Balinese And Javanese Spa Therapies

Bali is one of more than 17,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago bordered by the Indian Ocean and the Bali Sea. Beckoned by its luxurious spas, eighty percent of international visitors to Indonesia only stop in Bali. Bali’s spa therapies are rooted in the rituals of Javanese royalty and Chinese, Tibetan, and Ayurvedic therapies.

The Balinese Massage

The Balinese massage is a unique blend of massage therapy, acupressure, reflexology and aromatherapy. Essential oils, especially jasmine, rose, sandalwood, coconut, cempaka, sandat and frangipani, are used freely and are chosen on the basis of one’s individual condition. These oils help the flow of blood and oxygen, which balances the body’s qi or energy flow.

Clients wear loose clothing or smocks or they’re lightly draped with towels. Clients lie on a conventional massage table, massage sofa, or a mat on a floor. If needed, clients can also be seated in a chair. The massage therapist starts with a dry massage that combines kneading strokes, skin rolling, gentle stretches, compressions and foot massage. Room temperature fragrant oils are added during the procedure, and warm oils with lemon grass, clove or ginger are used to address specific pain. Pushing techniques predominate and are used to heal muscle spasms and provide a deep pressure massage.

After the massage, which usually lasts an hour, clients may be treated to a Lulur or Boreh body scrub or they may be covered with hydrating ingredients such as yogurt or honey. Depending on the spa, clients may opt for a Flower Bath or an invigorating shower.


The Balinese massage calms the nerves, restores the spirit and heals the body. It’s reported to improve sleeping disorders and provide relief from migraines, headaches, allergies, asthma, and muscle pain. The Balinese massage boosts the circulation, identifies and treats painful areas and spasms, and increases energy flow.


Because it is a rigorous procedure, individuals who have had recent surgery should abstain. It’s also not recommended for pregnant women, individuals with joint or limb pain, or who have problems with either low or high blood pressure.

The Jamu Massage

The Jamu massage is a type of Balinese massage that relies on Indian, Chinese, and European massage techniques such as acupressure, rolling motions, long strokes, and percussion-like drumming. The Jamu massage is more invigorating than the traditional Balinese massage and is intended to increase blood circulation and revitalize the body.

Mandi Lulur or Lulur Bath

The mandi lulur is a Javanese specialty procedure. It’s used to exfoliate and soften the skin. The lulur includes a light coconut oil massage that’s combined with rose, frangipani and jasmine scents. Although the pressure is lighter, occasionally deeper pressure is applied to the palm or thumb to stimulate the nervous system. A paste-like mixture made from rice, turmeric and fragrances is applied as an exfoliating agent. Afterwards, clients step into a flower bath with rose and jasmine petals.

The Javanese Volcanic Mud Wrap

Indonesian mud is rich in minerals, including minerals found in volcanic lava. Clients are covered in mud, which detoxifies and heals the skin, and covered with a wrap so that the minerals can penetrate the skin.

The Boreh Body Scrub

Similar to the mud wrap, this procedure uses a paste made from warming ingredients such as ginger, cloves and sandalwood. The body is covered with paste and allowed to set. It is then vigorously massaged into the skin and rinsed, leaving the skin glowing and the body energized.

American Spas with Balinese and Javanese Therapies

More and more American spas are offering Indonesian therapies or are exclusively Indonesian therapy-based spas. The Taman Sari Spa in Whistler British Columbia is the only Javanese Spa in North America. Clients can enjoy traditional Javanese hydrotherapy and massage procedures as well as treatments for weight loss and pre-wedding events. Treatments include post-maternity package, the Four-hand Prameswari Queen massage, the classic Javanese Massage, the sublime Javanese Lulur body scrub and the indulgent Merapi Volcano Body wrap. Natural Javanese herbs and fragrant oils make guests feel as if they landed in the Indonesian islands.

Absolute Nirvana, a Balinese spa, is located near the main plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Procedures include traditional Balinese Massage, Lulur, Balinese facials, and hot stone massages. The spa has handicapped access and employs LaStone certified massage therapists that receive special training in Javanese Lulur, Ocean of Flowers, Brown Sugar exfoliation and Balinese Boreh. Guests are provided with cotton batik kimonos and sarongs, which are imported from Bali. Absolute Nirvana is also a member of the Green Spa Network and has its own water treatment system.

Costa Rica Hot Springs: Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Situated 13 kilometres west of the town La Fortuna, Tabacon hot springs has flourished into one of Costa Rica’s premier attractions. Here natural hot springs feed off the geothermal energy of their fiery neighbour, Arenal Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. To lovers of pure pampering indulgence, this means guests are exposing themselves to a somewhat moderate risk on a daily basis as they lap it up in the resort’s sensual surrounds.

Curiously enough, Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort is located right where Arenal erupted in 1975, an event which killed a most unfortunate local. While not a common occurrence, guests are occasionally evacuated when the conical fire breather emits poisonous gas, or becomes a little too spirited. However it appears this is a fair price to pay for what lies inside, as guests are treated to geothermal cascades, rainforest landscapes, volcanic mud-wraps and even a resident shaman. Surely such indulgence is worth it.

Getting the Best Views – When to Travel to Costa Rica

Fortunately there have been no mishaps since, and Arenal’s active lifestyle means there’s plenty to see, even while floating with a drink near the resort’s poolside bar. This all depends on the time of the year, as cloud forest often surrounds Arenal’s peak from December through to February. September, October and November offer the finest views, when rainstorms are likely to disperse any unwanted cloud cover.

Travel during these times is recommended, circumstances permitting, as flights to Costa Rica are not only cheaper, but the volcanic display of fiery mayhem can get quite entertaining. There’s something infinitely satisfying about viewing wild energy firsthand as it bathes you in Earthly pleasures. Views of the volcano are available from all thermal pools within the resort. However favourable weather also draws visitor numbers, so it’s best to book in advance.

The Hot Springs Resort

The resort entrance is a gaudy showcase to the influx of dollars supplied by the resort’s many hedonistic visitors. A well stocked gift shop flanks the entrance booth, while inside, heated cascades are surrounded by carefully placed stones, and caves that have an air of natural, yet resort-laden aesthetics. Although one of the pricier places to stay in Costa Rica, Tabacon manages to supply the goods while providing cheaper services than many developed countries.

Inside, there’s a master spa that holds free sweat lodge ceremonies for guests staying in the resort. However it’s the outdoor hot mineral springs located within the grounds that the visitors really flock to. Altogether, there are five natural springs, ranging in temperature from 25 to 50 degrees Celsius. Tabacon claims these are part of a unique geothermal heating system, which contains the perfect combination of temperature, volume and mineral content.

The Tabacon River, which is fed by rainwater, flows through magma in the nearby volcano before rising to bathe the guests in its minerals. Three of the springs, all which are 97% rain-based and 3% magma-based, surface and flow naturally on the property, reaching a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius. There is also a cold spring, which feeds the rainforest before trickling amongst the resort surroundings.

The Benefits of Hot Mineral Springs

Flowing from the Earth’s core energy, hot springs symbolise Earthly power and life giving properties. Bathing oneself in mineral springs is not only beneficial to the skin, but can invigorate life energy, while the hot spring water helps relax the muscles, dilate the skin, and improve oxygen flow throughout the body. Hydrothermal flora and fauna surrounding the pools also contain beneficial microbes that help prevent ageing.

Besides offering an invigorating pamper amidst lush settings and geological fireworks, Tabacon provides one of the more versatile vacations in Costa Rica. With intimate spas and gardens surrounded by rainforest, the place caters for romantic getaways, weddings and the family holiday. It’s a unique blend of Earthly contact and consumer indulgence, a sensual paradise, all compliments of Earth’s sizzling hot rock action.