What to Expect During a Lomi Massage
What is Lomi Lomi Massage?
This is a minor update of a prior post re posted here due to the number of inquiries about Lomi massage and what to expect. The original posts may be found here , here , and here
Massage therapy is one of the oldest and most powerful forms of healing. Lomi Lomi is one of the most profound forms of massage. So, what makes it so special, what is it, how does it differ from other massage, how does it "work"?
I'm often asked what Lomi Lomi means. The meaning of the words Lomi Lomi in some sense have been lost to time, and are so misquoted on the internet it is hard to keep track!
Because the ancient Hawaiian language was a spoken one, and not written, there are few references to Lomi, prior to the arrival of western missionaries. However for purposes of simplicity, lets just assume that in today's understanding Lomi Lomi might best be translated as "loving touch". But loving not in the sense of romantic love, but in the sense of Aloha. I will write more on Aloha and the history of the word in another post, but suffice to say that Lomi was commonly practiced in families, children on parents, parents on children, and for royalty. It was a part of healing and was also a part or relaxation. Repeating a word in Hawaiian merely emphasizes the meaning. More on this if you are interested.
However, today, what Lomi Lomi is a unique healing massage derived from the ancient Polynesians and more specifically the master healers of Hawaii. True Lomi Lomi has other components of healing, such as knowledge of herbs and natural remedies, but again, this being today, the focus of this post is really to describe the bodywork experience and environment.
However, Lomi, for me, is more than a technique. It is a life style and a journey to know one's self on a deeper level
To understand the depth of Lomi Lomi massage, it helps to have an understanding of the Hawaiian philosophy called Huna, and how the philosophies of Huna relate to bodywork and healing.
A fundamental assumption of Huna is that everything seeks harmony and everything seeks love. So how does this relate to massage? Perhaps this can best be understood by taking the concept of "Loving Touch". The reason for this is that it works gently yet deeply into the muscles with continuous, flowing strokes, totally nurturing the body and, enabling the recipient to relax, give in and simply be. So while technique is a part of the massage, much of the work is done by intuition, and feeling, with the focus of the practitioner on the client being deep and complete, using loving hands and a loving heart.
This flowing with total energy, using the long continuous fluid strokes, combined with the very loving touch, relaxes the entire being, assisting in a letting go of old beliefs, patterns and behaviors.
The Hawaiians look at things in terms of energy flow, following the idea that an idea or belief can block energy flow as much as muscle tension can. Lomi Lomi helps release the blockages, Thus Lomi Lomi is not just a physical experience; it also facilitates healing on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels as well. The Hawaiians view all aspects of the body as one and believe that the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual are all part of the "whole" self - when healing is effected on one level, all levels are affected. This is balance. True balance.
What happens during a Lomi Lomi Massage?
So, what happens during a Lomi Lomi massage? How is it performed?
Every Lomi session begins with pule (Prayer) and intention. For me, a simple intention would be "Lomi begins when I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night. I ask myself, how can I contribute?" Alternatively or as well, the client may be asked to set their intention for any healing they would like to receive.
There is a stillness between the practitioner and client - often with the practitioners hands gently resting on the clients back. In this stillness the practitioner will quietly say a chant or prayer asking for whatever healing is needed to take place during the massage.
The Lomi Lomi practitioner then works very intuitively with the client. In this respect there is no set format or sequence for the massage and no two massages will ever be identical.
The massage is given in fluid, rhythmic motion using the forearms as well as the hands. Some people have described this as feeling like gentle waves moving over the body. Another feature is that different parts of the body may be massaged at the same time, for example one arm or hand may be working on a shoulder and the other hand may be working on the opposite hip. This assists the recipient in totally relaxing as it is impossible or at least extremely difficult for the brain to focus on the two different areas at once. By not working on areas in isolation a deep sense of balance and harmony is achieved. The client on the table is not viewed as someone to be fixed, but a being to be returned to harmony and balance. It is important to remember that Lomi does not seek to "fix" any specific thing, but in working on the entire being, the idea is that any specific issue will have been addressed.
What to Expect
Your Lomi experience will take place in a comforting, calm, clean well-heated space.
Hand blended aromatherapy oils, and a combination of music will allow you to be carried away by this wavelike massage.
It’s about being present and supportive and encouraging deep breath. There is generous use of warm oils. So dress and plan accordingly for when you leave.
A word about draping - Lomi draping is often shown on the internet as very minimal. It is true that for some of the strokes more of the body is exposed than in Swedish or Sports massage, however draping is always respectful, and in compliance with local rules. Traditionally, the chest is uncovered briefly for both women and men, for some of the front of the body strokes. No part of the body is ever unnecessarily exposed and is not for titillating purposes but for access. Further, when lying prone (face down) the legs are positioned to the outside of the table to relieve any pressure on the feet or ankles, as no bolster is used.
For those who have questions or concerns about the draping, it can always be modified to satisfy the concerns of the client. Lomi can even be done fully clothed! It is a different experience to be sure but Lomi is about the touch, its about the connection, not the amount of exposure. You must have trust between the practitioner and the client to be able to fully "let go" and to allow for complete relaxation.
For those who feel only "deep" work is true massage, I simply offer that Lomi is less invasive but no less effective. Poetically described, "Lomi, in essence, is like floating on a raft in a peaceful lake. You are invited to deeply relax and release stress, to clear my mind and allow yourself to simply be in the moment."
For many who come and experience Lomi for the first time, they often describe it as "the best massage experience ever".
Lomi Lomi is a feast for the senses,
I invite you to try this unique experience for yourself and to make it a regular part of your life, not simply a one time luxury.
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I write about things that I myself need to be mindful of. ways in which I would like to improve. It is not from the perspective of preaching - but rather writing helps me work out what I myself need to do - we are all in this together.