After giving birth, I remember the one thing I most looked forward to (besides spending time with my baby, of course) was my postnatal massage package. Every day for 10 days, an extremely experienced masseuse would show up at my home, kneed all the aches and pains picked up from hunching over a tiny baby breastfeeding or stressing about their poop schedule. She would also bind my flabby abdomen, adding a special minty paste, and instruct me sternly not to remove it for 12 hours if possible (I usually made it to about eight). Everytime I unwrapped it, not only did I take a deep breath of relief and freedom, I also marvelled at how much the postpartum belly swell seemed to go down.
Sometimes we spend so much time (and money) prepping for baby’s birth (from prenatal massages to physio sessions) we forget that mums need just as much care after. Postnatal massages are a great way to loosen tight muscles (and also unclog lactating boobs).
Postnatal massages in Singapore
There are three common types of postnatal massages in Singapore – TCM, Swedish, and the Javanese Jamu postnatal massage.
Traditional Chinese Medicine postnatal massage focuses on your Meridian and acu-points, and may involve acupuncture and cupping. They’re usually sold in packages of 10 or 20 sessions, and range from $3,000 to $5,000 at reputable TCM clinics (administered by Chinese physicians). TCM postnatal massages can involve a strict diet plan. However, these TCM postnatal massages do deliver slimming and debloating results.
Swedish postnatal massages focus on removing toxins, relaxing tired and tensed muscles, and improving blood circulation. Massages usually involve long, slow strokes – of the three they are probably the most relaxing form of postnatal massage in Singapore.
Jamu massages have their roots in Javanese tradition and usually involve herbs to help heal the body. Here the term is liberally used to refer to a traditional form of postnatal herbal deep tissue massage. These massages are popular amongst postnatal mums as they’re often said to help shrink postpartum bellies and shed water retention. Some Jamu massage therapists may even tell you that they can massage your organs and uterus back into place.
Benefits of Jamu massage include:
- Reduce swelling and water retention
- Promote overall body recovery
- Promote breastfeeding and milk flow, clear breast ducts, prevent engorgement
- Dispel wind and chill from the body
What does a Jamu massage entail?
An authentic Jamu massage should make use of oils and pastes made from traditional herbs such as cinnamon, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and lemongrass, and deep tissue massage techniques.
Every Jamu massage should include these four segments:
- Deep tissue whole body massage
- Herbal paste treatment on stomach area
- Stomach binder wrap (at least six hours)
- Breast massage to encourage lactation
Some mothers might forego the stomach binder wrap for personal reasons, or breast massage if they are not engorged or don’t feel the need, but the price of all four should be included in the session.
The stomach binder is a key measure for reducing water retention and bloat. To check if your Jamu massage therapist is experienced and legitimate is from the binding wrap method – it should not be plastic or elastic polyester wraps. Instead, the traditional Jamu binder wrap should be made of pure cotton cloth swaddle that’s breathable, spanning your ribs to hips. It should be comfortable enough for you to move around, but tight enough for you to feel like you’re sitting or standing up straight in good form.
Always check with your Jamu massage therapist which herbs they are using for your Jamu paste. Since the Jamu paste has to be left on for over six hours, you could experience severe allergies if you happen to be allergic to one of the ingredients. If you’re breastfeeding, be sure to wipe away any oils or paste that comes in contact with your nipples before feeding.
Do Jamu massages work?
Given the stress a mother’s body goes through during pregnancy, birth and postpartum, a massage can be very beneficial to ease aches and pains. Of course, before embarking on a course of massage it’s best to first check with your gynaecologist, in particular if you have had a difficult birth or a caesarean. Chloe Tan, founder of Pamper Me Jamu Wellness also highlights that in the cases of c-section complications or postpartum haemorrhage, massages might not be recommended.
For vaginal childbirths, you can start on your Jamu massages as soon as a week post-birth. For c-sections, the recommended wait time is at least one month, but again, it’s always best to check with your gynaecologist first.
Also, because Jamu massage therapists should be very well-trained, prices for their experience will reflect that. Rates for one massage session tend to range from $80 to $100, so anything cheaper should be a cause for concern. “You can trust a massage service when their therapists are certified, experienced and trained,” says Chloe. “The products they use will be safe for breastfeeding and use natural ingredients. They will also have a good track record of honest reviews on social media.”
Must-try Jamu Massages in Singapore
Once again, it’s best to go with a reputable Jamu massage company. We’ve found that going to other mums and getting recommendations to have been the best option.
Here are six of the most most popular and widely-recommended Jamu massage services in Singapore: