Balinese Medicine Man

by lilla on May 20, 2009

“Met a real Balinese medicine man. The kind of medicine man that comes from a long lineage of healers. The kind who never turns anyone away. The kind who does not charge for his services. The kind whose energy work you FEEL physically and not just imagine or wish you did. The kind in which it is almost sacrilegious to talk about and selfish not to. I was blessed by a great man today – a day I will never forget.”

Never ceases to amaze me how things line up to lead you along your path. I few days ago, I was rifling through a Balinese magazine and saw a little postage stamp of an article about Balinese medicine men. It spoke of how tourists are “swindled” by so-called healers and that true medicine men do not charge for their time or turn anyone away lest they lose their healing powers. It went on to mention two healers, one near Ubud. Feeling brave, I jotted down the information and hastily emailed my Bali driver friend if he knew where the Ubud medicine man was and if he could take me and be my translator if necessary.

The next day, I don’t remember how, it came to my attention that the author of the best-selling book “Eat, Pray, Love” had come to Bali to study with a Balinese medicine man near Ubud and as fate should have it, I spotted a copy of the book at the lending library at Ubud Sari. I re-read the final chapters on her Bali experience and took down the name of the Balinese healer. It was a different man and I thought, why not meet him too? When in Bali, do as the Balinesian, right?

The following day among all the Bali distractions, my desire to see the Balinese healers waned and I decided instead that I wanted to go to a hot spring that I heard about, off the beaten tourist path. But late that evening when I checked my email, my driver had replied stating that he would be picking me up the next morning at 8am to meet the medicine men. All of a sudden I was scared and intimated to meet them. What should I bring as an offering? What was I going to say? What were they going to do to me?

Next morning, my driver arrives and I told him I didn’t have an offering. He said we would get one. I told him, I don’t know how much to donate. He told me how much. I told him I was scared and he said don’t be. After shooting down all my arguments, I resigned to the plan.

First we went to the hot spring pool because I needed time to think. It was gorgeous and peaceful. I had the whole place practically to myself as I don’t think many people know about this one. The water is not super hot like “Eden Springs scorching,” but pleasantly hot. I lounged around in the cold and hot water pool for an hour.

The Mother Spring

The Mother Spring

Then we drove to the first healer. There were five people in his courtyard waiting for his teachings. As soon as he came out, I must have stuck out because he asked my driver in Balinese what I was doing here. He didn’t sigh out loud, but I got the feeling that I was intruding. He called me up front and asked me why I came to see him. With everyone watching and within earshot, I spoke to him. He asked me to sit in front of him where he proceeded to touch trigger points on my head, face and shoulders. He found a point on my face and asked me if I felt pain there and it was like a vibrating electrical shock! An unbelievable sensation. Then he asked me to lie down and he pressed more points specifically on my feet… “heart good, liver good, lungs good, gallbladder good…” then the searing pain! He hit a spot that made me laugh out loud to deal with the pain. Once he found that one, he followed it up my leg and touched another one on my outer thigh and one on my rib cage that had me doubling over. And all I could do was laugh and feel the tears of pain welling up in my eyes. He kept working on me, allowing me to rest when the pain was too much and then he leaned over and whispered to me “bad memory, I can not fix. You must fix.” Then he proceeded to “guess” what the memory was and his words hit home and made me finally break out in a sob with 12 strange eyes watching me, but I couldn’t care less. He started to prepare some medicine while I recovered. Then he asked me to lie down again and he stood on my feet and said an incantation. It was just so incredible I can’t describe in words, so I’ll stop here.

We left and I collected myself as we drove to the second healer, Ketut Liyer, the one mentioned in “Eat, Pray, Love.” As we pulled up, I almost changed my mind because I was still in a daze and emotionally spent. But when we arrived, someone came to the door to greet us, so I figured I would just do the palm reading…(to be continued.)

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  • Making Love In The Kitchen

    I love the story and can't wait to read the rest. It is my 30th birthday in October and I've been trying to decide what to do to celebrate. I have been thinking about Bali for sometime- but I think it may be time.

  • KaliLilla

    Bali is wonderful! You will love it!! I may be back in October too
    coincidentally. :)

  • Lynda

    Hurry hurry and tell us more. LUV all you are telling us and am so intrigued. What luck you fell into…or was it the LOA? when he hit those pressure points, did it mean you had something bad when it was pain? Did he tell you how to fix them and what they meant? You are now going to be in perfect health and are going to win the RTP. I can feel it in my non-healer bones! Take care. Tell all.

  • Debbie

    Hi Lilla,

    I am in awe of this post and the gentleman you mention. You are having such a wonderful time. Wish I could be there with you!


  • KaliLilla

    He was really the real deal medicine man. I want to go back but am intimated by his presence. Trying to muster up the courage. ;)

  • KaliLilla

    If you ever have a chance to come to Bali, do it! :D

  • Pamela

    Hi, I'm going to Ubud next week and am hoping to meet a medicine man (other than Ketut!) I'd really appreciate it if you could email me the name and address of the 1st healer you met. My email add is Thanks!

  • Rohan

    Thanks for sharing this great story and such fantastic photos of bali – your effort is much appreciated!

  • KaliLilla

    Thanks Rohan! That means a lot to me. Sometimes I wonder if anyone
    reads my blog. LOL. So nice to get comments. :)
    I would love to post more right now too, but I'm in Lombok and the
    internet is incredibly unbelieveably SLOW.

  • shada


    I am also going to UBUD NEXT WEEK in search of the medicine man. Please email me his details and the contact details of the driver. I am told that soem drivers can rip you off. I will be going wiht my daughter 13 years old.
    I thank you an dsend blessings to all.
    My email address is :

  • KaliLilla

    Hi There!
    His name is Cok Rai and phone number 62 361 294 565. Not sure of the address
    - my driver Nyoman took me. Nyoman's mobile phone is 0818 0550 4022 and
    email If you call Nyoman tell him that Lilla sent

    And please email me and lmk how it went! Would love to hear about your
    experience. :)

  • sue

    would you be open to sharing the first medicine man's name?

  • k

    im a homeopath and have been looking to go to bali and meet medicine people can you give me the name off your first medicine man and also recommend a good guide please and any other tips.

  • KaliLilla

    His name is Cok Rai, near Ubud. :)

  • Martina

    Dear Lilla
    I read your story about the medicine man in Bali and wow… I was so touched and impressed!
    I am going to Ubud from 14-19 March for a yoga retreat and would love to visit “your” medicine man… but to be honest, I feel kind of shy. Is it ok, to just drop by? Or did you arrange for an appointment upfront? Shall I just call the driver Nyoman and ask him to arrange?
    Wow, I'm so excited…
    Best wishes from Zurich

  • Kali Lilla

    Hi Martina!
    Honestly, it was a bit intimidating. My driver insisted that it was ok to
    stop by, but I think I interrupted a class he was about to lead to take
    “care” of me. If I were to go again, I would either call him to make an appt
    or stop by to make an appt and then come back at the agreed upon time. He is
    DEFINITELY worth seeing though!! So please don't miss out. I would love to
    hear how it goes, so if you have a chance, please drop a comment again when
    you return.

    p.s. I asked Nyoman to arrange an appt but I don't think he ever did – He
    just took me there. So it might be best if you call to make the appt. He
    speaks English quite well.

  • Martina

    Thank you so much, Lilla! I will definitely let you know who it went! :-)

  • Robbie

    Hi Lilla,

    Is it recommended to get a driver while touring Bali?

  • C.22

    hello Lilla, i hope your visit with ketut went well. I am flying out to bali in october and looking forward to meeting the medicine man mentioned in the movie also. I hope my visit also goes well.

  • Kali Lilla

    Enjoy! Bali is wonderful. :)

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