Treatments with heated salt-filled clay pot compresses are typically used in the Thai postpartum Yu Fai period. Sessions usually take somewhere between ninety minutes and four hours, depending on extras applied such as massage, steaming, acupressure, and the like.
Nevertheless, it’s a treatment not only limited to use in the afterbirth period, but also applied in other situations, notably when there are health issues with the abdominal, digestive or genital organs. In addition, techniques with hot salt pot compresses are also used to release tension in the shoulders and lower back muscles. The latter kinds of treatments are more likely to be found in trendy, upscale Thai spas and rather serve relaxation than recovery, restoration and healing.
In any case, the compress is made by putting some (sea) salt and medicinal herbs into a ceramic pot together with specific herbs. The ceramic pot is heated and subsequently wrapped in a cotton cloth. Sometimes medicinal leaves are used also (wrapped around the pot under the cotton cloth).
In case of postpartum application, the whole pack together is then applied as a large compress on the woman’s abdominal area with the goal to ease pains, aches, and swellings, relax tendons and joints, and prevent blood clots in the abdominal area, uterus or vaginal tract.
As for other health benefits, this method is thought to stimulate uterine contraction, reduce lochia, improve breast milk flow, decrease belly fat, improve muscle tone, relieve edematous issues, and expel amniotic fluid. In Northern Thailand this technique is closely related to so-called Thai Womblifting.
You can see how a sea salt filled hot compress is made in the video Abdominal Massage Herbal Packs on YouTube.