The Healing Touch of Jamu massage

Jamu is a form of traditional massage that originated in our neighbouring Java, Indonesia. It is a healing methodology relying on the power of touch and on herbs and lotions. During a jamu massage, the concoctions used are simple but effective. For example, herbs like nutmeg, ginger, turmeric and camphor are often used.

In recent years, there has been a trend towards pregnant women going for pre- and post-natal massage. As a form of pre-natal massage, jamu can soothe away tension and fatigue, and provides stress relief on joints, reduces swelling (goodbye cankles!) and helps a mother-to-be relax. More than just a massage, it can help mothers-to-be to reconnect with their spiritual wellbeing. And besides, no woman ever said no to some pampering!

After the birth of the baby, a new mum can choose to continue with the jamu treatment, afterall, the body has just been through a tough time and needs to be nurtured. Jamu massage can be used to reduce post-surgery adhesion and swelling; it improves blood circulation and allows more oxygen and nutrients to reach the soft tissues and vital organs. Salwa Salim is a women's natural reproductive health expert and founder of Mummy's Group in Singapore. Salwa says that jamu massage speeds up cell repair to reduce scars and stretch marks, reduce complications, and enhance immunity. It is also used to contour your body back into your original shape with massage therapy, aromatherapy and slimming wraps.

Having a baby is expensive and it’s natural that mums-to-be are anxious not to overspend and want good value for money. Salwa suggests that if you’re looking to get the benefits of jamu without breaking the bank, opting for a shorter minimum five-day session post-natal massage would be a good option.

“After their massage packages are over, they can purchase their own jamu products, and learn how to put on the bengkung (slimming wraps) themselves. It is really not that difficult and can be done D.I.Y.”

Some quick tips

  1. Postnatal Massage can only be done 5-7 days after normal delivery and 3-4 weeks after c-section, provided the new mum is recovering normally.

  2. All the contraindications for massage applies to postnatal massage as well (i.e do not massage if having fever, cold, infectious disease etc)

  3. Everyone heals at a different rate. In all cases, it is best to have doctor's approval if they can start.

  4. For those with IUD implant, although they can be massaged everywhere else, lower abdomen massage is strictly prohibited.

For further information on the benefits of jamu, visit Salwa’s website:

Janice Zheng is a Melbourne-based writer and editor. Born and raised in Singapore, she has also lived in Vietnam, China and Australia. She has written and edited across a variety of genres including hard news, feature articles, technical and specifications writing and press releases. Her coverage of a 2009 Australian oil spill disaster and its impact on the marine environment earned her a nomination to the Professional Online Writers Guild. In 2013, her family moved to China for her husband’s work. She joined the expatriate women’s volunteer-based society and wrote prolifically for its print publications and contributed to other expatriate magazines. Since her return to Australia, Janice has turned to writing and blogging about parenthood.

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