Skeleton staff – Bali bone doctor

June 7, 2012General Health

Things snot so good in Bali

My current physical status as I write this story is jet lagged. I am back in Kauai remembering my previous 18 days in Bali, a trip filled with cosmically spiritual events that I experienced through a snotty nose and hacking cough.

Yes I, of fame, got sick!

And of course, being the loving, caring and sharing wife that I am, I passed it onto my husband Cal, which was completely amazing because he is slightly super human and never ever gets sick.

After two days languishing in my hand-carved four poster bed, getting in touch with the emotional part of me that rendered my immune system lower than one of Brittany Spears necklines, I joined hacking hubby in the car.  I was determined not to miss out on a single spec of spiritual splendour.

Pointing the bone

We entertained our driver Wayan and friend and interpreter Surya, as we coughed, hacked and hoiked through the villages. First stop was Bali’s best bone doctor. Now, this story is really going to crack you up. People actually come to Balian Tulung Uat (aka bone setter/masseuse) Made Parta, (pronounced Mah day), to have their broken bones set without any kind of anaesthesia. Nice one – no hospital queues, no forms to fill out, no x rays or pharmaceuticals, just a little wrench by a small man with an enormous smile.

Made comes from a long bone doctor lineage; for at least six generations, or around 500 years, they have been setting broken bones, healing sprains and dislocations, relieving pain and massaging away ills. They work with their hands and the supernatural forces that are a part of daily life.

Muscle man meets Atlas

Cal was the first of us to see Made. He visited him several times before I did. He was born missing one calf muscle and the pressure of that had affected his gait.

In the US, experts diagnosed the problem as being his hip however none of the treatments helped. One session with Made Parta transformed his gait. You can see a photo of him left of screen having a wonderfully active treatment with said bone doc.

You have to ask, how the hell does this little guy with no medical training do it?

One pot of termite extract and coconut oil, many bodies

An old blue plastic pot that once held some kind of hair cream now contains brown goop. Surya tells us that said goop consists of Frangipani and Ylang Ylang oils, oil from mother of pearl/abalone, plus oil that has been extracted by cooking termite kings – yes, those pesky creatures that eat your house are muscle medicine. Don’t ask me how or why all I know is that Cal and I were covered from head to foot in squashed termites.

Made’s consulting room is a white tiled floor outside the sleeping quarters at his family compound. There’s no hand washing between patients; his skillful hands just reach back into the pot and onto the next body part.

First up this particular morning is a middle aged woman helped in by friends. A fall had dislocated her ankle; the bone was out of its socket. I watch intently, grateful that it was not me, as Made massaged the bruised swollen area. Then he gives it a yank. There’s a yucky crack! One yelp and she is fixed. The swelling subsides in minutes and she actually walks out!

All this drama occurs as part of the household’s natural rhythm of life. Chickens and kids dash around, many laughing at me – the kids that is, and possibly the chooks, especially after Made is through with my hair. (I suggested he install a beauty salon at the entrance. Termite goop in hair – not pretty!)

Wives make offerings out of palm leaves and flowers and chop food on wooden logs. It’s a peaceful existence. The Balinese live with the understanding of who they are in deep connection with family, the land and spirit. Interestingly few women get breast cancer in Bali and few men develop prostate cancer.

Back to me

I think to myself, I must be brave. I have no broken bits, just a troubled neck and a lousy cold. The menacing pot moves towards me as I wait on the cold tiles. Made’s wife brings Bali coffee. She can see I need it, strong, sweet and fortifying.  I ask interpreter Surya to explain my condition to Made but too late, he‘s already into it.

The pain as he pummels every tight spot on my body lacks exquisiteness. There is no nonsense involved in sorting me out. I cry, “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow…” Within 10 minutes those points that caused me to have migraines hurt no more. My sinuses also got a going over. Made tells Surya that my computer is my enemy. Not helpful news as I happen to be a writer.

And they call it, Puppy Lu-u-u-uv…

Despite the pain inflicted on me, I fell madly in puppy love with my bone man. I asked Cal if we could bring him home with us to Kauai. “He’s only small and he won’t take up much room,” I plead as another Balinese man arrives flanked by mates. He had done his lower back while lifting the ballast of a ship – as you do. According to Made the vertebrae had been separated. The man couldn’t squat, straighten or bend and was in incredible pain. (After the previous performances I felt really sorry for what was about to happen to him.) Five minutes in Made’s hands and the boat chucker could bend, stretch, light a cigarette and walk upright to the car. He could even play the violin, and he had never even seen one before!

Calling all ancestors

Made once worked for the government and had no intention of following ancestral footsteps.  However when his father died people kept coming for help and Made eventually had to quit his job and take over the family business. He was not completely “green” as he had been watching his father throughout his schooling and in his spare time studying anatomy, specifically joints, bones and muscles, via the school skeleton.

Each day prior to beginning work he invokes his ancestral spirits and asks for guidance, strength and the knowledge to assist with every specific situation. It is amazing to think that he fixed Cal where western doctors could not help. I wanted to know what he had that made the difference.  He told Surya that guided by spirit, vibrations in his fingers and hands lead him to the problem.

He certainly has something. People flock daily from far and wide for physical and mystical illnesses (where black magic practitioners have spelled some havoc). Some days the place can be like an emergency ward and weekends he may see up to 50 people.

It’s time to go and we place our 350,000 rupees on the offering . That’s about $20 a piece. I feel lighter, like a weight has been removed from me, muscles freed from incredible pressure due to wonderful yet challenging life changes; moving to live in a new country and getting married.

Cal and I are now fit to move onto our next less physical spiritual experience with our friend Agung Rai who calls in his ancestors to gives us great guidance and blesses our union. This man lives in abject squalor, but a sweeter more generous-natured person is hard to find.

If you want to visit Made Parta, you can contact our driver, Wayan who is a wonderful guy and speaks great English.

And for more about what’s good for you download my ebook, Finding Direction, the vital guide to natural therapies.

1 Comment »

  1. Beautiful blog Jeanette. We loved Bali when we were there last Nov. We are shooting to return again this year.

    Comment by David Dinner — June 25, 2012 @ 11:37 am

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