Traditional Balinese Healing
The morning after my birthday my plans (operative word) were to awake early, eat breakfast, catch the first shuttle and do my shopping as it was my last full day in Bali, well that was the plan. After the driver dropped me off I headed to the book store, my plan (there’s that word again) was to buy post cards, go to the post office, stop by the internet cafe, and hit the market. Afterward I was planning to have a late lunch, early dinner at 3 Monkeys. That never happened with the exception of the post cards, post office and internet cafe. I went to buy the post cards from Ganesha Bookstore. Once I bought the post cards, I asked the shopkeeper if they had the book “Eat, Pray Love?” And she said yes and then I asked her if she know of the medicine women and she instantly said, Wayan? I said yes, she said she’s right down the road next to Bali Buddha. So you know made a bee-line to Wayan’s Balinese Healing and Vegetarian Cafe. I walked in and asked for Wayan, who quickly came out. I introduced myself and told her that I had read about her in the book, by the way, there’s a picture of Elizabeth Gilbert in the restaurant area.
Now, I didn’t really know what I was doing there other than to meet Wayan, and Wayan wasn’t really sure about what I was doing there either. I thought I was there for her services, but I wasn’t sure. She then began to pinch my arm and told me to show her my hands. After her brief diagnosis, she told me I had too much wind (we all know what that means); I had poor blood circulation; my blood pressure was good. That was just the initial diagnosis. I was left sitting for a long while alone in the restaurant as Wayan went about preparing for her day and what was to come. One thing you should know is that the Balinese are in no rush for anything. They take their time with everything they do, so if you’re in rush to eat, drink, be driven some where or to be healed don’t come to Bali.
As I was sitting there waiting for Wayan or so I thought two more clients or patients showed up looking for Wayan’s healing services as well. Connie and Susan were on a Yoga retreat from San Francisco and Susan it seems was suffering from a bout of diarrhea (I could definitely relate). They accidentally happened upon Wayan, unlike me who sought her out. Wayan greeted them and invited them to sit down and then again she disappeared into the kitchen or back of the house to do whatever she was doing. The three of us sat and got acquainted. When Wayan finally reappeared she handed us each a piece of paper for us to fill out, a patient history form if you will. Once we filled it out she proceed to do a full body reading and tell each of us what are ailments were, whether we knew about them or not. Out of respect for Connie and Susan, I’ll only tell you her diagnosis of me. It seems that I have too much wind, poor blood circulation, which we knew from the previous diagnosis, but I also suffer from bloating, gastritis, too much worry, lower back pain, some knee pain, and I need to loose weight. My blood pressure was good – who knew. She also read my palm and told me that I would have a long life and would be starting a part-time job soon (good know considering my current employment status) and that I was not too smart but not stupid at all. Gee thanks, I’ll go far with that. Now here’s the kicker, she also told me that I wouldn’t have many boyfriends but I would be married three times and have a child with the third. I can’t get one guy in particular to marry me, and she’s telling me I’ll be married three times. Yeah right! Well that was just the beginning of what turned out to be an all-day process
First we were given several herbal concoctions to drink to help us with our ailments; it seems that we Americans all suffer from too much wind. As I was enjoying my drinks and I use the term enjoying loosely we were joined by two more women Keely and Caroline, these two hailed from Australia. It was a nice mix of women, convening at Wayan’s looking for healing of some sort. See that’s what I mean about planning. I couldn’t have planned this meeting for Wayan or these four special ladies, nor could I have planned or expected what was about to happen.
Once we finished our drinks we were ushered upstairs and ordered to remove our clothing (every stitch) and put on a Sarong. We were then seated and three young girls no older than 16, and that’s being generous began to scrub us with warm water and leaves. Susan was lucky to have a young boy; approximately 13 years old scrub her. She was little apprehensive about it at first, can’t say that I blame her, but she quickly got over it. I think now is a good to time to explain that in Wayan’s place there is no room for inhibitions, you have to check them at the door. Wayan and her staff are focused on the healing process at hand not with your physical appearance so if you happen upon Wayan’s be prepared to be exposed.
The scrub down started with the face, the arms the feet and the legs, all of this done with plant leaves and water. Throughout the washing Wayan would visit us applying oils of some sort to our head, arm, hands and special leaves and to our stomachs to ease the bloat. After the leaves our legs were scrub with a garlic paste and garlic was place on my head to ensure a good sleep. Once again Wayan visited us and applied acupressure techniques on our feet and head. There is one spot on my food that she dug hard into, she said that it would alleviate the gas, and as soon as she said it I cut one and a good one at that. From that point on I doubted Wayan no more, so bring on the three husbands.
Our scrubbing was followed by a two hour massage, 1 hour on my back where I was kneaded and stroked to increase blood circulation and 1 hour on my stomach where a scrub and oil mixture was applied to my back. Upon application, the scrub gave off a warming sensation; I think it was made with cayenne pepper. Afterward, we were taken to the shower, which also served as the toilet, by way of the squatting commode and the laundry room. We were washed off by a grandmother type figure and one of the 16 year old. A funny thing happened while I was being washed off by the 16 year old she handed me the container and told me to wash my penis. God bless her and her attempts at English. I didn’t have the heart to correct her because she was so proud her knowledge of the English language it just that I’d never been accused \of being a chick with a dick while I was in the nude.
Once we were showered, penis and all, we got dressed and headed down to the restaurant to be instructed by Wayan. She gave us our herbs and supplements and had our instructions written down for us in case we forgot, and we put them in our bag with our name on it. Once she was done with the instructions she took each of our bags and blessed them at her Hindu alter. Finally, we were served a delicious vegetarian lunch and were sent on our way. During lunch the four of us had a chance to get to know one another, some of us had suffered and were surviving cancer, while others of us were dealing with illnesses that western medicine has yet to identify. Susan even suggested that I take up Hatha yoga as Juvamukti can be a little taxing on a new yoga student’s body. The whole experience was a sharing and caring experience. I learned something to help me in my journey and I was reminded of how blessed I am to only be suffering from too much wind. I wish all of those ladies a full recovery and a life of good health and happiness. I gave Wayan two hugs and said good-bye to everyone and I was off.
By the time we were finished it was 5:30pm. I missed my shuttle back to the hotel and I hadn’t accomplished anything I planned to do, there’s that word again. I think from now on, I’m not going to plan much, I’m going to let the Spirit move me when and where it’s time to go, things work out better that way, if my journey to Asia hasn’t proved anything else it did prove that planning doesn’t mean anything.
No fear, I was able to do some last minute shopping and say a formal good bye to Ubud. Unfortunately there was no dinner at 3 Monkeys, but I have a feeling I’ll be back in Bali again.
My journey in Bali ended as my flight took off on time. I was only a little sad but I feel like I got everything I needed and more out of this trip and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I hope you enjoyed reading about it.