Malaysia Post Natal Massage
Last week when I was in Malaysia I was lucky enough to join in a workshop teaching Malay post natal massage. Well, it wasn’t far into the training when I realised how barbaric both the Australian and English post-natal get-out-of-bed-and-back-to-work culture really is. Just have a listen to this:
In Malay society immediately after giving birth the mother is placed in confinement. Not to the un-initiated that sounds like some kind of prison sentence and like no fun at all but there is more……
The Berpantang (confinement) lasts for 44 days and during that time the new mother is pampered, nourished and emotionally supported by her nearest and dearest – this is a tradition that has been practiced for thousands of years and passed down through generation to generation in each family. In times gone by the care was always given by the new mothers close female relatives – her mother, mother-in-law, sisters or aunties. However, times in Malaysia as with the rest of the world have changed and now many hire in this care at around $1000 Australian per confinement. Still not a bad deal I don’t think!
During confinement the mother goes through several rituals to help her regain her strength, figure and to bolster her milk supply. These rituals include:
- Herbal Leaf Baths
- New Mother Massage focusing on warming up and healing strained muscles and speeding up healing.
- Abdomen Boreh wrap to encourage the stomach to return to its pre-baby shape and to support the new mothers spine.
- Hot stone press – heat is key in these treatments. New mothers are not allowed to get cold.
- Saunas (tangas) again this is to increase the body temperature and encourage heeling.
- A strict diet of rice, fish and warm water. Very healthy, very fresh.
- Jamu drink and pills. This is a fresh herbal cocktail that consists of Finger root (Cekur), Thai Ginger, Betel Lead, Coconut oil, Onion and an array of other herbs and spices (Tumeric, Tamarind and sometimes chilli also).
The Malays also believe that the new mother needs help to expel the excess wind as if this stays inside her she will be weak and sick and the baby might not thrive – Maybe that’s the kind of treatment that I needed…..
I was completely blown away by the detail, structure and intensity of this post-natal care and felt quite ripped off that I only managed the occasional luke warm bath during my recuperation. Almost worth getting pregnant again for…….
The training was carried out by the Ayer Spa who also teach at the Langkawi International Spa Academy. If you are interested in learning more or experiencing it for yourself why not give them a buzz.