Post-natal wrapping techniques in Malaysia and Indonesia
Since I was posting links from my research buried in an unrelated thread I’m re-posting here so we can keep everyone’s research on this all together.
This is an excerpt from a brochure for a wellness spa in the UK that offers the Malaysian approach to wrapping/massage.
“The Malay Way, in particular, focuses on the health of the woman’s reproductive organs. The Malay Way will heal the wounds of childbirth, reposition the uterus and restore the tightness of the vagina muscles. To achieve this, a special corset known as a ‘barut’ is used throughout the 6 weeks. This ancient practice, until now almost unknown outside of Malaysia, is the key secret in ensuring a firm flat stomach, clean and devoid of stretch marks, even after undergoing several births. Furthermore it helps to correctly re-position the uterus.”
“Combining this abdominal wrapping with special herbal remedies, a strict diet regime, massages, and Kawi hot stone treatments will greatly enhance the internal and external health of the new mother.
Here’s a little excerpt from an article goes into detail on the after birth rituals from past and present. It’s a nice little intro to the culture around it.
“The arrival of this jovial little Malay woman wearing a traditional batik sarong and carrying a large woven basket full of traditional herbs never failed to intrigue me and enthuse my mother. I was six years old and fascinated by the sight and smell of the jamu (traditional Malay herbs) being rubbed onto my mother’s still-swollen belly, the extensive massage she received with aromatic oils, the very long cloth wrapped around her abdomen and the overpowering smell of the akar kayu (dried roots of medicinal plants) bubbling in the kitchen. At the end of every session my mother was a picture of serenity and contentment.”
This post-natal wrapping is a standard thing where I live. A local herbalist/massage lady comes to the house every day for the period of “confinement” and does this ritualistic binding and massaging. A lot of modern women have opted out of the whole confinement ritual where a confinement nurse lives with you, cooks your food and takes care of baby stuff. There are many other customs related to traditional confinement like not leaving the house, not washing your hair, being kept very warm and eating some pretty bizarre meats… the list goes on! Some women just focus on the massage and binding and some of the teas and they don’t tend to do it for quite as long as 6 weeks. I’m planning on doing the latter for two weeks and seeing how it goes. I know pandan leaf is one of the ingredients in the herb mixture and I'm pretty sure they use lemongrass but the rest really depends on the practitioner and they are very secretive! I haven’t even found a written book on this stuff. It's part of an oral tradition handed down within that culture.