Believe me or not? My now husband was so surprised when I talked about blood test before marriage, and he responded ‘What a weirdest thing I have come up with’. Having blood test before marriage has never been a law or custom for Cambodia at all. However, this norm started in 1991 since HIV first detected in Cambodia. A different story was told when I was young that it started when UNTAC stepped into Cambodia. It was an economic boom conditions resulting from the stability following Paris Accords 1991.
HIV/AIDS in Cambodia: HIV and AIDS are easily confusing as they always go together. To make it clear, HIV is virus and AIDS is a condition. While Cambodia is known as the country with highest infection rate of HIV/AIDS in Asia with an estimation of 20,000 of AIDS death and 180,000 of HIV infection. It increased steadily from 1991 to 1998 by 2 percent. The main causes to this epidemic are the low income society experience rapid growth and the particular sexual behaviour patterns. Though the HIV/AIDS rate continue decreasing until recent (with preventions and education) but the number in data tend to remain high.
Family is considered as foundation. We Khmer value so much on family, and we strongly attach to our extended family members, closed neighbours and friends. Each person commonly has certain lifelong expections including roles and responsibilities toward family. ‘REAP BEFORE YOU SOW’ also known in Khmer as ‘TVER SRAE OY MERL SMAO, TOK DAK KON CHAO OY MERL PAO SANDAN’ is commonly popular proverb that is quite practical among elderly people to cautiously look into their children’s future partners in order to avoid any disappointments in relationship. The elders will look at their children’s partner’s behaviour, responsibilities, and family history.
The blood test is not only done to check just HIV/AIDS but also Tuberculosis (TB) or Hep. A and B. After children’s partners are thoroughly pass all elders’ criteria, they will be asked to do blood testing. Therefore, since 1991 onward, negative blood test result means you are passing the final stage of proposal and ready to get marriage approval.
Until today, the blood test may be optional to some families. Therefore, don’t be surprised in case you propose to one of any Khmer ladies and will be asked to do blood test. I don’t think now people will strictly adhere this sort of norm anymore, and hopefully Covid won’t make a new norm to marriage approval.
Contraception shouldn’t be a topic for only married women talk about, it should be for everyone including girl teens. If contraception isn’t included in curriculum, it should be a topic within mother-daughter or father-son conversation as a part of life knowledge. In Cambodia, there might be no sex education due to the strict tradition toward virginity value and value of women’s rules, but in school curriculum, the reproductive health has been added in. As sex education can now publicly and secretly travel faster in any ways than contraception education, to my view, all teens, especially girl teens should be taught to familiarise of this. Yes, it may sound awkward and uncomfortable to parents, but the accurate information of this type of topic can lead to reduction of unhealthy relationship, unwanted sex from sexual assaults, unplanned pregnancy or getting STIs (Sexually Transmissible Infection). Every contraception does have its pros and cons, but it’s better planned ahead than regret. There is a wide range of contraceptions to choose from and to suit their bodies and lifestyles, but the most popular modern contraceptive methods in Cambodia are pills and injection. In this post, I’m gonna show you briefly the pros and cons of available contraceptions in Cambodia, and hopefully these reaches to teenagers, both in urban and rural areas to familiarise about it. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I’m encouraging teens for sex, but it’s encouraging knowledge for teens’ protection and decision, just in case they may be facing sexual assaults or accidentally involving in secret sex which end up being young parents or having abortion.
They are the only most common methods of birth control and prevention of STIs (Sexually Transmissible Infection). They are available in both male and female versions. Female condoms may be not only as effective as the male ones but it’s also taking time to practice and getting used to them.
Where it is applied: female condoms are internally inserted inside the vagina while male ones are externally insert on top of the penis.
Where to find: it’s over-the-counter at pharmacies and supermarkets, or healthcare NGO like Marie Stopes.
Duration: it’s only safe if everytime the condom use doesn’t have any leakage or it’s been used correctly.
Pros: it’s hormone free, easy to use on demand and carry with you anytime. The best thing about it is prevention of STIs.
Cons: it can be easily torn off if not used properly. It contains Latex which is the ingredient some people may be allergic to.
Oral contraceptive pills
Where it is applied: it’s a tablet taking each day and everyday.
Where to find: generally it’s prescribed but In Cambodia, you can buy without prescription at pharmacies, or for safety, it’s good to consult with healthcare experts – Marie Stopes or any women health clinics.
Duration: it’s only effective if you take it regularly.
Pros: it’s highly effective if used correctly. It won’t only interrupt sex, but it may also reduce heavy period pain and give positive effects on hormonal acne.
Cons: if you forget to take it, you still have more chances to get pregnant. These pills are not suitable for those who can’t take oestrogen-containing contraception.
The contraceptive injection
Where it is applied: it commonly injects on the upper arms by trained healthcare providers.
Duration: it lasts between 3 to 10 years depending on the type (either progesterone hormone or plastic and copper)
Pros: the copper ones are 99% effective and the hormone ones are 99.8% effective, which are also long-lasting contraceptions. The good thing about it is it can be used as an emergency contraception within 5 days (120 hours) of unprotected sex.
Cons: it can lead to irregular bleeding or spotting for the first six months of use. It’s only safe to be done by trained healthcare provider for insertion and removal.
Birth control patch
Where it is applied: you can apply on buttocks, upper outer arms, lower abdomen or upper body, except breast areas or where it will be rubbed.
Duration: 1 new patch lasts 7 days (a week) and if 3 patches are used consistently and change weekly, the users can skip on 4th week without having pregnancy.
Pros: it’s a good option for young grown-up girls (teens).
Cons: it’s not suitable for women who are over 35 years-old, smokers, weighed over 198 pounds, or those who prone to blood clots, have had breast or uterus cancer, or take drugs for epilepsy. Not all women have problems, but you may experience nausea, headaches, rashes, tender breasts, mood changes and menstrual cramps.
It’s the last choice for both men and women who consider to end their pregnant chances permanently.
Where to find: you can access Marie Stopes for process and procedure consultation and treatment.
Pros: it is highly effective without affecting sex, hormone free, and lasts forever.
Cons: consider throughly before going to this surgery as you can’t change your mind.
If you think girls are better at multitasking than boys, then you are wrong. No one is good at multitasking.
Don’t just say I can’t find it: do the search, just like you search for thieves or rivals in the games.
Don’t complain that girls is like FBI: that’s because you train her at home by frequent saying ‘I can’t find it’ or it may be because she surprisingly feels weird if you acts suspicious or different.
Don’t complain that girls are talking too much if you know HOW to always put things back to exactly where they were and the origins they were in. Just make sure you put all the ingredients you pull out back to its spots after cooking, put dirty clothes in the right basket after wearing, or even put the dirty dishes right in the sink after eating. How simple and easy is that!
Don’t complain girls are taking too much time prepping before going out: if you want to have beautiful girl walking next to or accompanying you. Boys wouldn’t want messy ones, either, so just let her know the time to set off; that’s it.
Don’t complain why your wife is not now wearing makeup after having kids: if you only wake up and dress yourself up alone, you are not helpful enough to share responsibilities as husband and treating her good enough as a princess like before.
Don’t say I’m a man (just because you can’t just find or do things in the house), if you don’t wanna hear her annoyingly non-stop talking (because she is a woman).
Don’t say girls don’t do anything at home: if you don’t help cooking or cleaning the house. At least they don’t charge you for household chores including looking after kids.
Be honest with her from the start! Don’t say you love her if you are secretly or publicly intending or having someone else. If you are dating a new one, clear your relationship or marriage contract first before starting another one.
Don’t say educated girls are looking down on low or uneducated boys. That’s not true if you are capable and responsible for her or family.
Don’t say your wife has changed, even her body shape after having kid. Keep in mind that you are the reason.
Face tapping is so popular in Japan and South Korea for deep penetration of product applications. I do learn that it’s a gentler technique to the skin, and our skin will benefit more from any products we apply on. Face tapping is also known as face patting or slapping. Generally, face tapping or patting is considered to be pretty much the same thing, but I personally find that face patting is slower and gentler (for example, when you are face patting to dry after washing or shower) while face slapping is quicker and stronger (and even painful – used in facial massage), but face tapping is just in between these two. With this technique, you don’t need lots of amount of products – just small amounts and tap over gently.
Facial massage: Face tapping originated from Asia around 1320 as facial massage, known as anma in Japan or sen in Thailand (known as face slapping). However, face slapping isn’t as crazy as it sounds. It helps stimulate blood flow, aid cell rejuvenation through collagen production, helps with lymphatic drainage and toning muscles to firm the skin.
Product absorption: there is no specific data saying about how it bring absorption to the skin, as the products will sink into the skin, no matter what way you apply to. Anyhow, face tapping is a technique which uses less force so it’s more likely to have less inflicts with the skin and used as facial massage in conjunction with other products, rather than just massage oils.
Fighting wrinkles: It minimizes the chances of pulling or dragging on the skin, which results in less damage in skin structure. At the same time, it’s also believed to ease stress and promote better sleep.
What products to be tapped?
You can do face tapping with products like toners, serums, moisturisers, sunscreen and even makeup.
Serums and moisturisers: these are lightweight products so you just massage your face by tapping the products into the skin without dragging your skin. Around the eye areas, you simply need one ring finger to tap along and around the eye socket bones as the skin is more delicate than any other areas.
Sunscreen: most of sunscreen consistency are thick and greasy. If you apply too much products on the skin and rub it hard to push for absorptions, it’s time consuming and force using. Of course, the skin might look slightly red by the time it blends in. It’s actually best to just a small amount of sunscreen and tap it all over your face.
Foundation, concealer, and powder: these products may result in caky makeup if you rub or drag the products too much. Like sunscreen, that’s due to the thick and sticky consistency of foundation and concealer. It’s best to go with sponge tapping to achieve glowing blend-in skin, but sponge will absorb more products and require frequent cleaning, using brush will also help to do this job.
ការតប់មុខគឺមានភាពពេញនិយមនៅជប៉ុន និង កូរ៉េខាងត្បូងសម្រាប់ការជ្រាបចូលជ្រៅនៃការលាបផលិតផល។ ខ្ញុំយល់ឃើញថាវាជាវិធីមួយដែលថ្នមដល់ស្បែក ហើយ ស្បែកយើងនឹងទាញយកប្រយោជន៍ជាច្រើនពីផលិតផលនានាដែលយើងលាប។ ការតប់មុខ ក៏ត្រូវបានគេស្គាល់ថា face patting រឺ face slapping. ជាទូទៅ face tapping និង face patting ត្រូវបានគេស្គាល់ថាជារឿងតែមួយដូចគ្នា តែសម្រាប់ខ្លួនខ្ញុំផ្ទាល់ face patting មានលក្ខណៈយឺតជាង ហើយប្រើសម្ពាធរឺកំលាំងតិចជាង face tapping (ឧទាហរណ៍ពេលជូតមុខអោយស្ងួត បន្ទាប់ពីមុខទឹក) នៅពេលដែល face slapping មានលក្ខណៈលឿនជាង ហើយប្រើកំលាំងធ្ងន់ជាង (ហើយពេលខ្លះក៏ឈឺដែរ – ដែលគេច្រើនប្រើក្នុងការម៉ាស្សាមុខ) តែ face tapping គឺស្ថិតនៅចន្លោះកណ្តាលប្រភេទទាំងពីរនេះ។ ដោយប្រើវិធីនេះ អ្នកមិនចាំបាច់ប្រើផលិតផលច្រើនទេ ដាក់តែបន្តិចហើយតប់ថ្នមៗ។
It’s not surprising for women to put on impressive dresses or clothes showing off beautiful curve of body with outstanding expectations. To achieve the dream look, some of them prefer putting hip boosters (or hip support panties) to boost confidence and extra attention. Thus, how often and common women use it? For Khmer women, hip boosters are used quite frequent, especially in traditional costumes. You might wonder when they wear all these costumes. Ranking as first country with most holidays, (28 public holidays) in a year, you can imagine how busy we are (of course, with holidays) and how often we need to wear traditional costumes to represent the country and sometimes require traditional dancers to open up each of big events. Well, that’s not even including traditional events like weddings, as well as other religion- and tradition-related ceremonies (Bon Pa Chai Boun, Bon Pka Samaki, Bon Pers Sda Pram Pi Chob, etc.). Those who are invited to all of these events are traditionally required to wear traditional costumes. I myself have experienced all of these and it was no surprise for me to have hip boosters worn in my wedding though I didn’t want to. Having had this experience, I’m starting to question myself and eager to know what are behind this popular hip boosters, and it seems to make sense to me for 3 reasons.
Apsaras as the first models
Khmer Apsaras are described as beautiful female beings who came down to the Earth from heaven to give entertaining, blessing and enchanting dances to both kings and gods. They are also described as beauties to entrap mortals with nice curl of flexible hands in slow-paced and differently unique moves of fingers, which offer audiences mesmerising moments. The best thing I can narrate about Apsara is their nice hourglass body shapes – tiny waist with wider hips, dressing in elegant silk costumes, embellished in stunning jewelries, comprised of headdresses, precious earrings, necklaces, bracelets and anklets.
If you look at Apsaras in Angkor era, they have the same body shapes, except their dress features and dance movements. The two of Khmer women Devatas (Apsaras) – South and North Devatas of Sikhoraphm (now based in Thailand) are estimated with waist-hip ratio around .57 and .59 accordingly. These measurements of Apsara shows the perfect size of women and are considered this low waist-hip ratio as attractive women.
With Khmer Angkor historical events passed on for generations, we have now conserved those dances with the same imitation of dance costumes and movements. However, not all the modern Apsara dancers now would have their elegant body shapes with small waist and wide hips. To make this exact same body shape, hip boosters (or hip support panties) are commonly worn underneath the skirt to add on extra curves. Of course, these boosters really gain extra attention from audiences and extend the meanings of how beautiful Apsara dancers in Angkor Era would be. Because of these reasons, I notice that these boosters have now popularly been used in Apsara costumes and other types of traditional costumes.
Most attractive parts of all times
Naturally and scientifically speaking, women’s body shapes are created more curvy than men’s ones, and women’s body shapes are classified into 7 categories: triangle (pear), rectangles (straight or banana), diamond, inverted triangle (apple), oval (round), athletic and hourglass. Among all, the hourglass shape – perfect shape with the curves of small waist and wider hips – is proven to be attractive to men, as the research finds men are reliable signal of physical and sexual maturity in young women’. In addition to this, Khmer saying states that ‘those who have wide hips are fertile in child bearing’. It has both direct and indirect meanings. The direct meaning simply refers to women’s fertility and easy giving birth while indirect one refers to sex. Yet I don’t think hip boosters are related to direct meaning of childbearing (perception), instead they seems to involve more in indirect meaning which attraction can lead to have sex.
Just be once a princess in a lifetime
As mentioned above, having wider hips are attractive at all times and Apsara is the representation for the beautiful look in traditional costumes. Thus, you will see hip boosters (and even boob boosters) worn in wedding costumes for the whole process. They are like must-use boosters, which you will be strongly convinced to wear. If you ask those who have recently got married about hip boosters, I’m sure all of them would answer ‘Yes, they’ve worn them’. I’m also positive to the idea saying ‘who doesn’t want to be the most attractive princess on her day?’. I would love to! It’s the best day to make a remarkable relationship status change and officially announce the relationship to family, friends and others you know. Cambodian wedding is about details of each spiritual or ancestor dedication, education and representations of stages turning into couples, which requires 3 days or now approximately 2 days in short. The bride-to-be will go through experiences of wearing regular-changing costumes (pumped up with both boobs and hip boosters) with jewelry alteration sets to match them, especially lots of photos and videos taken to mark this absolutely auspicious days. The incredible photos and videos of impressive body shape in modernised traditional costumes with stunning makeup will also help promote wedding planners to attract more future brides to hire their services.
Therefore, if you happen to visit Cambodia or might know someone who get married in Khmer traditions, don’t be surprised with all these.
Lotus is a popular natural flower which I grew up to see it everywhere – markets, flower stores, along streets, temples, and farms or ponds. Since migrated to Australia, I really miss the liveable and busy street foods and shops, especially my mum’s cooking, with every part of lotus. Finding a place to resume my childhood and good memories I was growing up back at home is so relaxing and mesmerising. So far I have found two of places in Melbourne where I can easily reach – Melbourne Royal Botanical Garden and Blue Lotus Water Garden – gardens filled with lotus and water-lilies. Lotus is traditionally and scientifically proven to be useful for our everyday needs with its multi-functional benefits.
Beauty and strengthrepresentation: There is a popular Asian saying ‘a pond without lotus is like a home without women’. Lotus symbolises women and beauty. Impressively, there are more than 3000 Apsara dancers – beautiful female creatures that visit Earth from heaven to entertain both gods and kings with their enchanting dance – with and without lotus embellished with the stone walls of temples in Angkor era in Cambodia. These are the traditional Hindu representations of feminine beauty, elegance and refinement. Other cultures see the strong stem of the Lotus which supports the flower from underneath the water, as the strength of their family with an unbreakable bond.
Religions: Literally, lotus grows from muddy conditions in water but it rises to the top of water with strength and flexibility to form beautifully standout flower with sweet aroma. In Buddhism, it reflects a person’s determination and the cleansing process (after experiencing suffering) on how actual lotus grows. Noticeably, it also depicts detachments by reminding people to let go of desires as it is believed in the way water slides off lotus petals.
A similar pattern continues with Hinduism, the religion believing that the Lotus Flower represents the removal of unwanted energy, desires, material things and other undesirables.
Cosmetics: Lotus is found to be rich in anti-oxidants, anti-aging benefits and lightening the pigment. It is not only such a great ingredient for dry and flaky skin, but it also helps balance the oil production for acne-prone skin. The latest product of Skinstitut that I like the most is Lotus Tencel of face masks that are available for all four skin concerns – hydrating, brightening, calming and anti-ageing. Lotus Tencel in Skinstitut is a functional cellulose fibre modified by plant protein, which consists of active substances of lotus leaf and seeds extracts and cellulose. Those mask are made from lotus fibre which is bio-degradable and environment-friendly. One more thing is it’s good to use on hair too as it prevents hair greying and conditions the hair to keep it shiny and frizz control.
Fabrics: People now modernise lotus fibre into luxury fashion, and of course – during Covid period, it’s also designed as reusable face masks. Through a detailed process, the fibre from green and muddy stem are converted into white gold – shimmering threads of lotus fibre that is fast becoming coveted luxury and sustainable fabrics. There is one organisation that supports and empowers women through this handmade lotus-fibre fabrics production called Samotoa.
Food: Lotus is my favourite food at all times. I love it in every style of cooking – fried, stir-fried, salad, soup and even dessert. The seeds of lotus looks like the fruit of oak tree but taste so good – just my nutty snack (but not good for those with constipation), and they are fresh, boiled, and roasted – seasoned with different flavours. Of course, the roasted ones are not good for your teeth either – they are just too hard. Lotus grows wild in Cambodia and is also cultivated. We consume everything of lotus – nothing to be wasted ranging from the top flowers down to the stems and roots.
Decoration: Just like other flowers, it’s also used for decorations. You can adorn with closed or open lotus flowers, but it best suits with folding styles, or dry styles for long-term use.
Herbal Medicine: Cambodian people also use it as traditional medicines. According to Healthline, Lotus are used for:
Halt diarrhoea: soak lotus seeds in a warm water for a few hours and add rock sugar to your taste. Those who have constipation should avoid this.
Lower blood sugar and cholesterol: Lotus roots with fibre and carbohydrates to manage the blood sugar and cholesterol and maintain slow steady digestive process.
Relieve inflammatory: Lotus plumule containing polysaccharides have significant anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Minimise breakouts: add lotus to green tea and applying it to the face can significantly reduce the amount of sebum produced in glands.
Ease period pain: drink lotus roots or lotus soup (either leaves or roots) help regulate the menstrual cycle, stop excess bleeding and avoid anemia.
Soothe your cough: mix lotus seed powder with honey.
Lotus is a symbol of healing so lotus seed embryo is expected to be potentially able to kill and hinder the spread of lung cancer cells.
Differences between lotus and water-lily: Some people get confused over these two as they are very much a like. They both live in water and have the same benefits, but they are from different family flower. It can easily be distinguished between the two – the leaves and flowers of lotus are emergent, meaning that they rise above the water level while those of water-lily are floating.
Color of Lotus: Based on Buddhist symbols, there are 6 colors, which are pink, blue, red, purple, white and gold. Large pink lotus and large white lotus are common in Cambodia.
Red represents the emotional attachments to the heart – its purity, original nature, compassion, passion, love and other qualities.
White symbolises spiritual perfection and complete mental purity.
Pink represents the Buddha – history and legend of himself, and is the supreme lotus.
Blue means wisdom, knowledge and intelligence.
Purple means spirituality and mysticism.
Gold symbolises a complete and total enlightenment.
LIKE WATER OFF LOTUS LEAF- same meaning to old western saying ‘like water off duck’s back’ – emphasized that it’s not having effects on the person criticised.
Khmer old saying
What to do with lotus leaf? Before having plastic bag and with now plastic ban, Khmer people use it as an organic package bag for food and to wrap food for cooking. When I was young, it was commonly used to pack the freshly cooked Khmer noodles – Nom Banh Chok (នំបញ្ចុក).
Kjal is spelled the way how Cambodian people say it, while other sources may spell it in following the actual word as Kha-yal or Khyal meaning wind. Skin coining (Kos Kjal), cupping (Choob Kjal) and pinching (Chab Kjal) are all related to wind illness. The functions and purposes of these treatments are pretty much the same, but they are performed differently. Impressively, a study shows there are four types of Kjal: mild to moderate (normal Kjal), moderate to severe (blocked Kjal), severe (ripe Kjal), and life-threatening (mute Kjal).
Skin coining is (also known as Gua Sha) a healing traditional technique from ancient China but remain widely practical in China and Southeast Asia countries such as Indonesia (referred to Kerikan), Cambodia (referred to Kos Kjal – កោសខ្យល់) and Vietnam (referred to Cao Gio). It involves having hard objects – such as coin – as tool to massage and scraping skin in short or long stroke in order to stimulate microcirculation of soft tissue, increases blood flow, detoxify the body, relax muscle tensions, let the brain release endorphin – a chemical that has pain-relieving effect, and it’s also believed to get rid of body’s ‘heatiness and negative energies’ called Chi, which reduces inflammation and promotes healing. It’s commonly performed on a person’s back, buttocks, neck, arms and legs. You need massage oil, skin lotion or water applying over body to ensure smooth scraping on skin, but in Khmer way, we prefer using Tiger Balm or any sort of Chinese liniment oils. Nowadays it has a facial version that requires mild pressures and gradually increase the particular intensity which one can tolerate it. Skin coining is just the culture of Khmer people, but officially the Ministry of Health doesn’t recognize it as a treatment at all because it has side effects. I personally admit that I’ve still had it done till now, but not really often as before (as I am also ticklish).
Skin Cupping is also known as Choob Kjal which serves the same functions as coining does, but with cups in glass or silicone, which are now available in back alleys, traditional medicine clinics and resort spas and wellness centre. According to Asia Life Magazine, though it may be performed to promote common relaxation treatment, it is also now used to release stress, aches and pains, allergies, fatigue, flu, colds, anxiety, skin conditions and fever. In Cambodia, you can find a really good professional wellness centre called ‘Samanta Health and Wellness Studio’ which offers clients their standard cupping services in 4 forms: dry cupping, wet cupping, fire cupping and moving cupping. The good thing about it is it’s less painful than skin coining. My dad loved it! I notice that it’s more likely men than women to have these done so I suppose it may be because men can’t tolerate the pain and tickle of the skin coining. Another interesting thing is skin cupping has been a part of Khmer national tradition medicine.
Skin pinching (Chab Kjal) doesn’t require any tool at all. All what you need is your first and second fingers to pull upward hard on the skin which in turn caused bruises. It was often performed on the skin of the neck, back, chest and between the eyebrows, but Khmer people like to do it in between the eyebrows. Its effect is to heal headaches and dizziness. It’s also a ‘No, thank you’ for me.
Is it safe doing all those treatments? It’s a complicated answer as a study said Yes while others said No. Yes, if you do it right, but it’s a No if you don’t know the contraindications. It’s a bit hard as Khmer practitioners are not up to date with science. Thus, it’d be great to look for professional practitioner with license (more likely skin cupping practitioner) to have it done safely. The practitioner needs to sterilise the tools, just in case they break the skin. If not well-sterilised, the tool used on broken skin will lead to have skin infection.
It’s a cheapest way to heal fever, cold, headache or stomach pain, isn’t it? Though it’s proven to be helpful in relief for some symptoms but you shouldn’t only just rely on these and make an assumption because you don’t know what the underlying causes are. You’d better be off to see real doctors!
What are its benefits? It helps to relieve some symptoms like:
Hepatitis B: it may reduce chronic liver inflammation.
Migraine headaches: effective remedy for headaches.
Breast engorgement (a condition when breast overfill with milk): the study say it’s easy for women to breastfeed babies.
Neck pain: it works better than thermal heating pads.
Tourette syndrome: involuntary movements such as facial tics, throat clearing, and vocal outbursts. With Gua Sha,
Perimenopausal syndrome: the symptoms for this condition includes: insomnia, irregular period, anxiety, fatigue and hot flashes.
Does it have any side effects? Yes, it does.
Painful: It’s not supposed to be painful, but to Khmer people, if you don’t get that red or purple color, you’re gonna take all of the ‘bad wind’ or ‘negative energies’, and to have that, it requires lots of pressure. I’d say it’s a nice pain (discomfort) where one can handle.
Bruising: The same as what I mentions above about getting red or purple marks, these bruising will last for about 2-3 days up to a week.
Bleeding: It can happen due to the incorrect position of the tool on body, using too much pressure, or even on the skinny body or areas with more bones.
Indentation: swelling of the skin appears on the lines where the bruises are.
Keloid scars: It’s more likely to occur on sensitive skin or those with baby skin.
Is it good for skin? All of these treatments will leave you bruises, so I would personally say ‘No, it’s not good for skin’. However, I find facial skin coining is good as it simply works as gentle lymphatic massage, which won’t leave you any much bruises like body. It’s always best to find standard salon to have tools sterilise, otherwise, you will get skin infection. Skin pinching is a ‘No-No’ treatment as it doesn’t seem support skin in anyway, aside pulling skin hard to get bruises. That’s not how anti-aging massage can be done either. You can also imagine if you needed to join a party that required sleeveless or shoulderless dress/clothes, then those treatments are not good look to show off bruised skin.
Who can’t have it done?
Not everyone is eligible for this treatment. It’s not recommend to those who:
Have recent surgery: need to wait till the wound/scar heals at least 6 months
Take antiplatelet/anticoagulant medications or have issues with coagulation or platelet activity.
Use blood thinning medication
Have medical conditions affecting the skin or veins
Have deep vein thrombosis
Have an infection, tumor, or wound that has not fully healed
Have an implant, such as pacemaker, or internal defibrillator.
I know those treatments become cultural treatments for most Khmer people, including me. My recommendations to do it safely are knowing your conditions and contraindications whether you are suitable, try to not using much pressure on skin, just to fully expel the wind, and sterilise your tools before and after using to ensure your skin won’t get infected those. If you can, go to proper standard salon, pick either coining or cupping and obviously not skin pinching. Moreover, it’s always best to practice having massage over all those treatments.
I have grown up with the story myths taught and non-stop misconceptions explained throughout my entire childhood and teenage hood (and even after having kid). I’m sure I’m not the only one because all these things have been passing down from generations to generations. Some make sense and other don’t, but as Khmer kids, we simply got used to it. We seemed to believe in almost everything that was passed down, as science was not widely known or been broadly educated or advanced. Now, all those things become naked to me, and when I look at some of them, I sometimes laugh about how weird they are. Let’s have a look those myths and misconceptions and how it may or may not scientifically be explained.
1. Don’t eat lying down like crocodile: But seriously how do elders know crocodile can sit up and eat??That’s totally non-sense, isn’t it? It’s scientifically revealed that eating lying down is worse than eating sitting up or standing up – a vertically correct posture. Eating lying down can lead to bad indigestion, slower absorption of carbohydrates and increase the risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD). Though it was believed to be fashionable in ancients, but it was also pointed out the laziness within the powerful and wealthy people. How comes Khmer elders couldn’t never tell us the truth in direct words/ways?
2. Don’t sleep higher than elders, or Ta Phrum waters (hot) congee water over your head, and you become bald: In Khmer culture, we have a lot of norms around elder people. I believe this is just a lying norm that elders want kids to respect them. Traditionally, sitting higher than elders are considered to be rude or misbehaved. Thus, same goes to sleeping manner.
3. Eating chicken wings will make you fly, (or eating fish tail will make you swim): To my assumption, at that time chicken wings were simply considered just small tips of bony areas, which were not much nutritional. Imagine if we had the whole chicken with family, I wouldn’t happy either to have just only wings – I would expect at least for a drumstick. In that sense, if I’m not wrong, elder people were working hard outside the house or taking a majority of responsibilities in the house, while the kids were staying home learning or helping bits of pieces in the house. Rather than having food fight with kids, elders simply came up this lying to trick them to eat those wings in peacefully calm manner. I still remember in the past, chicken was like a luxury meat for food – expensive and not commonly available. I’m sure that’s because we didn’t have any sort of large scale farms or import yet, but we only had family-size scale, where my family raised them too. People also didn’t have much creative recipe with chicken wings, which are now the best parts for me (like KFC wicked wings 😋, YUM). This misconception or superstition is similar to the one in Korea saying ‘giving your husband wings to eat will make him fly away’. Yeah, the fish tails are considered the same thing to chicken wings.
4. Lightning, thunder and rain are the fighting between Mekhela and Ream Eyso: that sounds like a real epic! As kids, we enjoyed sitting down and listen to what elders told us a story and that was really interesting. Believe me or not? I would still enjoy telling this to my kid about this myths and the truth. This myths tales doesn’t only happen in Cambodia, but in other countries around the world like United Kingdom, and Africa. The fighting in the tale started when Mekhela received a crystal ball from her teacher, while other two – Vorachhun and Ream Eyso – received a magic dagger and a diamond axe. As a revenge out of jealousy of Mekhela, Ream Eyso killed Vorachhun by pushing down from mountain. He intended to kill Mekhela but realised Vorachhun wasn’t dead yet and he fought the two. The lightning occurred when Mekhala’s crystal ball flew into the air while Ream Eyso’s Diamond axe made rumbling noises which became thunder. When they made the sounds and flashes, water began to fall from the heavens and this became known as rain.
5. Reahu swallows the moon(known in Khmer as Reahu Chab Chan): it’s a Hindu myths but also a Khmer myths tale about eclipse. Reahu is spelled in the way Khmer calls it, but you might see it as Rahu in other sources. In the tale, Reahu drank the sacred milk called Amrita, and the sun and the moon reported it to Visnu. As a consequence, he was beheaded; however, to revenge, Reahu kept attacking the sun, while Ketu (Reahu’s body) attacked the moon. Therefore, the result of eclipse in this tale is the the revenge of Reahu to the sun and moon. As a matter of fact, the eclipse occurs as lunar eclipse – when the earth passes directly between the sun and moon and as sun eclipse – when the moon casts two shadow: umbra and penumbra.
6. Don’t eat sour food or fruit after giving birth, or you’ll get bladder leakage when getting older: In the past, elders just didn’t understand how their bodies get weaker and weaker for a number of children they carried, especially their pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, and commonly never had less than 6 children. I could tell this by looking at my great-great-grandparents down to my grandparents line. I believe that’s also because there was no any contraceptions available at that time and the common conceptions of ‘having more kids were more helpful than having one or two’. Almost all the elders I know experience bladder leakage when they get older and all of them told me the same reasons for eating sour food/fruits. Of course, none of them had done any exercise related to pelvic floor (but they didn’t even know what pelvic floor is). In fact, women require nutritional foods and fresh fruits full of vitamins, proteins, healthy fats and carbs after birth. Sour fruits are high in vitamin C, which is a part of compulsory nutrition for body. Doing exercises for pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are great support for preventing bladder leakage when getting older.
Some myths are still interesting to me up to now and some are just too ridiculous to carry on to my next generation. Anyhow, those becomes memories for me to sit down with family and friend and joke about it.
Tampons have been my best friend during my feminine moments in the last 7 years since I stopped using pads. It’s just so convenient, flexible to any movements, breathable and doesn’t get me stressed about the accidentally ashamed leakage. Of course, it’s completely a YES for G-string pair. When I first started using it, I really felt weird about it – everything about it – the look, the comfort, the side effects it may have, and even the way it is applied is looking like I am fingering myself (Excuse me!). Well, that was also when I began to wonder how tampons were designed like a sperm cell shape.
Brief History of Tampons
According to The Embryo Project Encyclopedia, the word ‘Tampon‘ was derived from primitive French word ‘tampion’ – meaning a cloth stopper. In ancient Rome, women made devices similar to tampons from wool, while ancient Indonesian women used vegetable fibers. Women in Africa made such devices from grass, and ancient Japanese women created similar devices from paper. Before it was well-developed like now, it had been developed through different forms with applicators such as glass, wood, wool, cotton, plastic, and cardboard. Now, we have digital tampons which can be inserted with a finger or a digit. In the 18th and 19th centuries, cotton tampons were designed with a string attached and first seen in Europe. Majority of them were used as contraceptive methods, which prevented or reduced the chances of sperm entering a woman’s reproductive tract to fertilise the egg. In early 20th century, tampons were used under prescriptions for non-menstrual vaginal discharge, and tampons were not available outside the hospitals as they were used for treating gynaecological infection or abnormalities in women. Later in 1913, tampons were developed by a male physician – Earl Haas – as feminine hygiene devices for absorbing women’s blood during menstruation by inserting into women’s vagina without touching their sex organs directly – which wouldn’t cause sex pleasure during using it or affect their hymen linking to virginity.
In 1945, digital tampons were advanced without applicator, but with a finger. During World War II, they were not only so popular among female athletes, actors, models, and sex workers, but it was also women in general due to labour positions in factories. Following this, it was upgraded into the shape of bullet with the string attached for easy removal from women’s vagina. During the 1970s, new popular varieties of tampons came in with deodorants and perfumes though there were some concerns about allergic reactions to those tampons. Now in the 21st century, the tampons are usually made of absorbent cotton and rayon, a synthetic diver and designed in various sizes depending on the flow ranging from light/slim/junior, regular to super/super-plus and ultra. Tampon now comes in cylindrical bullet with a string attached at the bottoms and with two disposable applicators – plastic and cardboard.
How to use: To insert a tampon with a plastic or cardboard applicator, the entire applicator barrel is inserted into the vagina until the plunger component is the only part outside of the woman’s body. The woman then applies pressure to the tampon plunger, inserting the tampon in the vaginal canal. Then, she removes the empty applicator. The tampon can remain in the body from four to eight hours, depending on the type. Tampons are disposable and meant for one-time use.
In short, it makes sense to me when tampons were designed by male specialists and previously used as contraceptions to reduce sperms from fertilising eggs. It’s more likely an artificial sperm cell into woman’s vagina. Plus, it’s convenient for physical activities and easy for removal. That’s how tampons end up in bullet or sperm cell shape.
I just wanna share you all about our feminine moments we all experience but don’t normally talk about it. Back in Cambodia in my generation, pads were so popular and until now I believe it still is. I’ve used it for about 20 years before I started using tampons. Now I am a tampon girl and I know how different they are from pads in some ways. Tampons are also available in Phnom Penh market though there are some taboos about it. In this post, I intend to introduce you to tampons and also show you the differences between pads (or known as sanitary napkins) and tampons. Don’t feel offended! You ladies have the choices to decide what you wanna go with, but just don’t be scared to experience what is more convenient or good to you.
Is it convenient? Yes, it is more convenient than tampons as it is externally used. You might not feel the pain at all, except the period pain itself. Now it is designed with or without wings and has its adhesive strip on the back.
Is it affordable? Pads are slightly cheaper than tampons. I believe it’s a great start-off for young starters, especially in period-poverty areas.
Is there any leakage? Yes and No. it’s be fine if you know well how to apply it properly in the right position of absorbance and change it regularly in every 4-6 hours depending on the flow, or choose the right type for the right flow you are having.
Can I do much physical activities? You can almost do all activities, except any activities in water. I’m sure we all don’t wanna soak pads in the water and see the colour change either.
Will I have any side effects using it? Yes, you probably get rashes that may lead to itchiness, swelling and redness as a result of irritation of something the pads are made from and the combination of moisture and heat causing bacteria buildup.
What types of clothes do pads go with? I find it goes with almost every clothes and undies, except G-string or any clothes/undies with more buttocks exposure.
How do I use it correctly and safely? To be safe, you gotta be smart in picking all-cotton pads or washable cloth pads, and change pads regularly and wear loose underwear.
Is it convenient? Nope, not at the first start. You may feel something stuck in your vagina. You may also feel uncomfortable due to incorrect insertion. Once you build up the confidence of how to insert it properly and habit of using it, you will definitely not go back to pads.
Is it affordable? Yes, I’d still say it is. Though they are just slightly expensive, they are cheaper than menstrual cups.
Is there any leakage? Same as pads, you will be okay if you apply it correctly in the right spot of absorbance, pick the right type of your flow and change it regularly in 4-6 hour interval. The good thing is if you put incorrectly, tampons are more manageable than pads so it doesn’t give you a bad leakage and alerts you quicker than pads.
Can I do much physical activities? Yes, absolutely. That’s the best part of using tampons. You can do all activities, including the ones in the water.
Do I lose my virginity using tampons? No, you don’t. They do stretch and sometimes destroy hymen, but they don’t violate girl’s virginity. Virginity simply symbolises to those who have never had sex before, and tampons are NOT related to sexual intercourse.
Will I have any side effects from using it? Yes! Unlike pads, you may be free from rashes, but you could possibly get a rare Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) – certain kinds of bacteria causing organ damage.
What types of clothes do tampons go with? It goes with everything, and perfectly matches with G-string and other types of clothes/undies with more buttocks exposures. Of course, you will experience breathable feeling using tampons and that’s what make me choosing them over pads now.
How do I use it safely? My recommendations to this are: following the instructions listed, washing your hands before and after use, only use them for period time and change in every 4-8 hour interval, using the lowest absorption range so you can change often, and contact healthcare provider if you have any symptoms.
In a summary, both are good, but tampons are simply taking over me and I can’t stop saying it’s good till you try it. You ladies!! It’s your own decision to pick either pads or tampons for whatever reasons suit you. This post simply is my encouragement and high recommendation to ladies who haven’t used before, particularly to Khmer ladies, to use tampons without doubt or fear.