I Gusti Mangku Sasak, a 76-year-old Balinese healer, begins and ends each day by meditating: He focuses on his third eye, the tip of his nose, the tip of his tongue and his throat. He then goes to the rice fields, where he works with his son. When he returns home, around dusk, patients come from his village in the regency of Gianyar and beyond.
He is a third-generation healer who has simple advice for well-being: “Know oneself, be in control of your food intake and be aware of your body.”
I Gusti Mangku is one of about 8,000 healers, or “Bailians,” versed in Usada Bali, the ancient practice of using medicinal plants, oils, herbs and spices, as well as hands-on holistic therapies and ancient teachings, to treat physical and mental pains. In Bali, a province in Indonesia that has a population of more than four million people, healers outnumber doctors by four to one.