As an indigenous Hawaiian healing practice steeped in Native Hawaiian history and traditions, lomilomi is so much more than a collection of massage techniques.
For those of us who are not Native Hawaiian, if we benefit, especially financially, from practicing and/or teaching lomilomi, we run the risk of offending Native Hawaiians and being perceived by them as exploiting and/or appropriating their culture. Let us be humble and respectful in the ways we share lomilomi with others.
Out of respect for the culture and native people of Hawaii, if you promote yourself as a lomilomi practitioner, and especially if you ever choose to teach lomilomi to others, I highly recommend you study with one or more native Hawaiian lomilomi teachers. I recommend developing and maintaining personal relationships with native Hawaiians cultural practitioners of lomilomi and other Hawaiian cultural arts. I recommend learning as much as you can about the history and culture of Hawaii, and I recommend staying informed of, and active in, Hawaiian current events.
I also recommend finding ways to support and give back to Native Hawaiian people and the culture. A two way exchange of energy is one aspect of traditional Hawaiian society.
One small way to foster connection with Hawaiian lomilomi practitioners is to join the Hawaiian Lomilomi Association, “an educational, non-profit organization dedicated to organize, promote and perpetuate the art of lomilomi, to promote and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and healing arts, to certify the professional status of its members, and to honor and serve its members.” www.lomilomi.org
Finally, if you ever wish to teach lomilomi to others, out of respect to me, please do not copy manuals you receive from me, and do not copy the entire class. Seek training yourself from other lomilomi teachers to develop a broader perspective before teaching lomilomi to others, .
Barbara Helynn Heard