Water – The Mystical and Ancient Healer
The origins of ‘spa’ as opposed to massage are brought to us from Roman times, where bathing communally in fresh water was the norm. Communal bathing has been a part of many cultures and makes sense in terms of water use and preservation, however when people were encouraged to be ‘modest’ and the desire for the luxury of privacy achieved status, the bathroom…
Text by Sarah Prewitt
The origins of ‘spa’ as opposed to massage are brought to us from Roman times, where bathing communally in fresh water was the norm. Communal bathing has been a part of many cultures and makes sense in terms of water use and preservation, however when people were encouraged to be ‘modest’ and the desire for the luxury of privacy achieved status, the bathroom became a place of solo inhabitance. However the enjoyment of communal bathing was not to be dismissed so easily and spa towns sprang up all over Europe, places with particularly mineralized waters, hot springs or fortifying cold depths attracted seasonal visitors in groups who would spend their days bathing, eating and resting. A spa was good for you after a long winter, at the end of a hot summer and if you had been unwell, a spa town with clear waters and fresh air was a good place to recover.
It is this concept that NOW! Bali embraces for July, a time that the island enters into one of the cooler months and prepares itself for the ‘high season’ of European and Northern Hemisphere visitors. We seek out places to visit in groups, and to spa as a concept rather than as a booking.
As a perfect example The Four Seasons at Jimbaran has recently opened their showcase dining location Sundara, providing a weekend lunch menu that is all about sharing. Sundara creates the perfect complement to time spent at the beautiful Jimbaran Bay Spa, or even better experiencing the Foreshore Treatments that embrace wellness therapy using the basic elements of water, fire, earth and wind to guide the style of treatments. These treatments use meditation, massage and natural ingredients in a combination that enhances the energetic well being from within. There is room for two at the ocean front bale, from where you can gaze out over the horizon, receiving the relaxation that comes from passively observing the ocean in motion and the benefits of surrendering to the trained and trusting hands of the Four Seasons therapists. Follow this with an afternoon at Sundara eating fresh oysters, sipping on elegantly created fruit based punches and trying the delicate cucumber mousse dessert and you will be tempted to turn your spa day into a spa week.
Further along the shore past Tanah Lot is the impressively understated Alila Soori. The spa at the Alila Soori delves into some mystical therapies that also rebalance and heal from within. The location, just an hour out of town, adds to the ability to enjoy the experience of being in a location that enhances the satisfaction factor. Entering the nurturing soft light of the spa, being surrounded by water features and the aroma of jasmines, sandalwood and lemongrass works immediately on the senses allowing the body and mind to take that first step towards rebalancing by relaxing into the softness of the spa interiors. Tibetan Bowls, Ayurveda, ancient rituals reworked to ease the stress from the modern, fast paced mind, elements of bamboo, silk and flowers are woven through the treatment options. The Alila Spa therapists are exceptionally knowledgeable and more than just a little intuitive. The therapists will impart information, not only of the treatments, but in finishing, will talk a little about your individual needs and the physical responses that they read from your body. Following a spa at Alila Soori there is nothing better than tucking yourself into the library, a place where you can be served food and drinks while reclining on the long sofas and reading for pleasure.
Up in Ubud there abounds great choices for spa outings offering some of the best day spas in Bali. Bali Botanica is one such place where they even arrange specific morning and afternoon treatments that are designed to provide you with everything you need for your complete spa day. In Ubud, where the essence of water is in the earth and trees, it is good to take warming treatments like the turmeric body scrubs, the herbal ball massages, treatments that can get into the skeleton of the body and give new energy to joints, hips and spines. Venturing out along the rivers that give Ubud such a beautiful forest vibe you can find The Maya Ubud with their wonderful riverside bathing suites and Kupu Kupu Barong’s unique Mango Tree Spa run by L’Occitane. As this is Ubud you can easily traverse the town and following a spa get to Clear Café in Jalan Hanoman for the very best in healthy food to share, or alternatively enjoy the vast elevated spaces at Indus for their health giving jamu drinks and hearty duck curry…
To spa communally is to bring life into your body, to bring smiles to your face and to put that sparkle back in your eye… Make your spa day, wherever you chose to spend it, about connecting inwards and outwards and feel the joy of being in such a special part of the world.