Disclaimer: I was kindly very gifted these treatments in return for this blog post, however, all words and opinions are my own.
One of the reasons I chose to begin my South East Asia trip in Bali is because I wanted to focus on healing. I know this all sounds very Eat Pray Love but 2018 put me through the wringer and I figured what better way to kick start my ‘year of me’ than with exploring all the amazing healing therapies this beautiful island has to offer?
I began my trip with a twelve day ‘holiday’ segment with my bestie, we decided that seeing as I’d be staying in hostels for the foreseeable we’d treat ourselves and stay in some of Bali’s gorgeous wellness resorts. Fivelements is an award-winning wellness retreat, located just outside of Ubud on the banks of the Ayung river. It specialises in authentic Balinese healing, nourishing food and the sacred arts. With an incredible setting, delightful staff and the comfiest beds I’ve slept in so far It’s pretty hard to leave Fivelements without feeling totally at peace.
We stayed there for just two nights but managed to fit in a chef’s tasting menu dinner, two therapies, a flower bath, a personal yoga class and a traditional Balinese fire ceremony.
Our two therapies were a Balinese Boreh and Chakra Balancing. Both totally new to me, and both totally unforgettable.
The Balinese Boreh is an ancient Balinese health ritual involving massage and herbal scrubs, apparently they often use this to ward off colds and other ailments as the heat from the herbs and spices penetrates and warms the whole body.
We began by changing into our robes and those funny plastic pants you wear for a spray tan. We were lead to a beautiful wooden deck overlooking the Ayung river and our feet were placed in copper bowls full of warm water. The therapist added salt and spices to purify the water, limes to energise and flowers. She then gave me the most amazing foot and lower leg wash/massage before drying them off and leading me to a massage table.
There were three choices of herbal blends for the scrubs; sacred spice, cinnamon-coffee and authentic Balinese. I needed a little pick me up so I chose the cinnamon-coffee. Our therapists then led us in a mini-meditation with focused breathing and a prayer before the massage began.
We were treated to a full body massage with coconut oil to nourish the skin, it was heavenly! I can’t even begin to describe how relaxing it is to be massaged whilst listening to a river running nearby.
Following the massage the Boreh is applied, the powerful herbs are combined with powdered rice and massaged all over the body. This not only removes dead skin cells but promotes circulation. At points the therapist would cover me with a sarong so that the heat from the herbs could really work it’s magic on any leftover tension in my body.
Once we’d been buffed to perfection we were lead to a stone bath on a terrace overlooking the river. The therapist added oils and flowers, each colour having a different symbolism. Red to energise, purple for spirit and inspiration, yellow for clarity and green for balance. The bath smelled divine and we were able to gently soak off the scrub leaving behind the softest skin (which, alas I had to pretty quickly ruin with deet spray).
The Boreh treatment is definitely something I want to experience again before leaving Bali, not only did it leave my skin feeling incredible, but the amazing massage left me so deeply relaxed I pretty much floated out of the therapy room.
The Chakra Balancing was a very intense and moving experience for me, it’s hard to describe without getting really personal but it was something I’m so glad I’ve experienced and I would like to come back and do it again to see if/how I’ve progressed.
Your chakras are the energy centres of the body and each corresponds with specific organs as well as physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual states of being. It’s important to keep them all clear in order to allow energy to freely flow through the body and keep us all balanced, mind, body and soul.
Again it starts with a foot bath, I then met my traditional Balinese healer, Pak Tirka, who lives in the mountains outside of Ubud. He was the loveliest man and so kind and patient in explaining the therapy and results in a compassionate way.
To begin, he immerses me in a gong bath and then goes into a meditative state which allows him to scan my body and identify which chakras are blocked. This is done through a combination of touch and hovering his hands over parts of my body (a bit like reiki) and an almost deep tissue massage to ensure I’m aligned.
After relaying the results to me and explaining what each chakra corresponds with and possible causes for the blockage he works on breaking them down.
This it through placing his hands on or over the body and using his energy to clear the chakras and remove negative energy. Each chakra cleanse ends with him saying a prayer whilst pressing the area.
Following the cleanse he gave me some focuses in order to keep my chakras clear in future.
I felt a genuine release when he cleansed certain areas and I actually got quite emotional. This can be a side effect as the treatment can bring up lots of memories and emotions. But as my healer said, ignore the negatives from the past, focus only on the present and future.
I left with a lot to think about but also feeling deeply relaxed and thankful to my kind healer.
The Fivelements website explains a little more about the process if you are interested.
It was such a treat to experience these treatments and the perfect way to start my healing journey in Bali. Thanks to the treatments, delicious healthy meals, an incredible personal yoga class and another nourishing flower bath I left Fivelements feeling thoroughly rejuvenated and restored. I can’t wait to see what other healing rituals this beautiful island has to offer.
Love, Sarah x
P.S If you want to find out more about my stay at Fivelements Ubud I’ve saved a story highlight on my Instagram.