When they warned me that the massage therapist would be a man, I pictured a strapping, testosterone-pumped fellow. But the slim-built Balinese dude not only: (a) had bowl-cut hair, but (b) was about a head shorter than me. I admit I felt secretly relieved.
The Man Factor
Asia Spa’s Personality of the Year in 2010 Susan Stein, who runs the Jari Menari spas in Bali, confesses she started training her gardener and security guards to do massages for her friends when they visit. She realised then that men’s greater strength would be an asset and began using an all-male team.
Jari Menari translates to “dancing fingers” in Bahasa. The massage is a blend of techniques from Swedish, Thai stretching, Breema Shiatsu (involving full hand pressure) and traditional Indonesian style gripping, with extra time spent on everyone’s favourite bits — the back, neck and upper shoulders. The incredibly long strokes gliding over my whole body soon sent me to dreamland in about two minutes.
I also began to understand why this slip of a lad was one of the three senior therapists flown down from the Jari Menari spas in Bali.
I opted for the additional yoga element and I would often drift back to the land of the living to find myself in all manner of unlikely contortions. The first time, lying on my back, I found my right foot resting on his shoulder while he pressed my leg towards my chest in a deep stretch. Then, while my leg was still on his shoulder, he bent over me (like a lover — the thought popped into my mind), slid his arm under my back and sort of lifted my entire body upwards in a backbend! Okay, so he may look like a boy, but it takes a man’s strength to throw me around like a ball of freshly kneaded pizza dough. And at the end of 90 minutes, all my muscle stiffness had melted away and I floated out on a cloud.
The Jari Menari treatment (90 min at S$180+) is available at Aramsa The Garden Spa from Nov 1 to 20, Tuesday to Sunday, from 1pm to 9pm. To make an appointment, call 6456 6556.