Oct 14, 2006

Gifted Bali Traditional Healer: The Bone Fixer

In east Bali, a village called Dauh Puri, close to Besakih Temple (Bali’s mother temple) lives a man who has a special skill. He can cure people who suffered from broken bones, or sprained injury. Here is the interesting fact: he is not a doctor nor he ever attended any medical
education. All he learnt, he believes, he got from the gods and by self learning.

Now, why I tell you about this man? Well, I want to show you that Bali is not merely a holiday place. There is a lot more you can explore in the life, cultures, arts and the beliefs of Balinese.
This man, for example, believes that all his skill of fixing broken bones is a gift he got from the god. And his mission is to cure people that come to him as best he could.

He is in the mid fifties. About 1 metre 60. When he treats his patients he always wears his
traditional uniform: the sarong, shirts and a kind of head cloth (called destar in Balinese language.) Before starting his service, he usually prays to Sang Hyang Widhi (the Hindu Balinese way of calling the almighty God) for power and skill to treat people.

A lot of people that come to his home in Dauh Puri are the locals. They usually don’t have much money to obtain medical services in proper hospital. In our country, health is not yet free. But I also saw people that came from other part of island, or different island, or occasionally westerners also come here for treatment or just to know what was it like there because their tour guide suggested them to come.

There could be more than 100 patients every day; this really could show how popular he is in Bali. Some people that I talked to said that they preferred him to hospital. I have seen a girl who had bone injury because of accident she got when driving her motorbike was taken to this man directly instead of going to the hospital.

How does he do it? Well, it is not a magical thing when things happen instantly. It takes time. But the way he does it is by a technique called pijat. Pijat itself mean massage. Let say there is a patient with problem with his leg. The healer will touch the patient leg with his hand, and
instantly he will know what is wrong, or which bone is broken or misplaced. If he thinks that the problem is not critical then he will perform a fix right away. He will just press, massage, pull or swing the leg quickly. In less than fifteen seconds he is finished. “Okay, who is next?” he said. While the patient is relieved and surprised of how fast he is cured.

There is an X-ray service opened in his house run by different person. I think this is to verify for people who is not so sure about his diagnosis. One day I saw an Australian lady from Perth that had swollen ankle. She could barely walk. She said she had been operated twice, but had not recovered. When she said this to her doctor, “it is only in your mind,” the doctor responded. Her driver took her to Dauh Puri to meet this healer who knew instantly what went wrong. So, he fixed her problem quickly. Nothing special.

He also had, however, his limitation. He could not fix people with serious injury with lot of bleeding. In this case he will suggest the patient to go to hospital.

Okay, I hear you ask, how much does he charge? Well, he doesn’t charge for work he does. There is a donation box you can fill with one or two American dollars. When Hindu Balinese patients come to his place, they will usually bring offerings made of flowers, coconut leaves and incense with some money. They will pray at the shrine at the family temple complex in his house. Or you can just put money in the donation box.


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