Healing Balinese Therapies to Prep You for the New Year (Burping May be Required)

We, Luxe Nomads, can be a gluttonous sort. We love to travel, live it luxe, and have no qualms about a bit of overindulging (sampling local cuisine is our guilty pleasure!). So, although we might be good nomads most of the year, it shouldn’t be a surprise that every once and a while our gluttony causes us to lose a few karmic points. Lucky for us, Bali has a few deep, soul-cleansing and healing rituals designed to get us back on top of our game. Read on to discover the ways you can purify your spirit during a Balinese escape.

Read also: 7 Alternative Spa Treatments in Bali You Should Try

Meet with a Balian

If you’ve seen or read Eat Pray Love, then you’re already familiar with Balians. These traditional healers work with the divine to cleanse, treat illnesses, remove any curses put on you and to channel your ancestors (who can be quite the problem if you’re not being good to them).

In this therapy, the healer will perform a body scan, intuitively discovering specific areas that need attention. Depending on how the scan goes, you could be treated in a wide variety of ways. These include meditation and spiritual consultation, acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, cupping, energy balancing, chakra healing and chiropractic manipulation.

One type of healing therapy, which could either be hilarious or terrifying, involves burping. The healer uses energy to bring out past issues and emotional baggage, drawing the bad energy from your body before burping it out as it’s drawn from your body through their hands, throughout their body and then out their mouth.

Balians are viewed with the utmost respect, so if you decide to visit one, make sure you dress appropriately by wearing a sarong and temple scarf, never ever touch their face and definitely don’t point to your feet.

It’s also advisable to make an appointment with a Balian if looking to receive treatment. Many locals see Balians for their ailments, much like we do with our doctors, so we need to respect their time and not just wander in off the street. There are a few reputable healers in Tabanan and Gianyar, but they’re not online – to find them, you’ll have to speak with the local people in each village.

Wash Away Turmoil with a Melukat Ritual

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A Melukat is probably the most popular and readily IG-able healing Balinese ritual you’ll find. It’s said to wash away turmoil and any sickness acquired from negative karma in this life or any other life you might have led.

Although tourists might partake of the Melukat on any given day, the best time to clear your chakra would be on the Kajeng Kliwon (a day in the Balinese calendar believed to have magical powers and occurring every 15 days) or during the full or new moon.

The best place to go for a Melukat in Bali is at a natural water source, at the meeting point of two rivers, beneath a waterfall or at sea. Pura Tirta Empul in Gianyar is one of the most popular spots for a Melukat. Here, a long rectangular pool carved of stone is fed by 12 fountains. Legend has it that the spring feeding the temple was created by the god Indra after his forces had been poisoned to bring them back to life.

As part of the Melukat, visitors are dressed in tightly wrapped sarongs, and women additionally wear a traditional lace shirt tied with bright cloth. Once dressed, offerings of flowers and sweets are placed in a basket, woven from banana leaves, and presented to the gods. From there, it’s time to enter the water and wash away life’s ills.

Find Bliss with a Balinese Massage

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Massages, we like to think, are key to relaxation in any culture. And as much as we love a good Thai massage, a Balinese one makes us feel so much more chilled out, which makes sense as it’s designed to help rebuild the harmony between body and mind.

Using intuitive and holistic diagnostics to identify parts of the body that are holding pain and tension, with a Balinese massage, your skin will be rolled and flicked by a masseuse, while some essential oils will be applied to stimulate the flow of your blood and chi energy in your body.

A Balinese massage is far from the only massage traditional to Indonesia, some suiting very particular purposes. For example, the Javanese Lulur is performed on brides as they prepare to get married. In the Javanese Lulur, the bride receives a two hour scented skin treatment and massage every day for 40(!!!) days. It’s meant to calm a woman’s nerves for her wedding night, therefore, increasing the chances of conception.

Protect Yourself with a Rerajahan

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A Rerajahan is a talisman created for the individual and designed to protect you against outside forces – which could definitely be handy if you’ve racked up a little too much negative karma!

These talismans can be made from a number of different materials, depending on its purpose. Everything from plain paper to particular cloths to bone and precious metal can be used for a Rerajahan. The selected object is then either drawn on or carved into by a Brahman (mystic).

To get started, the Brahman will discover what your intentions and needs are. You’ll then need to be cleansed, most often through bathing. Once clean, the Brahman will sprinkle you with holy water, after which time you’ll be invited to pray. Only after you’ve been purified will the Braham begin work on your Rerajahan.

There are many different types of these talismans. Some examples include the:

  • Lingga Buana – This talisman requires silver and is considered the guard of the home. It’s meant to protect the family from disease.
  • Bhuta Totok – This Rerajahan, painted on cloth, is to be buried at the border of your home to protect against thieves. This one is not meant to be taken lightly though, asking for one directly is said to result in the illness or death of any thief.
  • Rajah Berare – Another painted Rerajahan, this one is designed to cure disease and act as a guardian of the sick. It should be doused in water each day and placed nearby the person in need, so the talisman knows who to protect.
  • Sanghyang Ganga Osah – Carved into a metal, the Sanghyang Ganga Osah is used to bring peace to the holder. It also doubles as a protective talisman that keeps evil away.


How are you cleansing your soul?

Elisabeth Forsman

Our predictably unpredictable adventure nomad, Elisabeth is the yogi who wants it fast, the ultra-runner who prefers taking a hike, and the swimmer with a fear of lap pools. A consummate lover of all things outdoors, she’s on a perpetual quest to get those around her outside and moving.

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