Ease the tension you feel in body and mind with three traditional Hawaiian remedies.
Tropical Skin Soother
Growing throughout Polynesia, the medicinal plant noni is a traditional Hawaiian remedy for cuts, bruises, and infections. Ancient healers mashed the tree's leaves, blended them with oil, and applied the mixture topically to the skin, releasing noni's anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Today, natural-foods stores carry noni-based creams that harness the plant's soothing powers. In recent years, it's the fruit of the noni that's gotten the most attention, with supplement makers hyping noni juice as a wonder cure for everything from arthritis to cancer to heart disease. While some animal studies suggest that noni juice may stimulate the immune system, experts advise caution until human studies explore such findings. Stick to topical use instead.
In traditional Hawaiian culture, unresolved conflict is one of the fiercest obstacles to living a healthy life. Whenever relationships need healing, many Hawaiians practice a group process called ho`oponopono, which focuses on letting go of negative feelings. "The purpose is to get to a place where you can embrace and understand each other," explains ho`oponopono practitioner Raylene Kawaiae`a. "Once the process is complete, the initial problem is never discussed again. Your only concern is what you'll create from your relationship from this point forward."
To "live pono" and nurture your relationships, Kawaiae`a recommends imbuing every interaction with clear intentions to do good -- particularly when you're feeling hurt, angry, or frustrated. "This is difficult because it takes patience, and many of us are not patient people," she explains. "But the way we choose to deal with these challenges gives us a great opportunity to keep our values and our sense of self intact."
A form of massage practiced in Hawaii for centuries and increasingly available on the mainland, lomilomi eases knots, aches, and muscle tension but also is used to cure spiritual troubles, which practitioners consider as critical to correct as physical problems, says Hawaiian Lomilomi author Nancy Kahalewai.Sessions start with prayer, or pule, carried out silently, verbally, or as a traditional Hawaiian chant. Practitioners use simple strokes and techniques along with other accoutrements, applying hot stones and herbal poultices or sprinkling sea water onto the body to wash away bad energy. Visit massagetherapy.com to find a practitioner near you.