Why I Traveled 40 Hours for This Rainbow Massage

And how you can mimic it at home.

aura soma massage
Illustration by Phuong Nguyen

Have you ever had your chakras massaged into awareness with equilibrium oil? No? What about just your solar plexus chakra awakened with citrine crystals? Still no? What about a massage with oils as colorful as the rainbow? No? Well then, you’re going to love this tale.

After a chill 40-plus hours of commuting last year, I arrived at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay in Bali. I was in the closest version of heaven that we have on this earth... so, why not take it to the next level? And by next level, I mean an Aura-Soma chakra balancing massage.

By the end of this treatment, my chakras were massaged into "awareness" with equilibrium oil, mantras, and crystals. (Stick with me: It’s about to get really colorful and fun.)

First off, chakras: You technically have hundreds of chakras in your body, but there are seven main ones that we usually refer to. They begin at your tailbone with the root chakra, and they travel as high up as the very top of your head with the crown chakra.

There is a different power and association with each chakra. For example, your root chakra is your energy, anxiety, and stress levels—it’s, as the name might suggest, your base or root to maintaining balance.

So, the point of an Aura-Soma massage is to stimulate and balance each different chakra in your body, thus balancing you as a whole. And part of how you stimulate and balance that is through color—specifically through Aura-Soma, which is basically a physical form of color therapy. This balancing massage takes the color therapy aspect and incorporates it into a tangible, healing aspect.

I lay down on a cushy table in a cushy room in the most cushiest hotel in the most spiritual place in the world, and had no idea what to expect—mainly because there is no manual on this type of treatment. In fact, the Aura-Soma Chakra Balancing Massage is only offered at the Jimbaran Bay Four Seasons, and it’s the only spa in the world to offer this. (While Aura-Soma was invented in London and can be found in speciality offices by specialized practitioners around the world, this is the only spa that offers this full-body experience.)

Here’s what happened: It’s a very subtle, gentle massage, but where the magic comes in is the fact that with each chakra, there is a bottle of Aura-Soma "equilibrium oil" that correlates with the color/vibration/energy/wisdom of each chakra. The oil is used to gently massage over the corresponding physical area of the chakra, and is then also paired with mindful words spoken aloud by the massage therapist. This brings our attention to the wounds and gifts of each chakra. Then, a crystal is placed over each chakra, which reflects the energy and color of each.

For example, on the root chakra, a reddish toned oil is first used to massage the hips and lower back. A mantra about balance and handling stress is said out loud, which you then repeat internally and focus on while that area is being massaged. After that, a very grounding, reddish-brown jasper crystal is used, which is placed near the root of your spine in order to rebalance you.

For each of the seven chakras, the therapist focuses on a) colored oil, b) crystals, c) a mantra, and d) gentle massaging. You’re not passively laying there while it’s happening, either: The mantras are for you, so you can awaken, let go, and heal each of your chakras internally.

I’d like to consider myself a pretty spiritually aware person. But sitting on that table, I was told my root chakra was depleted—which makes sense, as it often is with people who travel a lot or have a lot of stresses or changes in their lives (check, check, and, yep, check). When we got to my heart chakra, I spontaneously started crying: Something about the combination of mantra, oil, and crystal subconsciously opened a reservoir of emotions. And my throat chakra was on fire: The crystal swayed aggressively when placed inches above my throat, suggesting it was very strong (a pretty commonly strong chakra amongst artists, journalists, and musicians, it’s the place of creative expression).

At the end of the treatment—after each chakra has been engaged—you feel a great sense of wholeness (which is an accomplishment in itself after 40-plus hours of traveling). I was basically floating on air, and more aware of my body and its sensations than ever before.

“It's all about awareness,” says Luisa Anderson, the Regional Director of Spa for the Four Seasons Resorts in Bali, Langkawi, and the Maldives. “The hope is that you become more conscious—like a light is shone on areas that were in the dark, and that waking life becomes lucid. The aim is that through functioning and communicating of the chakra, there is alignment of body, mind, and spirit.”

Yes, we want that, Luisa! Anderson is one of the main reasons this treatment and the Four Seasons spas in Bali, Malaysia, and the Maldives are so on point. Her knowledge and expertise in the spa world go beyond just the body—she has studied (and in many cases, even has a degree or certification in) several spiritual practices. She’s found interesting, unique ways to incorporate all types of healing beyond just massage into treatments, and each Four Seasons has a completely different spa menu that is specialized to that location.

For example, this type of healing treatment is perfect for Bali, as Balinese people are very spiritual, sensitive, and caring by nature. “They are able to hold the right kind of space for this treatment and deliver it with such love... as well as the power of Aura-Soma, which is what makes the treatment powerful,” says Anderson.

But before you go and book your plane ticket to Bali (which you should if you ever get the chance—it’s unlike anywhere in the world), there are ways to incorporate Aura-Soma into your daily life. For starters, think about color. Color is a powerful gift we have at our fingertips at all times: The clothes we wear, the colors we paint our walls, the food we eat—color is consciously and unconsciously around you all the time. You may even be drawn to a color without thinking about it. For example, Anderson was “obsessed” with wearing the color orange after a trauma in her life, which she realized later is the Aura-Soma color associated with trauma recovery, therefore helping to put things back together again.

The thought process behind it is that when you're exposed to different colors, be aware that all have a different vibration which can affect your physical state, emotions, and moods. We are able to rebalance chakras by exposing our bodies to different colors in our homes, our food, and the clothes that we wear. (This site clearly details chakra colors and imbalances to note.)

You can even purchase your own colored oils, or start thinking about the colors in life that bring you a lot of joy or balance. In fact, some can even help you sleep better.

I can say that after this massage, it was the closest I’ve come to full alignment in my mind, body, and soul. It really inspired me to maintain and work hard on my wellbeing and balance, despite how hard it is when living in New York. As an added bonus, I’ve also been more conscious of colors since this treatment—blues, white, and pops of red are my happy colors.

What do you think? Would you try this treatment or color therapy?

Read more about mindfulness and balance:
Use These Colors in Your Bedroom, and Fall Asleep Faster
How to Start Meditating, Once and For All

Natural Treatments to Spring Clean Your Body and Mind

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Published on March 21, 2018 - 4:30pm EDT

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