Star-Bulletin Features

Lomi Lomi at the Mall

Shoppers can take a break
from the stress of the holidays
by having a massage

By Michelle Ramos
Special to the Star-Bulletin

In the midst of the holiday frenzy, The Lomi Shop offers weary shoppers a haven.

Across from Maruki Tei and next to The Disney Store in Windward Mall, practitioners are waiting to soothe aching feet and the body and hopefully, through their "aloha touch," convey several Hawaiian values so their customers leave the shop a better, more pono (righteous) person.

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Ciso Tehada chills out while The Lomi Shop's
Ka'uhane Lee performs some needed foot work.

"Our mission is to perpetuate health and wellness," said Ka'uhane Lee, owner of The Lomi Shop. Through the art of lomi lomi (massage), Lee hopes to pass on the art of aloha and ohana. "We have so much crime and broken homes," Lee said. "Aloha touch is the beginning of well-being. We not only want them (customers) to feel good, but (also) have good well-being. The more we take care of our health and wellness, the stronger we become as a community."

Lee calls her shop a health and wellness center. "We collaborate with other services on the outside so if there are things we can't do here, we refer them out," Lee said.

Stephanie Gonzales and Kehau Fergerstrom, employees of a store in the mall, can't wait to recommend the shop to their friends. On a recent day, both had just finished having their feet massaged and bought a variety of medicinal oils and a lomi penu (massage implement).

"After three weeks (of working Christmas sales), my feet is soft and feels good," Gonzales said. "The pain is finally gone. Now we're ready to shop."

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Irene Au's comforting hands manipulate
Lillian Tehada's aching dogs at The Lomi Shop.

Gonzales and Fergerstrom said they decided to try the shop's services because "we're always on our feet."

Sandi Matsushima, a Kailua resident, knew exactly what the shop offered. Matsushima had a practitioner work on her a year ago when they were demonstrating lomi lomi in the center of the mall.

"I'd recommend it to anybody," Matsushima said. "It's worth it."

From outside the shop, bright lights and clean, white tiles capture shoppers' attention. Then, Polynesian decor and four huge comfortable recliners pull people in.

"It's a nice surrounding," said Sharon Fragas, a Honolulu resident. "When you're local and you see this ... it's good surroundings."

Directly across the four recliners is a mural of the ocean with several islands in the distance.

Seven chairs are lined up below the mural for people to wait and watch what is in store for them.

The front of the shop houses two glass cases displaying medicinal oils and other Hawaiian artifacts and items being sold in the shop. Kapa from Samoa, Tonga and Hawaii cover many of the walls, in addition to many Hawaiian pictures. On the floor, imitation ti leaf, fern and bamboo plants sit along with baskets of fresh flowers.

"We want them (customers) to feel at home," Lee said. "Our doors are always open. Even if only to talk story."

The back of the store houses four full-body massage rooms.

In the center of each private room is a specially made massage table. Lee's massage room is dimly lit with medicinal oils in one corner and sarongs hung on the walls.

More Hawaiian artifacts sit on a book shelf just outside of Lee's room.

"We use a combination of different Polynesian oils (when doing full-body massages), Lee said. "Many of our practitioners have learned (massaging techniques) from their ancestors or other kumus."

All of the shop's practitioners are Hawaii licensed and certified. Several of them use other massage techniques like shiatsu or Swedish rubdowns.

"Moe Keale (the entertainer, one of the two male practitioners) uses a combination of lomi and shiatsu," Lee said.

Appointments must be made at least one day ahead for full-body massages.

Foot massages are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

"Foot lomi is a way to introduce massage in a safe, quick and affordable way," Lee said.

The facts

What: The Lomi Shop
Where: Windward Mall
Hours: Monday through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: 10-minute foot massages, $10; full-body massages, $45 to $50; discounts for kupuna, keiki
Call: 234-5664 or 263-5664

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