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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, wellness travel ranked as one of the top trends in Hawaii tourism. Clients sought soothing island pastimes to help them nourish the heart, mind, body and soul.
Now more than ever, travelers will probably want to include healing activities on their future Hawaii itineraries — as a way of recuperating from months of coronavirus stress and isolation.
When you’re floating in an altered state of consciousness, nature starts to play with you. It’s transformative.
For clients considering trips to Kauai, travel advisors can suggest Dolphin Touch Wellness Center, which is run by Jeanne Russell. It’s a unique and inspirational option for folks who are craving restorative experiences.
Ocean Connections When Russell was a New York-based student, she was eager to dedicate her life to saving dolphins. After she moved to Hawaii, however, she realized that dolphins can “save” people, too.
Having trained extensively in massage therapy, Russell underwent what she called a “dolphin awakening.” It occurred while she was using reiki (energy healing) on her husband, who was injured and in a great deal of pain.
"All of a sudden, I felt dolphins show up in the treatment room,” she said. “They were guiding me, helping me work on him. It was as if their noses were in my hands. When I finished, he was pain-free. From then on, I got out of the way and let the dolphins take over.”
Today, Russell’s uncanny connection with dolphins forms the foundation for her Kauai wellness center. She features a variety of hands-on therapies, including indoor and outdoor sessions, multiday retreats and long-distance treatments.
Most notably, Russell offers sessions in the ocean, where clients are buoyed by floating pillows beneath their neck and knees. As she practices her water therapy, she feels guided not only by dolphins, but other marine creatures.
“Water is an amazing healer on so many levels,” Russell said. “It relaxes the body without heaviness and density. When you’re floating in an altered state of consciousness, nature starts to play with you. It’s transformative.”
A Waterbed and a Crystal Table Clients who prefer indoor treatments can request an aqua-centric session at Dolphin Touch’s headquarters. Located in Kapaa on the island’s east side, the center makes its home in a friendly, plantation-style building. One of its rooms has a table with a liquid-filled mattress — much like a waterbed — that helps the body give way to the pressure of the massage.
“As you’re rocking and floating, you feel nurtured and safe,” Russell said.
Meanwhile, Dolphin Touch touts an infrared healing bed that is enhanced by amethyst crystals. Although there’s little scientific evidence behind the therapeutic power of crystals, healers extol their ability to detox and cleanse the body while relieving stress and promoting relaxation.
For clients in the market for more traditional body work, Dolphin Touch provides standard massage treatments as well as acupuncture. Russell also offers a virtual experience for people who aren’t on Kauai.
"I can connect with clients energetically through distance healing,” Russell said. “They don’t have to be physically present in order for a session to be helpful.”
Prior to the worldwide travel shutdown due to the coronavirus, Russell’s clientele was made up of 60% visitors.
"People generally like to treat themselves on vacation,” she said. “They’re ready to let go.”
A lot of travelers are attracted to Kauai for healing, she adds.
“There’s a reason that Kauai is called the Garden Island,” Russell said. “It’s a rich destination that’s full of life and mysticism. I like to think of Kauai’s residents as healers to some extent, because for the most part, everyone here is willing to help each other.”
The DetailsDolphin Touch Wellness Centerwww.dolphintouch.org