Body Massage has been a part of the Balinese culture for many centuries. Most Balinese men go for what they call a Bali Massage [kerok], on a regular basis. For a Westerner it would be rather a horrific experience as coins and small wooden balls are used to scrape and rub up, down and across the person's back. Often upon completion the entire skin surface is one enormous bruise from the bleeding that has been caused under the skin by this strange form of massage. The Balinese love it!
A modified technique has been developed over the years that still provides a deep and penetrating massage but is done using the heel of the hands, combined with fingers and elbows. This is what today is normally referred to as a Tradional Balinese Massage in the Spas of Bali, and throughout the rest of the world.
The surfing fraternity discovered the beaches of Bali in the 1950's. Soon Balinese women were congregating on any beach where surfers were to be found, offering the service of a Balinese Massage. The recipient just lying prone on his towel or just sprawled on the sand. After having battled the surf for hours, it was the perfect way to unwind and relax. These massages are still seen today, being performed on every beach in Bali. If a beach attracts tourists then it will sooner or later also attract women from the local village offering Balinese Massage to supplement their family income. The charge is mostly as a result of supply and demand, otherwise called 'bargaining', but $US 5-10 would be the most common range, for a one hour massage.
The word Spa may have originally been taken from the Latin, although it is generally accepted that the modern meaning of the word originates from the mineral spring city of Spa, in Belgium. As the famed site of healing hot springs, Spa has been frequently used as a watering-place since the early 14th century. Though other sources of healing hot springs have become famous throughout the world, it is the town of Spa which has become eponymous with any place having a natural water source, that is believed to possess special health-giving properties. As a generic term, the word 'spa' may also refer to a resort hotel, usually located near a source of mineral water or hot spring - which offers hot-tub or similar warm-water hydro-massage facilities.
The words 'Massage Parlour' had so many other connotations that the word 'spa' has quickly become the healthy norm for all such activity, combining massage with many other forms of body treatment. Any mineral waters now used, most commonly coming from a bottle.
The Spas of Bali have quickly progressed, from local salons with a massage room in back, to the stage where every major hotel has an operating spa, many of which are magnificient. Some are beachside, others in mountain retreats or overlooking idyllic mountain rivers and streams. Enormous, and very expensive, Spa Villa Complexes are now sprouting everywhere, particularly in the mountain and river valley areas surrounding Ubud.
Coming of Age was the recent opening of the incredible Como Shambhala Spa at Begawan Giri, north of Ubud. It is one of the world's great spas.
Bali has suddenly become the Spa Capital of Asia, maybe The World!