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Kauai, Hawaii: A Healthy Dose of Paradise

The ancient Hawaiians believed that healing came through treating the whole person. The kahuna lapa'au, the doctors, employed an amazing stock of medicinal products gathered from land and sea; they talked with the patient about how he or she lived, as well as their family situation. The kahuna might use one of several massage techniques, prescribe a body wrap of medicinal leaves or recommend therapeutic ocean bathing, and they prayed. They always acknowledged that they were only instruments in the hands of the "divine physician."

Kauai, the oldest major island in the Hawaiian chain, and the one that closely resembles the garden of paradise, has become the place for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. Here, amid lush green mountains, miles of pure white beaches, grand canyons and towering sea cliffs, travelers will still find the healing practices of the ancient Hawaiians, along with the wisdom of traditional Asian treatments presented in European-style resort spas. Guests are invited to restore balance and harmony through self-healing techniques following Ayurvedic philosophies found on private estates, tucked into a small esoteric healing center, or acquired by spending a day with a masseuse, acupuncturist, healer or homeopathic practitioner.

Lomi Lomi, the most popular Hawaiian massage technique, can be compared to Swedish massage, but with longer strokes using the entire forearm. Japanese Zen shiatsu is reported to be particularly healing and calming. Hot stone therapy using Kauai's dark rounded rocks shaped by the ocean over time is an amazing de-stresser. Many spas do their treatments beside the ocean or in walled gardens.

Some spas specialize in body wraps with ti leaves, or Chinese or European herbs. There are Kauai salt scrubs, seaweed baths and hydrotherapy baths with acupressure. Hotels may even offer oceanfront yoga and tai chi classes.

Matters of the spirit may be addressed in the many churches around the islands. Some still sing their Sunday hymns in Hawaiian, others showcase museum-quality art. There are small Buddhist temples with golden altars and tranquil teachings. Those seeking alternative spirituality will find it at the many centers following the teachings of Indian masters, Hawaiian kahuna and astrologers.

Kauai itself is a great healer. The towering mountains rising dramatically from the depths of the ocean, the constant rainbows and the bare frame of the island visible at Waimea Canyon, all can contribute to a feeling of renewal.



Kauai Visitors Bureau
4334 Rice Street, Suite 101
Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766
(800) 262-1400
(808) 245-3971

Photo Courtesy: Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Hawaiian Beach Massage photo by Sri Maiava Rusden; Massage in Thatched Hut photo by: Kirk Lee Aeder