In memory of Kumu Dane Kaohelani Silva

Newsletter December 2022

Hawai'i, Puna. My son Lehua is three years old, together we are looking for Kumu Dane Kaohelani Silva. He told us he'd be between Kalapana and Pohoiki and I would find him. Unsuccessfully, we drive back and forth between the bays several times. We need to ask someone. Yes, he had walked to the Black-Sand-Beach with some people.

Ten minutes later we arrive and see a group on the beach. Finally, the time has come! It was not easy to get access to Kumu and to be accepted by him. In the end, the deciding factor was my son's name. All of Kumu Dane's grandchildren also have Lehua in their name - this beautiful Hawaiian flower. Kumu saw this commonality as a sign.

Arriving at the beach, Lehua and I stop and chant. The group looks up. Kumu Dane returns our chant, welcoming us. It is spring 2003, I see Kumu for the first time. He will shape my life.

In the meantime, 20 years have passed, and I have just returned from Hawai'i. In my heart, immeasurable sadness. A few days ago, Kumu Dane left on the Wa'a, the canoe, for his final journey.

Now, Kumu is in the land of the ancestors, no more hugs, no more of his laughter. Never again will I be able to listen to him - unimaginable. No more emails from him, he who loved to write so much. We lead weekly exchanges about Lomilomi, about Hawaiian culture, about scientific studies, and life. He is missed dearly!

Mere hours after his last breath, Mauna Loa erupted - for the first time in almost 40 years - and snow fell on Mauna Kea. These natural forces are a powerful sign, framing and honoring his final journey.

The pain is great, but the gratitude for who he was and what he gave to us all is greater.

Kumu Dane Kaohelani Silva grew up in Keaukaha, Hilo. At an early age, he starts martial arts and learns to use his strength, and sharpen his senses and intuition. He becomes an expert in La'au Lapa'au, Hawaiian plant medicine. Moreover, he does not keep his knowledge to himself but makes it available to the community. He co-initiates the Hawaiian Lomilomi Association (now Association Lomilomi Hawai'i). He becomes a Doctor of Chiropractic, specializing in neurology, with university degrees in biology, biomedicine, and research. Kumu becomes a member and faculty member at the University of Minnesota's Centre for Spirituality and Healing. Moreover, he develops the first nationally recognized training program for Lomilomi massage. By integrating chiropractic work, Lomilomi, herbalism, and acupuncture into his work, he makes Lomilomi a body therapy that can simultaneously be used for prevention, therapy, and rehabilitation. He gives his Lomilomi work the name "Lōkahi Lomilomi"; Lōkahi means balance, connection, and relationship.

His specialty is integrating science and culture into healthcare with integrative medicine becoming his passion. Throughout his life, he passes on his knowledge. He is a doctor, therapist, and educator at the same time - with maximal dedication. Always curious and interested, he researches incessantly. In Hawai'i, he becomes a pioneer in scientific and cultural fields. His focus is always on improving people's health, in Hawai'i and internationally.

Throughout the past 20 years, I had the privilege to learn from him, to call myself his student, and to be nourished by his infinite knowledge. I visited him regularly at his home; learning directly from the source was essential for me. In 2016, he appointed me Kumu Lomilomi, and as recently as August 2022, he named me the "Po'okela Lōkahi Lomilomi" for Europe. Thereby, I may represent him and his Lōkahi Lomilomi in Europe by proxy. What an honor, what a privilege.

Kumu Dane Kaohelani Silva

To me, Kumu was an inexhaustible source of knowledge and experience, inspiration, courage, mana, motivation, and kindness. He believed in me, AlohaSpirit, and in the future of Lomilomi in Switzerland. He always supported our efforts to have Lomilomi therapy recognized as a form of therapy in Switzerland. Moreover, to me, he was a strict and demanding teacher and at the same time loving and full of humor.

We are now left here without him. We, the teachers trained by him, we who represent Kumu Dane in Switzerland, Hawai'i, California, Japan, and Australia. We stay behind and pass on his knowledge. This is Kumu's wish. Therefore, we navigate our Lōkahi -Lomilomi-Wa'a as we learned from Kumu Dane, and all steer in the same direction. Hoe Hoe e ka wa'a ē! Paddles up!

Mahalo nui loa, infinite thanks to you, Kumu Dane Kaohelani Silva


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