Beauty The Balinese Way
September 16th, 2011
Indonesia is a mystical paradise comprised of an incredible 17,508-18,306 islands in this grand Archipelago, with only 8844 of them named according to the Government of Indonesia. There are so many myths and travelers’ stories told, so many magnificent natural wonders there, and so much unknown about this massive series of Southeast Asian islands.
The Indonesian mythology is replete with Mahabharata magic, including imagery of Garuda (lord of the sky), the mythical bird-like creature found in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Originating in India, epic tales such as this have been historically featured in dance and the visual arts and are deeply integral to an understanding of Indonesian culture.
Bali is still the destination that conjures the imagination with a tropical swirl of all that paradise should offer: Southeast Asian cuisine, beaches, all things exotic and a chance to re-energize exhausted bodies and minds. Bali has become, in the minds of many, the place that best represents the most memorable Indonesia experience. This island offers some of the most holistic approaches to improved health with reduced stress through meditation, yoga, massage, reflexology and a multitude of extraordinary spa treatments for body, hair and skin.
Expect to find Ayurvedic (Ayur= “life,” veda= “knowledge”) treatments for any number of ailments in Balinese spas. The list is exhaustive in its content from “vaginal smoking” to a “third eye” treatment, no remedy is overlooked in caring for body and spirit in this journey. The spa treatments you can receive for rejuvenated skin and body are nothing short of miraculous with results that seem to halt the visible signs of time and the aging process for more youthful appearance.
This calming process involves pouring heated oils into the 6th chakra, the “third eye” located in the center of the forehead for a feeling of complete tranquility. The reduced stress from the treatment has the potential to diminish the fine lines and other signs of aging in skin caused by daily worries as your facial muscles completely relax.
You have to be curious about this one—I definitely was. Westerners call this treatment a “Venus Smoking.” It turns out that for centuries brides-to-be of Java would use this ritual to disinfect and stimulate this sacred space of women’s bodies prior to marriage. Using the smoke from a bowl of heated herbs and seeds that waft up through a hole in a chair, the nude future bride could perform this cleansing ceremony in preparation for the wedding.
This skin care treatment is used to soften leathery rough skin to minimize the signs of aging. This cleanser uses the moisture rich kemin or candlenut combined with shavings of galangal or ginger for the ultimate body scrub that leaves skin velvety smooth.
Performing this cleansing balances dosha (energy) and is intended to improve numerous skin conditions including inflammation by applying herbs and oils to specific points in the body. The blend of choice oils and herbs strengthen skin and improve elasticity for a reduction of symptoms associated with dermatitis and other skin ailments.
Volcanic body scrubs made of Indonesian clay have been known to eliminate cellulite if you’ve pondered solutions. Add a marvelous tropical landscape with innumerable natural remedies to your de-stressing formula and you have the best prescription your doctor should have thought of. The Balinese people have been thoroughly mindful of the fruitful abundance that nature provides for all that ails us over time—balanced with ancient Eastern medicine to enhance the healing process you will achieve overall well being the holistic Balinese way.
Antropia Luna has a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute and a Masters degree in cultural anthropology from New Mexico State University–now writing health and wellness articles for Joanna Vargas Salon, Skin Care Sanctuary in NYC. Otherwise trekking the national museum scene freelance.