In the Tahitian community before contact with Europeans, a practitioner was also a “TAHUA PURE” priest “which literally translate to a Specialist or master of prayers. A highly valued order within this very structured community.
To care, the act of caring was sacred. In a way, it was an agreement with the invisible world, that of the ancestors and the Gods. The healing being left in the hands of the Divine. The practitioner would worked with the help of supernatural forces to create a link between the two worlds.
The priests and priestesses could make up their marae “temple”. This could be constituted of a single stone on which he or she could pray to his deities and ask the good graces of the Gods.
At that time the ability to heal, stemmed from a power, or “MANA” which only certain people inherited through their family line.
Healing was intended to ward off death and therefore maintain life.
However, not everything rested on the intervention of the divine, they developed a real anatomical knowledge of the body. Massage or “Taurumi” acts of surgery and the pickings of herbal medicines were also lavished.
The TAHUA TAURUMI had multiple missions within the ancestral Polynesian community. They could also be bonesetters, would practice incision of the gums, the cutting of the umbilical cord, such as performing exorcisms or even circumcising young boys as is the tradition.
At a time when class consciousness were still the dominant system, the “little” people held knowledge of massage and a very advanced sense of personal hygiene within their families. Described as constantly taking baths, smearing themself with perfumed oil, and flowers. Massages were also widely practiced with the aim of relaxing children, and sometimes correcting small joint anomalies from birth.
Today, in the Polynesian Triangle, spirituality holds a very important place in the approach to “traditional” body care. It is not uncommon after an appointment that you think it’s only a simple massage; which in the end makes you approach your well-being more openly. Because every part of your being influences the others. That certain ailments take root in spaces which have been acquired in unexplained ways.