Pressure Point

November 6, 2014 | By Catherine Caldwell

Traditional deep tissue to bare feet, these healing remedies get low.

Aches and pains from long plane rides strain holiday leisure. No modern phenomenon, Hawai‘i’s spa retreats— synonymous with Hawaiian grace and hospitality—have long soothed weary travelers. For those unwary of strong pressure, Waikiki’s deep treatments harmonize Eastern and Western practices to heal from within the skin’s lowest layers.

Deep tissue, characterized by applications of intense pressure over small muscle groups, effectively relieves tension lurking in the back, neck and shoulder areas. Japanese shiatsu, an oil-free therapy, is another forceful practice that cures. And for adventurous spa-goers, a full-body treatment— with bare feet!—beckons.

As deep massages flush out bodily toxins, couple with stretching and assure you’re well hydrated prior to and post treatment. And speak up! Communicate with your therapist. Don’t hesitate to ask for less—or more— pressure. Ready to go deep?


SpaHalekulani’s newest treatment, the Ho‘olele Signature Massage, is a deep barefoot massage of intense, yet long, soothing strokes of your therapist’s feet over your body. “Ho‘olele is our deepest massage,” shares Kamala Nayeli, SpaHalekulani director. “SpaHalekulani is the only Hawai‘i hotel spa to offer anything like this.” Ho‘olele means, “the process of traveling with the feet” in Hawaiian; like a dance, its rhythmic motions mirror Hawaiian hula. An exit from the classic hand massage, this strong treatment eases large muscle groups with nourishing kukui nut oil as aromas of luxurious malie lei, Halekulani’s signature fragrance, soothe. Your therapist stands above the table, holding onto ceiling bars for balance, first massaging your head, neck and shoulders with slow, penetrating strokes, before moving to your back and legs. Heated towels seal the rejuvenating sensation. The sweet ending? Tropical tea and mochi ice cream. Available in 50-minute ($185) and 80-minute sessions ($235).

Halekulani Hotel
2199 Kalia Road [D:7 Waikiki Map]
(808) 931-5322



Aromatic wintergreen, peppermint, blue tansy, German blue chamomile and floral essential oils harmonize in Abhasa’s Deep Tissue Massage. Slow, penetrating strokes release tension to ease achy joints and sore muscles. Available in 50-minute ($160) and 80-minute treatments ($210).

Abhasa Spa Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort 2259 Kalakaua Ave. [C:8 Waikiki Map] (808) 922-8200

Waikiki Plantation Spa

Perched on the 17th floor of Outrigger Waikiki, Waikiki Plantation Spa’s 5,000-square-foot venue is the only penthouse spa in the Hawaiian Islands— with a deep tissue that “hurts so good.” Loosen up tension lingering in the layers of your muscles and fascia (protective layer of skin surrounding muscles, tendons, bones, joints and organs). While intense, the Deep Tissue Massage will relieve chronic pain, lower blood pressure and reduce stress. “Our deep tissue specialists know the right techniques to target the specific areas of pain to give you relief,” says Jessica McMillion, spa manager. “What our therapists are actually doing is loosening, or breaking up, scar tissue that has been built up in your body.” This detoxifying treatment incorporates OSEA, a 100 percent vegan and organic product blended with seaweed, pure flower essences and Hawaiian rain-forest naturals from Hawai‘i Island. The Deep Tissue includes a pure kukui nut oil rubdown, rich in vitamins and minerals to hydrate skin, and an ‘awa scalp massage to clear the mind. Available in 50-minute ($130) and 80-minute ($180) treatments.

Waikiki Plantation Spa
Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach
2335 Kalakaua Ave. [C:8 Waikiki Map]
(808) 926-2880

Juju‘be Clinic & Salon

Juju‘be Clinic & Salon is a hidden gem tucked in The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel fronting Kapi‘olani Park. For those seeking a holistic way to dive deep within dermis tissue, the oriental sans-oil Shiatsu Massage delivers. Shiatsu means, “finger pressure” in Japanese, and is just one of an array of massage therapies this holistic healing center offers. Of ancient Asian origins, shiatsu alternative medicine is a very effective, deep pressure-point remedy characterized by forced finger and palm pressure, stretches and traditional massage techniques. Renowned for stimulating vital energy in the body, shiatsu applies force to key physical energy areas, enabling the body to heal itself. This treatment, while rejuvenating, is not the most soothing. But you’ll surely relax post treatment, rid of pesky, in-transit kinks. Available in 60-minute ($85) and 90-minute ($130) sessions.

Juju‘be Clinic & Salon
The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel
2863 Kalakaua Ave. [D:12 Waikiki Map]
(808) 926-0888