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Many people associate Fiji with the beauty of its nature and rightfully so—the islands—with their lush flora towering above the turquoise waters of the South Pacific—are breathtakingly beautiful. But Fiji has also been attracting visitors with its wellness industry that largely focuses on using natural ingredients from its islands as well as unique treatments and therapies that are rooted in the culture and history of the archipelago. One such treatment is the Bobo massage (pronounced bombo)—a traditional, centuries-old full body massage.
“[It] incorporates firm massage techniques while using traditional oil blends to increase the body’s circulation and vitality,” explains Anne Kingpayom, the spa manager at Kokomo Private Island, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property.
The Bobo massage, a type of deep tissue massage, is undoubtedly the most common wellness treatment in Fijian communities and it is mostly practiced for relaxation purposes. Some Fijians though are naturally gifted to perform it as a healing treatment, too. And while it’s difficult to pinpoint when and how exactly the massage was born, the goal for Fijians is to ensure that at least one family member is trained in that family’s unique techniques as those can differ throughout villages and communities.
Kingpayom also explains that the healing techniques of the Bobo massage are passed down from generation to generation.
“Those that are gifted are innately born with the skills and magic touch in their hands where they are able to perform the massage on their own, with no need to teach them the massage techniques,” she adds.
The healing massage consists of applying pressure on areas of concern through tumbling, kneading, fingertips, forearms, and elbows while if the goal of the massage relaxation the therapist would perform long, soft, and rhythmic strokes.
Aromatherapy plays a major role in the massage, too. Traditionally, Fijians would use coconut oil since it is widely available on the islands. But spas like Yaukuve at Kokomo elevate the experience by offering guests to close their eyes and choose between three organic blends depending on how their body reacts to each after a small amount of oil if sprayed.
“The end goal is to ease tension, loosen the muscles and reduce muscular aches and pains, detoxify the body by drawing out any toxins, and enable relaxation,” explains Kingpayom.
We don’t know about you, but we are ready to book our tickets to Fiji.