The Healing Heat of Keramas Beach Black Sands

Black sands with mica shimmer in the mid-afternoon sun on Keramas Beach in Gianyar, report. While others run for the shade; another woman, Suharti has had friends bury her in hot volcanic sands that are as black and dense as mud.

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Buried to her stomach and shaded by strips of cardboard, the 50-year-old kiosk owner is not alone. Lined up along the shore like patients in a hospital ward are others, eager to try the sands to find relief from ailments such as arthritis, nerve damage and vitamin deficiencies.

“Friends said I could get better by planting myself in the black sand so it gets the warmth into my legs,” says Suharti, who suffers from arthritis of the knees.

Standing all day preparing and selling foods at her stall in Gianyar City causes her legs to swell and cramp. Her knees are red with inflammation and walking is painful and difficult. This is Suharti’s first attempt at healing with the hot sands, known as tanam, or planting, therapy.

“Friends said to just give this a go. Who knows if it will help. I have tried Javanese jamu ramuan that I bought in Gianyar market, but that didn’t help,” Suharti says, referring to the traditional remedy made with turmeric that is believed to reduce inflammation.

Suharti is leaving nothing to chance in her hope for a miracle. She has employed a local healer and priestess, Ida Ayu Ketut Krishnawati, from Keramas to carry out rituals believed to help in drawing out the illness.

“The small river there leading to the sea tells us this beach can clean our ills and send them back to the sea. I am here as a mediator between the patient and the gods,” says Ayu, her lips stained orange with betel nut and dressed in a white sarong. Her grey hair flows down her back as she washes Suharti in the sea and prays over her following her hot sand treatment.

“The gods sent me this skill,” says Ayu. “It was a miracle. I did not look for this. When the spirit comes he talks like wise man.”

Like the others ‘planted’ along Keramas beach, Ayu believes the hot black sand increases blood flow so muscles relax and oxygen levels increase with improved circulation. Ayu also places her faith in the Gods.

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Source: / Trisha Sertori


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