Sanhujori is an exclusive Korean service for mothers and newborns (Joriwon, choriwon, postpartum/postnatal clinic)
Last updated date: 04-Jan-2022
4 mins read
Sanhujori is the Korean system of care for mothers postpartum offered at choriwons (postpartum care clinic), a culturally specific form of postnatal care while in confinement. Sanhujori includes consuming serviced healthy foods, daily exercise and warming up the body. Many facilities have optional services such as massages and classes on how to take care of your newborn right on premises. It is a very convenient and safe place to be right after childbirth with your baby with access to any healthcare needs either within the facilities (such as the renowned CHA Hospital) or within a short reach should any emergencies arise. It is a system focused on the overall well-being of the mother and child during the most critical times immediately after birth. Many women recover faster and with less stress having all their immediate needs taken care of by a professional staff solely focused on the rapid recovery of the mother and child after birth. Just about every mother in Korea undergoes the sanhujori process in order to be able to return to normal as soon as possible with the care provided by the serviced facility. Family and friends are able to visit during the day while all the routine work of a daily schedule is eliminated during the process in order to allow the mother to recover most efficiently and stress-free.
The sanhujori period typically lasts approximately from one week to a month. In a pre-modern society, sanhujori services were provided by the family members of mothers. However, the traditional extended family system has been broken up with the current modern daily life and the services began to be offered by private postpartum centers (sanhujoriwon or simply joriwon). People in Korea believe that sanhujori has a significant positive impact on the women’s life-long health conditions and mothers who do not go through the sanhujori process may be more prone to developing a range of issues, such as joint inflammation, urinary incontinence, low blood pressure, and depression.
The main tenants of sanhujori emphasize activities and foods that keep the body warm, rest and relaxation to maximize the body’s return to its prior normal state, maintaining cleanliness, eating nutritious foods, and peace of mind and heart.
Eating beneficial sanhujori foods. To facilitate recovery after childbirth, many Korean mothers consume the specific type of Korean traditional cuisines, which is often classified as "sanhujori foods." Common characteristics of sanhujori foods are summarized as being soft, warm, and refreshing while cuisines with spicy flavors are perceived to be bad for the postpartum period and thus avoided. Among a variety of sanhujori cuisines, seaweed soup is a staple food consumed by Korean mothers. Seaweed soup contains a great deal of omega-3 fatty acids, i.e., polyunsaturated fatty acids, and ample mount of iodine, which helps to accelerate the recovery time of mothers. Other than seaweed soup, Korean women also eat a variety of traditional dishes, such as a pork bone soup, ray fish soup, and dried cod soup.
Keep one's body warm. To keep their body warm, Korean mothers avoid cold temperatures and cold foods such as ice cream and cold water. Staying indoors and refraining from outdoor activities is perceived as one of the effective ways to keep the mother's body warm. Even exposure to a cold breeze caused by the shutting of doors is a taboo in the period of the sanhujori practices. If a mother fails to keep their body warm, it is traditionally believed that she will become vulnerable to sanhubyung, which means a life-long illness after the postpartum period.
Daily stretching, massages, and physical exercise. Childbirth tends to lower the immunity of mothers, and they may have pains and swellings in their bodies. During the postpartum period, Korean mothers partake in stretching and massages to relax and strengthen their bodies. It is believed that 30 minutes of exercise, per day, is beneficial in helping the bladder and pelvic muscles recover rapidly. Many Korean mothers undergo the sanhujori practice to lose the bloated body weight which commonly happens after childbirth.
Childcare education. Many choriwons will offer classes for new mothers on how to best take care of the newborn with information on various childcare issues as well as information on products and services that are offered or recommended. If you want to fully experience childbirth in Korea, it is a must to include sanhujori services to experience what Korean mothers have known for a long time – a great way to quickly recover and return to normal from the difficult childbirth process.
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