Here is a post about one of those rare ten out of ten days….
Last Friday I spent my day at a healing and wellness retreat called Fivelements, located about 20mins from Ubud. I first heard about Fivelements through David Wolfe (sounds like he’s a personal friend of mine lol!) because he did a talk there a week before I arrived in Bali. I was disappointed to miss his talk but I looked up Fivelements as I knew it would have to be special if David Wolfe was going there – and I was right!
The photos on Fivelements website were enough to convince me to visit, then I saw their day spa packages and decided to book myself in for a day a pampering – kindly paid for by my former work mates at Low Carbon Australia who shouted me some Bali pampering as a leaving gift – thanks guys!!
I arrived at the retreat at 10am and was shown around the site (I had specifically arranged for someone to show me around so I could take some photos). The retreat has been designed according to Balinese tradition with the ‘head’ position (shrine) being the most sacred area, the ‘torso’ or middle (general living quarters) and the ‘feet’ (animals and rubbish pits). (A beautiful explanation of this can be found in Karen Kingston’s book Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui)
My treatment room was an open air bamboo ‘pod’ on the edge of a river. Elly, my personal beautician for the day, started with a small but incredibly touching request – “Shannon I would like to harmonise with you” – she asks me to hold out my hands, one palm down and one palm facing up, then she lays her hands softly on top of mine and we stand there with our eyes closed for a minute, synching our energies and setting our intentions – it was the most beautiful way to start a massage and I’m sure it played a big part in it being the best (two hand) massage I have ever had.
After the massage Elly prepares a flower bath for me, explaining the symbolism of each of the flowers as she goes:
- red petals – energy
- pink petals – love
- ylang ylang flowers – balance
- purple petals – spiritual & inspiration
- franjipani – clarity
I step into the warm bath and push aside the hanging curtain to reveal I am perched on the edge of a river – here I am, in a bath full of beautiful petals, on the edge of a flowing river, surrounded by trees, totally relaxed, sipping ginger tea – wow.
After my soak I have a shower and then I’m shown to the restaurant, which is a stunning two story bamboo structure with a huge pond in the centre. I get to choose a juice, entrée, main and dessert from the menu, which is mainly raw/vegan (with some cooked vegetarian options as well). The waitress notes my interest in their raw food menu and asks the chef to come and have a chat with me.
Chef Made introduces himself and we are soon in deep discussion about the many benefits of a raw food diet. He pulls up a seat and one of his staff brings him a glass of water, we chat away like old friends. He tells me he has worked as a chef in many hotels around the world. More recently he went to America to train as a raw food chef. He tells me that he used to have bad insomnia, but since moving to a high raw food diet he now sleeps soundly and has all the energy he needs. He also lost 7kgs in the first two weeks of his raw food diet. Seeing his great results his family have followed him onto a raw food diet and are also reaping the benefits.
I quiz Made about the food he prepared for David Wolfe and his entourage (he used a lot of chocolate – David is known for his love of cacao), and I also prise out of him the ingredients list for his raw chocolate ganache cake which is incredible. Made explains that it is hard to prepare raw food in Bali because of the heat, especially the desserts which have a tendency to flop or melt. My meal includes bruschetta on raw tomato crackers with cashew cheese and tamarillo, raw lasagne and a green juice. Super healthy and super delicious!
After lunch I take twenty minutes out of my planned schedule to meditate, overwhelmed with gratitude I feel the need to take some time to thank the universe for providing me with this amazing experience. How does it get any better than this?
Returning to my pod I find Elly has set up a tray of intriguing potions and lotions next to the massage table – for my 2 hour superfood facial. Oh yes, for two hours my face is treated to an endless parade of natural beauty elixirs, with massage and a steam treatment thrown into the mix. One interesting treatment was Elly’s use of two small balls of crystal, dipped in ice and then rolled on my face (to help close pores). My face felt so wonderful by the end of this facial that I asked for the main steps to be explained to me so I could try it at home – I will share it with you so you can try too:
- Cleanser – coconut meat or coconut milk, blended, strained, a thick paste
- Tonic –ylang ylang or frangipani flowers (picked late afternoon) soaked overnight in distilled water or colloidal silver water
- Scrub – raw honey with palm sugar, mixed with neem powder for anti inflammatory effect
- Mask – spirulina powder mixed with a small amount of colloidal silver water and a drop of essential oil (to help mask the seaweed smell)
- Serum – almond oil with a drop of your favourite essential oil/s (rose, ylang ylang, geranium, lavender, patchouli)
At the end of my day at Fivelements I was my own little bliss ball – happy, relaxed and full of joy for the world. I rounded out my day with a lovely dinner with my new German friends Antje and Alena and Neil. Truly a ten out of ten day.
Recommendation: girls, you must spend a day at Fivelements when you come to Bali – it is by far the best spa day I have ever had, or could possibly imagine.
ps. ‘Like’ my Eat Well Travel Often Facebook page to see an album with more photos from my visit to Fivelements (click on Follow Me tab to the right of this page)