I too wanted to learn more about this massage modality and experience all of what the Hawaiian culture had to offer on it. So I traveled to Maui, HI a month ago to a local spa that specializes in trainings to dive in and see what it's all about. You see, my background and experience with Lomi dates back almost 10 years ago while going through my Massage Therapy schooling, towards the last month of school. We had a small class of 3, and had a teacher that learned Lomi in Hawaii herself. It was just a 3 day class, that taught us some of the basics but my experience drew me to fall in love with this massage style! I had the most magical experience while laying there on the table being worked on by not only my teacher, but 2 other classmates! Let's just say it was an emotional breakthrough that I never new was possible with massage. Now fast-forward to my time in Maui, here's my experience there learning and what I got from it...
First, who wouldn't love Maui to begin with? It's absolutely stunning! The ocean views, the mountains, the food.... but ohhhh, don't get me started on the people and the culture! I have never felt so welcome anywhere in my life than when I was there in Maui and especially at the Ho'omana Spa in Makawao. The love, compassion and feeling of being part of an ohana was overwhelming, but in a good way.
We were taught to chant like true locals, learned the language of the locals, the spiritual teachings and meanings behind words and chants and the even places we went. We were taken to some amazing places with spiritual background where you could feel the energy. We learned of sacred plants like the Taro, Kukui nut, Alaea, Red Hibiscus and more. We also learned of Ho'Oponopono which is the practice of being in harmony with yourself, with others and with the divine, put simply - "I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you. What I would say I learned the most and took away from my training and time there on Maui was, the Aloha spirit and treating everyone like ohana (family) and what it means to hold space for someone. It was an experience like no other that I will cherish for years to come.
Now, to get to Lomi and what it is.... If I were to explain Lomi Lomi Massage in one sentence (which is difficult), I would say; Lomi is a deeply relaxing, yet therapeutic massage modality using mostly forearms, with strokes promoting blood flow and increased circulation that is a spiritual (or you can replace with the word for magical) massage experience. It is very relaxing but also energetic, you feel like you have just been washed by the ocean itself. Lomi Lomi has always been kept in the family and passed on to one person within the family who was chosen as the "healer" for each generation. They now are branching out to teach more people about Lomi, to spread the healing and aloha spirit and teachings. The (lineages) or style of Lomi that we learned there was; Aunty Margaret Machado, Aunty Mahilani Poe Poe, Maka'ala Yates (apprentice of Aunty Margaret), Rebecca Slavin (influenced by Papa Abraham Kawai), Papa Sylvester Kepelino and Aunty Mary Fragas (Hapai -or pregnancy Lomi). Now that I know some of the different styles/lineages, I know that 10 years ago when first learning about Lomi, I learned a shortened more simple version of Abraham Kawai, also known as "temple style".
"Lomi is a life-style that connects us to our inner wisdom and fosters the innate ability to receive healing on many levels and can transform lives."
-Jeana Iwalani Naluai, MPT, LMT at Ho'omana spa
I am already planning on attending my next training/retreat at the Ho'omana Spa in Maui in April for advanced Lomi techniques. I welcome you to try a Lomi Lomi Massage whenever you have the oportunity, and just in case you're wary, I am offering a 75 minute Lomi session for the price of an hour!
L.M.T & Owner of Mind Body Soul Massage & Wellness Center