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When in Bali: Linden Schaffer meets 3 must-see healers. Read her postcard to us

Linden Schaffer, the founder of Pravassa, which leads healthy travel experiences with great teachers, is currently hosting a trip in Bali (with yoga instructor Erica Mather). Schaffer, the sweetie that she is, sent us this e-postcard about three healers she met while traveling the Indonesian island Liz Gilbert called “Love.”

Balinese medicine man
Linden Schaffer gets blessed in Bali by Gede Darsana, a medicine man


Dear Well+Good,

What can I say, being in Bali is magical. It’s definitely a place that still uses ancient healing methods to live well every day. Although I’m here for work, I’ve managed to find some time for myself and try some. Here are three healers I met and my amazing experiences with them. Love, Linden

Gede Darsana, the medicine man
I couldn’t wait to return to the village of Tejakula, in North Bali, to visit Gede Darsana, the medicine man I saw when I was in Bali last year. I wasn’t sure he’d remember me. But since I haven’t been to a Western doctor in over a year, I was excited to receive his insights and blessings. Gede doesn’t speak English, but his eyes did light up at the sight of me. Whether he remembered me specifically or the bracelet of protection he offered me last year, which still adorned my wrist, I’m not sure. But either way, it made me feel good.

Balinese tattoo A session with Gede is very intimate: you strip down to your underwear, lie on a thin sarong-covered mattress in his outdoor pavilion, and let him massage your body to determine if there are any physical ailments. After 25 minutes, which ends with you sitting cross-legged on the floor, meditating hand-in-hand, I was declared normal! (Therefore, no herbal jamu concoction to drink this year!) I dressed, was blessed with holy water (see photo, above), taken into his sacred temple, cleansed with incense, and given a new bracelet for protection along with a big hug.

Abenk, of Dark Shadow Tattoo
Seminyak, in southwest Bali, is home of the island’s best tattoo artist, Abenk. He does all of Michael Franti’s tattoos, gave me my first Bali tattoo last year, and I was excited to return. He didn’t remember me, but he did remember that last year half way through my tattoo the power went out and when after 35 minutes it didn’t come back on, we had to hop on his motorbike to his other studio across town. Thankfully this year there was no such incident and while my new ink hurt more than any tattoo I’ve done so far, it was a quick 20 minute session. See my photo.

Balinese massage Momo, a double major in Balinese and Esalen massage
I just went to the BaliSpirit Festival in Ubud, which brings together yoga, music, dance, and healers from the world over. It has an intensely loving vibe. On day two, signed up for massage workshop, and it turned out to be less workshop and more massage. (Yay!)

I was lucky enough to get on Momo’s table. He’s a Balinese massage therapist with Esalen massage training—in other words, he’s a double major in healing and nurturing touch. Momo uses gentle rocking and stretching, as well as deep acupressure. And his technique was so fluid, I could feel him dancing around me and incorporating my body into his movements. During the massage, the rain started and began to pour through the roof of the outdoor pavilion, and onto the massage table. Without missing a beat, Momo enlisted another man and my massage table (with me on top) was lifted off the floor and across the room out of the rain. It was true treat at the hands of a master—and a cleansing. I’d definitely visit him again at the Jari Menari Spa in Bali, where he works.