Bakera: Traditional Spa of the Minahasa, around Manado

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.


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