19 Jul 2019

Hamiton clinic offers both western and Māori healing

2:03 pm on 19 July 2019

A new health clinic in Hamilton has combined western medicine and rongoā Māori to give patients more choice when they walk through the door.

Moana Lousi-Skipworth.

Moana Lousi-Skipworth. Photo: Supplied

From today Tū Tonu will officially be open to the public, and offer both physiotherapy and traditional Māori healing under one roof.

Physiotherapist, Abhi Tikkisetty, said there was more than one way to treat an injury.

"When you come to the clinic you'll be seen by a New Zealand registered physiotherapist but at the same time we could work with Māori healers or acupunctures.

"It's a place where you can get access to multiple treatment providers in one area that embraces both Eastern and Western medicine principles."

Its the first clinic Mr Tikkisetty has seen where the two disciplines work together.

And he was not afraid to admit there were some things clinicians simply couldn't do.

"As physiotherapists we provide standard and good level of clinical care but I think this indigenous practice can actually look into other causes and other areas that people could be experiencing their pain from.

"That's something that maybe us physiotherapists don't do, or we simply don't have the time to do, and this is where we work in partnership with Māori healers."

The clinic has already sparked interest from members in the community like Marlana Maru, who said Māori healing changed her life.

She tried romiromi for the first time 10 years ago - a practice that incorporates karakia and traditional deep tissue massage techniques to treat a person's physical, emotional and spiritual health.

"She was able to pin-point the root cause of why I was experiencing some of the things I was at the time, both physical and emotional trauma... And didn't just heal it but she supported me to understand why I was where I was and what I could do for myself."

She said Tū Tonu would be valuable to the Hamilton community, and allow people to decide for themselves what works for them.

Tu Tonu clinic.

Tū Tonu clinic. Photo: Supplied

"Tū Tonu will be unique to this community. It will provide a centre-point for people to be able to come along and they will determine what will work for them," she said.

"The fact that someone will walk into this space and have multiple modalities to choose from, that is empowering."

Kairomiromi at Tū Tonu, Moana Lousi-Skipworth, said the demand for traditional Māori healing like it was growing.

But she too acknowledged Māori healing might not always be the best option.

"They'll come and see the physiotherapist who will deal with injury-specific issues and if there's more work that needs to be done - things that are not physical - then they will send them along to us, to the Māori healers.

"We do the same when clients come to us. We will say, 'you know what, you really need to go see a physio'".

The concept behind Tū Tonu was dreamt up by physiotherapist Timi Tapara who saw a need for traditional healing practices to be recognised alongside western medicine.

But Tū Tonu spokesperson, Ninakaye Taanetinorau, said it wasn't always easy bringing the two sectors together.

"It more comes down to the individual practitioner I think, how they rate our traditional modalities. Whereas over on the other side it's a similar thing. We don't really rate going to the doctor, either, because we know what that experiene is like," she said.

"Often we don't get a sense of manaaki, we don't get a sense of being respected [and] we don't get a sense that we are going to get rongoa that is going to be good for us. And I think these are all the reasons why these two systems have been seperate.

"Tū Tonu is about bringing those together, the good aspects of both of those systems and recognising that each of them actually has a place. For us it is about uplifting our romiromi and our mirmiri to a place where it is recognised as being a valid option for our whānau to come to for healing."

Tū Tonu will be showcasing the variety of treatments it offers at a launch in Hamilton this morning.