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The bobo relies heavily on the use of the elbow.

For centuries, Fijian Bubus (grandmothers) have practised the art of bobo or Fijian massage, passing it on from generation to generation.

Today, it is not uncommon to find a family that carries on the legacy of bobo in a village setting, it is a little trickier however, when you try to find bobo at a spa.

This is slowly changing however, as more local health and beauty spas wake up to the allure of the bobo, with travellers increasingly asking for something local and unique.

And unique the bobo certainly is. Often confused with the better known Polynesian massage, the bobo actually employs different techniques from the Polynesian, which relies heavily on the use of the elbow.

The bobo, on the other hand, combines thumbing, kneading, knuckling and raking using the finger tips. It is definitely more therapeutic than relaxing, with a fair bit of pressure applied when massaging.

T he one thing it does share with the Polynesian is the use of coconut oil during massage. When I recently had a bobo massage with tiare (a tropical flower) infused coconut oil at Tropical Massage in Suva, the scent lingered long after the massage was over and kept me in a state of relaxation. The bobo did wonders for my stiff shoulders and neck. I felt lighter and more supple after my massage.

The focus is on balancing the body, mind and spirit, explained Aggie, my masseuse at Tropical Massage, one of the few places that offers the bobo, of the massages wholistic leanings.

Most local health and beauty spas do offer massage as an integral part of their services, but the focus is usually on Western and Eastern style massage such as Swedish and Shiatsu.

The good news is there are a few places that offer Bobo. It is offered at Island Massage in Nadi, Tropical Massages outlets in Suva and Nadi, as well as at Musket Cove Resort, Mana Island Resort, Matamanoa Resort, Trendwest Resort and the Nadi International Airport. 30 minutes of bobo massage at Tropical Massage costs $40 while an hour is $70.

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