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Aloha to you, my website visitors
seeking to learn about lomilomi.
Lomi lomi is my
life; I have been a lomi lomi practitioner 1996, and have
taught lomi lomi since 2005.
- I teach classes for both
professional massage therapists. Click
here to see massage continuing education classes.
- I also teach community classes for
Click here to see "massage for
fun" class schedule.
- I offer lomilomi sessions in my private
massage practice in Seattle, Washington. Click
here for information on my private practice.
Lineages and Styles of Lomilomi Exist
Lomilomi, also written lomi
or simply lomi
is the bodywork component of traditional Hawaiian healing arts. It has
been used in the Hawaiian islands for centuries. Mana lomi®
specific style that I practice and teach, comes from the Big
Island. It is one of many styles of lomi lomi.
Just as the English term massage
refers to many distinct massage modalities, so also the Hawaiian term lomi lomi
various distinct types of massage. The Hawaiian word lomi lomi
can be translated into English as massage
or literally rub rub
yet it refers to healing work broader in scope than the western concept
I meet many non Hawaiian people who mistakenly believe that lomi lomi is
particular massage modality - specifically many people believe that
lomi lomi is a
style of bodywork that uses lots of dancelike, flowing forearm strokes
which wash freely over the receiver's minimally draped body in a way frequently compared to ocean waves.
lomilomi style is known as Temple
Lomi. My own initial lomi lomi experience was with
Temple Lomi which I practiced from 1996-2003.
History: Why are there Multiple Lomilomi Lineages?
Firstly, the Hawaiian archipelago is composed of eight primary islands
on which separate communities live. In the earlier times of
limited transportation and communication these separated communities
naturally developed various unique bodywork techniques.
Secondly, as a traditional Polynesian oral culture, knowledge
and skills passed individually from person to person. Without written
records, recipients assumed responsibility for preserving the integrity
of this learning. Unlike our contemporary Western society
information is liberally shared via the written word and via the internet,
people in old Hawaii were selective in whom they shared information
with, and they often kept information and skills within their own
family or community in order to maintain its integrity.
And thirdly, over the past 1000 years social and political
in Hawaii such as invasions, assaults and religious evangelizing have prevented
lomi lomi from being openly practiced, and Hawaiian families privately kept
it alive. Being thus maintained underground, diverse styles of lomil
within individual families who each preserved what they found
diverse styles of lomi lomi developed and exist today.
lomi lomi started coming ‘above ground’ in the 1970’s. Several
different teachers began teaching lomi lomi from their own family lineage to anyone with a sincere desire to
learn. Technological advances in transportation and communication
have supported the sharing of lomi lomi not only within Hawaii, but around
When and How did Lomilomi
spread outside of Hawaii,
to the Continental US, Europe, Asia,
Australia, and elsewhere?
In 1972 the repressive
1887 sorcery law in Hawaii was lifted. This discrimatory law
the books from 1887-1972 mandated a $100-$200 fine or prison sentence
of up to 6 months for anyone who attemped "to cure another by practice
of socery, witchcraft... ho'omanamana... or other superstitious or
deceitful methods". Ho'omanamana is Hawaiian spirituality.
The words used in this law clearly reflect a very negative
interpretation assigned to Hawaiian spirituality and tradtional healing.
you imagine how much the fine of $100-$200 could buy in 1887 when
this socery law was first enacted!!!?! It's comparable to about $2.5-$5
million today. With the repeal of the socery law in 1972, the
Hawaiian healing arts was lifted, allowing lomi lomi to be
openly practiced again.
The Hawaiian cultural renaissance movement initiated in the 1970s and
still occurring today encompasses traditional Hawaiian healing arts as
well as Hawaiian
language, traditional navigation, agriculture, hula, education, and
more. Whoohoo!! As a result of this renaissance, lomi lomi is
once again being
openly practiced in Hawaii, and in fact it has spread around the world
What are some Lomilomi Lineages or Styles?
Outside Hawaii two lomi lomi lineages have been most widely
shared. The most well known and heavily marketed lineage is
Temple Lomi. Big Island Lomi is less well known.
Both approaches were modernized and popularized beginning in the
1970s by gifted teachers from the Big Island and
Kaua'i respectively. Additonal lomi lomi lineages are now also
practiced and shared both inside and outside of Hawai'i.
Here are lineages I have personal connection with.
Big Island Lomilomi
also known as traditional lomi lomi, comes through
the lineage of the late native Hawaiian Aunty Margaret
Kalehuamakanoelu'ulu'uonapali Machado on the
Big Island. During her four decades of teaching Aunty
Margaret became legendary for sharing lomilomi using loving touch, for
apprenticeships that included internal seawater cleansing and Christian
prayers, and for the personal mana (spiritual energy) bestowed upon her
by her grandfather.
Aunty Margaret was probably the
Hawaiian to share specifically traditional style of lomi lomi with many
native Hawaiian and others - who had a sincere desire to learn.
is an educational, nonprofit
organization supported by group of lomi lomi practitioners, many of whom
are Native Hawaiian and many of whom practice Big Island Lomilomi.
I am a member of this group and attend their wonderful annual
conference on the Big Island whenever I am able to. This is a
one specific branch of Big Island Lomi which was
developed in its current form by Dr. Maka'ala Yates, DC
apprenticing with Aunty Margaret for 16 years. Mana Lomi® is
now taught internationally by a team of 10 certified teachers,
myself included. This entire website is primarily dedicated
to my practice of Mana Lomi® which has been my primary work since 2003.
comes from the linage of the late Aupuni Iwi'ula with whom I studied
from 2000-2003. Aupuni taught Hawaiian spirituality as it was
practiced by his
lineage on Kaua'i before European contact in Hawaii in the late
1800s. Aupuni taught me energy based healing
meditations and Hawaiian prayers. In his presence I was immersed in
Hawaiian culture in a way new to me. His program is designed
so that students study ho'omana, Hawaiian spirituality for more than
two years before they are permitted to study Iwi'ula syle Hawaiian
Iwi'ula lomi lomi is done on a mat on the floor using
prayer and specific strokes. It has a strong energetic
I completed Aupuni's ho'omana (spirituality) classes, but did not study
Iwiula lomi lomi (bodywork).
is the healing lineage of native Hawaiian Kumu Harry Uhane
from Kaua'i. I attended a residential workshop
Harry taught on the Big Island in 2013, and hope to attend more of his
classes in the future. Harry is full of vital, palpable joy
and is a powerful teacher. Much of Harry's teaching focuses
on ho'oponopono, on our beliefs and on our attitudes. I am
inspired by his presence and his way of teaching that love heals all
Some of the lomi lomi tools that Harry teaches include:
- bone washing - cleaning the skin of the bone (periosteum),
causing the release of memory and corresponding physical and emotional
- po'o (head) -- clearing binds on the cranial bones to
accommodate movement of skull in rhythm with the breath.
- creation of space - causing space in the body using gravity
- manifesting - traditional healing technique fo active
prayer using “prepare, perceive and procreate.”
- ha ( breath) - combining the skills of bone washing and
breath coaching we are tooled to heal towards freedom from constriction.
or lomi lomi of the abdomen was taught by the late Kalua
Kaiahua, a traditional healer from Maui. Karen
is one of Uncle Kalua's students who
continues to practice and teach this powerful work. I was
honored and delighted to attend an introductory workshop Kumu Karen
taught in 2013.
Other traditional lineages
exist as well; the ones mentioned here are
the ones I have personal connection with.
is also known as
contemporary lomi, "Kahuna Bodywork" and "Sacred Touch". On the US
mainland, in Europe and in Australia Temple Lomi is extremely popular.
Temple lomi was developed by the late indigenous Hawaiian Abraham
Kawaii from Kaua'i, drawing on his strong hula and Hawaiian martial
arts background. Abraham shared this bodywork widely with
the continental US, Europe and Australia who were drawn to New Age
consciousness. I studied and practiced Temple Lomi from
Lomi teachings are often accompanied by teachings on Hawaiian
healing and spiritual shamanism as interpreted by Californian Max
Freedom Long and known as Huna. Over the past 40 plus years
Lomi has been passed from one person to the next, frequently without
maintaining connection with its roots, Temple Lomi has evolved and been
westernized. The majority of videos currently on
YouTube claiming to
show lomilomi are of Temple Lomi. It is done - or might I say "performed
" - with
dancelike, flowing forearm strokes
which wash freely over the receiver's minimally draped body like ocean waves.
Blended Lomilomi Styles:
Some (perhaps I should say many) lomi lomi teachers in the
Continental US today have learned aspects of both Temple Lomi and traditional lomi
and teach a blend of what they have learned from various
What do Various Lomilomi Linages have in Common?
Lomi lomi today can be very different, depending
on who is
doing it. There is no one “right” way to do it; rather there are many
approaches and techniques used by different Hawaiian healing
practitioners. That said, in my experience all styles share
Lomi lomi training emphasizes the practitioners’
maintain our own physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Making
choices that support the highest good allows us to be clear healing
channels and to assist others in healing. Lomi lomi includes more than
physical touch. It includes conducting mana - vital life force - in
ourselves and in our clients. We each discover independently how this
happens; no teacher can give it to us.
In the Hawaiian world view man, nature and Spirit form an equally
(harmony) triangle, held together by
divine intention in order that all the things of the earth might be
protected and nourished. This lokahi
a foundation which supports Hawaiian healing arts.
The traditional Hawaiian way is to live constantly aware of the binding
threads which hold together all things great and small. The elements -
wind, sun, water and land - and the plants and animals are all alive,
conscious, sentient ancestral forms which interrelate with humanity as
family. Humanity is responsible for caring for and protecting nature
and nature is responsible for caring for and providing for us.
Hawaiians know in their bones that we humans are in community with
Lomi lomi is done with loving touch and employs mind and spirit healing
techniques. Each person is integrated and equally divine in body, mind
and soul. Indeed, love heals all trama.
Some techniques for healing mind and spirit incorporated with bodywork
include sweat huts, internal cleanses and medicinal herbs and plants.
Traditionally, the first step in treating physical ailments was ho’oponopono
(to make right), the cleansing of negative occurrences of the past and
transmuting negative energy into light, allowing us to move forward.
Other spiritual tools often used with lomilomi include: oli
- chant; pule
– prayer; and ho’okuano’o
(prayer) historically played an important role in every
aspect of traditional healing work, including lomilomi.
In summary, all of the lomi lomi lineages I've had experience with or
have heard of include variations of these practices:
- the lomi lomi practioner's commitment to self care and
- he lokahi triange connecting Spirit, Nature and Humanity
- use of loving touch
- ho'oponopono techniques
- pule (prayer)
Thank you for reading my reflections on lomi lomi. I
invite you to attend one of my classes, or to get a lomi lomi session
from me, in order to further experience this powerful work yourself.
Copyrighted 2013 Barbara Helynn
For more information visit www.lomilomi-massage
at msn dot com
Phone 1-206-323-5871 Seattle, Washington
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