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Ketut Liyer, the medicine man, is a celebrity in h



Despite improvements in modern healthcare in the past decade, the people of Bali remain deeply rooted in their customs and beliefs, especially regarding healthcare. Ketut Liyer, a medicine man in Ubud made famous by Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love,” is a ninth generation 'balian usada' who also has a longstanding distrust for modern medicine. Instead, he practices the ancient palm leaf medicine manuscripts of his ancestors. Ketut is a gentle 80-year-old, who meditates, paints and - by all accounts - offers a rather gentler healing experience. “Liyer’s arsenal includes different oils for patients to smell if they have insomnia, headaches, or high blood pressure. “I could tell what their illness is by looking into their eyes. But now I am old,” he said, revealing a toothy smile. A self-proclaimed artist, Liyer paints magic paintings that Balinese families display in their homes to keep sickness at bay. These medicinal works of art also prevent “family sickness”— discord among family members, and marital problems. Ketut's home is in a traditional Balinese family compound made up of a series of intricately carved wooden houses built on small stilts. Many foreign tourists and local people usually line up in queue to consult him.

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