Yu-Fai: the Thai way of healing after birth

A certified expert on Yu-Fai, a traditional Thai treatment of postpartum confinement speaks about this unique way of healing.

Yupaporn Thongkam – also known as Ae – Ae has over 20 years experience in helping new moms to get better after birth. We interviewed her to learn more about this 5 day treatment to help mom’s recover mentally and physically after giving birth. 

What is it?
Yu-Fai is a traditional Thai post childbirth treatment that helps moms recover faster. Female body goes through a lot of stress during pregnancy and after childbirth. Yu-Fai treatment serves as a way for your body and mind to relax after all that hard work.

The 8 steps of Yuu-Fai
There are eight steps we follow in a single Yu-Fai session.

  1. Medical history: A good practitioner would examine your health and medical history before and during pregnancy to find out if there’s any process they need to avoid or adjust the treatment to your need.
  2. Herbal bath: Then we start with a short herbal bath.
  3. Warm brick and salt compression: We apply compressions from brick and salt on the chest to help with your milk flow, on the belly to help heal the uterus, and on the body to help with aching around the waist, shoulders and back. This takes 3 hours.
  4. Fresh herbal compression: Compressions with fresh herms have a relaxing smell that can help relieve pain, soreness and inflammation.
  5. Oil massage. A massage with pure cold pressed sesame oil can return moisture to your skin. Most pregnancies would cost dry skin.
  6. Herbal Sauna: Steam from boiled herbs help increase blood flow and help push toxins out through sweats. This process also helps alleviate the chilliness some moms experience after childbirth.
    Mothers that went through natural birth would go through an extra process on this stage called ‘Nang-Tan’ or sitting on Charcoal, using grass with repairing qualities mixed with Notch leaves, placed on heated bricks. The herbal steam helps heal the wound and decreases vaginal discharge.
  7. Herbal scrub. The scrub helps rejuvenate skin cells, cleanse and remove dark spots on skin.
  8. Placing heat on the stomach: Warm up your body for relaxation and drive out remaining amniotic fluid. 

I adjust these  steps according to each woman’s specific needs and health condition.

What are the difference between moms that did natural birth vs c-section?
I strongly support natural birth. From my experience working with after birth treatment, mothers that choose natural birth produce more milk for the baby and recover faster. They can start Yu-Fai 7 days after giving birth or as soon as the wound is healed, with the mentioned extra charcoal process. Whereas C-section moms must wait 30 days after giving birth to start their Yu-fai as it takes longer for their body to heal.

The duration
Yu-Fai experts will evaluate your health and design a suitable time period for your treatment. The process usually takes at least 5 days or more.

Caution
Moms who have experienced preeclampsia or have high blood pressure are not advised to do Yu-Fai or should have the treatment under doctor’s supervision.

What are the benefits?
Most moms usually feel the difference as soon as they have the treatment. The stomach, bottom, back and hip will become smaller and the swellings will stop. Yu-fai helps adjust your hormone balance which will help relieve the mood swings and baby blues. The treatment relaxes both your body and mind and provides an opportunity for you to have someone to share your worries with. A Yu-Fai expert can help educate new moms on how to take care of herself, her newborn and how to relieve stress.

Why do you love working with new moms?
One of my favourite experiences is seeing a mother recover from her baby blues after right her Yu-Fai treatment. They got to relax and really talk to someone and went back to their laughing happy self. Seeing new moms producing healthy breast milk for their babies makes me feel happy.

What are most new moms worried about?
Most of them worry about not being able to produce enough milk for the baby. My advice is to try breast feeding as much as you can.

For moms that can not get Yu-Fai treatment, what should they do?
Try to provide warmth for your body. Take a warm bath, drink warm water, soup or use a heat pack on your stomach. 

We thank you for your time and giving us these helpful insights into your profession. 

If you live in Thailand you can reach Khun Ae on her phone: 081-304-1406

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