Hawaiian Lomi Lomi

The ancient art of Hawaiian Lomi Lomi has been practiced for hundreds of years. The gift of healing was passed down to the "chosen one" who spent their life practicing the healing arts. Kahuna's (healers, shaman) were taught to use thumbs, hands, forearms and elbows to massage. It wasn't uncommon to have hot rocks placed on injuries or have the Kahuna walk on your back. Kahuna's were even known to use a mild form of hypnosis, instilling feelings of well-being. They believed they could transfer their own vital energy into a person who was sick.

Hawaiian Lomi Lomi was kept secret within families for most of its history, until Kahuna Aunty Margaret Machado decided to teach anyone who wanted to learn "the loving touch". Aunty says, "Lomi Lomi is a loving touch. When they feel loving hands on their body, they'll respond, "she loves me, she'll take good care of me, and I'm going to get well. "

So, what is the difference between Lomi Lomi and any other massage? That is a difficult question to answer. Clients have said, "It's as if you are right inside of my muscles and you know exactly where to go and how deep to go. " "The pressure points melt, your hands and elbows feel strong and loving as if they are guided. " I don't know how elbows and forearms can feel loving, but that is what clients say! Lomi Lomi feels like many different techniques put into one flowing system. It has a rhythm and flow that is soothing and feels complete.

Today, there are about five styles of Hawaiian Lomi Lomi. The two most well known are Lomi Lomi Nui (better known as Temple Lomi) and Polo Lei (better known as Aunty Margaret’s style). One of the keys to Lomi Lomi is that most of the work is done with the forearm instead of the hands. Caring Palms has been practicing Aunty Margaret’s style for over two years now. This is a very good form that gets down deeply into the muscles and in many cases is used in place of Deep Tissue massage. Temple Lomi is a smooth, flowing dance that makes one relax and enjoy.

Polo Lei (Aunty Margaret's Style)

Many that use their body a lot like athletes, construction workers, painters, runners or anyone trying to keep fit can benefit from this style of massage. Lomi Lomi can go deeply into the muscles to get them to stretch. (Once tight muscles stretch, they feel looser and less painful.)

Through this style, many compressions are used to go deeply into the muscles, relieving tension and making them looser. People with lots of muscle pain can usually benefit from this style of massage. Polo Lei Lomi Lomi is similar to Swedish in that it uses long, broad strokes for finding the areas that need to be treated. After identifying those areas, treatment is done using static compression. Unlike other modalities of massage, the static compression eases into the muscles, and then holds that position long enough for the muscle being treated to stretch and release the problems in it. Lomi Lomi can quickly and effectively make changes in the body allowing it to feel better.

Caring Palms has clients that range from hair stylists to wallpaper hangers to dog groomers to athletes who depend on Lomi Lomi to keep their muscles loose. Lomi keeps the pain at bay and increases their range of motion. It is truly what keeps them going. Lomi Lomi can go lightly, or very deeply into the muscles, in many cases eliminating the need for deep tissue massage. If one works with their body, or is doing regular exercise, this is the best thing to help those tight muscles. Most people feel energized when they get up from a session. Lomi Lomi is the old "new" marvel of the massage world.

(Auntie Margaret's Lomi Lomi is doen with standard draping.)

Lomi Lomi Nui (Temple Lomi Lomi)

Temple Lomi Lomi is different from most other styles of massage because it attempts to encompass all parts of the body as one big canvas instead of compartmentalizing it. When students go to massage school, they are taught to work one side of the back and then the other. Then they are shown how to move to one leg and then the other. This is typically how a massage is done, undraping one area, working it, and then re-draping it. With Temple Lomi, minimal draping is used (within the client’s comfort level) giving the therapist access to the back and legs and arms. Basically, the back, legs, and arms are undraped at once and the whole body oiled. The movements allow the therapist to make sweeps from the shoulder to the ankle and back, and then repeat the move on the other side.

This is traditionally how Temple Lomi works. The therapist will do a stroke on one side, and then repeat it on the other. (This is different from most standard massage styles where several moves are done on one side, and then repeated on the other.) The fluidity of the motions, and the constant moving from side to side gives a relaxing feel of oneness and wholeness. It allows the mind to release the body and let it enjoy the sensations that are happening to it.

In this way, Temple Lomi is like a dance. In fact, there are specific foot movements (or dance steps) that are followed, yet it is still an entirely free-form style of massage. There are many movements available and can be put together in any order. The movements can be slow or fast. Usually a combination of speeds is used with the purpose of getting the mind to release the body.

On the front of the body, the arms, legs, shoulders, neck and abdomen are worked as in regular styles of massage, but they are connected by smooth, flowing strokes. Temple Lomi can also utilize a lot of underbody work. This is where the therapist will still do movements on the back even though it is against the table. The feeling is wonderful. (To accomplish this, the client is usually put directly on the massage table with no sheet underneath. This allows the therapist the get the slide that they need to go under the body smoothly. The table is then cleaned thoroughly between sessions.)

A temple Lomi Lomi session is a very relaxing, enjoyable session. If relaxation is what you are looking for, try this nice style of massage.

(Temple Lomi Lomi is done with minimal draping as shown in the video.)

The only way to truly know Hawaiian Lomi Lomi is to experience it. And when you experience your first Lomi Lomi massage, you will describe the feeling as LOVE. That is what Lomi Lomi is all about. . .LOVE. . .ALOHA.


Trivia: What does Lomi Lomi mean? It is the contented extending and retracting of the paws of a cat.