Kalae Ohi’a Papa Laua’e

Saturday afternoon, we were fortunate to fit into the busy schedule of Ehulani Stephany, a Kumu Hula (Hula teacher). She taught the class a traditional hula based on the story of Hi’iaka, the favorite sister of Pele.

Ehulani Stephany telling the story of the hula she will teach us…

This mele is the lament of Hi’iaka upon her vision of the ruin and desolation of her beloved forests and lehuas in Puna by the fiery temper of Pele. Her gentle and dearest friend, Hopoe, was swallowed up in this destruction.”

Rather than pictures of the class, we are sharing the video of the final run through of the entire hula. Ehulani choreographed the hula in a simple fashion, so that she could teach us the principles of hula while also teaching us the steps in the hula.

The video is on you tube. It is set to only have those with the link view it. We ask that you do not share the link. Click here for the video.

(BTW: Credit where credit is due.  Kumu Lisa developed this entry.  Kumu Noel does NOT possess the technical skills needed to upload a video…)

Hawaii College of Oriental Medicine

Saturday, May19th

The day began with a visit to the 5th floor of our hotel, where the Hawaii College of Oriental Medicine (HICOM) now has its offices.  Megan Yarberry, the Academic Dean of the college, and an intern, Micah, talked to the students about the history and principles of acupuncture, as well as the course of study offered at the college.

Megan Yarberry & Micah

Megan shared that an acupuncture treatment begins with a health history and a physical exam. The exam includes the assessment of the pulse in multiple locations on the wrist. Each pulse corresponds to a different body system. The next step is to examine the tongue. The color and shape of the tongue indicate different types of problems. Megan had the students assess each others’ pulses and tongues.

Stephanie M. & Jill O. assess tongues.

Megan next described community outreach with acupuncture. She has traveled to Uganda and Haiti to provide acupuncture treatment and teach simple acupuncture techniques to people of those countries. One mission of HICOM is to provide community acupuncture clinics, which make acupuncture more affordable.

One of the principles of acupuncture is that the ear is a micro-system for the body, meaning that you can treat the body through the ear. This is similar to reflexology using the foot as a micro-system for the body (i.e., you can treat the body through the foot). Megan and Micah explained that the simple protocol for the ear involves the insertion of several needles. Research in addiction recovery has indicated five sites that produce a consistent calming affect in all who receive the treatment. Then, Megan offered to provide this ear treatment to anyone who was interested in receiving it… no one declined.

Acupunture needles in place.

As you can see, for this ear treatment, the needles are very thin and short. Most of us felt a small prick when they were inserted. No one complained of bothersome discomfort. The needles stayed in for up to 20 minutes. Some fell out on their own, and some of us asked to have them removed earlier. Many of us experienced a sense of calm during and after the treatment.

North Hawaii Community Hospital

Yesterday, we took a Roberts bus north to Waimea, climbing many hills to get there. Our first bus had trouble getting up the hills, and our driver, Jeff, didn’t think it would make it up the final, steepest one. So, we waited at a restaurant for a new vehicle (http://www.texdriveinhawaii.com/). A few students tried their famous malasadas, a Portuguese filled pastry.

Once we were back on the road, we arrived at our destination, North Hawaii Community Hospital (NCHC) quickly. We were greeted by the Holistic Care Team, met the Chief Nursing Officer, and settled in for the presentation.

NCHC was described as the one place the nurses had worked that truly lived holistic care. It is the core of their mission. Patients receive aromatherapy services, acupuncture (with an acupuncturist on sight four hours a week), reiki and other energy therapies, pet therapy, and more. The staff we talked with were enthusiastic about their work. While willing to try new therapies, they rely on evidence from research when instituting new therapies or changing current ones. The Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota is the main source for the protocols used for alternative therapies.

The head of the holistic care team explained that their goal is to restore the patient to be able to care for themselves. She used a cup and straw to explain this. When ill, we need someone to hold our cup and straw. As we recover, we become able to use the straw ourselves. When we are healed, we no longer need the straw. The holistic care team applies this analogy to spiritual needs. It is very similar to Orem’s theory that we follow in the School of Nursing.

Our tour highlighted that all the rooms have an exterior view of gardens and/or the nearby mountain peaks. The halls were decorated with local art (and a few Disney drawings & cels).

After the tour, we learned more about aromatherapy and the students sampled several essential oils. We had a quick lunch from the hospital cafeteria and the students picked a scent to add to a hot towel for oshibori. The hospital uses these hot scented towels to calm patients or to revive tired nurses before they drive home.

Jillian C. & Stephanie M. smelling a combination oil of rose, lavender, and blue lotus.

Hattie R., Meghan H., and Kristen C. pick out scents for oshibori.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at Waipi’o Valley to view what has been called the most beautiful spot on the island. It did not disappoint. We learned it was the spot where the end of Waterworld was filmed, but students I asked had not seen this movie. I felt old.

Looking into the lush valley area.

Coastline at Waipi'o Valley

We continued our journey back to the hotel without incident, and the students had the rest of the day to themselves.

Learning about Lomilomi…

Thursday, May 17th

Today, Meghan B. & Meghan H. were the first pair of students to report on the subject of their investigative papers/observational experience in Oahu; Chinese Herbology.  They gave their presentation today, as sadly (for us), Meghan B. has to leave on Saturday to be able to attend orientation for the internship she will be completing this summer… Meghan B. we wish you safe travels, and an awesome internship experience!  The rest of the student pairs will do their presentations on the last day of class in Kona…

After a break, class resumed with a presentation on Lomilomi massage given by Nerita Machado.  “The written history of Lomilomi massage and its proper uses are very scant… this highly revered art was kept primarily a family occupation” (Healing Our Spirits Worldwide, Pamphlet, Hawaiian Lomilomi Massage; A Native Hawaiian Art & Cultural Practice, 2010).

Kumu Noël listens intently to Auntie Nerita

Nerita is the daughter of “Aunty Margaret” Machado, who was born on O’ahu in 1916, and died on December 28, 2009.  She received her license in 1965, was the first person to teach non-Hawaiian’s the art of Lomilomi; and stressed the importance of ho’oponpono; forgiveness of self and others, before the sun sets, a daily practice. (Healing Our Spirits Worldwide, Pamphlet, Hawaiian Lomilomi Massage; A Native Hawaiian Art & Cultural Practice, 2010).

Nerita is a Registered Nurse (now retired), and trained in Lomilomi under her mother’s guidance.  She opened the class by saying the Lord’s Prayer in Hawaiian, and then told the students about her mother’s history, and how she grew into her vocation.  After talking about the technique, she asked for a few volunteers (and didn’t have a problem getting any!), and proceeded to demonstrate how Lomilomi is performed on Lauren Casey, Sarah Walding, and Meghan Bruch.

At several points, she invited the students to gather around the person she was working on so they could try out their assessment skills of looking for areas of swelling on the skin or near bony prominences.

She closed the class by asking us to join hands in a circle, and recited a prayer written by her mother.

More on our first day in Hilo…

On the way to the airport (in our Roberts mini-van), we had one last view of the sugar cane fields, and the refinery located near the Kahului airport.  During our time on Maui, we learned that at harvest time, these fields are burned to facilitate the process of preparing for new crops.

We have been talking about public health concepts throughout the course.  Kumu Lisa and I listened with interest as our driver shared how her respiratory conditions are impacted by the smoke from the fields and the refinery, as well as VOG (smog containing sulfuric acid from volcanic emission) that is carried over on winds from the Big Island…

After we got to the hotel in Hilo, Kumu Lisa and I walked through a beautiful park to the “Isle Cafe”, described on the web as a local “hole-in-the-wall” that shouldn’t be missed… we enjoyed lunch and graded journals!

Isle Cafe "Specials" for Wednesday, May 16th

Here is an example of a photo with the “This is Public Health” sign that we asked the students to take throughout our journey… I found this when Kumu Lisa and I went to a local KTA market to get breakfast/lunch items for the next few days.

Farewell Maui, Hello Hilo!

Sunrise in Lahaina, Wednesday

Yesterday we left Lahaina early, traveling by bus to the airport. We arrived in Hilo without incident, and reached our hotel quickly. We could not settle in, however, as we were too early to check in. So, we all went to lunch at different places & worked there or back at the hotel until class at 1. The final two student groups presented on the Chinese and Filipino cultures. It was a different set up than we were used to, with chairs and tables rather than a circle on grass or sand. Students still had great discussion sessions during each presentation.

After class we checked into our rooms and had dinner on our own. Today we start at 9:30 with the first presentation on what two students experienced with alternative health treatments in Honolulu.

Sunrise, Hilo, Thursday

Tuesday: Molokini & Turtle Town

On Tuesday, we had a “fun day” of snorkeling at Molokini Crater and an area called Turtle Town. However, we did observe the culture of tourists!

Equipment check… In the photo below, Meghan B., Jillian C., Allison H., Sarah W. & Jill O. are trying out their snorkels before the boat reaches Molokini…

Kumu Noel & the class in the water.

Molokini is a collapsed volcano that is now a nature reserve: http://molokinicrater.com/molokini-history.php.


The water was so clear at both locations. Most of us saw sea turtles at the second stop, and a group of students saw an octopus.

Fish as seen from the boat.