Volcano Can Warm the Heart, But Watch Out for Other Symptoms

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Ah, Valentine’s Day on the Big Island. Were you aware that there’s nothing like a volcano to re-spark that romance?

It’s no mystery to some. In its listing of the best places for lovers in the Aloha State, the website Romantic Places mentions the usual Hawaiian spots, replete with all the flowery descriptions: take a ferry to the peaceful and quiet island of Lanai or see the sharp peaks and shimmering delicate waterfalls of Kauai.

When it comes to the Big Island, Romantic Places gets down to the nitty-gritty: “Its active volcano, Kilauea, spews lava seaward, turning the sky red at night.”

A writer for the New York Daily News years ago apparently agreed, picking Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as one of the ten most romantic spots in Hawaii for lovers.

“Romantic? Well, Kilauea certainly is,” opined Bert Shanas, noting that people from around the world visit there to watch eruptions.


“To do it at night will leave the two of you with a feeling of just how small and insignificant (except to each other) you both are,” he said.

A visit to Hawaii Volcanoes also inspired a writer for USA TODAY Travel, who noted “you could watch with your loved one as the earth is being formed right in front of you….”

Perhaps watching the birth of new land lights within us a primal response.

That seems to be the thinking of TripAdvisor.com. In an article about the best romantic vacations on the Big Island, it notes that one (actually two) can “heat things up by visiting fiery lava flows or ‘flightseeing’ over the volcano.”


The volcanic fumes may also leave some writers with a touch of headiness, like the one from the Wilderness Society who, while picking out the top ten romantic outdoor activities in the country years ago, selected as No. 7 “watching the sun set from Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.”

Never mind that the national park is on the eastern side of the Big Island, and there are several very tall mountains between the park’s road and the sun setting in the west. No doubt the author’s heart was in the right place.

Speaking of symptoms, a web-based company that specializes in health information has taken a more clinical look at the butterflies in your stomach and other reactions stirred by loved ones.

For this Valentine’s Day, Practice Fusion’s research division used its talents of identifying disease outbreaks and adverse drug reactions to “study affairs of the heart.” Its researchers actually evaluated 2.8 million electronic records from the past year (the records were “de-identified,” so no names of potential lovers were included) to create a Love Index using symptoms of “falling in love” as identified in a 2005 article in the British medical journal The Psychologist. The criteria included insomnia, increased anxiety, euphoria, sweating and heart palpitations.


The result? Based on per capita symptoms, Hawaii came in second, following only Vermont among the nation’s most “Lovesick States.”

But at that point, Dr. Robert Rowley, Practice Fusion’s medical director, throws a wet blanket over our lovers’ evaluation.

“Symptoms associated with ‘falling in love’ rarely measure up to their idealization in everyday life,” Rowley said. “Patients experiencing ‘symptoms of love’ should see their physician to ensure that they are simply romantic and don’t require medical attention.”

Just be sure to grab a box of chocolates to share with your valentine in the doctor’s waiting room.

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