"In Bali, you can find all sort of healing treatments," says Giorgia. "The reflexology is the most common and most traditionally Western in style, but you'll also find a lots of energy healing. It's not that painful or necessarily physical; it's more of an exchange of energy between you and the healer. He puts his hand on your head, chest/belly, and starts reading your body and mind, explaining possible troubles. Than he starts to move your energy and tries to absorb the negative stuff. It sound a bit weird, I know! But I can tell you from experience that your body starts to warm up, sometime buzzing, and your mind becomes really free. He helps you to let go of your obstacles and mental blocks. It's A very magical experience.
"In my case the healer really 'read' my mind and helped me to release past blocks linked to very personal experiences. My body was very, very tired at the end of the session and my head so light!
"This particular healer changed my life completely. Since that day, I haven't experienced those negative thoughts and fears I had before; I am happier and cheerful; I can think and see clearer and again, my energy is never been like now!"
Italian globetrotter Giorgia Bellingeri has lived in London, Paris, and Darwin, Australia, but feels an especially strong connection to Bali—which she calls her “spiritual home.” Giorgia heads back to the Indonesian paradise whenever possible to reconnect her body, mind, and spirit. Here, the professional illustrator and visual artist shares her latest Balian adventure: A return visit to a native healer.
You’ve recently shifted toward healthy lifestyle choices. Tell us about that!
The first step was probably quitting smoking. I always smoked a lot, like the rest of my Italian family! but one day I just didn't like it anymore. I felt it was suffocating me, so I quit without any regrets. Life has already changed a lot because of this choice. I became more physically active, beginning with running and ending up with a daily yoga practice. My diet changed, too. I always loved meat, but I just couldn't eat it anymore! I started becoming more aware and sensitive toward not only my body, but my mental and physical feelings and states.
I started to really appreciate the vegetarian diet, experimenting with a new way of cooking and eating. Bali is inspiring new passions and interests at the moment, too. Since I’ve been here, I’ve taken a raw food course and tried a juice fast. This deep detox made my body feel alive like I never felt before. Apart from been full of energy all the time, I don't get ill that often anymore, not even a casual cough or cold. My skin is finally great, my nails are so white and strong and I didn't even suffer from the famous “Bali belly" this time because I am eating live, plant-based organic products all the time along with maca, spirulina, and other superfoods.
I’ve decided to carry on this healthy path and hopefully try to help some people around me too who suffer a lot because of their lifestyles. Many people here in Bali have diabetes, and whether it's type 1 or 2, I believe that stimulating our immune systems and opening our energy blocks can really help. Of course, you need to believe in this and be open to these once-in-lifetime healing experiences. Shifting toward a better and healthier lifestyle helps us get the best out of life and ourselves.
How did you first discover this type of healing art?
My first time here, I stayed with my mum and sister in a very nice resort in Ubud which does various retreats (yoga, detox, meditation, etc.) called Five Elements. There, we had a choice of massages and healers to try depending on our personal physical and emotional states. I had a bad back and felt tired and down, but thought It might have been the chaotic lifestyle I was having and that I probably just need some relaxation and massage.
Apart from having relaxing and loving massages, I had the option of seeing a healer who was working on deep tissues reflexology, and who, I was told, could fix more than just my back! The staff did warn me that "it's going to be intense, but you'll be thankful afterwards"! I accepted those terms, and was curious and already enchanted by the magical and healthy atmosphere.
What is the ritual like, and how do you feel as you are experiencing it?
My second and most recent time I was at Agung's family temple. Two old black-and-white photos of his father and grandfather, who were also healers, hung in a corner above a little low table which held the offerings: Flowers, incense and random objects, including a Tibetan bell and some stones and sticks.
After a quick verbal ritual that I didn’t understand, we sat cross-legged in front of each other, with Agung moving a a flower dipped in some holy water around my whole body. The purification was made and we were ready to start. I took my place on the floor, belly up on a big plastic mat. He began applying delicate pressure at the feet and legs as if hew was just checking them. Then he took the left foot and began pressing precise points of the toes with his thumb. The pressure got deeper and stronger, and he used a wooden stick as well. You are supposed to breathe deeply and "take the pain, don't push it away. Let it go.”
By the time he got to the second foot, I was already "beyond" the pain. You are given permission to scream, speak, shout--whatever comes out. I also jump from the pain and vibrate from the energy and the inner heat that this practice creates. You also cry—not because of the pain, but something deeper, more psychological. You let go on inner suffering, delusions, tensions, stress--anything you’ve been trying to hold in. The pressure on specific points opens up internal blockages.
How do you feel immediately afterward?
I felt great because the pain was gone! Your body is shaking and buzzing, full of energy. You do really feel the flow of energy running through the length of your body. You feel hot, a little sweaty, and your arms feel like they have been pricked with tiny needles. You feel light and relaxed at the same time, as you lie with your eyes shut just enjoying the physical and psychological peace. It's quite beautiful and like nothing else.
The body reacts to this practice in many ways. The second time, I felt less pain than my first experience, but I felt very tired and went to sleep soon after (5pm) waking up only the next morning at 7 am. During the night, I think i experienced a high fever, and when I awoke, I was a bit dizzy. My intestines—where I was having cramps, aches, and other issues resulting from stress, and which he concentrated his pressure on—were moving a lot, the whole day!
It wasn’t until the second day that I started to feel great. Actually, like new. Body-wise, my intestines and stomach felt fresher and positively active. I felt lighter also in mind. Energy and positive thinking was back! I have felt better and better every day since then. Sleeping better, feeling stronger, and more balanced.
Do you pay for these services, and if so, what does something like this cost?
The local tradition in Bali is to make “offering.” This offer can vary and it's completely up to you, but usually it ranges from 150.000RP to 500.000RP (€10 to €35/$15 to $45). In my case, I brought a little "offering tray” made of banana leaves upon which I placed some colorful flowers, incense sticks, and money neatly rolled up. It’s a loving way to say thank you to the healer and to his protective gods and goddess in his temple.
Do your friends and family support you on your spiritual quest?
They clearly see the difference that this experience brings to me. Even over the phone, my mum was so surprised and happy to hear me emanating good vibes and energy. My friends around me at the moment in Bali could actually see the different light on my face. It's crazy, but your face changes, the expression is different, the eyes are shinier, the skin brighter. You look full of life and your face radiates! It’s hard to believe until you try it.