String Figures for Healing


String figures were used for healing in Hawaii. Hana Ka Uluna (prepare the pillow) Dickey (1928:143-144) is a string figure healing ritual made on Hawaii. The making of knots over different parts of the body was accompanied by chants. The knots represented the illness or the constriction and untying of the knots represented the releasing of the illness or constriction.

One Hawaiian kahuna told us of a simple string figure that when made and moved around a child's stomach relieves him of intestinal problems. Another figure made on Kauai is named uwene (Dickey 1928: 126). It was used to calm and soothe a crying child. Another kupuna told us that her auntie used to tie a string around the faucet outside to get rid of warts.

On the islands today, there are gathering many healers and spiritual leaders from a number of different traditions. Our conversations and sharing with them has led us to believe that string figures if looked at from the level of use as a healing tool has many applications. It is our belief that we can influence our own healing. We believe that string figures can be used to influence the harmony of body, mind and spirit. In order to achieve this harmony one needs to reduce stress, release tension and increase relaxation.

We have looked at the use of string figures from other healing perspectives as well:
• in relationship to the functioning of the right and left hemispheres of the brain
• in relationship to vision training
• with people who have asthma and other health problems aggravated by tension
• to reduce repetitive stress syndrome
• in relationship to acupressure points, meridians and reflex zones
• in relationship to the healing attributes of mudras
• in relationship to the healing attributes of the chakras
• as a form of exercise and practice such as Hula, Tai Chi and Qigong
• as a form of meditation
• as an energy device which stimulates the movement of Chi
• in relationship to color, sound and movement therapies
• in relationship to the healing aspects of sacred geometry
• to induce a natural altered state 

© 2011-20 Lois & Earl Stokes