Lomi Lomi: The Ancient Hawaiian Art of Healing

Imagine yourself at a Hawaiian retreat. You rest comfortably in a private beachside room. Scents of the ocean breeze and hibiscus dance through the air as you hear the steady sounds of the waves and gentle music in the room. Your lomi lomi practitioner, the giver, moves rhythmically with nurturing and flowing movement from one part of your body to another as your mind drifts into deep relaxation.

Lomi lomi is a unique healing massage developed by the ancient Polynesians and master healers on the Hawaiian Islands. It combines several massage techniques to deliver a profoundly relaxing experience. The best part is you don’t have to travel to Hawaii to receive it!

Why is Lomi Lomi Special?

The depth of lomi lomi massage comes from the Hawaiian philosophy called Huna, which directly relates to bodywork and healing. Huna is founded on the idea that everything seeks harmony and balance.

Lomi lomi grounds this philosophy by working with long, continuous, flowing strokes to gently yet profoundly nurture the body and invite the recipient to relax. Unlike Swedish massage or reflexology, no two lomi lomi massages will be the same. Givers are trained to apply a deep focus on the client with loving hands and heart, allowing intuition to lead.

In the Hawaiian tradition, lomi lomi is used for more than physical healing and well-being. It was often used during periods of transition to gain clarity and start fresh in life, like before getting married or starting a new position. The intuitively-driven focus of the giver using loving touch deeply relaxes your entire being and assists you in letting go of old beliefs, patterns, and behaviors.

Lomi Lomi Releases Blockages

The Huna philosophy looks at life in terms of energy flow. It suggests that a limiting idea or belief can block energy flow as much as a tight muscle. Lomi lomi helps release blockages on the physical level, but it is not just a physical experience. It is also designed to facilitate healing on the mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.

For much of the session, the giver uses both hands and forearms to create long strokes that support the lymphatic system and improve circulation. There are also moments of deep work, between the ribs, opening the space behind the heart, releasing tension in the spine.

Similar to many holistic and traditional healing systems, the Hawaiians see all aspects of the body as one. When healing is affected on one level, the whole self arrives at a new and better balance.

What Happens in a Lomi Lomi Massage?

The session starts with a moment of stillness between you, the receiver, and the lomi lomi giver, often with one hand on your back. The giver begins moving, as in a dance, before beginning the massage. This is called “flying”. It allows the giver to gather energy and set their mind to the work, to will their will to compassionate disengagement. The massage begins with fluid, rhythmic motions that some describe feeling like gentle waves moving over the body.

Traditionally, the draping in lomi lomi massage is minimal. Enough for modesty but still allowing the giver to move fluidly. The giver’s hands may connect with two parts of the receiver’s body simultaneously—for example, one on the low back with another on the opposite shoulder.

This makes it very difficult for the brain to continue with its business as usual, and helps you relax. The fluid approach is designed to create a deep sense of balance and harmony because lomi lomi is not about fixing anything but about restoring harmony.

Set an Intention

It is traditional to set an intention for your lomi lomi massage. You can do this privately before you go in for the appointment, or you can ask the giver to begin the session with a guided meditation to help set the intention. You don’t have to share your intention. Simply see it, acknowledge it, and let it go.

Your intention can be for any level of life. It can relate to something physical, like resolving a muscle ache, or something emotional, like releasing a past hurt. You can also intend to receive inspiration on an upcoming decision or clarity on your next goal in life. Lomi lomi is designed to release blockages at every level, so any intention is valid.

Things to Know Before Your Session

There is a generous use of warm oils in a lomi lomi massage. It is best to schedule it on a day and time where you don’t need perfect hair and makeup and won’t have to return to work. You also want to think about what clothes you wear to not worry about the oils touching them after the session.

It is also recommended that you avoid eating heavy meals or drinking alcohol before your massage.

Lomi-Lomi is a Feast for the Senses

Massage has many physical benefits such as reduced muscle tension, relaxation, improved skin tone, increased joint mobility and flexibility, reduced stress hormones, stimulation of the lymphatic system, and improved circulation. Whenever you carve out an hour or two to receive a massage, you give your body a gift of health and well-being.

Lomi lomi massage is an opportunity to take that experience to a new level. To get a taste of tropical paradise without traveling and to touch into deeper parts of yourself that need healing. It is an invitation to be present, at the moment, and to clear your mind.

Experience it for yourself! You may find you want to make it a regular part of life.

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