One of the traditional postpartum treatments in Thailand is the Sitzbath (Sitz Bath), part of the practices performed in the Yu Fai postnatal period. Apart from being used as a restorative treatment, Sitzbaths are also used in the preventive and curative sphere.
To take a Sitzbath, one sits or lies in a warm water medicated herbal decoction, typically with the body completely immersed in a bath tub, up to the neck. The right temperature is maintained during the whole procedure.
The idea is that the medicinal herbs get absorbed into the body — through the skin — and subsequently have beneficial healing effects. It’s also common to gently massage the body parts that need to be treated in order to aid with herbal absorption. Depending on the therapeutic effects wanted, different herbs are used.
Specific benefits of the Sitzbath are alleviation of postnatal problems around the external genitals i.e. vulva, the anus and perineum, healing or alleviating piles (hemorrhoids), fissures, skin irritations and inflammations, among other issues.
Sitzbaths are also used as a general means of re-energizing and relaxing body and mind of the new mother. Additional benefits can be relief of painful urination, of muscular and joint pains, supporting general rejuvenation, stimulating sexual potency, alleviating menstrual disorders, relief of arthritis, neuralgia, insomnia, and sciatica.
The treatment usually takes about thirty to forty-five minutes and is repeated daily as long as needed during the postpartum confinement period.