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Balinese massage compared to... ?

Seattle, Washington
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Balinese massage compared to... ?

Hi veteran Bali travelers,

My wife and I are visiting Sanur, Ubud, and CD next week. Will be in Bali for 3 weeks. I am looking at many massage and spa vendors. Any suggestions in any of those areas are welcomed.

Question: how would you liken a "Balinese massage"? Deep tissue, firm, light, very light? Our regular massage therapist here at home also works on professional football and baseball players, so she can really get in there! Anyway, would my wife and I truly like the Balinese massage, or do we go with accupressure (like at Aroma Spa).

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1. Re: Balinese massage compared to... ?

Most spa girls come straight from the villages and start doing massage, not many have any formal training but some give great massages, it's just a matter of weading your way through them until you find a good one, good luck

London
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2. Re: Balinese massage compared to... ?

Traditional Balinese massages use a firm stroking technique, but you can get pretty much any type of massage you want in Bali - Thai, shiatsu, aromatherapy, Chinese reflexology etc. I find the Balinese massage very relaxing as they they tend to knead with their fingers to work out the knots rather than digging their elbows in. It's not sold as deep tissue sports massage but you might find that it still has a very positive effect.

And when you're being massaged, they're always asking if you want more or less pressure, just tell them.

Edited: 8:20 pm, June 17, 2014
Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: Balinese massage compared to... ?

As Karen C says, they will alter their hand pressure to suit you.

I too have to have deep tissue and remedial massages regularly at home, but I find that when in Bali I don't need them to pummel me as I can afford to have a massage every day. So a nice, slightly firm hand, relaxation massage every day has the same effect as my monthly remedial massage has.

As for quality of massages, go to somewhere where the girls are actually trained. In Sanur I go to Alam Bali because the girls, whilst all different, have had training and all use the same basic technique. Have never had a bad massage here. An hour traditional massage is 70.000rp here.

The problem with digger's hit and miss approach is that your favourite girl, when you do find one, will be working different shifts, have her day off a week and could even be working at a different shop front in the same chain of massage places. So one girl will not always be there when you need a massage.

Alam Bali is in mid Sanur just a little north of Hardy's on the same side of the road. Directly across the road and upstairs is another very good massage place that do do remedial massages, the staff are very well trained, but you will probably need to make an appointment here.

If you are staying in south Sanur, Suar Spa, on the same road as the Mercure Hotel is very good and all the girls use exactly the same technique to your desired pressure. hour massage here is around 60.000rp

But of course you can't beat the massages at Aroma Spa and these girls have excellent training which is refreshed every 6 weeks. However, if, like me, your budget doesn't stretch any further than one of these per trip, you will need a good cheapie massage to get your fix, more regularly.

Adelaide, Australia
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4. Re: Balinese massage compared to... ?

I'm not really up on massage, as it's not something of which I regularly partake, and my last massage was in China some years ago, which I thouroughly enjoyed and found very relaxing.

However my wife was very keen for daily massages, including her legs which were becoming somewhat swollen from our constant exertion and the tropical heat.

She began using a masseuse at our hotel in Legian ($95,000 rupiah per hour), as said that it was certainly helping.

Following our move to Ubud our hotel recommended a local masseuse who was apparently pretty well respected, operating her own spa, and having previously worked in the Maldives, Dubai and America.

My wife swore by her, stating she was far better than the previous ($100,000 rupiah per hour), so I decided to also approach saying that I had a small issue with my lower back that I'd like to have addressed.

This lady informed me that she would work on it herself, rather than using one of her employees.....I can't say that I was impressed.

She obviously knew what she was doing, but afterwards I had muscular pain in my shoulders that took 2-3 days to abate.

My first and only massage for many years, and also my last.

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Balinese massage compared to... ?

thanks everyone for the posts! this is helpful, since not all of the places in Sanur are listed on TA. I'll be on the lookout.

Australia
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6. Re: Balinese massage compared to... ?

As said, massages can be hit and miss in Bali unless you know you ate going somewhere with properly trained staff. I have had some that made me seek the same masseuse each time I returned and some that had me lying on the table thinking, " just finish will you" :)

It is certainly possible to have a really strong massage and I find the older, tiny ladies have the best technique.

in Ubud I did like The Yoga Barn , Zen, Sang and Spa Spa Hati

7. Re: Balinese massage compared to... ?

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Bali, Indonesia
Destination Expert
for Ubud, Pemuteran, Yogyakarta
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8. Re: Balinese massage compared to... ?

Yes, I find that individual masssages can differe widely, a "TA famous" spa can be a lukewarm experience because so much depends on individual factors. There is a huge demand for Balinese masseuse all around the world now, and almost all the massage people I know, have been trained probably by Jari Menari or another massage trainer., and have worked for at least 2 years in other countries. For obvious reasons they do not have the licensing and training that an American spa would require, but then you are not paying American prices either.

The Balinese massage experience, at least in Ubud, is usually in a lovely room with some running water like a river stream within earshot, a private villa treament room, and set in an open air tropical garden.

Also, you will find a whole menu of treatment options, hot stone, ayurvedic, etc etc and my favorite for the "glamour effect" is Mandi Lulur.

My favorite spots that I have tried are Taksu for upscale non-hotel and Maya for a splash out 5 star experience. For regular daily massage I have someone who comes to my home.

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: Balinese massage compared to... ?

thanks for bringing awareness to the "TA made famous" listings. Always a good reminder to me to go by word of mouth when we get there too. Much appreciated.

Edited: 10:16 pm, June 17, 2014
Sydney
Destination Expert
for Seminyak, Bali, Canggu, Kerobokan
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10. Re: Balinese massage compared to... ?

PS, my masseuse comes to my home too which I just love - no running water etc etc, but no chatty co spa workers either, which is extremely annoying and is quite common in Bali. I recently had a facial in an extremely well known spa in Seminyak but I shared the room with 2 others!! No thanks!! I like privacy!

Cheers