Because of their spiritual relationship with water, many Hawaiians perform a Hi’uwai—a cleansing ritual that takes place in the ocean or a stream—when they feel stressed.

There are thousands of types of Hi’uwais, all of which serve a different purpose and have been passed down through oral tradition in Hawaiian families for centuries.

“Hi’uwais are directly connected to our health and well-being, as the process allows us to move forward with our days and lives from the many physical and spiritual forces that may be holding us down or back,” Maui-based kumu lauhala (weaving teacher) Pi’iali’i Lawson told me during a recent visit to Hawaii.

Most families have different Hi’uwais. “Because our ancestors have been practicing these basic healing methods for generations, doing one is really comforting,” added Lokahi Oriana, an O’ahu-based jewelry maker. Here are a few for you to try.



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