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Structure of Hawaiian Healing

The role of healing in modern Hawaii is different from, that of ancient Hawaii. With the coming of the missionaries in the 18th Century and the 19th Century. Traditional ancient Hawaiian healing was banned. The many of the missionaries considered Hawaiian healing to be a heathen practice. It was considering it to be somewhere between black magic and witchcraft. With the banning of traditional healing Hawaiians soon were forced to accept modern Western medicine. This bought both blessings and tragedies.

Today Hawaii healing is transition. The weaknesses of Western medicine, the movement to alternative medicine and an increased interest in returning to more traditional ways. There are several movements a foot. They include the surfacing of traditional native Hawaiian healers who practice their own personal huna, there are haole (Westerner, white people) healers who practice alternative medicine based on traditional Hawaiian medicine and of course, the Eastern and Western medical establishment.

The native Hawaiian healers range from individuals who were brought up in their family huna, all the way to native Hawaiians who are practicing alternative medicine, using their own version of traditional medical techniques. Many non-Hawaiian healers now practice using a variety of alternative medical techniques. This includes Huna, alternative medicine (Naturopathy, Chiropractic, nutrition), Eastern medicine (Chinese, Japanese, Korean healing techniques) and finally, standard Western medicine.

The native Hawaiian Health coalitions have not taken sides. In fact, their role has been to encourage native Hawaiian healers while also encouraging cooperation with the Western medical system, and alternative and Eastern healing disciplines.

One organization, Ke Ola Mamo, responsible for the health and well-being of native Hawaiian's on Oahu has set forth a framework for a culturally relevant health system. This framework encompases the basics concepts from which healing is derived.

Values such as 'ohna, lokahi, pono and 'onipa'a are central to this framework and the basics of healing. Encompassing these priciples and equally important are the concepts of 'oia'l'o, lokmaika'i, laulima, nana/ho'oiohe, pa'akawaha, ho'omana'o, imi'ike/a'o, ha'aha'a, and malama. These are not simply concepts but rather much like the Ten Commandments they are standards by which living life leads to strength and healing, health and wellness.

In the following articles we will look at a number of the concepts central to healing and wellness in Hawaiian traditions. 

To read the next articles in the series:
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