My Balinese Healing Experience – No. 2

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Sideman, BaliWell, I’ve just had my very own Eat, Pray, Love healing experience in Sideman, Bali. It was pretty profound. Not so much in the physical aspect of what he did (although I’ve never experienced anything like it before), but it was his healing wisdom that came after, that had the biggest impact.

Mangku Mastra is a fifth generation priest and self-taught healer from Sideman, Bali. His specialty healing is his chakra-balancing massage which is a combination of massage (deep tissue, trigger point, and fast flowing strokes), reflexology, energy healing, and mantras and prayers.

Mangku Mastra

Mangku Mastra

It’s not for the faint hearted, especially if you are modest – that soon goes out the door! There’s no stepping outside the room as you get undressed, or a lovely towel or sarong to cover yourself. It’s just get undressed and get on with it.

I chose to leave my underwear on, although this was a bit of a hindrance for him at times…however, having said that, I didn’t feel for a moment that anything was ‘dodgy’ about what he did, and just trusted and surrendered to the process.

This massage is very different

If you love sports or deep tissue massage you will love Mangku Mastra’s massaage.  Unfortunately I’m a soothing, relaxing massage kind of gal, not a hard, deep tissue, no pain no gain massage kind of gal so to be honest I did not find the massage pleasant for that reason. But I was here for the experience and come what may I put my body on the line.

I’m very protective of my lower back (after having a couple of herniated discs years ago and osteoporosis now, it’s my weak spot) so told him I have a very sore lower back and to not use hard downward pressure. He listened and did not force the area at all.

So, I climb onto the table, laying on my front, head down the hole (thankful for a proper massage table). He tells me to breathe and relax, then puts his hands on my back and starts chanting. It was quite a moving experience actually – to be chanted to the gods for.

He spreads liberal amounts of oil on my back (he has several brews to choose from) and starts massaging and rubbing. I was waiting for the pain (Balinese massage can be very hard) but it didn’t come. It certainly wasn’t relaxing but it didn’t hurt, for that I was grateful.

The oil he uses (and there’s plenty of it) is a mixture of coconut, mint, ginger, white wood and alcohol. It smells and feels just like liniment – you know, stimulating but cold at the same time. If you have blocked sinus I can guarantee you won’t when he’s finished!

Chakra balancing

Because he was balancing my chakra’s as he went, whenever he had to go to my base/root chakra’s he would say ‘sorry’ first. This of course is a very private area but it never felt sexual, and believe me I had my ‘high alert’ on! But like I said earlier, if you are modest or hold fear in this region, then this healing is not for you…or maybe it could help unlock this area if you are willing to try…?

Legs, feet, arms were the most painful. Getting into acupressure and reflexology points. Breathing deeply through it I was glad when it was done.

Rolling over I wondered what was going to happen on my front. There’s no towel or sarong covering you, and I was glad I had left my underwear on otherwise I would have felt totally exposed. Having had many massages where I am uncovered topless, this did not bother me…but again, if you are modest you might have a problem with it…

No pain, no gain?

The two worst bits of the front massage were when he ran his thumb up my thigh (several times and from outer to inner) like a caterpillar, only deeply – it tickled and hurt at the same time! And the other was when he worked on my tummy because by then I was ready for a pee!

Once again, when he needed to go to my base/root chakra he would apologise first. Apart from legs and arms, it was all chakra areas, breasts did not come into it at all, so as I said, I felt fine with what he was doing.

Mangku Mastra’s words of wisdom

Towards the end he started talking about having control. Control of the mind and emotions. Dealing with stress, having belief in yourself. More chanting and then he put his hands on my heart – that’s when the tears started.

He said, ‘Your body good, no problem circulation, but your heart broken’. More tears!

He said, ‘Cry no good, sadness no good. Tears make blood hot, smile make body light. Must learn control’.

Mangku Mastra’s words of wisdom that I intend to remember are:

Mangku Mastra's words of wisdom

 “Everyone has problem but if you keep smiling is better.”

“Happy = Harmony.”

“Money no problem if you have just enough.”

“Visualise and have hope.”

Now, none of this is new. I’ve read the books, I’ve seen the movies, I’ve done the retreats and workshops…BUT, these words, coming from a Balinese priest in broken English suddenly struck me – I finally understood what makes the Balinese tick – WHY they are always smiling and happy when they appear (to us Westerners) to have nothing!

The Balinese secret

This is their ‘secret’.

I remember last year at Yogi’s house when I saw where they all sleep – all five of them (mum and kids) – “You ALL sleep on the mattress?”, I said, as I raised my eyebrows…”Yes Paula” he said, “it’s not a problem”…

It’s so simple, but it takes practise. They are born into it, they practise it every day, live it, breathe it. It becomes who they are.

Mangku Mastra is a jovial, peaceful Balinese priest

Mangku Mastra is a jovial, peaceful Balinese priest

He spoke about God, the Creator – not as a human form but as a higher consciousness, an abstract form. Conscious, sub-conscious, higher conscious, the macrocosm (the Universe), the microcosm (us), all connected.

Advice we know but don’t follow

He also gave dietary advice – the usual – drink lots of water, watch cholesterol, no peanut or heavy oils, no alcohol (drat), only a little sugar. Advice we all know but choose not to follow.

He told me to drink lemon, ginger and honey to help with my bloating. I wasn’t going to ask about coffee since he’d just told me no alcohol – a gals gotta have some pleasures! He didn’t mention not smoking either, but then that just wouldn’t be right, after all, he had to finish his cigarette before our session started 🙂

He finished off with a very vigorous head massage, ears and neck, all with the liniment oil. Then he said ‘sorry’ again as he bent down, very close to my forehead and chanted/prayed once again – it was pretty powerful stuff!

More teachings

He said he also teaches yoga and meditation and that if I liked he would teach me tomorrow (at a price of course, but that’s ok). His is a ‘special’ yoga and meditation, one that will have me getting ‘better and better, lighter and lighter’.

So, why not. I’d like to experience what he has to offer. I totally resonated with his wisdom, it was simple and straightforward, and you never know, it might just all make a difference…

The thing is, I don’t do yoga (I don’t enjoy it at all) and I barely meditate anymore. Tomorrow will be interesting…watch this space…

Read about my other Balinese healing experiences:

My Balinese Healing Experience

Learning Meditation and Yoga from a Fifth Generation Balinese Priest


Retreats in Bali 2016:

Writing Retreat

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  1. Great review was considering going for a chakra massage and after reading reviews on trip advisor hard to tell but I am very shy and modest don’t think I would feel comfortable

    • Hi Emma, yeah I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’ve had a lot of body work to be honest. I’ve had heaps of massages and am a massage therapist myself and I wasn’t 100% comfortable…it was a great experience but one I won’t be repeating 🙂

  2. Mounia Bendriss says:

    Hello Paula,
    Thank you for this great experience sharing.
    As i was looking for chakra healing in Bali, I found your blog and its great.
    I was wondering if you could send the contact of Mangku Mastra, i’d love to gave a healing session with him!
    Thanks in advance formyour help!
    Have a beautiful day!
    Love and light🙏

  3. i think you were brave to go with this – i’m cynical myself. but if it resonated with you then that’s the main thing. i love massage because it’s wonderful to be touched but would run a mile from this session of yours. but it was a joy for you. and a gift. your writing is lovely.

    • Hi Nancy, thank you so much for your feedback…I try and give new and different things a ‘go’ – you never know the little gems you receive from these experiences…even though parts of the massage were unpleasant for me, I will definitely have another session with him when I return to Sideman next year 🙂

  4. Wow! This is a fantastic post. I felt like I was right there with you. What a wonderful experience for you. Thanks for sharing the sound advice we often forget to follow. x

  5. What an awesome post amd sharing Paula! Definately on my bucket list as I love my energy healers!
    Have an open mind w the yoga. I’ve tried different styles and found they work for you at different stages, depending what you need and how the instructor guides you thru it. Would love to hear about your session 🙂

    • Thanks Zivana! My experience with Mangku was very different from anything I’ve done before, and that’s what I like about trying these things out – everyone is different and you never know just how they will impact you. The yoga was actually fine – you can check out my experience here.
      There’s as many different types of massage as there are yoga classes I think, and this one with Mangku was awesome – I didn’t have to try and twist my body into positions it couldn’t do so I was very happy ;-)…I’ll definitely be carrying on with it and keeping practising 🙂

  6. Oooh this seems divine, even if you are exposed! I LOVE a good hard massage, even when it brings tears to the eyes!

  7. What a beautiful heart centred experience. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. Oh my goodness! I don’t think this type of massage is for me! I’m quite modest when it comes to others touching my bits!!! I’ve had a couple of massages here in Malaysia and it’s definitely more pleasing to me to have a foot massage!

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