Ministry aims to get the sex out of massage

BANGKOK (AFP): To restore the image of traditional Thai massage, all public hospitals will be required to offer classically trained masseurs to patients, Health Minister Korn Dabbaransi announced today. “In order to rehabilitate Thai traditional massage, so that it is not misused for commercial sex, all hospitals under the ministry will have to hire masseurs,” Korn said in a statement. Traditional Thai massage, a vigorous, joint-cracking, chiropractic form of body rub, has long been popular among Thais and foreigners alike. In the past 30 years, however, many massage parlors have come to be used as fronts for commercial sex services. Pennapha Subcharoen, director of the Thai Traditional Medicine Institute, said that new hospital masseurs must undergo at least 1,100 hours of training before being licensed. The hospitals will pay the masseurs 4,100 baht a month plus 30% commissions, the statement said. Traditional practitioners of Thai massage generally charge between 200 and 250 baht an hour.

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