Post-partum confinement is a traditional practice largely amongst the east asian descent as a mean of recovery from childbirth, typically for a duration of one month. Being a chinese, I am too, not spared from the pressure to conform to confinement practices. To be honest, I’m a skeptic of Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) reason being I’m a practicing nurse of the western medicine, and medicine to me is all about scientific proofs and evidence from research.
So for my first confinement, I only followed the ‘rules’ vaguely and I only do it because of the pressure I get from people around me. I took confinement meals (because my dad diligently cooks and delivers it to my house twice daily, so must eat right?) and took herbal baths(because my dad bought a whole lot of herbal bath packs for me, so must use right?). That’s all. When no eyes are looking, I became a rebel. I didn’t wear slippers nor long pants, I wash the dishes and bathe the baby and my dog. After which I proudly told people I feel perfectly fine even without doing a proper confinement. I wouldn’t dare to say that now after I have been through my second confinement differently with proper care from Madam Partum.
Let me first give you some brief information about the principles of TCM and an introduction of Madam Partum. TCM is one of the world’s oldest forms of medicine and is still largely practiced by the Chinese today. One important perspective of TCM is that pregnancy and childbirth greatly deplete the Qi and blood from the mother’s body and thus requires a confinement period to recuperate from the toils. There is a saying that the vitality of the mother is closely linked to the quality of care she had during confinement and her originally poor constitutions can be bolstered if she does it well. The reverse is also said to be true. For the traditional Chinese confinement, this would involve taking a lot of herbs, well-balanced meals, and adhering to certain ‘rules’.
Madam Partum is a new arm of Chien Chi Tow, a well known TCM healthcare provider which I’m sure many of us would have heard about. They have nearly 50 years of establishment in Singapore and has 12 outlets around the island. Madam Partum is specially catered towards pre and post-partum care and recuperation for mummies through TCM. They have a strong team of certified female therapists who are not only professional in their Tui Na techniques but also medically trained.
Led by a very poised and pretty mama, Yen, who is a testimony herself. I mean, just look at her!
So I took up Madam Partum’s holistic post-partum package which consists of two main components- the 28 days herbal treatments(soup, tea, and bath packs) and the post-partum massage.
Image Credit: Madam Partum
Holistic post-partum package
1. 28 days herbal treatments(soup, tea, and bath packs)
The herbal soup, red date tea, and herbal bath packs all come individually pre-packed for daily consumption that will last you through 28 days of confinement. There is an overall instruction slip on how to cook the soup and tea that came with the whole box of herbs and there are also individual slips inside each herbal soup pack that states its ingredients, benefits, and suggested preparation.
Look at how fresh the herbs are! I was told that the herbs were freshly packed prior to the delivery date.
As you can see, every pack is labeled with the exact day you should consume it, really idiot proof. They are sequenced in such a way that it meets the health needs of the mother at different stages of confinement. The first stage is to detox, clears lochia and heals wounds; the second stage is to repair tissues and condition internal organs; the last stage is to nourish and build health. Personally, I am completely clueless on all these traditional confinement things, what herbs I should eat and how much I should eat those, much less the sequence of taking them. If you leave it to me to sort it out myself, I would have screwed it up so bad, so these pre-packed herbs are really god-sent. It is super convenient especially if you are doing a DIY confinement.
You just have to remove the herbs from the pack, rinse it, and boil it for about an hour. Additionally, you can throw in the meat of your choice to make it part of your meal. For myself, I prefer to drink it neat. The soups are easy on the taste buds to my surprise; mostly are sweet tasting. I was a little bit afraid to commit myself to consume herbal soups for 28 days initially because I always had the impression that herbal concoctions are yucky and difficult to down, but lucky it was not!
The herbal bath smells pretty good and won’t leave you reeking with a strong herb smell. With all the perspiration during confinement, these specially formulated bath packs make me look forward to taking my daily bath without worrying about “trapping wind” and smelling like a walking herbal shop.
2. Post-partum massage
They have the 7, 10, and 14 sessions package that you can choose from. The more sessions you take up, the cheaper it is per session. The massage sessions can take place at any Chien Chi Tow’s outlet or in the comfort of your own home. For home service, they would bring a portable massage bed along with a personal set of towels.
My Therapist Min Ling usually starts the session off with lactation massage followed by tummy and then moving on to the rest of the body. You can let your therapist know specific areas you have issues with and she will help you to treat those spots. The lactation massage uses the TCM approach to boosts blood supply to breast tissues for healthy function and unclogs blocked ducts. During my first session, my therapist told me that I have some blocked ducts and I was really shocked because I don’t feel it, or rather, I never knew how it felt like until she unclogged it for me. I could feel the difference in the softness of the breasts and what is even more amazing is I managed to pump out twice the amount of milk after feeding compared to the day before. Hands up all the breastfeeding mamas who feel like you’re on the top of the world when you see an increase in your milk supply! And if you’re wondering what kind of pain I went through to get those ducts unblocked, you’ll be surprised that it was actually a painless experience for me. I have heard many scary stories of breast massage that uses a lot of strength and kneading techniques to unclog milk ducts that leave mummies screaming in pain albeit successful. Maybe because my condition was mild, but still, it’s without a doubt that the techniques she used have effectively resolved the issue minus the pain. I asked her if this same technique could help severely clogged ducts and she affirmed that it can but would require stimulation of more acupressure points on the back and probably need more time than in my case.
As for the tummy massage, she would always make sure I was not having pain before proceeding to exert pressure on the points. My uterus was reduced to normal size by the 5th session. After the completion of 10 massage sessions, I can say that my tummy is back to the pre-pregnancy state. Sorry that I have no flat tummy photos to flaunt because my tummy is not flat ever since I had my first child hahaha! I can only say that the bulge is back to the same size prior to my second pregnancy LOL. For your info, I had Jamu massage during my first confinement, it still left me with a paunch after that even though so many mummies raved about its effectiveness. Oh, and if you are wondering what are the differences between Jamu massage and TCM Tui Na, I can explain a bit here.
Jamu vs. Madam Partum’s Tui Na
Both of these are quite similar in terms of the intended outcome- to aid in the healing and reduction of the uterus. However, the techniques, herbs used, binding methods, and the interval between sessions are different. Jamu massage comprises mainly of kneading and stroking techniques while Tui Na involves stimulation of specific acupressure points to relieve aches and other ailments. Apparently, I have some problems with my sacral spine and shoulders, which resulted in misalignment of my back that I didn’t realize until she pressed on those points. She could also tell that I did not do a proper confinement the previous time base on my symptoms and troubled spots. Eventually, she managed to correct all those problems within the course of therapy but she also recommends that I continue to go for regular Tui Na for my back as maintenance.
Jamu massage applies herbs or oil to the tummy before binding with a long cloth called bengkung whereas Tui Na does not. Madam Partum provides an optional 3-piece abdominal corset that works like a binder that keeps the internal structures together and at the same time serve as a lumbar support. The bengkung requires some techniques to be tied, so I usually keep it on for as long as I until I cannot tolerate because there’s no way I can put it on myself. And I tend to take it off after awhile because I find that it causes quite a bit of discomfort when I breastfeed due to my short torso as with all other binders. The good thing about the 3-piece corset is I can take it off anytime I want and put it back when I want to because it is easy to manipulate.
As opposed to Jamu, Madam Partum’s Tui Na massage sessions are spaced a few days apart to allow the muscles and tissues to rest. At first, I thought the rest period was not necessary and that it is crucial to have the massage completed as early as possible because I had the perception that the body is betting on the golden period to recover and slim down. I believe there is some truth to that, but I also feel that my body needed the rest after Tui Na because the troubled spots were really sore for the next few days after the session.
Apart from the lactation and tummy massage, the therapist also addressed my longtime sacral spine and shoulders issues and helped correct my body misalignment. I haven’t heard of any other post-partum massage that can help achieve this! Massage aside, I have also built a good rapport with my therapist because she’s so motherly and genuine, we can talk about anything! I will definitely look her up again soon for more Tui Na sessions.
Overall I’m very impressed with the holistic post-partum recovery package by Madam Partum, like how well the consumption of herbs and the incorporation of TCM massage has more than effectively made me bounce back to health in a short duration. I felt like I struck gold and I cannot believe that this method is so underrated!! For mummies who are expecting, you should seriously consider taking up Madam Partum’s confinement recovery package. Please also feel free to leave any questions in the comments or PM me if you wish to know more about their products and/or services! You can also visit their website http://www.madampartum.com for more information.
Disclaimer: This is an unpaid post of which I received their products and services for review. The above is written purely out of my own experience and opinion.