Believed to have originated in the Hawaiian Islands Lomi Lomi massage is a form of full body massage that is unlike any other massage modality. As a client receiving a Lomi Lomi massage the main difference you will notice is that the massage is performed on your entire body at once. Unlike most other massages where the therapist uncovers and treats one body region at a time, in a Lomi Lomi massage the therapist will use long flowing strokes that go from head to toe in a continuous, rhythmic movement massaging both the top and the underside of your body.
Draping – Is Lomi Lomi massage performed nude, without draping?
The unique underbody massage strokes can be performed because the Lomi Lomi massage is done on a massage table with no top or bottom sheets. Normally you are draped with a small towel just to cover the genitals which were considered sacred in Hawaii. While face up women are customarily offered breast covering, however, in traditional Lomi Lomi no breast covering is used. While the breasts are not massaged, the sternum (between the breasts) is massaged along with the entire side of the body. Some of these techniques cannot be performed with breast draping. While face down the buttocks is usually minimally covered at least to ensure the genitals are covered. This minimal draping enables the therapist to slide his or her hands and arms under and around your body using massage techniques unique to this form of therapy. In Europe the massage is sometimes performed totally nude, without draping. While this might seem to make sense to a client comfortable with nudity, it is contrary to traditional Hawaiian principles.
Honoring the body in a sensual massage
Receiving a Lomi Lomi massage was considered a great honor in ancient Hawaii. The treatment was performed for centuries in Hawaiian temples as a rite of passage
and renewing ritual. A young man or young woman receiving a Lomi Lomi would often have a vision or intuitive feeling as to what their place in the community would be. Today’s practitioners still recognize and respect the sacredness of this treatment. The client is treated with great honor and is considered a sacred body on an altar by the therapist. While the full body strokes and embracing techniques can make this massage a very sensual experience for the client, the therapist is always viewing the client through this sacred lens thus allowing the client the freedom to relax and embrace their feelings without judgment by the therapist.
Lomi Lomi massage treats the mind and body
Traditionally Lomi Lomi is a deep, therapeutic type of massage designed to release muscle tension and consequently physical stress. The ancient Hawaiian shaman believed in a strong mind-body connection and believed that muscle tension and mental stress were highly related. By using the techniques of the Lomi Lomi the shaman or kahuna would release tense muscles and provide an overall healing treatment to the recipient.
At the core of the Hawaiian Shamanic beliefs are seven sacred principles and those principles are at the core of Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage. Below are the seven principles and their meaning. Click on any principle for more details. A complete explanation of all principle will follow in future articles.
IKE (pronounced E’-kay): The world is what you think it is
KALA: There are no limits
MAKIA: Energy flows where attention goes
MANAWA (man-NAV-a): Now is the moment of power
ALOHA: To love is to be happy with
MANA: All power comes from within
PONO: Effectiveness is the measure of truth
Unfortunately many spas modify the traditional Lomi Lomi to fit the spa’s policies and procedures. They use bottom sheets to minimize clean up work, play standard spa music instead of Hawaiian music, and use full sheets and blankets for draping making it extremely difficult for the therapist to perform the flowing full body strokes associated with a Lomi Lomi Massage. Additionally, there are now many styles of Lomi Lomi massage. This article is based on “Temple Style”, believed by many to be the original style.