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Everything About Boreh Body Scrub

For those who love body care and massage in Bali, Boreh is not a strange thing to be heard of. With its strong spice smell and yellowish-to-brownish damp texture, this scrub can make people relaxed. Most spas and beauty salons always provide this type of body scrub and surprisingly it is one of the most requested variants of scrubs. As it becomes locals’ and tourists’ favorite type of scrubs, here is the explanation of its benefits and other reasons why people love it.

What is Boreh?

The word ‘Boreh’ means damp powder in Javanese. Many think that it is originally from Bali, but in fact, it is also found in several other regions of Indonesia such as Central Java and West Java. In Bali, the history of Boreh came from a mixture of local spices and rice made by farmers to loosen their bodies after a day in field rice. The spices are intentionally put into the mixture to give a warm sensation to the sore body parts. 

Traditionally people could blend any spices that they have. Yet, the most common ones are ginger, galangal, Kaempferia galangal, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, and fingerroot. Through time, this traditional scrub has more varied ingredients depending on the place. Several parts of Bali that do not support the spices to grow usually modify Boreh with local plants, flowers, or even fruits. This makes some variations of Boreh as described below.

Types of Boreh

Cited in the Journal of Science Pharmacy and Community (2012), there are three types of Boreh in Bali. They include Boreh Anget, Boreh Miyik, and Boreh Tis. 

  1. The typical Boreh that is widely known belongs to the Boreh Anget. The main ingredients are the spices and the rice. As its name, ‘Anget’, means warm, this Boreh is made of spices to warm up the body using its spices. 
  2. Boreh Miyik is identified with additional flowers such as roses, gardenias, and lavenders. 
  3. In contrast to the two previous types, Boreh Tis has fruits and vegetables including avocados, papayas, cucumbers, carrots, and Yam or Jicama Beans.  

Among those three types, Boreh Anget is mostly produced and sold. The main ingredients in all types include rice, coconut oil, and pure clay. The scrub not only nurtures the skin but also maintains good health and prevents several minor diseases. Balinese has been using this scrub traditionally from generation to generation. More health benefits of Boreh are explained in the following paragraphs.

Health Benefits of Boreh Body Scrub

There has not been any official and scientific research discussing the Boreh health benefits. Yet these benefits are mentioned by physicians, beauticians, and clients who choose Boreh body scrub.

  1. Warm-up the body

This is definitely the most instant benefit people can get after scrubbing. Ginger, cinnamon, galangal, and other spices could trap the body heat. During the rainy season when the temperature gets lower, most clients look forward to this benefit. 

  1. Relieve muscle soreness

Combined with some gentle massage, the aromatic Boreh relaxes the nerve and helps to release the lactic acid that causes the pain. It has been proven by Balinese farmers in the past that used this scrub after labor work at the paddy field. 

  1. Regain energy for postpartum women 

Traditionally women who have just delivered a baby in Bali often get a massage or spa using Boreh. As it can relax the muscle, several tensed muscles after giving birth can be loosened through the massage

  • Exfoliate the dead skin

The rice bran contains ferulic acid and phytic acid and this two help to remove the dead skin cell from the skin layer. Supported with other spices like turmeric, ginger, and more, the dead skin cells will be easily removed without damaging the skin barrier.

  1. Lighten and nourish the skin

The rice, the coconut oil, the clay, and the spices like turmeric have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can lighten the skin and heal the wound faster. This scrub is rich in healthy nutrients like niacin, riboflavin, amino acids, and others that come from the ingredients. 

  • Improve blood circulation

The nutrients are not only good for the skin but also the blood circulation. Niacin as one of the nutrients from ginger and turmeric in Boreh is able to improve blood circulation.  

Tips in Using Boreh Body Scrub

Nowadays people can make their own Boreh in their house or just buy it from the store/online shop. Steps in making one are also easy. All the ingredients must be blended in one using a blender or traditional mortar and pestle. To get the maximum results, follow these tips.

  1. Hygiene is very important. The mixture must be fungal free and the ingredients cannot contain any insect droppings.
  2. Refresh the skin after scrubbing. As the body temperature will rise after the scrub, cooling down the skin using cucumber puree feels refreshing. However, if you do the scrub to warm the body, the cooling down step is not necessary.
  3. Do not apply to sensitive areas. They include private parts and sensitive skin or rash. Some ingredients like turmeric might be good for the rash but other ingredients may not. If you have any special skin conditions, it would be better if you consult a dermatologist first.
  4. Make a good mixture and apply for at least thirty minutes. A good mixture should have a sticky texture, not too watery or dry. After massaging and applying to the skin, wait for at least a half-hour to feel the effect of the spices and other ingredients before scrubbing it.

Always check for any possible fungi if the body scrub is homemade and be aware of the expiration date if you buy it. Besides applying by yourself at home, the best to enjoy Boreh body scrub is by going to a spa. If you are in Bali, the best spa that makes Boreh is Jaens Spa. It has professional masseuses and masseurs who will make and apply the Boreh and also the relaxing massage. Your skin will glow, the body gets refreshed, and the mind is at peace. 

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