Laau lapaau workshops preserving ancient knowledge

  • The “Hoomana Ke Ola Na Kanaka Oiwi” workshops teach Hawaiian healing practices. Courtesy photo

  • The “Hoomana Ke Ola Na Kanaka Oiwi” — empowering the health of the Hawaiian people — workshops provide the opportunity to learn about the ancient Hawaiian healing practices of laau lapaau, hooponopono, lomilomi ha ha, and laau kahea.
  • A laau lapaau workshop to spread health and culture across Hawaii island will be in Kona from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 4 at the Old Kona Airport Special events pavilion. Courtesy photos

HILO — Hui Malama Ola Na Oiwi is hosting a series of laau lapaau workshops to spread health and culture across Hawaii Island.

The “Hoomana Ke Ola Na Kanaka Oiwi” — empowering the health of the Hawaiian people — workshops provide the opportunity to learn about the ancient Hawaiian healing practices of laau lapaau, hooponopono, lomilomi ha ha, and laau kahea.

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They’ll be led by Po‘okela Ikaika Dombrigues, who emphasizes the importance of empowering people to learn to improve their health with a focus on mind, body, and spirit.

“Illnesses stem from stress, depression, cultural conflict, and lifestyle choices,” Dombrigues said in a press release. “The goal is to remind us of resources all around us that can help people take better care of themselves.”

Workshop participants will learn about laau lapaau, the ancient Hawaiian practice of using herbs and plants to heal the body. There are over 3,500 different types of laau that can be used to treat a multitude of health conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and stress.

The practice has existed for thousands of years, but in modern day, the ancient knowledge is quickly disappearing. Without a commitment to sharing the knowledge, laau lapaau is at risk of being lost forever.

Dombrigues began learning about the healing powers of laau lapaau from a young age, with knowledge passed on from his kahuna and ancestors.

“Laau lapaau is a practice that’s been in the Hawaiian islands for thousands of years,” he said. “It has to do with natural herbs from the land, plants, animals, and minerals from the ocean. Through the power of pule, we apply it to our bodies. It’s a very spiritual connection that falls upon the person who needs help.”

While learning to use laau for healing is a lifelong lesson, starting with basic concepts and common laau with the community will increase the chance of preserving the important cultural health practice.

The free workshops are open to the public and are offered March through July:

Waimea: Saturday, April 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Waimea Park Community Center.

Kona: Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Old Kona Airport Special events pavilion.

Ka’u: Saturday June 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ka‘u District Gym

Puna: Saturday, June 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pahoa Gym Patio Area

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To learn more about upcoming workshops and classes, please contact the Hui Malama Traditional Health team at 969-9220.

Hui Malama Ola Na Oiwi (Hui Malama) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the wellness &well-being of Hawaii island.

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