Arokhayasala at Kham Pramong Temple in Sakon Nakhon is one of Thailand’s most prominent alternative cancer treatment centers. Established in 2004 by the Buddhist monk Pra Ajarn Paponpat Jiradhammo (who once cured himself of cancer), Arokhayasala is the first traditional Thai medicine hospital dedicated to treating cancer patients. It’s traditional approach is integrated with modern cancer treatments. The center works in cooperation with the Public Health Department of Sakon Nakhon, the Department for Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicines, and various Public Health organizations.
Cancer patients are treated with traditional Thai herbal medicines, including a preparation developed by Ajarn Paponpat, which he used to help cure his nasopharnyx cancer in 1996. Thai herbal medicines are combined with meditation therapy, aromatheraphy, traditional Thai massage therapy, laughter therapy, yoga, music therapy, spiritual counseling, and psychotherapy.
The goal is to enhance the patient’s overall physical, emotional, and spiritual well being. All treatments are free of charge for cancer patients, and all nationalities are welcome. However, foreigners who do not speak Thai would need to hire a Thai/English translator to stay with them during their visit (which is a minimum of 2 weeks). About 50 patients can be cared for at any one time.
The way of living at Arokhayasala at Wat Kham Pramong resembles the way of life that has existed in rural Thai communities for centuries, where people are generous and sincere to one another, and there is an atmosphere of sharing and giving. Genuine Thai hospitality is demonstrated not only by the volunteers of the cancer treatment center, but between old patients and new patients. Since 2004, over 6,000 cancer patients have been treated at the center.
What does Arokhayasala mean? The name is derived from two words: Arokhaya and Sala. Arokhaya means non-sickness or sickness-free, and Sala means hall, chamber, or home. So, Arokhayasala literally means “a home free of sickness,” the place for the curing of diseases — in this case, the curing of cancer in Thailand. To achieve this goal Arokhayasala offers a holistic approach to cancer treatment, one where a change of lifestyle is encouraged, including eating habits and breathing habits, as well as a deep understanding of the Buddhist 8 fold path of right understanding, aspiration, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.
All patients of Arokhayasala at Wat Kham Pramong take the following steps as part of their cancer treatment.
1. Introduce the new patient to the philosophy and objectives of Arokhayasala. Ensure their comprehension and agreement with the established goals of Arokhayasala.
2. Utilize conventional medical records, including the patient’s medical history and relevant documents, such as previous examination results like X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRI scans. Combine these with lab results from blood tests and biopsies to determine the cancer stage.
Cancer Treatment Regimen
3.1 Implementation of Buddhist Practices
Incorporate chanting, sitting and walking meditation, along with music and natural therapies.
Herbal Medicine Usage for Cancer Treatment
3.2 Detoxification using medicinal herbs for symptoms like headaches and fever. Administer medicinal herbs to balance the body’s elemental systems. Select appropriate Thai medicinal herbs for each specific cancer type based on Thai and Chinese treatment approaches.
Steam Sauna with Medicinal Herb Consumption
3.3. Utilize steam sauna combined with drinking a medicinal herb blend (known as “Samanchan”) to enhance blood circulation and support internal organ function. Sauna sessions are limited to a maximum of 15 minutes per session and are not recommended for patients with high blood pressure or heart disease.
Herbal Boiling Ceremony
3.4 Determine timing through ancient astrology and patient birth date to enhance a positive outlook. This ceremony aims to positively impact the patient’s perception.
Involvement of Patient’s Relatives
3.5 Relatives actively participate in patient care, assisting with tasks such as heating herbal medicine, joining the Herbal Boiling Ceremony, and participating in chanting for blessings and pain relief. The presence of the spirit of Master Shewaga is invited to preside over the boiling ceremony.
External Medical Professionals and Group Counseling
3.6 Medical professionals from various locations conduct conventional examinations at Arokhayasala. Advanced practice nurses provide group counseling.
Complementary Cancer Treatment Therapies
3.7 Offer alternative cancer treatments like acupuncture, nutrition therapy, music therapy, humor therapy, and Dharma therapy.
3.8 Patients with severe symptoms may be referred to a hospital for conventional treatment. After recovery or the critical period, they can resume treatment at Arokhayasala. If recovery is unlikely, no referral will be made. Patients in the final stages of life can benefit from the temple’s hospice care, which prepares them emotionally and spiritually to transition into the next life.
Main Cancer Treatment Resource
3.9 Phra Paponpachara, supported by medical professionals, administers treatment to cancer patients using an integrative therapeutic approach.
Cancer Treatment Follow-up
4. Monitor patient vital signs, conduct periodic blood tests, and evaluate treatment outcomes over time.
Arokhayasala at Wat Kham Pramong is located on 125 acres of beautiful, forested grounds in Sakon Nakhon, a province located in the Northeast of Thailand, and which can be reached by plane from Bangkok. While the alternative cancer treatment and therapies are free (supported by over 100 million baht in donations), patients and their families are responsible for transportation costs to the temple and food and beverage expenses.
To learn more about this alternative cancer treatment center in Thailand, please download the following book, which has been translated into English: Thai Herbal Medicine and Meditation for Cancer Healing.
Arokhayasala at Wat Kham Pramong was among the first cancer treatment centers in Thailand to incorporate the use of marijuana in its therapies. The temple is supplied its medicinal grade marijuana from Rajamangala University of Technology (Isan), located in Sakon Nakhon province. The university aims to be the center of Thai traditional medicine in Thailand, and supplies marijuana not only to the Arokhayasala center, but also the Cancer Center Hospital in neighboring Udon Thani Province.