Balinese massage, the technique and benefits of a relaxing treatment

The Balinese massage is the perfect treatment to regain harmony between body and mind. Let’s discover the technique, its benefits and characteristics.

The traditional Indonesian massage was invented in Bali, a popular destination for travellers coming from the four corners of the world. It became popular at the beginning of the 20th century, when a group of visionary artists were amazed by the charm of this strip of land they named “island of Paradise”. In this place, ancient knowledge has been kept alive and originates from a fusion of Animist, Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

Crossing cultures

Bali’s architecture and folklore is strongly influenced from other Asian countries. Pura Besakih, Bali’s largest and most idolized temple that is considered as a Mother Temple for Hinduism, and it’s a clear example of this mixture of influences. Balinese massage itself is influenced by Indian, Chinese and Thai practices: in fact it can be defined as a sort of mixture of different techniques that are harmonised in a unique treatment.

temple bali
The Pura Besakih temple, Bali © Indonesia Tourism

Balinese massage techniques

The Balinese massage is a full-body treatment, ideal for those who want to take care of their body from scalp to foot. During the treatment patients must lay on a professional massage couch; they are then gently massaged with scented oil chosen according to their preferences and type of skin. The body parts that haven’t been massaged and those already massaged are covered with a cloth not to create temperature leaps.

This technique includes gentle and relaxing strokes as well as vigorous pressure-point stimulations. The therapist starts to treat the legs, then firmly frictions the back and arms and, finally, slowly massages the scalp. Therapists use a combination of gentle stretches, skin rolling, kneading and stroking, and pressure-point stimulation, to stimulate the flow of blood, lymph and energy.

Creating a relaxing atmosphere

Those who perform the treatment must know which are the most recommended types of touch and the way they move the patient’s limbs; they also must be able to create a relaxing, calming and soothing atmosphere because the Balinese massage soothes the body as well as mind.

balinese massage atmosphere
It is important to create a relaxing atmosphere during the massage.

Which oils to choose

To make the treatment more effective, therapists use vegetable oils including jojoba, sesame, Thaitian monoi and coconut oil, as well as scented essential oils such as ylang-ylang and rose oil. Some essential oils suitable for this type of massage are very rare and can be exclusively found in the island of Bali or, more generally, in Indonesia, such as frangipani essential oil. This is particularly appreciated by Balinese people because it boosts the mood.

frangipani flower bali
A frangipani, the beautiful flower from which a scent used for Balinese massage is extracted ©


The traditional massage of the Indonesian island of Bali helps reduce stress, stimulates the flow of blood, relieves strained muscles, helps detoxify the body, nourishes and softens the skin. Both women and men can receive this treatment provided that they don’t suffer from some pathologies for which the massage is not recommended.

Featured image ©

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