Lomi Lomi originated in Hawaii where families would use massage as a tool for healthcare. Like so many cultures, ancient Hawaiians understood the powerful effect massage can have on the mind and body.
Lomi Lomi doesn’t place the therapist as a healer, instead they act as a facilitator or a navigator. Every person is solely responsible for his or her life journey. Only the client can heal themselves. In Lomi we always begin with ‘pule’, or prayer, silently, verbally or as a Hawaiian chant. It’s used to centre and focus the therapist’s intention and it prepares the recipient to be open to the possibility of healing.
Lomi is an embodiment of the Hawaiian spirit of aloha, a multi-layered word which literally means love. Aloha is a compound word composed of ‘alo’ meaning presence, sharing or facing and ‘ha’ meaning breath, or the essence of life.
Lomi is variously translated as ‘to create space’ or ‘to break into little pieces’. Traditionally a Lomi treatment could take many hours, or even days, and would be done in conjunction with other healing activities like taking herbal remedies and bathing. The Lomi therapist uses massage to help their client establish communication between their three selves: the lower-self (unihilipi), the middle self (uhane) and the higher self (aumakua). According to Hawaiian healing philosophy, when the three selves are working in harmony they nurture ‘mana’, or vital life force. So, when we compromise on our beliefs or act out of alignment, ‘pono’, we literally become out of balance.
The aumaka is our lineage, our ancestors. Lomi acknowledges that we are not just us, here and now, but the product of everyone who has come before. I had a lightbulb moment last year about what this meant. My nan had said something that gave me a clearer understanding about my mother which in turn made me realise that something about my own character. Often, the traditional aloha greeting is followed by “Pehea kou piko” which translates as “How is your bellybutton?”. The piko, or bellybutton, is a spiritual energy centre which connects us to our parents, siblings and extended family alive on earth at this time. So in asking “Pehea kou piko?” you are not simply being asked “how are you?” but being asked after your entire family.
Very much a holistic massage, rather than working on areas of the body in isolation, Lomi Lomi’s flowing forearm strokes sweep over and under the body. This multi-dimensional touch allows a deeper letting go into relaxation.
In the words of my Lomi Lomi teacher, Carrie Rowell
‘Lomi Lomi was a huge affirmation of everything that I thought massage should be. It is a sacred journey both for the person receiving as well as the person giving the massage. Lomi Lomi is a fluid, nurturing dance that fuses two bodies into one.
As the rhythm changes and relaxation becomes surrender, a shift takes place. Time and space are mutable and the breath dictates how and where the energy moves. Lomi Lomi can have a profound effect on people—on how they relate to themselves and everyone around them. It is love in its purest undiluted essence. When I offer a treatment, I prepare the space and myself as I would a temple to divinity.
Lomi Lomi is a flow, not a routine. It is my intention that people walk away from a session feeling empowered and wanting to take steps to better themselves, knowing that they have just taken the first one.’
Holistic Lomi Lomi Massage in Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire and Masham near Ripon, North Yorkshire.
Call 07784 573 886 to make an appointment.