Posts Tagged ‘kerokkan’

Kerokkan and Masuk Angin

September 1, 2010

I think this treatment is unique to Indonesia.  You can see in the clip, one guy is applying minyak gosok (rubbing oil) on his friend, then he uses (traditionally) an old coin to brush it in.  The brushing action causes the patient’s skin to go red.  The redness can last a few days but it’s not sore and the treatment doesn’t hurt. 

They usually do it in a pattern, similar to what you see here, and it’s typically done on a person’s back but it can extend to the neck, arms and legs.   Sometimes, when you’re in a mall, standing behind someone on the escalator, you might see kerokkan marks on the back of their neck.

Kerokkan can be used to treat many different illnesses and you might use a different oil for different sicknesses, although there are many oils which claim to cure almost everything.  The main thing which it is used for is masuk angin “entry of air into the body”, or chills.  It seems that Indonesians are quite suseptable to masuk angin, which is why they try never to shower after dusk and always close every window they see open, regardless of how crowded and hot the bus may be.  For some reason you can’t get a chill from having the air conditioning at sub zero temperatures.

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