I promise that I won’t write much about my pre-natal and post-natal experiences, but there is one treatment that I’d like to share and recommend. It is a jamu massage and abdominal binding treatment, which helps the recovery and restoration process.
Now you might wonder, what is this? I wondered the same thing. I had read about it on another blog, which talked about how well restored a mum felt, after she had the 10-day treatment here in Hong Kong.
A jamu massage is wellness and beauty regime practiced by traditional Malay and Indonesians using massage and herbal remedies, which helps to reposition the core organs and return them to their original placement. After the massage, a warm herbal paste is applied to the tummy (with a secret recipe made out of freshly grounded herbs and spices) and then a tight cotton wrap is tied around the belly, from the hips to the ribcage. Like a corset. This is worn for at least eight hours after the treatment, and if you can stand it longer, you can keep it on over night until the next morning.
The treatment continues each day – you can have it for 5, 10, 15 or even 20 consecutive weekdays. Apparently traditionally, in Indonesia and Malaysia, where the jamu massage originates from and is passed on from women to women, the treatment lasts 44 days, which is the confinement period for Malays.
I booked the 10 days slimum TUMMY treatment with Karen from Restoring Mums – which is more than just a slimming massage. It is a combination of a jamu massage and other techniques to restore postpartum wellness. For each treatment day (which was every weekday – two weeks in a row), it started off with the same programme. First a tummy paste was applied, which was freshly made (in the first week I could smell more ginger and turmeric, in the second week I believe it was less ginger and more lemongrass/grapefruit). Then I turned on my tummy, and the therapist put a warm shoulder herbal heating pack on my neck before massaging my back with oils and herbs. Afterwards, I turned onto my back, and a herbal pack was added to my eyes – to reduce the puffiness and swelling (a result of the night feedings of baby Lina) – and the paste from my belly was removed. She massaged my tummy, again with oils and herbs, and then added the secret recipe paste to my belly, before she bound my abdomen area. The binding was loose on the first day (so I could get used to it) and got stronger every day. It did not restrict movement, I could still look after the baby and go out for lunch/dinner, but I had to put my yoga exercises on hold. During the weekend, when the practitioner didn’t come, I was given a grapefruit oil to put on my belly and an easier-to-bind corset, which I could put on myself. Those, and the herbal packs, I got to keep – which is nice, so I can continue to look after my belly and enjoy the benefits of the herbal packs.
I will spare you any before and after pics – but let’s just say that I now fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes and that my belly looks much better than I thought it would. Two days into the treatment, the bloated feeling was gone. Four days in, I could sense that my tummy was tighter. Eight days in, the impact was visible to my friends – even when I was wearing normal clothes. So it had gone really well! The only thing that still needs to improve are the visible brown lines and belly button – but these will take months to disappear.
A few points to think about:
- A jamu massage is ideally performed within the first 12 weeks following delivery, and the earlier the better (just be mindful with a C-section, you might have to start later)
- You should book in advance, and then when the baby arrives, just call them. The list of jamu providers in Hong Kong is quite limited: Postnatal Care, Restoring Mums and Mummies and Bellies
- The treatment is tailored to your needs – so while I’ve written about my experience, yours will be different!
- The jamu massage is a great way to support your post-natal healing but you will need to combine it with exercises too – and after the treatment is over, continue to apply the oil and use the binder for the next days/weeks to achieve best results