Abdominal Massage for Postpartum Women with Thai Herbal Compresses

Published: Jun 22, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Herbal compress for the abdomen

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In Thailand, Hot Herbal Compress Abdominal Massage is one of the traditional treatments used for women in the postpartum period, typically in the time after delivery that’s called Yu-Fai.

What Is a Thai Herbal Compress?

A hot herbal compress (also called herbal ball or herbal pouch) is a round cotton ball with medicinal herbs inside, heated (steamed), and pressed, rubbed, rolled, or slid on the body of the receiver.

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The (dried) herbs commonly used for postpartum treatments of the abdominal area are usually a mix of Plai (Zingiber Montanum), Khamin Chan (Curcuma Longa or Turmeric), Takrai (Cymbopogon Citratus), Ma Grud (Citrus Hystrix or Kaffir Lime), Ma Kham (Tamarindus Indica), Som Poi (Acacia Concinna), and fresh peppers.

The goals of this treatment are to ease pain, swellings, or inflammations of the abdominal and pelvic region, stimulate relaxation, and increase energy flow. In addition, it’s common to give some Thai Massage during the application of herbal compresses.

Apart from abdominal treatments, herbal compresses may be applied for postpartum mothers with breast engorgement or to stimulate milk production, milk flow, and milk ejection. The most important ingredients of these compresses include Plai (Zingiber Montanum), Turmeric (Curcuma Longa), and Camphor.

How Is the Treatment Applied?

The new mother, who can be clothed or (partly) unclothed, will typically lie of the floor on a massage mat or on an elevated construction.

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Before the treatment, two herbal balls are steamed in a bamboo or electrical steamer for about twenty minutes.

Then, the first herbal ball is wrapped with towels to protect the mother’s skin from burns due to excessive heat. Next, the ball is gently rolled or pressed on the breast area — with exception of the nipple and areola areas — and/or on the abdominal area, all depending on the exact goal of the treatment.

The contact time is usually about ten seconds for each point.

When the herbal ball is cold enough, the towel is unwrapped and the herbal ball is applied directly to the skin. Then, the first herbal ball is replaced with the second herbal ball when the latter is lukewarm. From then on, the two herbal balls are alternately applied and steamed until the session is complete.

A treatment session may take up to thirty minutes.

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