HAENA — Through hugs and healing hands, community healers are bringing hope to the traumatized North Shore.
At the Hanalei Day Spa in Haena, flood survivors were offered a special gift in the midst of recovering from a storm that took so much from them. They were offered the gift of tranquility.
As a gentle breeze from the ocean enveloped the community like a hug Thursday, about a dozen people sat under a canopy, some with closed eyes, others with legs crossed, quietly releasing the stress of the previous week’s historic flood that destroyed homes, cars and crops and caused multiple landslides that have left them landlocked.
That’s why three local acupuncturists, two with the organization Acupuncturists Without Borders, decided to bring a little comfort.
“We’re doing a trauma recovery acupuncture clinic, in which patients are coming in for 45 minutes each time, and they’re getting five ear needles in each ear,” said acupuncturist Linda Ming Lee of Princeville.
The treatment, she said, resets the synthetic nervous system.
“When trauma occurs, and stress happens, digestion goes off, immune system goes down, sleep can be disrupted, and those are the effects of stress. And so if we can, from a physiological perspective, reset the body, then the body can find homeostasis,” Lee said.
Lee said it’s an ideal practice to help people reset.
“My motivation is that we want to mitigate the effects of stress on this population of people who are stuck. It’s the most responsible thing to do from an acupuncturist’s point of view,” Lee said.
This is her community, Lee said, which is why she is offering them a chance to heal.
“I live here. I know these people. A good bunch of them are my patients, but they’re stuck,” Lee said.
The clinics in Haena are expected to continue weekly for some time as well as in Hanalei at the Hanalei Courthouse. Lee said they’re also planning on starting clinics in Anahola and Koloa.
“All the areas that are affected and all the volunteers who have been working around the clock, because trauma’s not only happening to the people who have been affected directly,” Lee said.
The clinic is being offered from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hanalei Day Spa, but that’s not the only service owner Darci Frankel wants to give survivors.
“The Hanalei Colony Resort, they’re doing such a good job. They have medics, they have a vet here, to help people, and what we do is hold the space for mental, emotional and also alternative physical well-being here,” Frankel said.
The owners are offering these services to the community because that’s what they believe in, she said.
Some of the other services they’ll be offering include 12-step meetings and massage therapy.
“What most people don’t realize, there are many events that if we don’t release them, they stay in our nervous system and then we just start to calcify against life and get lots of fears,” Frankel said.
To that end, she is making an effort to hug and be kind to those around her.
Hugging, Frankel said, is beautiful medicine. On her Facebook page, she posted, “When you see me, hug me.”
Since the flood happened, she’s seen more people in the community giving hugs.
“They’re more friendly. They’re taking the time to be with each other and connect with each other, but we have time, we can’t go to work,” she said. “This is my work right now, my dharma.”
The community needs an opportunity to grieve, Frankel said.
“My felt sense is when we allow ourselves to grieve we can allow ourselves to be happy. And personally, I’ve never had a challenging experience in my life that there hasn’t been tremendous grace, whether it’s been death, or illness, mine or other people’s, where there hasn’t been tremendous grace,” she said.
By grace, she said, means lessons, realizations and healings.
“That’s my view as a healer. I’ve been a healer my whole life,” Frankel said.
Bethany Freudenthal, courts, crime and county reporter, can be reached at 652-7891 or email@example.com