. Below are stories about Chiropractors arrested for practicing illegally in Thailand. Click on pictures to go to full story. The articles for the Bangkok Post and the Thaiger were published on November 11th, and 12th 2021 respectively.
Norwegian Chiropractor arrested by Pattaya Immigration Police
August 20th, 2014
On Tuesday afternoon, Immigration Officers conducted an undercover operation at a Chiropractor Clinic in Jomtien which was allegedly being run by a Norwegian who was not licensed to practice in Thailand and had no permit to Work. The operation centered around the “Back in Motion” Clinic, located on the Second Floor of a shop-house on the Thepprasit Road close to the entrance of Soi 10 which was reportedly run by Mr. Vincens St***een aged 37 from Norway. An undercover foreign operative was used to purchase a treatment from Mr. St*** who was then arrested by Immigration Officers and taken to the Chonburi Immigration Office in Soi 5 off Jomtien Beach Road. In addition intravenous drugs were seized at the location and taken into evidence. Further investigations into Mr. St*** confirmed that he was on a Student “ED” Visa and did not possess a Work Permit or the correct licenses to undertake Chiropractic Services in Thailand, despite claims he worked as a Physiotherapist for a well-known Thai Premier League Football Team. Legal proceedings against Mr. St*** are ongoing at this time.