“You can get a massage anywhere, but when you come to Hawaii, you should have something you’ve never experienced before,” says Debbe Evans, Operations Manager at the Timbers Kauai Spa. “You can’t get a decent lomilomi massage on the mainland. It’s a transformative cultural experience you can only find in Hawaii.”

An ancient native Hawaiian healing practice handed down by spiritual healers from generation to generation, lomilomi means, “to knead, to rub, or soothe; to work in and out, as the paws of a contented cat.” This style of massage incorporates the Hawaiian concept of Aloha to promote balance, relaxation and personal harmony. It’s characterized by long, slow strokes that move up and down the whole expanse of the body, from the feet all the way to the head, down the arm and back again, often massaging more than one part of the body at the same time. “It’s a slow, gentle motion, like the waves of the ocean,” Evans says.

Unlike traditional Western modalities like Swedish or deep tissue that might address one problem area or part of the body, lomilomi massage is a more holistic approach. “It’s not just about massaging a muscle or two, but looking at the whole person and creating a transformational experience that will help restore balance, not only in their bodies but in their lives,” Evans says. A lomilomi massage will typically begin with a gentle rocking motion to facilitate relaxation and ease the body out of a state of stress, what Evans calls a “rhythmic healing,” much like Kauai itself. “It’s called the healing island for a reason. It’s very much revered for its healing energy,” she says.

For the lomilomi massage and other treatments, The Timbers Kauai Spa uses seasonal, locally sourced ingredients in its proprietary essential oils and lotions, including noni harvested from the Farm at Hokuala which is known for its healing properties. “If you want to give the best give you can to the person you love, lomilomi is profoundly relaxing, it’s heaven,” Evans says. “Not once in the 11 years I’ve lived on Kauai has anyone ever said they don’t like it.”