What is the essence of Hawaiian Huna Healing & apprenticing?

The Lea Method – Kata Massage Series


by Tarika Lea

The mystery of the abilities of the ancient Kahunas are still being held  as sacred by the Polynesian  people and now scores of students across the world who are eager to learn such ways.  What you will read here is an impression that has influenced this author’s entire life and direction based on such an influence.

There is nothing that the Hawaiian wisdoms do not touch and transform through sometimes a thick veil of our own distant cultures. Although one cannot be prepared for the potential of the influence that permeates the very air of the islands, one can open ones heart to listen to the calling of that deeper place within. No matter where ones state of being finds them such an influence can guide one through the darkest passages. The influence of the rhythm of the islands takes a visitor to more than the sea side but to places of deep reflection of where ones values lie and ones purpose in life. Let Hawaii touch you. Perhaps you too will agree with what I myself have found that by coming as a child many doors can open.


This modality was infused with a tradition of absolute creative freedom.  The basis of the Kahuna way of inspiring excellence. It was the traditions of the ways of how all Hawaiian Kahunas transferred basic principles to their apprentices. This foundational principle was taught to Tarika Lea, the founder of The Lea Method through a patient process that not only involved three years of being near her Kahuna teacher but continues to this very day. Her teacher was a Kapuna, a title that indicates an elder with wisdom. However she was also a true Kahuna who had mastered a multitude of healing techniques. Her name is written deeply in Tarika’s heart with endless gratitude: Morrnah Simeona.


Through Morrnah’s willingness to cross over to support those of other cultures at the time of the late sixties was a leap of courage. The Hawaiian people were greatly persecuted for their healing practices. It was only until the late seventies that the archaic laws of that time in their history of persecution were struck down. Morrnah was then recognized publically as a national treasure.


The treasure for Tarika Lea was indeed having entered into a soulful love affair with her teacher in 1969. The support Morrnah gave was not always that obvious to the outsider. As in any place, The Royal Hawaiian Health Spa appeared to simply be a place for getting a massage and taking a sauna. Although Morrnah always wanted to offer many more treatments, timing indicated the season was not yet.

What was different in terms of apprenticing with a Kahuna in 1969? To begin with it was the actual environment of intensified awareness that nourished rather than taught. It was the underpinning attitude of utter respect for each individual’s ability to find their own healing method. Through such a teaching environment it nourished the individual and did not impose structure. For one raised in the Western society of education this was very strange indeed!.  Wisely, the Hawaiian approach of teaching acknowledged the human habit to duplicate rather than create through personal growth awareness.  The environment Morrnah consistently assisted the apprentice in honing the later: to create.

Yet, beyond creating, the environment around a Hawaiian Kahuna enticed the apprentice with many aspects of mysterious challenges.  One major challenge was to learn states of awareness through deep meditation where one developed the disciplines of listening . There were no assumptions that it would even be related to learning more about facilitating others to come to balance through touch. The tight rope walk was to stay alert, respond with total authenticity, be available to spiritual guidance, and trust. Being in such an environment, in truth, was a personal growth mystery school in its finest!


This basic principle is not an easy one to pour into a mold of a progressive stepped scholastic  outline. However, to bridge to that deeper wisdom only found and earned through the inner journey a form of discipline can be helpful.  In this model of freedom the conclusion would be that trusting ones hands is like saying – trust ones breath – everyone already ‘knows’!  Accessing ways to become more aware of what one already knows within ones very bones is however a delicate process taking much dedication and discipline to stay focused. Many falter on the way making comparisons and being anxious for proofs. Tainted by Western society’s  grade marking systems used by all education institutions – one is corralled into a mind set of success or failure.


The Hawaiian influence upon this aspect of ‘education without crushing the creative powers of each individual’  is of great significance.  As the sophistication of massage modalities developed in more recent years it has provided much in terms of the outer awareness.  The true challenge for the emerging body worker is to hold space for the very miracle of creation itself and, hold it consistently within every session.

To be influenced by the Hawaiian approach to bodywork is to apprentice in a foundationally life changing experience. It is to apprentice with the very heartbeat of all of creation’s natural laws and beyond laws known and currently agreed upon and practiced. It is to push the envelope of reality itself. When joining with that wave of evolution of consciousness much more potentially can be revealed than a stuck formula of previous success. It is linking with the wisdoms of the ages and the precious flower of all that is now possible as a result of moving with the river. It is the clarion call of moving ever more toward  greater clarity and manifestation of potentials and possibilities.


The outer form and structure of techniques are helpful but are truly only the jump start to acknowledge the depth of potential every moment can bring for both the giver and receiver. What can be more important truly than to get to the essence of one’s core -that of consciousness? It is from here the therapeutic effect radiates and manifests freedom. The ultimate freedom is to come to an alignment with what Morrnah referred to as one’s Aumakua or High Self. Once aligned, the action is to be taken is that which is in the flow. It is in the unfoldment of the higher will of Divinity.


Wholeness, wellness is a result of an alignment with Divinity manifesting in ones ability to renew and refresh. Understandings of a person’s mental patterns as related to their physical patterns of dysfunction becomes the ‘ah ha’ that casts light on ones path and increases a willingness to take greater responsibility. The pain in one’s body therefore is indeed connected to the web of their creations, as is connected to the web of their understandings, as is connected to all that they accept as a law that will impose itself in either limitation or freedom.


Applying this to the practical application of actual techniques the joy of discovery becomes greatly heightened. One finds the most simplest of actions highly potent. Sometimes the breath itself (of either or both the giver or receiver) can move through and release the hardened layers of fascia causing painful restrictions in the body. The possibilities of ‘leading’ thus becomes the creed of the body worker to meld and merge long enough so as to offer that non verbal light on the path. Much like the way the student observes the principle of the Hawaiian ways of holding space – non invasive – ever present and available – honoring the integrity of the person and their innate ability to know what is best for them.

The skilled body worker listens in these ways and dances on the edges of interaction. Witnessing the breath alone as enough is such freedom!  The leap of awareness one can witness through release of inner wisdoms of another to heights of awareness and self love is of great joy and cause for celebration.


The practices of the use of life force energy is augmented through parallel disciplines as has been developed in the Asian cultures. It is through understanding how the Chi energy circulates within the human that brings the realization that there is so much more that can be accessed in order to bring energetic balance to the form.  LIVING the laws of the use of chi energy to the fullest one becomes empowered with confidence and gleans a most valuable tool.  This type of approach as used in the trainings in The Lea Method bringing a depth on every level of ones  own personal life and manifestation as well as the quality of their touch and facilitating another person.

The precision of every move evolves through the interaction of the other person’s invitation. For those using the Hawaiian principle of non interference, massage is not something that one DOES to another but rather the other person’s body teaches the practitioner how it wants to be touched for the greatest potential of freedom. Angle of pressure, depth, use of leverage, and a constant stream of compassion and appreciation for the body one is touching is the gift presented through the maturity of the practitioner. One truly tailors anew with each and every person so therefore the freshness of the experience for both is most fulfilling.


To come to another’s body with innocence means to come without an agenda of fixing the true Hawaiian healing premise. With such an approach one is freed to be both the observer, and the one who is the yang energy ‘giving’ the massage. Without this willingness to let go of outcome one becomes a dominant force. Any form of insistence will create even more resistance. When two come to the moment of agreement in a synchronicity of rhythms , such an exchange becomes mutually beneficial throughout. Using the focus of breath with movement, aligned rhythm with variations of harmonies, delight in the responses and the releases of tension all lead to even more flow in the exchange.

When bodywork assists another to come home to oneself it has contributed far beyond increasing circulation and stretching muscles. The bigger picture of listening for the cues moment to moment is in truth a meditation that has as its mantra – ‘freedom is the greatest value’.


May we support each other in such a declaration in bodywork. The Lea Method – Kata Massage Series is that bridge of techniques and skills that offer the entire rainbow of methodology and at the same time is Hawaiian at its core principle. The delicate dance of allowing the other person’s body to reveal itself is not new. It is the love and gentle invitation we all notice and melt when offered. It is the Aloha of the heart’s blessings.

COPYRIGHT The Lea Method  6.12.2006 Please do not reprint except by permission. (907)479-3820