KaHuna Massage - Review from a Client - 2016
It has been described to me, as the closest thing to being massaged by the ocean. I’ve heard stories of it being inexpressibly soul stirring and in some cases even life changing. However, a true understanding of the healing powers of Kahuna Massage can only be gained by experiencing it – Kahuna needs to be felt to be comprehended.
As I step foot into the quaint Buddha Bar, I’m instantly struck by a beautiful tapestry that hangs above the counter. It plights the studio’s commitment to always treat from the heart and to provide a nurturing and safe sanctuary for the soul at all times. There’s nothing pretentious about this simple, yet inviting space. I find myself warmly greeted and then offered a cup of ginger tea as I sink into a soft seat in the understated, peaceful lounge.
Kahuna massage (originally known as temple-style bodywork or ‘Lomi Lomi’) is a unique, flowing and energetically super-charged body treatment. Originally, it hails from the islands of the South Pacific where it is administered to people in transitional times of their lives, as a rite of passage, as a pathway to deep spiritual healing. Far from Hawaiian shores, this age-old technique has enjoyed a flourishing renaissance in the last twenty years, with training centres and practitioner’s studios cropping up across the globe. It’s focus on facilitating rejuvenation of the mind, body and soul makes it an extraordinary treatment option for a wide variety of urban and rural dwellers alike, as it offers extraordinary remedial value to anyone who is willing to open themselves up to the gentle power of Kahuna.
I am introduced to my body worker, the radiant Sonia, who explains that an ‘intention’ is traditionally set before every massages as a focus to be shared by the bodyworker and the body. This common purpose allows for an energy exchange that facilitates the desired releasing and relinquishing of anything the body knows no longer serves them in their quest for inner harmony and peace.
In a society where we spend so much time communicating diluted feelings via social media, to just sit and speak openly about what is on my mind and for my thoughts to be acknowledged with full presence in return, feels very precious, very sacred indeed. It becomes evident why no two Kahuna massages are ever the same.
With the delicious, delicate scent of coconut oil in the warm air and the hum of the bustling city fading into the distance, I lay face down on the bed, neatly tucked in and put at ease by a delightfully soft and strategically positioned sarong. Despite my initial feelings of vulnerability, unsure of what the next hour has in store for me, it doesn’t take long before my body begins – slowly but surely – to feel as though it is melting into the bed beneath me, safe… and in for a treat. As I drift off, I momentarily notice the music and realise how very different it is from the windpipes I was unquestionably expecting… Here, we have drums, mellow and warm, and chanting of what I can only assume, must be Hawaiian prayer, as the words are comforting and somehow otherworldly unto themselves.
Sonia gets going and I begin to appreciate why she is called a ‘body worker’ as opposed to a ‘masseuse’ – this style of massage is unlike anything else you are likely to have ever experienced.
In Kahuna, the bodyworker’s own body – from shoulders, to elbows, to forearms and hands – serves as the tool of the trade. Dancing in rhythmic unison with the music and with the breath, long flowing strokes ripple across my back, arms, legs and feet and, at times, across either side of my body simultaneously – belly and back all at once! The feeling? Nothing short of extraordinary.
In spite of the fluidity of motion, the kind of localised pressure one wants from a remedial therapy or more sports oriented massage, is nonetheless integrated throughout the treatment. The truly delicious pain we are happy to cough up just about any amount for – that cruel yet delightful elbow running along the shoulder blade, that release of the 24/7, 8-days-a-week-super-tension with one confident application of excruciatingly satisfying pressure, is not left by the wayside in Kahuna…Oh no.
As I wake from my dreamy, dazed happy place an hour on, I see in Sonia's smile that Kahuna really is an exchange in its purest form, a sharing of energy and an equally rewarding experience for the giver and the recipient. When Kahuna is performed in the name of ‘Aloha’ (which is simply Hawaiian for ‘love’) there is little else to say, but that bliss now officially has a name.
My massage moved me deeply, as it reminded me of the power of touch, of the simple sensation of skin-to-skin, of the transformative potential that comes from compassion without agenda.
As a young actress, I am only too aware of the commercialization that labels the body (and particularly the female body) with little differentiation or much consideration for the detrimental consequences that are near inevitable when value is solely derived from marketability.
Whilst I try to remind myself that this too is merely a social construct which I’d prefer to call a thing of the past like so many other limiting, societal paradigm, deeply entrenched habits make the task of increasing awareness and refusing to fall in line a huge challenge. Thanks to the likes of the omnipresent Selfie, for example, and its painfully vocal ambassadors, such as one Redfoo, it remains tricky to remember that in actual fact, a conscious distancing from this norm has the potential to trigger widespread change.
It’s pretty simple: Where focus goes energy flows.
Christmas is upon us and I can’t help but wonder what the world might be like if this year, every stressed-out, worn-down one of us was actually gifted a Kahuna massage – wrapped up in a juicy banana leaf – a tag reading “day-pass to Nirvana” attached.
2017 – The year of the Bliss-out.
Personally, I think it has a ring…