Known for impossibly beautiful beaches, graceful carved stone art and volcanic adventures in the jungle, the exotic island of Bali has long captured the imagination of travelers from around the world. Travel to Bali and along with fresh papayas, fragrant tropical flowers and colorful offerings to the gods on doorsteps daily, you will find spa services touted around every corner.
Like most destinations in Southeast Asia, Bali is a budget-friendly choice for a beach vacation, where an hour-long massage will set you back an entire $7. The plane ticket to Indonesia, however, is a bit more expensive – but you can bring the skin secrets of Bali spas into your own home with a few simple steps. No matter where you travel in the world, you will encounter beauty rituals that do more than perk up your appearance – they soothe the soul and infuse the spirit with a revitalized energy. Beauty treatments in Bali are holistic, embracing both the inner and outer body with ingredients that are natural and methods that take the whole self into account.
1. Coconut Oil – Coaxed from the mangled meat of the coconut palm tree drop by drop by drop, coconut oil is the lubricant of choice in every Balinese spa. Very high in saturated fat, coconut oil might not be the healthiest product to put in your body on a daily basis – but putting in on your body is another story. A cream at cold temperatures and a liquid in warm settings, coconut oil boasts a bevy of potent ingredients that work wonders on dry skin. In addition to the saturated fats, coconut oil contains capric, caprylic and lauric acids - fats with powerful anti-microbial properties. These disinfectants protect the skin from microbial infections, including acne, eczema and psoriasis. Coconut oil is also rich in proteins as well as vitamin e, and it can be used as a moisturizer, makeup remover and anti-aging cream.
2. Environment is Everything – It can be difficult to find your bliss if your senses are being bombarded with reminders of daily life: a ringing phone, barking dog or squealing child. Insist on creating space and time for yourself to treat your body like a temple. Turn off all your electrical devices, light some incense, turn on a fan and play some soothing music that sets your mind at ease.
3. Whole Body Treatment – Book a massage in the Western world and your masseur or masseuse will most likely avoid your soft and squishy parts: stomach, breasts and rear end. Not so in Bali, where body massages often include a soothing belly rub that works its way all the way up, along with strong strokes on the gluteal muscles. The next time you give your body a rub down, don’t pass over these sensitive areas – in fact, use a little extra TLC on your softer spots.
4. Island Ingredients – Along with coconut oil, Balinese spas employ a range of locally grown ingredients for facial and body treatments, including honey, oatmeal, cucumber and fresh flower petals. Simple yet effective, these natural ingredients often have better results than any pricey products you would find at a department store. Make yourself a mask of honey and an exfoliating scrub with oatmeal for a blissful experience – these ingredients work just as well inside your body as they do on the outside.
Image: dMap Travel Guide