My lomilomi story, part 1
Barbara Helynn robles


I discovered massage during my teen years in the early 1970s.  Delighted by a back rub I received, I began to practice massage with my sister.  For the next two decades I continued to give massage as a hobby to family and friends.

In 1995 I was working as a computer programmer in corporate America and raising my then ten and eleven year old children when I received a friendly termination offer. Taking a HUGE leap of faith, I released my golden handcuffs, and enrolled in Brian Utting  School of Massage. A year later I opened Awareness Massage, my private practice, in Seattle.


In massage school I witnessed a lomilomi demonstration and was deeply moved by both the physical and spiritual grace. I knew instantly that lomilomi was my path. I was drawn to the attention paid to harmony between Spirit, people and nature. 

I have been rooted in Quaker tradition since childhood. Hawaiian spiritual healing traditions have given me wings. Quaker and Hawaiian spirituality share a reverence for life, a strong sense of community, and a belief in the intrinsic goodness of people which Quakers call ‘that of God’ and some Hawaiians refer to as our ‘Bowl of Light’.

I studied with Shawn Lasala Kimmel, my first lomilomi teacher, for four years. I was inspired by her love of Hawaiian language, culture and spirituality. Under Shawn’s influence, I let go of clinical thinking and focused instead on developing myself as a clear healing channel and on giving massage with a tender heart.

The Hawaiian massage style I learned from Shawn was fluid and wave like. Although I never heard her identify her teachers, in hindsight I associate her lomi style as Temple style massage in the lineage of Abraham Kawai’i. In the seven years I practiced this lomilomi format, I flowed with loving touch which allowed both me and my receivers to reconnect with our essence, namely our love and our beauty. 

Aloha wale no,

Barbara Helynn Robles

To read chapter 2, click here

Copyrighted 2010-2023 Barbara Helynn Robles

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