But this time, make sure you head down to the Punanga Nui market and talk to Teuvira Upokotea, who is qualified in the area of therapeutic massage and remedial body therapies.
There are only two people on this island who are qualified therapists and are registered with the Ministry of Health, and Upokotea is one of them.
Of Atiuan heritage, he descends from a line of healers. Upokotea’s paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother were practitioners of Maori medicine and maoro (a traditional form of massage.)
At the age of 38, Upokotea felt a strong desire to learn more about massage and to get a better understanding of the structure and workings of human anatomy and physiology.
He applied for and received a Cook Island scholarship to study relaxation massage at Wellparp College of Natural Therapies in Auckland, New Zealand.
Upokotea returned to Rarotonga where he worked as a therapist at one of the island’s top resorts.
Within two years and with an increased thirst for new knowledge, he returned to New Zealand’s Wellpark College to complete a diploma in remedial body therapies.
The course included physiology and anatomy to medical standard, reflexology, postural correction known as articular mobilisation, lymphatic drainage and phytotherapy (the use of plant extracts and essential oils), administered to the body through massage.
The course even included infant and pregnancy massage.
Upokotea returned to Rarotonga in 2007 to open his own clinic.
In 2014, he returned to New Zealand yet again to complete a course in Atua Healing. This course encompassed the ancient spiritual wisdom New Zealand Maori calling upon the knowledge held by the ancestors and what Upokotea terms “universal energy” to assist in a more holistic approach to the healing arts.
In 2014 he delivered a paper at the national Cook Islands Health Conference on “The Power of Touch.”
Upokotea now practices in his own clinic at the market where he treats local people as well as some of the many visitors who come to Rarotonga.
His ability to treat long term and difficult conditions has seen happy clients from many parts of the world paying annual visits to receive treatment from him.
Anyone wanting to get a full therapeutic treatment from Upokotea will need to book for an appointment. It’s best to do this well in advance as his skills are in high demand. He is also prepared to visit bedridden clients at home or in hospital provided the treatment is first approved by doctors.