Affordable luxurious pampering – with added benefits

If you’re anything like me, I used to happily spend a fair bit of money on external things – things that I put ‘on’ my body like clothing, shoes, make-up etc.

If I spent money on the real ‘me’ it was usually limited to my hair, teeth or the occasional manicure/pedicure – not on my actual body.

But here in Bali, spending a little money on your body can go a long way.

Let me explain… I’d had this aching foot, nothing serious, but noticeable all the same.  I ignored it for a while assuming it would go away by itself.

One day, without even thinking about my troublesome foot, I decided to have a massage purely for the pampering experience that I knew it would be – and it was…

I went to Sedona Spa on the edge of Ubud.  You walk through a rice field and an archway covered in flowers to get to their newest spa rooms.

Garden massage room

Garden massage room

The beautiful rooms spill out onto their own private tropical garden surrounded by a bamboo fence that is high enough for your modesty and yet lets an expanse of blue sky greet you.

On three sides of the massage table colourful curtains billowed in the breeze.  And at the far end, just in front of my personal garden, stood a stylishly designed copper bathtub.

Soft Balinese music started to relax my muscles, as much as the scene itself did – and then the massage started.

From a very tasty menu that had tempted me with a coffee, chocolate, coconut, milk, honey, fruity, green tea, salty and seaweed massages, I had chosen the most expensive…  a spice massage.

The most expensive?  But that’s relative isn’t it?  Where, in the west, can you get a one hour full body massage in truly lovely surroundings for 190,000rupiah (approx £13 or $20 at the present exchange rate).

But it isn’t just the full (and I mean full) body massage – as this is where the spices come in.  Once your relaxed and limp body has enjoyed a whole hour of different yet complimentary massage techniques it is then covered, neck to foot, in an Indonesian spice mixture called boreh.

This body mask literally heats you up, especially as your body is then carefully wrapped in sarongs on the massage table and left to lay there…

While you contemplate the intricaces of the bamboo ceiling and listen to gentle music, the spices do their thing on your body.

Apparently boreh regulates blood circulation and reduces muscle aches, but it shouldn’t be used by those with high blood pressure (a warning that is clear on the menu).

When my body had been nicely simmering in the hot herbs and spices for however many minutes it was (time disappears when ‘you’ are cooking), my massage therapist reappeared to peel the spice clad sarongs from my, literally, hot and spicy body.

Get your relaxation here...

Get your relaxation here…

She had already filled the copper bathtub with hot water… why did it look so brown?  Could that be the effect of the copper on the water?  Ah, no.  As soon as I got into the bath I realised I was not alone…

I was sharing the bathtub with a muslin bag filled with more herbs and spices, the colours and essence of which were oozing out and filling my bath with brownness.

This was fine, because the copper colour reduced the visual image of laying in a bath of brown spicy water.

I warmed to the spices once again, or was it they who were warming to me?

While I lay there the massage therapist placed a small table next to the bath with a cup of ginger tea and a plate of freshly sliced tropical fruit.  She then disappeared again, leaving me to contemplate the fact that I was bathing in a garden setting with a naked sky overhead.

She knocked on the door one more time to let me know that it was time to leave the brown water of the bathtub for the clean water of the shower.

Through the archways of flowers to your spa room

Through the archways of flowers to your spa room

I left that room with my body still feeling hot, on the inside, from the effect of the boreh.

I must have glided on rails down that pathway, as my body felt too light to even make footsteps.

On top of all that I was then offered a courtesy lift back into town, which I accepted.

Anyway, back to the original story… the foot ache disappeared.

Now that is what I call affordable luxurious pampering – with added benefits.

If you go to Sedona Spa, say hello to them from me… julieinbali

and, if you like this, check out my blog post about a chocolate massage!

Leave a comment


  1. How exotic! I wonder what spices they used.

    • Think it depends on locality and what spices are available… my friend’s Mum uses boreh on her joints, but hers looks and smells different from the boreh in the spa.


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