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Lomi Lomi Massage

What is Lomi Lomi Massage?

Lomi Lomi is a traditional Hawaiian massage that uses a combination of massage techniques, oils, and sometimes elements of prayer, breathing and dance to restore energy and soothe the body. It is also known as the "loving hands" massage. This name helps to explain its principles - the massage works gently yet deeply into the muscles with continuous, flowing strokes, allowing the recipient to relax and give in to the nurturing touch.

Lomi Lomi works from the belief that memories are not just stored in the brain and mind, but also in every cell of the human body. The long, continuous strokes of the massage are designed to help the body let go of its old patterns and behaviors, which can cause as many stresses and strains as muscle tension.

What does Lomi Lomi mean?

Lomi Lomi translates to "rub rub" in Hawaiian, and reflects the broad, flowing strokes made with the therapist's forearms, fingers, thumbs, palms, arms and elbows. Warm oils are usually used as moisturizers in Lomi Lomi massage, to keep the strokes smooth and to nourish the skin.

Many believe that the healing art of Lomi Lomi was brought to Hawaii by the earliest Polynesian settlers, while others believe that it is deeply infused with the practice of "living aloha" - a carry-over from ancient Hawaii and the mystical land of Mu. The Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage can also be referred to as Kahuna bodywork.

Benefits of Lomi Lomi

Lomi Lomi aims to treat the body and mind as one whole being. It is thought to:

  • release tension

  • assist blood and lymph flow

  • eliminate waste and stimulate toxins

  • rejuvenate the body

  • instill a sense of peace, harmony and wellbeing.

What to know ahead of time

The nature of Lomi Lomi means that you probably won't be able to wear very much, so check with the practitioner about what you can bring. Ideally you don't want to wear anything. If you are on a modest side, small towel draping or bikini bottoms are usually OK.

It's worth remembering that the oils used in massage are not kind to hair or make-up, so you might not want to return to work straight after your treatment. But that's fine - if you clear your schedule for the afternoon, you'll be able to spend longer in post-Lomi Lomi heaven.

Avoid eating heavy meals or drinking alcohol in the hours leading up to your massage.

What to expect from a Lomi Lomi massage

Traditionally, Lomi Lomi massage is performed with the recipient lying on a hand-woven mat on the floor. However, you may find yourself on a conventional massage table, or lying directly on the vinyl of it. Instead of being covered with towels, you might just have one towel or a small sheet to preserve your modesty. These steps are taken to avoid interrupting the continuous flow of the massage.

The Lomi Lomi healing practice usually begins with a period of stillness between therapist and recipient, sometimes with the therapist's hands resting lightly on the recipient's back. During this moment of stillness, a traditional Lomi Lomi practitioner would say a blessing or prayer, asking for whatever healing is needed.

The therapist will work intuitively with your body, with fluid, rhythmic strokes to release and shift tensions. There is no set format for the massage itself, so no two Hawaiian massages are the same. The treatment may be slow and relaxing or faster and more invigorating, depending on how your body responds. You might find that the therapist massages two different parts of your body simultaneously - this is to stop your brain from focusing on any one area and therefore helps to aid relaxation. Sometimes, Lomi Lomi is carried out by two therapists at once to intensify the effect.

Your massage therapist may make full-body or under-body strokes, lightly stretch your limbs and carefully rotate your joints. These techniques are thought to free up your energy flow, and they will perform them very gently, staying within your comfort zone and level of resistance.

Don't be surprised if your therapist - particularly if they are traditional Lomi Lomi practitioner - hums at various points during your massage. Humming is supposed to create amplified and vibrating energy, promoting the release of blockages within the body. Dance techniques and hula movements are important, too, in keeping the energy flow high.

Hot Tip!

One of the luxuries of any traditional massage is the thought of its geographical origins. Think of Lomi Lomi as your own little piece of Hawaii, imagine yourself in a treatment room next to miles of sandy beach and feel its vacation-effects work their magic!


You will feel blissfully relaxed after your Hawaiian massage, and nurtured from top to toe. Make time to wallow in the afterglow, and have a dip in the pool or a leisurely shower before you return to the real world. If you're lucky enough to be at the beach, why not sit yourself between sand and ocean and let the waves lap you into a deeper, warm, luxurious calm.

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