Spa Betty Series: Ayuervedic Shiro Dara Treatment
May 9th, 2009 · 9 Comments
Having always wanted to try that treatment where they dribble hot oil over your forehead, I do a search when I’m in Bali and see that Prana Spa is my best bet.
It’s a bit of a splurge, but Prana also owns Chill, my ultimate favorite reflexology place in Bali, so I know it’s going to be quality. Unlike Chill with its clean, sparse design, Prana Spa is quite elaborate. The décor has lots of Indian influence with rich colors and regal flourishes. And the spa is part of a bigger complex including villas, a delicious veggie restaurant I went to twice (a veggie restaurant that also happens to serve meat!), and a pretty kick ass and reasonably priced store.
After checking in at the front desk and being a dork by taking pics (so my Betties can get a feel for the place), I am led back into the spa complex to an ornate changing room. Another woman, who I will affectionately refer to as the Spa Nazi, instructs me on the finer points of dressing roomery. It’s not so much in a “let me be helpful to you” kind of way more than it is a “I’m the boss, jackass” type of helpful. I don’t dare ask to take pictures of the dressing room. I don’t even dare to look around too much. But before I get a detention for snapping my gum, I am fetched for my Ayuervedic Shiro Dara treatment.
In the treatment room, I spy what I assume is the oil drooling device and I start to feel giddy. But before we can get to the good stuff, the whole thing starts off with a scalp, neck and shoulder massage. It’s nice and all, but I’m anxious for the oil. And soon enough it comes.
Regarded as an anti-aging treatment, Shiro Dara is also said to awaken the third eye. At first mine says, “Hey, who the F$#@ is pouring hot oil all over me?” but after a minute or so it says, “Mmmm, this feels good if I just keep my lid closed.” The oil is warm and silky and oh so soothing as it glides over my skin and starts to drench my hair. Every once in a while, the technician moves the spigot around so that the oil isn’t just spilling onto the same spot on my head. I think about how this whole process sounds similar to Chinese water torture and I can’t help but think what a difference viscosity makes.
Unsure of how long it will last, I spend most of the time trying not to worry about when it will stop. Maybe defeating the purpose. But either way, I feel relaxed and calm and pampered. After about 20 minutes, the well is dry and I am again given a neck and shoulder massage. But now it’s just feeling kind of irritating because the technician keeps rubbing the same few places over and over again. Soon enough, I am offered tea and led back up to the Spa Nazi. I spend my time in the shower thinking up ways of getting myself my own oil dribble machine. With spa prices what they are in the States, I doubt I’ll ever know the pleasures of Shiro Dara again.
Travel Betty Basics
Prana Spa at the Villas
Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
Ambiance: 5.0 out of 5 Passion Fruits
Treatment: 3.5 out of 5 Passion Fruits
Cost: $75 U.S. (the only place that charged me in dollars)
Note: I was able to make a reservation for my treatment online which was great because I didn’t have a phone. But I didn’t get a same-day appointment, so if you want to go, make sure that you reserve ahead of time. It’s the only place I’d needed to.