For years now I have been a strong advocate of massage and the benefits it can provide as part of any training and health routine…let alone the mental and emotional benefits. So image how excited I was when I realised that Bali has a massage joint on pretty much every corner….and in Ubud you cant go more than 20 paces without passing a massage salon, or being handed a leaflet.
Now the challenge is working out where you can get the amazing massage rather than just an OK massage. Sure you can easily spot the cheaper places, with a basic bed and no privacy but how do you know that you wont get the best massage of your life there…
Some of the best massages I have had around the world have been on a basic bed, with a sarong pulled over me and none of the trappings of the luxury spa. So what to do…if you have the time and means you can of course just systematically work your way through every massage salon in town…or you can just read on…because as a personal project I challenged myself to find the top 5 massages in Ubud..
And here they are dear readers….
Starchild – Monkey Forest Road
Ask for the owner for a deep strong Balinese massage or if you are feeling like indulging yourself go for the 4 hand massage…heaven!
3 points – Monkey Forest Road
Ask for Annie. She is small but has the strength of an Olympic weighlifter!! Don’t expect luxury, this is basic but very clean and well run with total professionalism.
Nurs Salon – JL Hanoman
Step behind the imposing walls of Nurs salon and into their tranquil medical gardens complete with herbal garden, koi carp pools and functional treatment rooms. There signature treatment here is the healing massage, where herbs are chosen based on your particular ailments.
If Reflexology is your thing, head off the main streets to Sandat Bali and meet I Nyoman Sudana for a life changing reflexology treatment. Not only does he do hands and feet but he is known to get his stick out for a bit of tapping and then a good rubbing with his herbal mint compound. Be prepared to scream and then be desperate to go back!!
But…coming in at my personal number 1:
Bodyworks – JL Hanoman
Brainchild of the Master Ketut Arsana, who has developed his method and then trained his team in his art to ensure that you always get the perfect treatment. Go for the deep tissue or if you have more time the 2 hour lymphatic drainage. Clean light rooms, professional strong masseuses, a choice of your favourite oil (they give you what’s left from the massage to take home) and a lovely ginger tea to finish.