What is a Lomi Lomi Massage?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2019
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Lomi Lomi, which means "rub" or "massage" in Hawaiian, is a traditional Hawaiian massage technique used to bring about physical as well as mental relaxation. According to the Huma philosophy of Hawaii, the mind and the body are invariably interlinked and mutually interdependent. Good health depends on having both aspects in an harmonious balance.

The Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage seeks to rid the body of physical and mental stresses, and free up the energy flow. This is done with a combination of prayers, breathing techniques and intuitive massage strokes. There are no definitive Lomi Lomi techniques. They are determined on a case basis, depending upon the massage therapist and the client requirements.

Before getting a Lomi Lomi massage, it is advisable to inform the massage therapist about any medical problems, pregnancy or pregnancy-related issues. The massage techniques can then be adjusted to mitigate any possible risks. It is also necessary to avoid eating and drinking right before the massage.

The client strips down to his or her underwear and lies face down either on a Hawaiian Lomi massage mat or on a regular massage table. There is a moment of stillness in which the massage therapist, with hands lightly placed in the client's back, prays for healing. The client may be asked to get in the right frame of mind to receive the healing.


Aromatic oils are used for massaging. The massaging is done using fingertips, thumbs, knuckles, palms, sides of palms, forearms, elbows, knees and even sticks and stones. The massaging may be gentle or vigorous, and the rhythmic strokes kept continuous and flowing.

The massage therapist may massage different body parts simultaneously as this brings about greater relaxation. Sometimes there may be two massage therapists performing the Lomi Lomi massage. Gauging the client's resistance and comfort level, the body is gently stretched and the joints are rotated.

The massage therapist may hum or dance while carrying out the massage. Humming and dancing are thought to unblock, vibrate and amplify the energy levels. The Lomi Lomi therapist does not seek to heal, but instead to facilitate healing.

The benefits of the Lomi Lomi massage are a relaxed nervous system, improved blood circulation and lymph flow, elimination of toxic waste and relief from body pain. The Lomi massage rejuvenates the body and instills a feeling of peace and well-being. Regular massages can help maintain good health.

Traditionally, in Hawaii, Lomi Lomi massage training was passed down in the family. In modern times, practitioners are required to undergo formal training in massage techniques, anatomy and physiology. They must pass a written test and get certified by a medical board.


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Post 5

There are, in fact, many different lineages of lomi lomi, each using a different bodywork format. It is possible to specialize and sometimes even become certified in a specific lineage/format. Various lomi lomi lineages/formats may be as different as Swedish vs Thai vs Traeger.

Unfortunately, articles are rampant on the internet which suggest that lomi lomi is a single style of massage. It's not. "Lomi Lomi" simply means "massage" in the Hawaiian language.

This article mixes up statements about various styles of lomi lomi. For example: "There is a moment of stillness in which the massage therapist, with hands lightly placed in the client's back, prays for healing" or "Aromatic oils are used for massaging." or "the body is gently

stretched and the joints are rotated". Each of these statements is true about some lomi lomi lineages, but not all.

I practice and teach Mana Lomi, a clinically focused lomi lomi format from the Big Island, coming through the lineage of Aunty Margaret Machado and developed in its current form by Dr. Maka'ala Yates, D.C. Mana lomi is deep yet gentle, communicates to the depth of the bones, works with structure, and feels yummy to receive. It works well in either a medical or spa setting. Thank you. Barbara H.

Post 4

So if there is no specific Lomi Lomi technique, then how do people get trained to give this kind of massage?

Do they just have a kind of pool of techniques and moves, and then customize it for each client?

Post 3

Lomi Lomi sounds kind of like Esalen massage, what with the intention to facilitate healing.

Of course it doesn't have the same intense focus on creating a relationship between the masseuse and client, but it seems like there are similarities in the philosophies.

This seems particularly true of the philosophy about blockages and stress patterns in the body.

Post 2

Although the modern origins of Lomi Lomi are known to come from Hawaii, but it also has roots in Polynesian massage techniques.

Post 1

The use of the term strips as in, "the clients strips down" seems unnecessary and sounds somewhat sexual. I would like to add that this is a therapeutic technique which can also be done fully clothed.

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