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Purify With Pa’akai

As we enter into this new year, many of us are thinking of ways to start over, excited about having a fresh start. It’s a time for setting intentions for well-being and personal growth – a time for cleansing.

But what we often leave out of our New Year celebrations is how we intend to equip ourselves with the tools we need to succeed in creating whole wellness in our lives.

Our favorite tool: pa’akai – salt.


Salt, like many natural resources on the islands of Hawai’i, has a long history of both meaning and exploitation, making traditional harvesting a rare practice. Luckily, there are some groups dedicated to preserving the sacred harvesting methods that our ancestors used. (See how Hawaii Kai has adapted traditional harvesting methods to suit modern-day FDA standards with these video links.)

Since the beginning, Hawaiians have harvested pa’akai with the help of the sun and sea, allowing the precious ocean gift to retain its mineral-rich mana.And since the beginning, Hawaiians have used salt in ceremonies, cleansing rituals and healing practices – and for preserving fish. That is why we only use traditionally-harvested salts in our baths, scrubs and body treatments: These ancient harvesting practices are not only sacred, but the salts are richer in nutrients as well.

It is believed that pa’akai purifies the body, mind and spirit as it absorbs harmful energies. A pinch of salt on the tongue can bring a sense of spiritual clarity.

At Ho’omana Spa Maui, we always have small bowls of Hawaiian salt available for anyone who feels they need to refresh, and our Pa’akai Spa Ritual offers a rich purifying experience, as the session begins with a clearing ti leaf ritual and a soothing soak in our Purifying Lemongrass Sea Clay Bath Salts.


Our therapists often take a pinch of salt between lomi lomi sessions to renew their spirits before greeting their next guest. In our lomi lomi classes, we offer salt to students as a way to bring themselves back to their center when this potent and powerful healing work begins to feel overwhelming.

This feeling that pa’akai brings – that feeling of returning to ourselves, cleansed of impurities – is a ritual that we can use every day as we move forward through the year with intention. As we let go of doubts, stresses and fears with a pinch of salt on the tongue, we can feel pure again, remembering that everything we need to accomplish our goals, to be strong, to be well – is already within us.

What are your intentions for bringing whole wellness into your life? How do you intend to grow this year?

Sharing your goals is a great way to make yourself accountable for your intentions, which in turn builds self-trust. Share your goals with us in the comments below, and have a happy new year all year long.

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