Oukup, Natural Spa and Medicinal Treatment the Batak Way
The Batak ethnic groups living in North Sumatra have long realized that nature is not only man’s main source of life but it also provides precious medicinal cures. Traditional natural treatments – in modern days called Spa – have long been part of daily life in Central Tapanuli, in Sibolga, Simalungun and even on the island of Nias. Here, the Batak traditional Spa treatment is known as Martup or Oukup.
Since the past, Batak women have relied on Oukup as the most effective way to to cleanse the body after giving birth, to improve blood circulation, and fantastic for getting rid of excess fat and eliminate body odour. Traditionally, special herbs are carefully picked and collected then boiled in water. The boiling water is then placed in a pail or open receptacle to steam, and a seat placed on it, where the girl will be sit down wrapped in cloth, for her body absorb its steam.
In doing so, her body will soon relax completely starting from her feet to the tips of her fingers, her spine and her head. Her body will perspire and detoxified and rid toxic substances as the now medicinal steam envelops her and enters her body through her opened pores. This traditional treatment will give three beneficial effects. These are complete relaxation and the body reinvigorated; in the short run muscle pain will be reduced. In the long run, when treated regularly it will heal many ailments at the same time rejuvenate the skin. If you wish to try out the Oukup Traditional Spa Treatment in Jakarta, do visit Gaya Spa at Jalan Wolter Monginsidi No. 25 at Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta. When in Medan, you will be able to find these traditional herbs, drinks and other medicinal treatments of the Batak Oukup in various of Medan Spas.
Handed down for generations, some of Indonesian authentic traditional spa treatments are still practiced until today and have made their way into the modern spa and wellness scene alongside other popular methods around the world.
One of the most unique is the Bakera treatment of the Minahasa ethnic group living around Manado, capital of North Sulawesi. This is a traditional treatment especially applied on women to stay healthy and keep in shape after giving birth.
Bakera is specifically aimed to tighten the female’s reproductive organs. Minahasans call this “bakancing” which is to tighten and bring back elasticity to the female’s reproductive organ after it slacked in the processes of pregnancy and giving birth.
The Bakera treatment releases excess blood and other unwanted substances. Stiff and loose muscles will be stimulated back to their initial state to allow the mother to take care of her newborn baby in perfect health. Additionally the Bakera is believed to bring fresh brightness to her face replacing its former paleness.
Bakera uses 20 natural ingredients where 40% of which are medical herbs that include, clove leaves, banana leaves, mango leaves, betel leaves, dukung anak, balacai leaves, Sesewanua leaves, tawaang leaves, and beluntas leaves. These natural substances will give the effect of increasing the body’s immunity, reduce pain and aches, stimulate a quiet and relaxed feeling, and eliminate germs.
The treatment also involves many herbs and aromatic ingredients such as pandan leaves, orange leaves, gongers, cinnamon leaves, garlic, and nutmeg. Additionally, 20% of fruits are used especially the lemong suangi to heat up the body, along with soursop leaves and guava leaves. All of the ingredients (fruits, flowers, leaves, and roots) are then boiled, and a stone is heated until it becomes reddish.
The lady applied the Bakera treatment will sit in a chair covered with only a piece of cloth. Then, the pot with the boiled ingredients is placed under the seat. The stone is also placed in front of the chair and is poured with the water of the boiled potion which releases steam and aromatic heat. The process takes some 30 minutes.