At sixteen years old a doctor diagnosed me with a herniated disk and sciatica, informing me that I had a back of an “80 year old” and would most likely have to have surgery. Thankfully my mother wasn’t having it and tried every option possible to avoid that operation. For two years I walked with a limp and was benched from sports while trying to find alternative options to remedy my back.
I endured two epidural steroid shots, oral steroids and chiropractic services and all failed to help. My mom turned to eastern medicine and forced me into one session of acupuncture that allowed me to finally be pain free.
Flash forward to me as a 30 year old photographer and the pain of those old issues had resurfaced with a vengeance after hauling a camera and bags around for hours a day. In addition, I also had developed a cyst in my breast that came and went over the past 6 months causing so much pain that a bra was for the birds. I even got the occasional night terror, which is literally petrifying and made me feel like I’d been cursed. A healthy lifestyle, yoga and massage therapy served as reactive help to these issues in my later years. But, I felt that I needed to get to the root of the problems before they got worse. Traveling across the world to try a Balian healing session was worth a whirl.
I found myself sitting face to face with the wise Balian, Pak Man, his wife, Lucinda and two dogs in his garden – a twenty hour flight away from home in Ubud.
The sky was overcast. The air was humid and thick with the smell of earth. The moss covered koi fish fountain delivers a calming sound and the yellow canary in the bamboo cage chirps pleasantly. I felt at complete ease. Lucinda and Pak-Man had a cigarette while talking with three of us about our physical issues.
Balance is a big part of Balinese Hinduism and is believed to be the primary source of healing the mind, body and spirit. Lucinda explained that when we have an imbalance with our four spirits: liver, spleen, kidneys and heart, it causes problems with physical and spiritual balance. They listened as we aired out our concerns over translations, smiles and laughs and we began feel more at ease. After all of our physical issues were on the table, we told them about our first world problems of rampant running thoughts and workload that cause us stress. They laugh and assure us that this will all be fixed in no time.
“If we stopped our thoughts, wed be dead. It’s learning how to balance and control them that is the key.” Lucinda translates for Pak Man and reminds us that we are still young and naive.
I was the last of three to go in for my healing session, excited for my three physical issues to be behind me. I went in, giddy.
I’d heard that Balian massage based healing was painful but this was on another level. I actually may have shed a thug tear. I almost screamed on multiple occasions and I am the crazy small person who voluntarily get deep tissue massages on a regular basis. With his eyes closed, Pak-Man dug into my blockages simply by feel. Afterwards, I felt light as a feather; spiritually and physically. Although I never talked about any issues or inquired about it, he said that there was a spirit of sadness that the had to remove from me that was put on me from someone else.
Within the next three days, I took three hikes carrying all of my equipment and five flights during the next five days. Here we are a month later and I have never felt better. The cyst in my breast is also completely gone.
I would recommend this type of treatment to anyone. Especially those who need physical healing. Before you go, there are a few things that you should know:
1. Choose you Balian according to your ailment
Balians work with different maladies, so it is best to find one that specializes in your particular ailment, and follow personal recommendations. Since the release of Eat, Pray Love, Healing has a booming industry in Bali, garnering it a fair share of imposters. Some specialize in massage, others are midwives or set broken bones.
2. Make an appointment
Some balians will only be seen by appointment; others you can just turn up and wait depending on the demand. We booked Pak man a month in advance to ensure our space.
3. Dress Respectfully
Depending on who the healer is, you may need to wear a sarong and temple sash. Shoulders, midriff, arms and legs should ideally be covered. Pak Man and his wife allowed us to have our shoulders uncovered.
However, I recommend being covered with loose clothing as these clothes will be moved and oils will be sued on the skin during the work. Luckily I had on loose pants because I had to roll them all the way up to my thighs.
4. If you are menstruating, You can’t do it.
It is considered unclean to enter a temple or Kamar suci (holy rooms) when menstruating. This is a painful experience so I couldn’t even imagine doing it while menstruating. At one point during my session, Pak Man pressed so hard into my stomach that he shifted disks in my back. To avoid any miscommunication during a treatment about what hurts, it is best to experience healing at a time other than a woman cycle.
Never hand money directly to a healer as a symbol of respect. Inquire first if payment is by donation or a fee, and place it in an envelope or a canang (flower offering) and leave it with a member of the family or in the family temple. Pak man costs about 500,000 IDR, an equivalent to abut $37 U.S.
More About Pak Man
Pak Man is one of the Bali’s better-known energy healers. His methods include deep healing massage and his own medicinal oils. He treats everything from depression, drug addiction, black magic and even broken bones. His sessions last about one hour.
Pak man sees three to four foreigners a day and then reserves time for local people at night. It takes a lot mentally and spiritually to treat others. No one can give from an empty well. They need time to rejuvenate as well.
He lives in Kutuh Kaja which is also a 20 minute drive from Central Ubud.
Price for a treatment is 500,000IDR (about $37 U.S.)
Tel Lucinda: 081-338 935 369
Jl. Tirta Tawar, Br. Kutuh Kaja, Ubud,
Gianyar – Bali
From Ubud main road (Jalan Raya), go north into Jalan TIRTA TAWAR. Enter KUTUH KAJA village. Pass VILLAGE BANJAR on left, further 100 meter and turn right into private lane (Signs to THE PURIST & D’LEGON Villa). Pass hotel car park, further 20 meter on the left is “PUNDUNG KEMBAR” at the black gates.
To make an appointment with Pak Man in Ubud please contact his wife, Lucinda, by mobile: 0813 3893 5369
To see our entire Bali experience, watch the video below!