Information from a segment in Monday’s news on NPR suggests that….Hawaiians suffer from heart disease… and there was a segment on hula and health. I don’t recall the name of the spokesperson, but she talked about some studies that have been recently conducted regarding Hawaiians and heart health. Apparently, Hawaiians suffer from heart disease more than any other ethnicity. A significant number of Hawaiians participated in a study where they regularly danced the hula (per instruction in a group setting), and another group did not. The study revealed that the group who regularly danced the hula had a 20% improvement in heart related matters (no specifics were given as to what type of ailment or to what degree). The Queen’s Hospital has started a hula group for patients with heart problems and the participants report feeling happier, less stressed, and interested in pursuing interests that they had otherwise postponed. The first hula the Queen’s group has learned is “Puamana,” the lyrics of which comforted them with memories and feelings of home.
This observation is consistent with what Aunty Kathy recently told us about a student that does hula when stressed out. Interesting!