Bengkung is a Malay traditional art of postpartum belly-binding. It is a process where the belly is tightly bound by a long piece of cloth in a criss-cross manner.
Birth parents are encouraged to use the bengkung immediately following a natural birth, or 4-6 weeks after a cesarean delivery (when the incision has healed, and of course, with your health provider's approval). During that period, the postpartum hormone, known as the relaxin is also released in the body, and it increases the elasticity and size of the connective tissues around the abdomen.
Other known benefits of wearing the bengkung includes:
reducing the duration of postpartum bleeding
supporting the abs and promotes an upright posture, especially when nursing
reducing postpartum lower back pain
reducing postpartum contraction pain in the uterus
boosting the birth parents' self-esteem, especially in dealing with postpartum 'jelly belly'
The underlying beauty of wearing the bengkung is the fact that it is highly customizable. You are able to tighten and loosen it on any part of your body wherever you feel comfortable, working gently through your healing. More importantly, the bengkung is comfortable when worn for long periods of time, allowing you to go about in your daily activities. I encourage my clients to wear the bengkung for 8-12 hours daily, at least during the first 40 postpartum days.
The bengkung can be worn with or without the warming herbal paste. The latter is a concoction of organic spices including cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and turmeric, all known for their anti-inflammatory and the promotion of blood circulation properties. Alternatively, one can also apply organic essential massage oils instead of the warming herbal paste prior to putting on the bengkung.
Beyond the first 40 days of postpartum, or even months after delivery, birth parents can still benefit from the healing support of wearing the bengkung. It is never too late to start! If you're curious and have more questions about bengkung belly-binding, drop me an email! :)