Although there’s literally hundreds of spas in Bali these days, very few of them offer Shiatsu massage. Why is that I wondered? 

Shiatsu is one of my favourite massages, preferring it over an oil massage. Occasionally if I see it on a spa menu I’m enticed to try it.  In the end I’m usually disappointed as a poor portrayal of a pressure point massage. I once experienced a massage where the therapist pushed on my coccyx and woke up the next morning unable to walk because of the debilitating pain shooting down my right leg.  Sciatica! It took a few weeks and several Chiropractic treatments before I could walk normally. I steer clear of untrustworthy places and treatments.


What is Shiatsu?

The Japanese form of massage called Shiatsu literally means “finger pressure”.  It’s a unique combination of classical Oriental medical theory, whose history goes back to the beginnings of acupuncture 4000 years ago. Although its origins are ancient, it was given its name around the turn of the century.  Even though Shiatsu means “finger pressure”, the hands, elbows and knees and other parts of the body are also used to apply pressure on the acupuncture points of the body.  The techniques involve stretching, holding and leaning body weight into various parts of the recipient’s body to improve energy flow, blood circulation, flexibility and posture.

Shiatsu is based on the belief in a life force energy that sustains every activity of the body, mind and spirit, called Ki, which flows in connected channels or meridians throughout the body.  Each meridian is linked to an organ, and its Ki can be contacted at certain points along its path – these are the acupuncture points known in Japanese as Tsubos. In normal health, a balanced condition exists, and the Ki flows smoothly along the meridians, like water through a garden hose, supplying and maintaining all parts of the body.  But when the body has been weakened by immoderate lifestyle, emotional stress or injury, the Ki no longer flows smoothly, becoming deficient in areas and excessive in others, creating a state of dis-ease.  Shiatsu can alleviate headaches, lower back and shoulder pain or specific problems.


Yin & Yang

Yin and Yang are the two opposite yet complimentary aspects of existence, the shade and the light.  Yin corresponds to that which is dark, cool, moist, soft, receptive, feminine and sinking.  Yang represents light, hot, dry, hard, active, masculine and rising. The substance of the organs is yin yet the energy supplies them is yang. Where there is too much yin, there is a tendency to coldness, dampness and condensation into substance (such as the formation into tumors).  With too much yang there is over activity and heat.  When yin is deficient, even though the yang energy many be normal, there will be yang type symptoms, such as nervous excitability or insomnia.  When yang is deficient, there will be tiredness, chilliness and poor circulation.  Shiatsu will automatically help to balance the yin and yang. Regular treatments can improve your health.


The Meridians

The meridians are the channels along which the Ki flows through the body.  The best known are the 12 meridians used in acupuncture.   All meridians are bilateral and are associated with a particular organ or psycho-physical function, but in its effect it extends beyond the activity of the organ.  For example the liver meridian is associated with the nails, the muscles and tendons, the reproductive system, the emotion of anger, the eyes and the ability to plan.  You should understand that if there is pain along the liver meridian it may not necessarily be the liver organ but the liver energy.

When you press a point on a meridian, you are not only stimulating the local nerves and tissues, but influencing the flow of Ki throughout that meridian. Points near the ends of the meridians are often the most powerful in removing blocks or relieving pain along the course of that meridian.


Eco Bali Spa

By chance I came across a great new spa in Seminyak called Eco Bali Spa. Seeing the board out front offering a 30% discount on massages I was unable to resist the temptation and entered the charming garden entrance. Perusing the spa menu I spotted Shiatsu and decided this was worth trying.  The spa is nicely decorated and comfortable. I was escorted up to the third level and ushered into a cozy booth. The therapist handed me a pair of pants and a shirt and asked me to change. Shiatsu uses no oil and is performed clothed. When she returned a few minutes later I was ready for 90 minutes of bliss.

Lying face down, she began working on my feet, stretching my legs and gradually working her way up my legs to the back. I could feel the tension leaving my body. Next I was asked to lie on my side, this would allow the therapist to work on both inner and outer legs, buttocks, stretching the torso and working under the scapula. The best part was the points along the neck, gently but firmly pressed. Great for headaches and neck tension. Finally I was asked to lie face up where more leg work was done, then a good stomach massage, arms and a fabulous hand massage. The treatment came to a close with good neck pressure points and a soothing face and head massage. I felt so relaxed yet energized. It was a fabulous proper Shiatsu. I’ve returned for more treatments and realized that the therapists have been well trained. Get a 50% discount off Shiatsu til the end of September.

Besides all of the other usual spa treatments like other massages, hair, nails and facials it’s known for using certified organic Australian tanning products called Eco Tan for those who can’t wait to get an instant tan.


Eco Bali Spa Jl. CamplungTanduk No. 103.

(formerly Dynapura). Seminyak

T: 361-738730. M 8123953842


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Get a copy of Shari’s book The Spa Guru’s Home Spa of home spa recipes from Bali available on Amazon as e-book or hard cover.


Copyright spa inspirations 2017

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