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KAUAI, THE ISLAND OF WELLNESS AND REJUVENATION
On Kauai, the oldest major island of Hawaii, the mana is inescapable.
Meaning spiritual power in Hawaiian, mana is a quality felt and sometimes seen on Kauai, palpable in the visual beauty of the landscape, the quality of air and ocean, and the interplay of natural elements that invigorate, relax, and rejuvenate.
In a recent study, 97 percent of visitors surveyed said their time on Kaua‘i provided rejuvenation and relaxation. No doubt this is due to the combination of environment, spa professionals, and traditions found throughout the island.
Consider the environment: There is no building higher than a coconut tree. Streams and rivers, including the only navigable rivers in Hawaii, contribute endless opportunities for recreation and the enjoyment of beauty. Fifty miles of white-sand shoreline offer more beaches per mile than any other major Hawaiian island. Glorious upland parks and canyons feed the body, mind, and soul. Garden, mountain, and oceanside settings create ideal conditions for nurturance at all levels.
Into this environment come luxurious resort spas and day spas offering Asian, American, European, and Polynesian treatments. And centers and facilities with well-trained professionals in everything from Ayurvedic therapies to shiatsu, La Stone®, and Hawaiian lomi lomi massage.
Many resorts offer spa packages and programs highlighting the traditions and products of Kauai—the multi-cultural healing practitioners, the regional salt, clay, herbs and botanicals gathered from land and sea. There are à la carte treatments and retreats for groups, couples, and individuals.
Annual festivals and events gather luminaries in multiple disciplines: exercise and fitness, yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, massage, herbs, acupuncture, and the full spectrum of fitness and wellness techniques. Spas, salons, and beauty and healing centers on north, south, and east shores offer expert services year-round.
The people of old Hawaii left their legacy in the wisdom, stories, and practices that have endured for generations on this island. Building on this legacy, the practitioners of today incorporate healing and rejuvenation practices from all over the world.
Radiance and wellness are a way of life on Kaua‘i, and here are some reasons why.
Kauai Wellness Expo—Expect two days of heightened inspiration in this annual January festival highlighting healthy life practices, health-giving foods, and multi-cultural workshops -- on various ways to achieve the balance and harmony necessary for a life of fulfillment. Keynote speakers, which have included Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer, share transformative wisdom and inspiration, and more than 100 exhibitors in the healing arts, crafts, and multi-cultural traditions share their secrets to a balanced life.
Kauai Healing Garden Festival—The festival goes from island to island and comes to the Garden Island in late summer or fall, bringing entertainment, programs, exhibits, and wide-ranging demonstrations in the healing arts. Poetry and martial arts. Music and dance. Eco-films and permaculture. There’s even a tasting of Kauai-made mead (for those 21 and older), and guest speakers on everything from Japanese tea ceremony to Chinese herbs. Sustainable farming practices, food demonstrations, medicinal herbs, and a health and wellness fair are also among the programs.
Kauai Marathon—On the south shore, marathon running becomes more than a race. It’s a totally rejuvenating experience. The Kauai Marathon in September brings new challenges and an exquisite environment for marathoners, who race with ocean views and the hope of glimpsing a dolphin, turtle, or even the occasional monk seal.
Malama Ola Festival—The south shore, at ocean’s edge, is a fine place to celebrate wellness and rejuvenation. Every October, Malama Ola brings together top practitioners in East-West disciplines to celebrate fitness, rejuvenation, and healing. The Hawaiian arts of laau lapaau (Hawaiian herbal medicine) and ho‘oponopono (Hawaiian balancing, “making things right”) join yoga, nutrition, exercise, and martial arts from East and West in a wide-ranging, three-day festival. The program is open to the public, and many events are complimentary.
SOME OF THE TREATMENTS AND THERAPIES AVAILABLE ON KAUAI
Lomi Lomi and Other Massage Techniques—Generations of Hawaiian practitioners have handed down their tradition of lomi lomi, meaning “to rub” or “to knead” in Hawaiian. Hands and forearms apply broad strokes with deep, focused intention to ease away stress and produce relaxation and harmony for the whole person. But lomi lomi is more than massage. It’s the infusion of aloha through touch, the giving of nurturance for which the Hawaiians are known, that empowers as strongly as technique. Thai, Swedish, shiatsu, acupressure, reflexology, reiki, and other non-Hawaiian techniques, including the use of hot and cold river stones, are also offered at spas and clinics throughout the island.
Ayurveda—Ayurvedic treatment, Ayurvedic retreats, and programs offering Ayurvedic medicine, herbs, nutrition, cleansing, exercise, yoga, and personalized wellness regimens are available on Kauai. There is also an Ayurvedic clinic on the north shore. Native to India and thousands of years old, this powerful healing system combines diverse aspects of rebalancing, including massage and warm-oil drips on the forehead using sesame oil. The oil treatment is said to calm the mind, condition the hair, and promote deep relaxation.
Indigenous Herbs —Herbs and medicinal plants grown on the Garden Isle pack a powerful wallop of results. Laau lapaau, Hawaiian herbal medicine, is an ancient and living tradition and just one of the traditions discussed and explored at Kaua‘i’s wellness events. Fueled by knowledgeable practitioners, gatherers, and planters, laau lapaau integrates ancient knowledge with the Hawaiian cosmology and environment. Nutrition is also vital, and the island’s multi-cultural heritage informs the programs and treatments throughout. Wholesome cooking, Chinese herbs, seasonal healing herbs, Filipino gardening, and culinary customs from around the world are an important part of wellness and included in Kauai’s offerings.
Homegrown Products—Ti leaves, coconut, clay, salt, herbs, seaweed, papaya, pineapple, kukui nut oil, essential oils—materials grown or gathered in Hawaii, or inspired by the tropical environment, are powerful allies in promoting wellness and rejuvenation. Body wraps using locally-grown ti leaves, the leaves used by Hawaiians in cooking, healing, and ceremonial rites, are offered in spas and treatments on the island. Detoxifying algae wraps, mineral mud treatments—including a treatment using a special red clay from Kauai’s Mount Wai‘ale‘ale—are also distinctive Island specialties. Passion fruit, plumeria, coconut, papaya, and tropical, plant-based treatments provide antioxidants, exfoliation, aromatherapy, and other powerful results in facials and body treatments. Hawaiian salt scrubs leave the body smooth and the mind at peace.
Farm to Plate—Organic farms are abundant on Kauai, and farmers’ markets are offered across the island every day but Sunday. Fresh regional ingredients are thus ubiquitous on the island and part of the recipe for wellness. Kauai’s culinary offerings are wholesome, imaginative, and immense, ranging from vegetarian restaurants, health food stores, restaurants specializing in Hawaii Regional Cuisine, farm-to-plate dining, and ethnic recipes from Hawaii’s many cultures. Lychee, mango, pineapple, rambutan, papaya, fresh goat cheese, fresh mushrooms—locally grown produce and locally made products—also give a boost to Kaua‘i’s nutritional profile.
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