Balinese massage is part of the traditional culture and has been expanded to cater to tourists. For people who have never experienced a massage, a trip to Bali might be the ideal opportunity as prices are a fraction of what the would be in the west.
•Types of massage offered in Bali:
•Balinese massage – A Balinese massage uses a combination of gentle stretches, acupressure and aromatherapy oils to stimulate the flow of blood, oxygen and ‘qi’ (energy) around your body, and bring deep relaxation and wellness. An ancient technique, Balinese massage uses a variety of techniques including skin rolling, kneading and stroking, acupressure and reflexology; essential oils will relax and soothe you.
•Swedish Massage – The term “Swedish Massage” refers to a variety of techniques specifically designed to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart.
•Shiatsu massage – Shiatsu Japanese from shi, meaning finger, and atsu, meaning pressure) is a traditional Japanese hands-on therapy based on anatomical and physiological theory and is regulated as a licensed medical therapy with the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Japan.
•Places to get a massage:
•Kuta / Seminyak area
Many hotels can arrange a masseuse to come to your room or have a poolside massage for a fixed price. You might pay 50,000rp-100,000rp per hour. Beach side massages offered by older Balinese women range in price and basically consist of you laying flat and having oil rubbed into you for half an hour. Prices are always negotiable and you might pay 25,000rp for 30 minutes. Dedicated spas such as Bodyworks in Ubud and Seminyak (1 hour massage under $20), plus high end spas such as Prana in Seminyak will offer good service, with a higher price than the small local salons. These spas and the spas found in large resorts realize that decor, aroma, fresh air and tranquility lend themselves to a positive experience for the customer. This concept does not exist in the small salons in Tuban, Kuta, Legian, where they are just knocking out massages for 50,000rp. The better spas will have a high level of cleanliness and offer various types of massage.
•Nusa Dua / Jimbaran
Large resorts in Nusa Dua will have a spa complete with a list of treatments including massage. Its possible to enjoy a massage with a friend or partner. The Ritz Carlton has a high quality spa.
Tranquil setting and has a selection of smaller spas downtown. Ideal for people who like to enjoy a massage every day. A 1 hour massage ranges from $25-$40.
•Types of massage environments:
Advantages: No need to book, instant service, ocean views, friendly staff, low cost.
Disadvantages: Sand may get blown on you sticking to the oil, everyone on the beach gets to watch, quality may not be the greatest.
In side streets off of Jl. Legian / Seminyak are small salons providing hair treatment as well as massage. These are easy to locate as staff often linger outside passing out flyers to passersby. You’ll pay 50,000rp for 1 hour.
Advantages: No need to book, instant service, low price, friendly staff.
Disadvantages: Premises may not be the most inspiring (smelly, mosquitoes etc.), other locals may be lingering and chatting, no view, quality of massage may not be the best.
•Resorts spas / dedicated spas:
Advantages: Plush surroundings, tranquil atmosphere, great views / decor, quality massage.
Disadvantages: You may have to book in advance or wait, staff may be courteous rather than friendly, expensive.
In the smaller places you will be better off asking the receptionist / staff for the person who gives the kind of massage you prefer, meaning strong / medium or soft. If you have joint problems it might be a good idea to let the staff know before they start cracking your toes and bending your knees and ankles inside out.