Incredible views and memories at Mauna Kea…

There have been many highlights throughout our travels for this course, but I think if you asked the students (or me and Kumu Lisa), we had our most impressive excursion yesterday (our last full day in the islands).

We loaded into two, 4-wheel drive mini-buses for the drive up to the summit Mauna Kea (“White mountain”); With an elevation of 13,803 feet above sea level, there is often snow at the summit (although thankfully, not last night!).  We learned a lot about the geography and history of the area from our guide. There were multiple stops along the way to allow us to acclimate to the increasing altitude. Our guide from Hawaii Forest and Trail stopped at about 4,000 feet to let the students walk upon a lava flow from Mauna Loa, and then drove up to another spot at 5,000 feet where he served us a scrumptious picnic dinner of BBQ chicken, brown rice, glazed carrots, sweet rolls and hot tea.  After dinner, our guide handed out heavy parkas, and gave a short talk on safety (recognizing symptoms of altitude sickness, and what to do if it occurred).

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Students walking on a lava flow…

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Our group at 9,000 feet elevation… chilly air!

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View of Mauna Loa from Mauna Kea at 9,000 feet









Upon reaching the summit, Kumu Lisa and I presented each of the students with a Kikui nut lei. In ancient days, the oil of the Kikui nut was used for lamp light.  Today, Kikui nuts are used in lei to symbolize wisdom and knowledge and are often presented at graduation.  These students have been an exception group to lead, and it has been our honor to learn and grow with all of them throughout this course…

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Our group adorned with Kikui nut lei after course “graduation” ceremony…

After the sun had set, we returned to the Visitor’s Center at 10,000 feet where we were treated to hot chocolate and brownies, and an awesome star-gazing and astronomy lecture from our guide… We are journeying home this afternoon, so I will end my contributions to this blog with a view of the sunset at the summit of Mauna Kea…

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Sunset at summit of Mauna Kea…

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North Hawai’i Community Hospital

For their last academic session, students visited a unique hospital in Waimea: North Hawai’i Community Hospital. The hospital not only integrates many complementary healing practices with traditional medicine, the building was designed to enhance the healing environment.

Jennifer Rabalais, part of the holistic care team at NHCH, explains one of the many pieces of art that adorn the halls.

Jennifer Rabalais, part of the holistic care team at NHCH, explains one of the many pieces of art that adorn the halls.


Lokenani Kealoha Souza, a nurse practitioner with the Native Hawaiian Health Clinic at the hospital, describes how she works with clients. This picture also shows the wide hallways in the hospital, as well as the abundance of natural light in the building.

Lokenani Kealoha Souza, a nurse practitioner with the Native Hawaiian Health Clinic at the hospital, describes how she works with clients. This picture also shows the wide hallways in the hospital, as well as the abundance of natural light in the building.


Jennifer describes the med-surg unit at the hospital. Due to its small size, there is not a separate pediatric unit. Nurses working here must be able to care for a wide range of ages--from infant to centenarian! This picture also shows the exterior windows, which can be opened at the patient's request. All patient rooms in the hospital have access to natural light and fresh air.

Jennifer describes the med-surg unit at the hospital. Due to its small size, there is not a separate pediatric unit. Nurses working here must be able to care for a wide range of ages–from infant to centenarian! This picture also shows the exterior windows, which can be opened at the patient’s request. All patient rooms in the hospital have access to natural light and fresh air.

The hospital includes aromatherapy in their patient care, and also offers aromatherapy to all their staff. Oshibori is used as a “pick me up” near the end of each shift. Students were able to experience this, with their choice of essential oils.

Jennifer Rabalais Oshibori

Jennifer explains the use of Oshibori to the group.

Nicolette samples Jessica's chosen essential oil.

Nicolette samples Jessica’s chosen essential oil.










We were lucky to have scheduled our visit on North Hawai’i Community Hospital’s 18th Birthday, and were treated to lunch as well as cake and ice cream.



After lunch, students visited the Radiology department and the helipad, and then heard from Arielle Michael, Director of Holistic Care Services.

Ariel Michaels NHCH MT 2014


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Venturing from Hilo to Kona… and seeing the sites along the way!

Early in the morning on Tuesday, May 27th, we loaded our bags onto our Roberts coach and started off for the “dry” side of the Big Island… and our last setting for the course.  We had a full-day of site-seeing before arriving in our destination – the city of Kona (coffee anyone?!).

First stop: The Mauna Loa Macademia Nut Farm/Factory… No pictures from this site (which would have consisted of students walking around with bags of gifts they purchased at the Visitors Center… yum!)

Second stop: Akatsuka Orchid Gardens where we had the opportunity to take self-guided stroll through the orchid showroom that houses over 1,000 blooming orchids and tropical plants. There was an orchid which smelled like chocolate (really… chocolate!) and I’ve posted a photo of an orchid valued at $20,000 which was on display.  Personally,  I thought many of the other varieties were far more esthetic to look at, and could not imagine paying that sum for one orchid…

20,000K Orchid

The $20,000K Paphiopedilum (“Volcano Queen”) orchid which blooms from May – August…

Third stop: Volcano’s National Park. We stopped at the Jagger Museum first, where we had time to view the eruption at the Caldera from as close as the public is allowed to get. From there, we were taken to the Thurston Lava Tube which we hiked down to, and through!  Our last stop in the park was to experience the heat and moisture coming from a steam vent.

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Kilauea Caldera as viewed from the Jagger Museum, Volcanoes National Park

Path down to the Thurston Lava Tube

Hiking the path down to the Thurston Lava Tube

Thurston Lava Tube

View inside the Thurston Lava Tube


Natural “facials” at the steam vent…

Fourth stop: Black Sand Beach:

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Yes… the sand is really, really BLACK!

Inseperables at Black Sand

Ashley M., Rachel A., Kayla S., Natalie S. Sarah V… “Represent!” (IWU SON) at Black Sand Beach!


Beautiful ocean spray at Black Sand…

Fifth stop: Lunch at Pu’uhonua Bakery: Can you say “Malasadas?”

Lunch at Puuanalu Bakery

Sixth stop: Pu’uhonua O’ Honaunau National Park (Place of Refuge): We had about an hour here to walk around and enjoy the beauty and quiet of this area. Some of us even saw a young “Honu” (sea turtle) feeding among the rocks, although photos of this did not turn out well. This was our last stop of the day before ending up in Kona, where we are spending our last few days of the course. We pulled in to the King Kamehameha Courtyard by Marriott Hotel around 5:30 pm and settled in to our rooms for our last few days in Hawaii.




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Final Presentations

We met for our last class session on Monday morning, with each pair of students sharing information about the complementary or alternative modality (CAM) they researched and observed for the class. The session went beyond the planned time due to many questions and great discussion. A fantastic way to end our class sessions!

Jessica and Laura: Accupressure

Jessica and Laura: Accupressure

Kayla & Rachel:  Tai Chi

Kayla & Rachel:
Tai Chi


David & Nicolette: Naturopathy

Sarah & Sara:  Aromatherapy

Sarah & Sara: Aromatherapy










Danielle & Kathryn: Ho'oponopono

Danielle & Kathryn: Ho’oponopono

Ashley & Brittany: Reiki

Ashley & Brittany:

Collin & Kacie:  Yoga

Collin & Kacie:

Natalie & Sarah:  Massage

Natalie & Sarah:

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Video from the Hula Class

Due to its size, the video cannot be viewed on the blog. Follow the link below to see it on youtube. The transcript of the chant is below, and also in youtube.

Hana Chant, May Term 2014

Hana Chant

Ha‘aheo ‘O Hana la, Ha‘aheo ‘O Hana la

Pride of Hana, Pride of Hana

Ea ea la, ea ea la

Sovereignty ruling today

Ku’u pua Ka’uiki la, Ku’u pua Ka’uiki la

My Ka’uiki flower, My Ka’uiki flower


Return now

Ku‘u lei lokelani la, Ku‘u lei lokelani la

My queen, My queen

He pua onaona la, He pua onaona la

The fragrant flower, the fragrant flower

E ali’I la, E ali’I la

The queen, The king



Ka‘ahumanu la, No Kamehameha la

For Ka’ahumanu and Kamehameha

Imua onaona la, imua onaona la

The fragrance moves forward

He inoa no Ka’ahumanu no Kamehameha

In the name of Ka’ahumanu and Kamehameha

E a la, e a la e a

Our sovereignty she lives

He inoa no Hana

In the name of Hana

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Visit to Hawaii College of Oriental Medicine (HICOM)

On Sunday, May 25th we walked back to the Hawaii College of Oriental Medicine (HICOM) for a lecture on acupuncture from Ruthie Moss, LAc (Dean of Academics).  The students learned about the history and evolution of the practice of acupuncture and oriental medicine, and a bit about the curriculum and training offered to students at HICOM.


Ruthie Moss, LAc Dean of Academics at HICOM

Ruthie Moss discussed how the pulse, and tongue are used for determining diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine, and several students volunteered to have their tongues used a “examples” so that Ruthie could demonstrate how to identify differences in tongue qualities such as “puffy” (with scallops) and “not-puffy” (without scallops), color/quality of the tongue coat (pale or yellow, and thick or thin) and color of the tongue (purple, red, or pale)


Colin B. shows the class his tongue while Ruthie Moss points out some features…


Rachel A. & Sarah V. also volunteered to let the class look at their tongues…









She shared quite a bit of information about various herbs, and how they are used in oriental medicine, and provided the students with a demonstration of how moxibustion is performed.


Ruthie Moss applies moxa cones to her skin…


Ruthie Moss demonstrating how the moxa cones are burned using incense…









Moxibustion: A traditional Chinese medicine therapy using “moxa” made from dried mugwort (Artimisia argyi). It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Tibet, Japan, Korea, Vietnam & Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a cigar-shaped stick. It can be used indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or burned directly on a patient’s skin. Moxibustion is used to warm regions and acupuncture points with the intention of stimulating circulation through the points and inducing a smoother flow of blood and qi.

During the last part of the session at HICOM, the students were given the opportunity to receive acupuncture ear therapy using the NADA protocol which as it exists today consists of the insertion of small, stainless-steel, disposable acupuncture needles into five points on the outer surface of a person’s ear. The points used in the NADA protocol are Sympathetic, Shen Men, Kidney, Liver, and Lung. People often state that they feel “energized,” “lighter” and “more relaxed” after undergoing a session using this protocol.


One of the students ear’s, showing placement of the acupuncture needles…

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Saturday, May 24th: Learning ancient chant and hula

Kumu Lisa and I are still trying to get caught up with the blog…

On Saturday, May 24th we walked about 30-minutes to the other end of Hilo town to the Lilikuokalani Gardens where we had a class in ancient Hawaiian chant, and hula from Kumu Hula Ehulani Stephani.  I’ve  posted some still shots from the day, and Kumu Lisa will be posting a video of the group performing the hula we learned in the near future.

Under the Banyan Tree in Liliuokalani Gardens

Under the Banyan Tree in Liliuokalani Gardens

Learning movements to one verse of the Hana Chant

Learning movements to one verse of the Hana Chant


Kumu Hula Ehulani Stephani with the students

Kumu Hula Ehulani Stephani with the students

After the hula class, we all walked across the street from the Gardens to have lunch at a local place, The Isles Cafe. After lunch, we returned to the Gardens for our last student-led discussion on the culture and health care beliefs of the Chinese.

Lunch break at The Isles Cafe

Eating lunch at The Isles Cafe…

Brittany S. & Danielle R. leaders for the last student-led discussion

Brittany S. & Danielle R. lead a discussion on Chinese culture and health beliefs

On the way back to the hostel, several of us stopped to browse through the Hilo Farmers Market, and Daniel G. bought a Soursop fruit to try, and share with other adventurous eaters!

Daniel G. Culinary explorer

Daniel G. – Culinary explorer “extraordinaire” sharing his Soursop fruit at the hostel common table

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Filipino Culture

Sarah, Laura, and Jessica led the class presentation and discussion on Filipino culture on Friday afternoon. We had the class in the shared space in the hostel; we were all quite warm in the space and probably won’t do that again.

One of the class readings was about discrimination and stereotypes, so the leaders started the session by asking for people to share about times they had been stereotyped and how they responded to it. Despite the heat, there was lively discussion. Great job presenters!



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Learning about LomiLomi (Hawaiian healing massage)…

Yesterday (Friday) morning, we walked to the Hawaii College of Oriental Medicine (HICOM) where our group met with Nerita Machado to learn about the art and practice of LomiLomi massage. Nerita is the daughter of Auntie Margaret Machado and carries on her tradition by sharing the story of her mother’s life and legacy, and her knowledge of Lomilomi with others.  Nerita is also a nurse, so she was also able to talk to the students about her experiences in nursing school, and in practice as a home health nurse.

We will be going back to HICOM on Sunday for a lecture on acupuncture, but I want to give a “shout out” to William Pettis, the Dean at HICOM, who very kindly offered to give us space, and a loaner massage table for our meeting with Nerita!

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Nerita “talking story” about her mother’s life, and work sharing LomiLomi…

Nerita with Danielle B

Nerita treating Danielle R. She is very focused in assessment, and looking for areas of muscular stress/misalignment.

Nerita with Brittany

The students gather round Brittany S. to learn how Nerita identifies areas of stress to apply LomiLomi massage…


Nerita Students

Nerita with all of the students

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Moving on to the Big Island…

Our Roberts bus picked us up bright and early (very bright and early) this morning to take us back to Kahalui Airport, where we boarded our Hawaiian Airlines flight for the Hilo, on the Big Island.  We reached the Hilo Bay Hostel, where we will be for the next four days by 10:00 a.m.  The hostel is located in the center of Hilo town, with easy access to grocery stores, and restaurants, which was a priority in finding lodging for this leg of the trip, based on student evaluations in 2012.

Entrance to HBH

These stairs WERE a bit daunting with luggage in tow… but once you get upstairs there is a “homey” feel to the place, and we were warmly welcomed by Terry, the owner!

Hilo Town is most likely the most “rural” (and least touristy) area that the students will visit and experience throughout the course.  The hostel is a beautifully restored 1913 hotel with old world charm that provides guests with modern amenities… We are all in “dormer” style rooms and there are shared bathroom facilities.  [I’ll be very interested to receive student feedback on this at the end of the course!]

Common room HBH

The common room of the hostel. (There is a pair of Cockatiel’s in the cage with the green cover)

Street view HBH

A view of down town Hilo from Kumu Searing’s & Kumu Noel’s room…

There is another student group here from Quebec, Canada. Marvelous opportunity for some cross-cultural experiences over the next few days!

Kitchen HBH

Students from Quebec in the hostel’s kitchen, making a sushi dinner for their group…

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