Massage therapy offers a relaxing escape for both body and mind, and in Bali, this escape isn’t just a practice, but a way of life.
First time, I tried Balinese massage, I fell asleep after first 5 minutes of treatment, and if my session would have stopped halfway through, I probably wouldn’t have noticed — but that’s the point. A treatment geared towards ultimate relaxation, the Balinese massage is making its rounds as a fan-favourite among the spa-happy and relaxation-oriented. And while Bali’s Southeast Asian neighbours in Thailand have long held the crown of tropical massage magicians, it seems the small Indonesian island isn’t far behind.
Massage, or urut as it is called in Balinese, has long been a part of Balinese life, but not necessarily in the same way that the therapy is being touted across luxe resorts in the modern age. Traditionally a rice-centric culture, the Balinese have long been working the muddy rice plots of the tiered tropical steps of a UNESCO-protected landscape from sun-up to sun-down, and as anyone who has stepped knee-deep into the mud with one of the many heavy wooden farm tools knows, it’s no walk in the park.
Massage in Bali comes from necessity rather than pleasure. After a long day in the field, the Balinese will prepare warm oil and massage themselves to alleviate much of the tension that builds up throughout a day. Only within the past 30 years when Bali began expanding as a tourist destination that massage became commercialised. Lucky for the traveller who stumbles into a spa here, massage isn’t just a money-making opportunity in Bali, but a cultural mainstay.
It’s all about relaxation. It’s almost entirely done with the palms and thumbs, he explains, and is a massage that employs heavy uses of the sliding techniques with a bit of Swedish effleurage thrown in. Never digging too deep, nor pushing or pulling too forcefully, the massage is designed to be user-friendly, to open all the chakras and open the hearts ❤
Note: Two sessions of this massage included in our 7 days Bali tour program