Every culture has its own traditions when it comes to birth and the care for a mama in the first weeks after birth. A vacation in Thailand gave me the opportunity to deepen my knowledge about the Thai traditional way of postpartum massage.
Thai Traditional and Complimentary Center
My business is always busy in the summer time, so that’s why I usually take a couple of weeks off in winter. This year I was very fortunate to end up in Thailand. Once I arrived in Chiang Mai, where I would stay for 10 days, I soon found out that there was a Thai Traditional and Complimentary Center just around the corner from the place where I stayed. It looked as interesting as it did sound to me, so I walked in to see if I could get some information.
The only (semi) English speaking person was a doctor, and he took the time to explain all about the Thai traditional care for women who gave birth and show me around in the hospital center.
According to this doctor, Thai believe our bodies consist of four elements: earth, wind, water and fire. Giving birth is quite a challenge for the body and then a woman loses a lot of fire that needs to be replenished after birth.
To get the fire burning in the body, they make sure the mama only takes in warm drinks and food in the first weeks. This rang a bell to me, since this is also what I learned at my postnatal doula training and has resemblance with the Ayurvedic traditions.
Steam & sauna
To make sure her body heals fast, they warm her up internally as well by letting her sit on a bowl or pot, filled with healing herbs that is overflown with boiling water. This vaginal steaming takes place in a sort of sauna (used to be a fire years ago, but that was a bit too dangerous now. O really?!). In this sauna the whole body of the mama warms up and she will also inhale the healing herbs, to have maximum profit for her body.
Hot herbal compress massage
After the steam session she will take place on a massage bed to get a special postpartum massage, with hot stamps. These stamps contain a special selection of herbs again and will be heated in a steam pan, before they are pressed on the body of the mama. The combination of special massage techniques and the hot herbal compress is amazing I can tell!
This whole ritual is repeated for at least three days after the woman gave birth, but ideally a little bit longer even.
Book this ritual with me
Last November I already learned to give this wonderful Thai traditional postpartum massage myself. Although it is slightly altered to the Dutch situation, it is still as beneficial as could be. One session takes 1,5-2 hours and consists of vaginal steaming, followed by a massage with hot herbal compresses. All in the comfort of your own home.
One session costs 97 euro, including all herbs and supplies. A three day, full treatment costs 275 euro. Or use one or more of the Mix & Match meetings from your package for birth support.