Although the word “massage” is recent, this technique of rubbing the body was practised by many civilisations before it became a means of relaxation in our society. Texts dating back more than 3000 years, mainly from China, India or Persia refer to this technique, which is why massage is often considered to be a practice imported from the Far East.
Today, the benefits of massage are more than proven. It promotes physical and mental well-being by acting directly on the skin, tendons, muscles, ligaments and sometimes even on the acupuncture meridians. It also helps to reduce the stresses and strains of everyday life that cause fatigue and numbness.
Now an integral part of certain rehabilitation programmes, massage therapy has evolved over time into a codified science, which is why the practice of massage is becoming more and more diversified, depending on the culture and the care required.
There are now many specialised centres that adapt the techniques to the needs of each individual, offering a personalized and tailor-made service, according to the pace of life and the needs of each person. In today’s article, we will learn more about the Balinese massage.
Balinese massage, also known as Pijat, originated in Bali, Indonesia. Strongly influenced by Indian, Chinese and Indonesian cultures, the Balinese massage technique is a mixture of gentle and strong movements designed to achieve intense physical and mental relaxation.
Like many other Asian-influenced massages, Balinese massage focuses on many energy points in the body to stimulate blood flow, oxygen and therefore energy: Qi. However, Balinese massage is not designed to relieve specific physical ailments; it is part of the so-called Ayurvedic practices, which are based on the concept of energy and harmonisation of the mind and body as a whole.
There is no standard type of Balinese massage, as practices can vary from culture to culture. This massage is the result of an oral tradition that is widespread across the 18,000 or so islands that make up Indonesia.
How Does a Balinese Massage Session Work?
Balinese massage consists of various methods of reflexology, acupressure and aromatherapy.
At the start of the session, the patient is asked to remove all or part of their clothing and lie down on a massage table or mattress on the floor. The first part of the session consists of a series of kneading, percussion and pressure movements along the meridians of the whole body. The aim is to stimulate and open the main energy points to relax the body and mind.
The hands move along the meridians of the body with exploratory movements of varying length. The stronger the pressure applied, the faster it will be effective in the process of regeneration and harmonisation of body and mind.
Balinese massage is often combined with aromatherapy to awaken the senses of the person being massaged. The use of a generous amount of scented massage oil is part of a good Balinese massage, as it promotes relaxation and makes strong pressure easier to bear. The massage oil is usually scented with a few drops of essential oil for a stimulating massage. Remember that essential oils are not meant to be applied directly to the skin, so they should be mixed.
Many therapists like to diffuse essential oils in the room to enhance the sense of wellbeing and create an enveloping atmosphere.
The second part of the massage is an awakening phase. The person being massaged is asked to sit down and the masseur performs various gentle stretches and friction all over the patient’s body to release energy.
A Balinese massage session usually lasts an hour, but even at this stage, cultural differences in practice can shorten or lengthen the duration.
What Are the Benefits of Balinese Massage?
The improvement of blood and lymph circulation eliminates the feeling of fatigue and heaviness, promotes the elimination of toxins and provides an immediate feeling of well-being.
The unblocking of the meridians, which stimulate the circulation of energy, has a revitalising effect, helping to relieve stress and tension and improving mood. The massage oils and essential oils also soften the skin.
The Balinese massage is also particularly effective in relaxing the muscles after physical or sporting activities that have caused soreness.