KEROKAN is a medical treatment that traditionally uses a coin which is then lightly scraping on the surface of the skin of the body in determined areas such as: neck, arm, back-waist, sacrum – buttocks, stomach (abdomen), the folding area ofthe knee (popliteal) – rear legs (gastronomeus) – heel (Achilles tendon). Pressure with the coin is accompanied by applying oil as a lubricant so as not to injure the skin for example coconut oil or olive oil.

Kerokan is part of indigenous knowledge. Many Javanese suffering of sickness don’t feel comfortable if they haven’t yet performed a Kerokan. It is often used for symptoms such as bloated abdomen, headaches, light fevers or achy muscles. Javanese call these types of symptoms Masuk angin or intrusion of winds. Winds in holistic medicine are to be understood as External Causes of Disease, such as air-drafts, cold and humidity which enter the skin and cause an unanticipated reaction on the Organ meridians. The effect of Kerokan is to pressure certain key points on the meridians that will effect a better circulation of blood and oxygen through affected areas. Dead skin also gets removed in the process. According to Medical research, the effect of Kerokan on the endorphin glands is significant, as when this hormone is activated feeling of warmth, stimulation and tonification will lead to more comfortable feeling. The enzyme Prostaglandin decreases by the application of Kerokan, which has direct effects on the tension on specific muscles especially below the abdomen and on localized spots at the same time reduces stomach acid and contractions in pubic muscles.

Usually the kerokan scraping with the coin is done from high to low and left and right away from the spine, making parallel lines on the back left and right of the spine. The coin is held at 45 degrees so the scraping is not too injurious to the skin. According to the science of acupressure the dorsal area (thoracic) contains energetic points for the organs such as lungs, heart pericardium, heart, liver, spleen pancreas, kidneys, large intestine, triple energizer, small intestine, gallbladder, stomach and bladder. So when the kerokan hits these areas, heat spots will indicate the smooth current of energy which in turn strengthens the immune system to an optimal level.
One important element of the therapy is the emotional bond between the doer and the receiver of the Kerokan. A mother treating her kid with kerokan in an affective and caring mode represents a bio-psychosocial component which is often ignored in modern medicine. For kerokan of kids below the age of 5, the coin is replaced by an application of crushed red onion mixed with salt and coconut oil which is applied on similar areas, bringing about feelings of comfortable warmth which then encourages peaceful sleep.

By Moko Pramusanto and Patrick Vanhoebrouck
Institute of Eastern Arts of Healing, Seni Pengobatan Timur (SEPTIM)



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