Written by Sarah Jones
Last Updated

Lomi lomi massage comes from Hawaii and is part of traditional native medicine which was practiced within families. It focuses on a spiritual practice as well as the physical massage and incorporates the Hawaiian concept of love, unity and breath. 

There are a number of different styles for this massage as it was passed down through families who used a variety of techniques. However, it has always had a spiritual element to it, with practitioners taught to focus with love and caring. 

What is a lomi lomi massage?
What to expect from lomi lomi

Generally, a session will start with the therapist placing their hands on the customer and concentrating on deep breathing for relaxation and it might include music or soothing chanting to set the mood. 

The lomi lomi massage involves using long sweeping movements across the whole body, from the shoulder down to the feet, for example, with the person either under a large sheet, or with small towels covering the private areas of the body. 

This technique involved lots of oil and practitioners will often use their forearms to do the long strokes across the body. They will also use their hands to massage two parts of the body at the same time, as all of this is designed to promote balance. 

They might undertake rotations of your joints and some gentle stretching at the same time, to help bring harmony back to the body. A very traditional lomi lomi massage will also feature a massage of the abdomen. 

Generally, the benefits are the same as more traditional massage types as lomi lomi works to relax the muscles, and helps to release blocked energy. What differentiates lomi lomi are the loving and caring aspects which release spiritual blocks as well as physical ones. 

What to expect from lomi lomi
Modern day lomi lomi

Traditional lomi lomi therapists tend not to work in big spas or massage parlours but go to client’s home settings to treat clients in private. They often involve traditional music, sounds from the sea, the opportunity to meditate and other health improvements. 

Authentic lomi lomi is taught by an elder in the Hawaiian family and takes years to master. Some modern techniques use aspects of lomi lomi but will be very different to the true traditional Hawaiian option. 

As well as Hawaii, it is also a traditional practice in nearby islands including Samoa, Tahiti and Polynesia. 

Modern day lomi lomi
The origins of lomi lomi

Lomi lomi is often practiced using all parts of the hands, arms and fingers, but also can include the practitioner using their feet, knees and their elbows, and sometimes even the use of tools such as stones, to massage the body. 

In the past, the tradition was used to exorcise spirits from the body, as it was said to release negative energy, also as a healing tradition, a way to improve digestion and by martial arts practitioners as well. 

The people who performed the therapy used to be called the massage people and were often chosen from a very young age, to learn the techniques, due to their kind behavior towards others. They would the study for decades to become masters in all the techniques. 

The key aspect of lomi lomi that makes it stand out from other massage techniques is the combination of physical massage with prayer, love and intention. Back in the 1930s, one of the expert massage people said all practitioners should pick their own herbs to be used for their scents, and should pray as they picked, to be at one with nature. 

The origins of lomi lomi

If you are looking for a massage therapy with a difference, then lomi lomi could be the perfect option. With a real focus on love, meditation and prayer, it’s the perfect choice for someone seeking internal peace, harmony and relaxation. 

With the use of music, sea sounds and long body strokes, lomi lomi helps to release blocked physical energy and spiritual energy from the body, providing physical relaxation as well as emotional calmness. 

It is a therapy which involves exposing large areas of the body at a time, to allow the therapist to create the long flowing strokes required, so you will need to be prepared for that, which is different to most other types of traditional massage. 

It’s important to be aware that Western practitioners claiming to offer traditional lomi lomi experiences are unlikely to have mastered the techniques and will only be using a few of the aspects of the massage. 

For the full lomi lomi experience you will need to find a traditional Hawaiian practitioner who will come to your home or carry out the massage in a private setting, rather than in any kind of chain spa or massage centre. For the real thing you will need to travel to Hawaii or the nearby and surrounding islands. 

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