Monday, December 21, 2009

Jamu Spa

From the misty fields of Bali, rice farmers would return to their village homes where they’d apply a hand-crushed spice paste (called ‘boreh’ in the Indonesian language) to their legs and feet, often leaving it on overnight. While boreh recipes vary from household to household, a key warming ingredient prevails -- ginger root - good for relieving muscle and joint ache, warming the body and increasing blood circulation. Taken internally, ginger also aids in digestion and soothes nausea.

Not long ago, in my home in New Jersey, I spent a cold autumn evening experimenting with this powerful warming ingredient. The ginger ritual was translated from Indonesian tradition by Kim Collier, founder of JAMU Asian Spa Rituals, first to introduce Indonesian healing remedies to the west. Standing naked in my bath, I mixed a body paste (a combination of ground spices, herbs and rice powder) with JAMU Ginger Spice Organic Massage Oil and warm water, then gently painted it onto my body. After reclining under mounds of blankets, I slipped next into a warm bath laced with flower petals and JAMU Ginger Spice Bath and Shower Gel, ending my hour-long ritual by applying more nourishing JAMU Organic Ginger Spice Massage Oil to my still-moist skin. Reclining once more, and sipping a cup of hot ginger tea, I felt both warm and deliciously fragrant -- my skin reminiscent of a gingersnap cookie, fresh from the oven.

Recreating this experience in your home is easy, and will go a long way in helping you stay warm and glowing into a healthy new 2010. Simply follow Kim Collier’s bliss-out bath and shower recipes.

1. Blend JAMU Ginger Spice Body Hand and Foot Scrub with ½ tsp. fresh-grated ginger
2. Step into warm shower
3. Vigorously scrub the body - effectively cleansing and exfoliating the skin, and increasing blood circulation.
4. During the scrub, breathe deeply - and take time to smell the ginger as this will warm your body and increase chi
5. Rinse thoroughly
6. Step out of the shower and lightly massage JAMU Ginger Spice Organic Massage Oil onto still-moist skin.
7. Throughout the day apply JAMU Ginger Spice Hand and Body Lotion to arms and neck as a quick ‘pick-me-up;‘ on hands and feet (especially before bed) to moisturize.

FOR A WARMING BATH (as excerpted from the October 2009 issue of SPA Magazine):
For boreh paste:
4 tsp. sandalwood powder
2 tsp. whole cloves
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1-2 tsp. rice powder (available at
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. JAMU ginger spice oil
1 tsp. galangal water (place shredded galangal root in water, let soak overnight, and then strain; galangal root available at

To make the paste:
Grind together the first 7 ingredients using a mortar and pestle. Add the ginger spice oil and galangal water to make a thick paste. If you cannot tolerate a strong heat sensation, add more rice powder.

1. Draw a warm bath with flower petals (I purchased organic petals at my local supermarket for just $1.99), and JAMU Ginger Spice Bath and Gel.
2. Designate a place to lie down and relax while the boreh paste is drying.
3. Apply a thin-layer of boreh paste to cover the skin
4. Wrap naked in a blanket and rest 20 minutes
5. Soak in the warm flower and ginger bath (20 minutes or so)
6. Briskly apply JAMU Ginger Spice Oil working from your feet toward your heart
7. Finish your ritual with a blessing or prayer.

Kim Collier, Founder, JAMU Asian Spa Rituals; and Shari Mycek, spa writer and lover of all things JAMU

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