Luk Pra Kob – The Traditional Thai Herbal Compress Technique
By Elizabeth Gresher
The Thai herbal compress technique known as Luk Pra Kob is an herbal therapy designed to relieve pain and inflammation in the body. The Luk Pra Kob, literally “herbal pressing sphere” consists of a combination of healing herbs that are dried, bundled together, and then wrapped in muslin. The bundle is then soaked and steamed before use. A Thai Bodywork practitioner applies the warm compress directly against the skin in a rolling, circular motion along the Sen, (energy lines) of the body. The traditional Thai herbs have properties that are anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent and antioxidant.
Luk Pra Kob offers a unique combination of herbal therapy, aroma therapy and thermal therapy. It is believed that the treatment was originally developed thousands of years ago to treat and heal the wounds and injuries of soldiers returning from battle. The traditional treatment is still common today in Thailand, and its popularity has spread throughout the world. Luk Pra Kob is strongly recommended for anyone suffering from muscle pain, tendon or ligament strain, bruising, and general inflammatory conditions.
The Thai herbal compress treatment is deeply relaxing, relieves stress and fatigue, and soothes pain, swelling, and inflammation in joints and muscles. Other potential health benefits include improvement of blood and lymph circulation, stimulation of digestion, and relief of chronic migraine, back pain, and arthritis and fibromyalgia. Particularly appropriate for the cold, damp seasons of Winter and early Spring, the moist heat of the Thai herbal compress aids upper respiratory issues such as asthma, bronchitis and sinus congestion, and is known to relieve the symptoms of the common cold.
A Luk Pra Kob treatment will leave you feeling relaxed and energized. The aches and pains of the body will melt away and the mind will be left feeling calm and focused. Thai herbal compress technique is an enjoyable and effective way to detoxify the body and restore the delicate balance of true health.
The following is a list of a few of the herbs that are commonly used in the Luk Pra Kob herbal compress:
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus): antiseptic properties help clear up the skin; helps stomach pain, back pain, bone and joint pain, sprains, bruises and sore muscles; treats headaches, poor circulation, and speeds healing; stimulating and refreshing; increases alertness and concentration; relieves fatigue and aids in digestion; relieves stress through its pleasant, soothing aroma
Plai (Zingiber cassumunar): An anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agent; relieves sprains and muscle pains; of the ginger family but has more intense actions; helps relieve inflammation of joints, muscles and ligaments; relaxes the muscles; softens the skin, as it is a natural moisturizer
Turmeric (Curcuma longa): Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiseptic; soothes, cleanses, and beautifies irritated skin and relieves body exhaustion; helps bruises and sprains to heal; has a detoxifying effect on the blood and digestive tract
Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystix): both fruit and leaves are used; hydrates dry skin; natural deodorizer and cleanser; relieves headaches, colds and congestion; tones the skin
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin): relaxing; decreases exhaustion; anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties; relieves dry skin; strengthens the immune system; revitalizes the heart and veins.