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Bali moment: Finally a massage I loved
When I go to the spa, I rarely book a massage. I’d rather a
deep cleaning facial, a scalp treatment, or a little extra
TLC for my toes. But after a week traipsing through Thailand, I had a few days in the far more chilled out jungle of Bali, staying at the
COMO Shambhala Estate, perched atop a lush mountain, and I needed a little relaxation. I was told that this was THE spot to experience a true Indonesian massage. Before I left on the trip, I still needed some convincing to get the massage. In fact, I contemplated changing it to my regular facial. Once I sank into the airplane seat, leaving Ko Phi Phi (the party island featured in
The Beach the 2000 movie with Leonardo DiCaprio) and Bangkok far behind me, a full-body massage by a gifted Balinese therapist sounded like a slice of Indonesian heaven. Here’s why
massages and I normally don’t mix: I’m über ticklish and get nervous at the thought of someone lightly touching my side. That equals tense muscles and a lot of urging from my therapist to “relax.” That urging makes me even tenser as I have my face squished into the bed thinking, “But I AM relaxed!” After a Thai massage in Bangkok that my friends insisted I try, I was feeling more convinced than ever that massages and I weren’t destined to be BFFs.
I arrived late that night in Ubud, Bali – so late that I didn’t even realize the majesty of the place I was staying. But early the next morning, I as peered out from my hut at the lush jungle, the perfectly still pool below and breathed in the damp air, I felt my body instantly relax. After a super healthy breakfast and a meeting with my on-site nutritionist (more on that in a later post—let’s just say I needed to detox after a week of Thai curries and beer) it was time for my massage. I have never looked so forward to a massage before.
I had a couples massage booked with the boyfriend, and figured at the very least we would have a giggle. But as soon as I had my face in the headrest in the COMO’s serene and
beautiful spa, and my tiny, fragile looking masseuse began to relieve my muscles, I turned into Jell-O. Much of it had to do with the traditional technique. Rather than working on the back, then down the legs and feet, and flipping over onto your front for the same treatment, an Indonesian massage focuses on one side of your body at a time. A mix of soft and firm kneading, rolling and strokes down the entire length of your body leave you feeling rejuvenated and ultra relaxed. I was just about to fall asleep (for the first time ever during a massage) when I heard an outburst of giggles coming from the bed next to me. What was my BF doing?
Um, my massage and I were having a moment. “Jenn? How are you not laughing?” he mustered through snorts. For the first time I realized that my masseuse was kneading my right butt cheek. I would normally be rolling in fits of laughter from feeling ticklish, but not this time—I had never felt so relaxed. I replied with a loud “Shhh!” And after a few more chuckles, my BF’s laughter finally subsided. My massage and I were one again, and when my masseuse whispered that the treatment was over, I didn’t want to lift my head. What did she mean that it was over? I must have at least 15 more minutes left? Sigh. Sadly, it was done, the one that will forever serve as the bar-setting massage. But I was left with muscles that felt like little puddles beneath my skin … at least until I made my way back to Bangkok and boarded my 14-hour flight back home.
All images courtesy of COMO Shambhala Estate.