It seems like its been a long road to get here.  But tomorrow is finally the first day: Healers and Healing Traditions of Bali.

First, I started with lots of research to decide which east Asia healing tradition would round out my three and contacted a number of people and programs to see which would fit.  That was about a 6 week process that included researching options of Traditional Korean Medicine, Japanese herbs and Reiki, Traditional Tibetan Medicine, and Burmese, Thai, and Bhutan healing, as well as Unani, one of the other Indian healing traditions. But when the Bali people were responsive, helpful, and had an interesting program available that suited me, I agreed.  I initially contacted them as far back as December 2010.

In February I registered and paid the deposit by check (who pays by check in the 21st century?!).  In May I emailed them confirming the trip and asking about the balance. Then in early June I received the invoice to pay the balance, which again I paid by check.  Meanwhile they sent more information about Bali, Indonesia and the itinerary (which I can’t find now). And I received an email about when and where we’d meet on the starting day.

So finally 9 months after initial contact, tomorrow is the first day! (I’m just a little excited–can you tell? :P)

It is a 2.5 hour drive from the airport to the starting hotel, at an additional personal cost of somewhere between US$22-45. We start out quite high up in the mountains where its cool and rainy. There seems to be 5-6 people attending the first week.

Here is the overview of the trip as described on the website:

This trip offers an in-depth excursion into the culture of Bali through the eyes of the Balinese, for those who wish to observe, appreciate, and experience traditional healing methods, at the same time enhancing their own health with traditional massage and Yoga.

There has been a strong, dynamic and extended movement in western culture to explore traditional medicine from many ancient cultures which received momentum in the early 1970’s. The study of Asian medicine has been in the forefront of this movement, particularly Chinese acupuncture, herbal medicine and the practice of Feng Shui. This trip is conceived as an introduction to the philosophy and use of traditional medicine in Bali—why Balinese use it, its causes–both internal and external, material and spiritual.

In Southeast Asia local people have long held their traditional healers (Balian or Dukun) in high regard. With the advent of western medicine, Healers have not been discarded, but seen as adjunct and complementary to what western medicine offers. Besides visiting a western-style doctor when ill, the Balinese consult a Balian, a traditional healer. These men and women work in different ways: some mix herbal remedies; some create drawings of magical inscriptions and symbols to protect the wearer; and some, while in trance, communicate messages from the Bali Hindu deities that dictate the creation of certain offerings and ceremonies.  Paramount to the work is the study of the actual practitioners: who they are, the types and varieties, what they do, why they do it, who they work with, etiquette and behavior.

We will also explore the history of traditional medicine (Usada), the source of information, and where people learn about it. Tantamount to understanding Balinese medicine is to understand the magic of the Left versus the Right. Love potions, black magic and their relationship to illness.

Medicinal plants & herbal medicines play an important, daily role in the indigenous population and we will spend time investigating the forms and applications of these.  Every Balinese knows how to make the simplest medicines for common colds, flu, headaches and wounds. Made from basic ingredients found on the island, these remedies have proven over the centuries to be effective in any country in the world. Most Balinese grow their own herbs, but they can also be found in the local markets. We will go on a herb walk, learn about mixing herbal medicines, and observe the use of these medicines during visits to Balinese healers. We will also learn the art of making a temple offering.

Massage is regarded as an important healing art on the island of Bali. Almost every family includes one member who practices this art, and there are many professionals on the island. These Balian Tulang are similar to doctors, and are called upon in emergencies to set broken bones or dislocations. Many of the Balian’s have received their knowledge from a parent or grandparent, while others have acquired their skills directly from the Hindu deities. During the trip each participant will receive three massages from three respected practitioners, with enough time to schedule repeat sessions. For your well being we are also including Yoga classes with a respected local teacher.

Purification ceremonies are an important part of Bali Hindu religious cycles. Usually held during times of stress, plague, transgression, or purification, these ceremonies many times involve sacred masks, and most are held within the villages temples. Each member of our group will experience a purification ceremony.

Itinerary and other information on Danu Tours.

In the previous few months, many people have asked me what Balinese is healing all about, what methods do they use, and to be honest, I don’t know.  All I know is what is in the description above.  So the answer is, that’s what I’m here to find out.  What little I do know seems that they use a more spiritual, holistic approach to healing, and have a mindset somewhat similar to TCM.

Now to get my beauty and brain Zzzzs before the course starts tomorrow.  Next update on what actually is Balinese healing toward the end of the week.