Week 4 at Jamu Spa School | Earthquakes, Facial acupuncture, and Essential oils

This week went by rather quickly but it also felt the longest! I think I’ve had a total of 10 massage models now so I’ve been getting a lot of practice and it’s nice to get a feel of a variety of body shapes, conditions, and sizes. I’m feeling pretty confident in body massage and Indian head massage but I’ve been stressing over how much there is to memorise in theory for the exam!

It’s been a busy week. There were new students from France, Canada and Spain so it was nice to have more company around for a change. But next week will be a quiet one with the Nyepi holidays so there’s only going to be class for me on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I developed great chemistry with one of my models, experienced an earthquake and facial acupuncture for the first time, learned some new balinese words, developed an interest for aromatherapy, farewelled Ningsi who’s now off to have her third baby, connected with my teacher Ketut… It’s pretty sad every week when I meet new people and don’t really get much of an opportunity to know them before they have to leave. In a way it demotivates me to be social or get to know other students in the first place. But I guess I have to try and make the most of my time. It’s all we have after all.

This week’s staff and student crew

So, to tell you more about this week?

Massage models 

I feel like I get so much better with every body I practice with so I’m afraid when the course is over, I’ll lose my skills just as quickly. The school has a whatsapp group of family and friends they call every time they need models for practising students. But sometimes they cancel last minute, or show up late so we use staff or other students. Elyse who was doing body scrubs was a body massage model for me, and I was for her as well which was fun! Her boyfriend Max got quite a lot of free treatments too. My first couple of models weren’t great. First it was a big sweaty guy and his sweat mixed with the lavender oil to create this unpleasant smell. The electricity wasn’t working that day too so no air conditioning made it worse! Second I massaged a big/thick lady and for a one hour massage. It took out all my energy that I had to nap after lunch to gain some energy back! It was only my second massage though, so now that I’ve practised more I seem to be able to retain my energy more haha. Most of the  models are local balinese but I’ll get to massage a Western person now and then. Makes it interesting when I gotta make case studies for  my assignments. So far, no complicated models!


I first met Endah when she was a model for my half-body massage case study. She’s a 54 year old mother who has a son working in Perth and she’s just an enlightening lady to talk to! We hit it off over the consultation part and we bonded over some commonalities. I found out she’s a yoga teacher, and she thought I was a professional therapist (big win!)!. I really hope I get to meet her in Australia, or anywhere, again one day. She came back today as a model for Indian head massage, and of course she loved my touch today too :D. Actually she lives near by and we got talking about Nyepi. I might have a buddy to go see the parade on Monday! Really hope she can be my model for my exam day because we have such good chemistry.

Experiencing an earthquake for the first time 

I was half-asleep half-awake when they building started shaking. For a second I thought maybe they were doing construction and there was some big bulldozer outside. But I realised any bulldozer would not be strong enough to shake a two story building made of stone THAT much. The floor was going back and forth so I sprung to my feet and freaked out. I didn’t know whether to go outside so I just looked out my window. My neighbours were doing the same and one of them cane out with their kids. It stopped before we knew it, so it felt like 20 seconds but it was probably a few minutes the earthquake happened for. I think I suffered a bit of shock in the hour after because I was reconsidering going for a swim in the pool juuuust in case. But I went ahead and made myself a casual breakfast. ‘No worries’ as the aussies say. I don’t believe anyone got hurt but I’m glad it was a small instance. I thought it was a ‘small’ earthquake. But the residents say it was strong. Hmph.

Acupuncture for the face. 

I’ve never tried acupuncture or had an interest in it. I know it’s a type of Chinese medicine that can help heal but I never really looked into it. One of the students, Obe, from Canada is an acupuncturist and he had brought all his equipment to Bali (he was learning Balinese massage course), so I had the opportunity on Friday to try his facial acupuncture. It actually looked kind of freaky when he showed me a picture of what he does, but that just made me curious to try it. It was fascinating to learn his practice as well which I forget the name of but it’s basically massage in the water. Anyway the acupuncture wasn’t exactly a comfortable or soothing experience (it probably never is for first-timers) but I did feel some relaxation and stimulation in the face afterward. I kept flinching when he inserted needles because the thought of it just just made me nervous. I think after a few times my face would get used to the sensation and it would eventually be more of a relaxing experience where I could reap more benefits. But as a first experience I think 25 needles was enough! Not sure if I’d try acupuncture again..

Essential oils 

Man I’ve developed this obsession with sniffing all the essential oils every day after lunch. Jamu spa school has a range of traditional essential oils and fragrances I want to purchase but I can’t make my mind up about whether to get the essential oil, the scrub, the massage oil, or moisturisers, or bath/body sets, or just an oils set.. ah! I just love to smell different smells and to feel the different sensation each gives me. It’s amazing how the human body works that a smell can awaken different senses and nerves in the body to benefit our health and wellbeing. I mean in general we all love to smell things. But learning the science to it is quite fascinating. Boreh spice for example is a mix of warm spice and cinnamon and it’s used for stress/tension relief. It gives me a warm feeling so I think it’d be a great massage oil for winter. Lavender, everyone knows is calming. Then theres Bali Limau which has lime and lemongrass and you immediately feel zinged up or invigorated by smelling it. I get more intrigued about the oils every week and I think I want to do some self-study when I get back to Sydney. There’s heaps of workshops and courses but I feel like the value is mostly in the practical stuff i.e. how to actually mix essential oils with carrier oils. But all the theoretical stuff you can learn yourself really. Mmmm, aromatherapy.

A career change?

I’m finding so much to be curious about and I love it. I love that I’m learning a new skill every day. I love the environment I’m in and the personalities I meet in this and related professions. The spa and health industry attracts certain personality types I guess. But it’s such a good atmosphere for me to be in and so much knowledge to soak in that I’m excited and stressed at the same time. Is that what you call passion? Because I definitely didn’t feel that learning about accounting haha. I want to learn more about nutrition, about science and aromatherapy, get better at giving massage, explore the world of aromatherapy and holistic medicine. If you can live your life making it better every day while making other people’s better too, what better way to live? It’s a win-win.


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