Traditional Malay Postnatal Massage


The traditional Malay postnatal massage is a modified version of the conventional massage, specially designed for new mothers who have just given birth. It is an important part of Malay pantang. It is advised that new mothers go through this massage treatment for at least three days, though having it for more than that is far more beneficial.


Beliefs about New Mothers


The new mothers are said to be weak and ‘cold’ after a long and tiresome pregnancy. These traditional massages are aimed to help blood circulation, remove toxins and wind from the body. Though studies have not been conducted to prove these beliefs, most women firmly believe in this and see benefits from the massages.

Benefits of Postnatal Massage

The traditional Malay postnatal massage will result in the following:

  1. Improved milk production and supply for breastfeeding mums
  2. Improved blood circulation
  3. Expel lochia (the vaginal discharge after giving birth containing blood, mucus, and tissue)
  4. Reduced chances of the womb sagging
  5. Aiding the ‘lifting’ of the womb
  6. Reduced fat and slimming effects
  7. Toned and pre-pregnancy body shape
  8. Faster recovery from pregnancy and delivery
The Masseuse

Traditionally, the woman who would do the postnatal massage would be the village midwife (bidan kampong) who had years of practice and experience under her belt. Nowadays however, trained professionals are generally employed to massage the women. Most women in the confinement period are not allowed to leave their homes, or some choose not to, which is why these massages are usually done at home.

Traditional Malay Postnatal Practices

Tuku or Hot Stone Therapy

This is a ball shaped object that is heated and placed in a cloth. Today, round stones from the river are commonly used for this treatment. It is used as a massaging tool typically before or after a morning shower. The heat aids in circulation and gentle massage allows for spreading the heat into the body.

Mengurut Badan

This is the actual massage of the traditional Malay postnatal practices. This involves massage of the entire body, sometimes starting from the feet all the way up to the neck and ears. A lot of emphases is paid upon the stomach area. Massaging the entire body is believed to fasten the recovery time and make sure the body retains its pre-pregnancy state. This massage is generally after the Tuku and is practiced multiple times a week.

Barut or Berbengkung

This is made of soft cloth and much like a tight corset, is tied around the mother’s waist. It is believed to help the mother regain her previous figure.

Other Practices

Other practices such as Salai, Air akar kayu, and Pantang makan dan minum.

Salai is a very uncommon practice in which a woman is made to lie on a wooden board under which charcoals are slowly burning in a dish.

Air akar kayu is a practice in which drinks are made using traditional herbs. These are believed to help the mother’s recovery.

Pantang makan dan minum is the practice of refraining from certain foods or drinks that are believed to be harmful to the mother.

Body Massage Techniques

Breast Massage

A breast massage is included and is believed to increase blood flow to the breasts. This is related to more milk production and less swelling if there is any. Breast massages are also believed to unblock any previously blocked milk ducts.

Full Body Massage

Including all the practices such as the Tuku and Barut, the Mengurut Badan, or the postnatal massage complements the practices and makes for a very pleasant and beneficial experience. Traditionally trained masseuses massage the entire body to make sure that the circulation is increased; the client is less tense, and all veins are straightened out.

Abdomen Massage

Special attention is placed upon massaging the abdomen area. This is believed to reduce the fat and help the mother regain her body shape. Most women see slimming results and reductions in their waist lengths


The traditional Malay postnatal massage has decades of experience and history behind it, which is why it is still being practiced today, in even the urbanest settings. It has proven to be beneficial to a lot of new mothers and is still, to this day, a common practice among Malay and non-Malay mothers.

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Services Purchased: 7 Sessions Postnatal massage
Quality of work: Good
Professionalism of service person: Excellent
Would you recommend us? Yes
The masseuse professionalism is superb. She would target on my needs in massage and is willing to do sharing.

Lim Joee

December 26, 2016

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