Keaiwa Heiau ©William Crowe
The Hawaiian word for health is "ola". It also means "life". Hawaiians obviously believed you could not have health without life, nor life without health.

The ancient Hawaiian Health System was well developed. They had a medical profession, medicines, treatments, a lengthy apprenticeship program for medical specialists (kahuna) and training facilities located in special healing heiau (temples). They also had designated places of healing such as Coconut Island (Mokuola) at Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, famous for its curative spring waters.
Similar to the organization of today's medical profession, noted Hawaiian Cultural Scholar, George Kanahele tells us there were:
  • Kahuna haihai iwi who were skilled in setting broken bones.
  • Kahuna haha who diagnosed illnesses by feeling with the fingers.
  • Kahuna hoohanau keiki who delivered babies.
  • Kahuna hoohapai keiki who induced pregnancy.
  • Kahuna laau lapaau who treated patients with herbs; they were the general practitioners.
  • Kahuna lomilomi who were physical therapists and also skilled in massage.
  • Kahuna paaoao who diagnosed and treated illnesses of infants.
In addition, the kahuna aloha specialized in inducing love and the kahuna anaana (supposed witch doctors) both healed and prayed people to death.

To ancient Hawaiians, mana (spiritual power) was necessary to be a truly successful practitioner. Education was sacred as knowledge was a way of achieving this power. If a parent sensed a child had a "healing spirit" enabling them to become a doctor, the child would be sent to live and study with a kahuna from as young as five years of age and they would spend upwards of fifteen to twenty years in training. During this time they studied anatomy, learned how to diagnose disease, how to choose the right cures or medicines (particularly the use of medicinal plants), and learned sacred prayers. They also learned how to perform simple surgical procedures, set bones and perform autopsies. They employed the use of steam baths, massage, and laxatives and undertook empirical research.

Since the Hawaiians viewed the body, mind and spirit as one, Hawaiians believed that the body could not be healed without healing the spirit. Accordingly, they used a combination of psychic, spiritual, and natural treatments to cure illnesses.

In particular, before a patient was treated, the kahuna performed a ritual of hooponopono (making things right), a type of counseling with the aid of prayer to cleanse the mind and heart of negative thoughts and feelings.

Banned by the early missionaries as pagan ritual, today hooponopono is included in the traditional Hawaiian Healing programs now being implemented by Hawaiian Health Care Centers serving Native Hawaiians. The program offered at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center on Oahu's leeward coast (home to many native Hawaiians) includes:
  Hooponopono -

  Lomilomi -

  Lau Lapaau -

  Pale Keki -
  Laau Kahea -
Traditional Hawaiian family problem solving process making things "right".
Traditional, spiritual and physical muscle stress relaxation by licensed therapists.
Healing with the use of compounding herbs and other traditional remedies.
Mother and child care, before, during and after birth.
Spiritual or faith healing through prayer and chants - a form of exorcism.

Source: Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

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01 Sep 2017

By Source: Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.