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Reducing Stress With Huna
by Diane Koerner

In these modern times of unrelenting stress from the demands of family and finances, our health can become severely compromised unless we know how to stop tension in its tracks. It may often seem easiest to pop a pill. Yet, there are ancient healing techniques that can help us cope with the stresses of modern life better than the newest pharmaceutical.

Just ask Ann Doherty, RN, CDE, Manager of Alta Bates Summit Diabetes Center in Berkeley, California. Doherty founded Hawaii Health Getaways eleven years ago, after learning how traditional Hawaiian Huna healing practices were beneficial in dealing with stress and as an adjunct to any medical regimen.

According to the ancient Hawaiian Huna philosophy taught by Serge Kahili King, Ph.D., stress plays a part in all illness. Modern medical research continues to link stress to everything from high blood pressure and heart disease to chronic pain and obesity. The body's stress responses include increased heart rate and blood sugar, shallow breathing, inhibited digestion and immune response. And unless the body is returned to a state of balance and regulation, chronic stress undeniably leads to degenerative disease, inflammation and a shorter lifespan.

Restoring the body's amazing innate healing powers can be as simple as relieving the tension caused by physical, emotional, mental or spiritual stress, explained King to past Hawaii Health Getaway participants. He demonstrated how using Huna mind-body healing techniques on all four levels can tap into the root of chronic tension in the body and help it recover more quickly when it is assaulted by stress.

On the physical level, deep belly breathing can both calm the release of stress chemicals in the body and oxygenate your cells. "Piko-piko is a special Hawaiian breathing technique that simultaneously relaxes and energizes the body," said King. "Based on the word, 'piko,' meaning 'navel' or 'center,' the technique involves centering your attention on one location (e.g., the crown of the head) as you inhale, and centering your attention on a different location (e.g., the navel) as you exhale. The act of centering the attention and moving the attention automatically results in a deeper than normal pattern of breathing, increasing circulation and relieving tension."

A way to relieve mental stress is to place your attention on what you like, rather than what you don't. Criticism, whether of yourself, another person or even the weather, creates mental stress and thus tension in your body, explained King. He recommended a quick mental stress reliever, "Saturation Praise," spending one minute focusing on everything you like about yourself or the world.

To release sustained anger (a primary emotional factor in illness, especially inflammation of any kind) simply decide that whatever happened is no longer important, said King. Practice "Blanket Forgiveness" -- touch the area of the body that is in pain or discomfort and repeat, "Whatever this pain is related to, I release it and let it go forever."

On the spiritual level, King said stress is caused by a sense of separation from spirit or something loved. Using the Nalu form of shamanic meditation, you can reconnect with your higher self or spirit through a gentle, effortless resting of attention and awareness on a thing of beauty. In a moment or so, you may feel sensations of relaxation, pleasure or energy, telling you that you are now in direct, conscious contact with "Being," explained King. Your tension will dissolve as you realize you are not alone.

You can learn "instant healing" techniques like these at the Hawaii Health Getaway's "Art of Stress Management" program this April 24-May 1, 2010, at Kalani Oceanside Resort on the Big Island. Methods will include directed breathing, mental imagery, healing touch and massage in addition to Serge Kahili King's "Dynamind." For more info, visit

Diane Koerner is a long-term student of Aloha International and Program Coordinator for Hawaii Health Getaway.

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