For Aunty Margaret’s haumāna, Lomilomi is not just massage, it is the physiotherapy, the medicine; it is the spiritual healing of the Hawaiian people. As a distinctly kānaka cultural practice, it is not a technique.
A Lomilomi therapist must practice daily hoʻoponopono, or, making right of out-of-balance situations in her/his life; she/he then uses Pule, prayer or intention to create a field of healing potential, and, during the treatment uses the principles of Aloha, or loving touch, to soothe and connect with the Creator or healer in each patient.
Aunty Margaret used to say, “If your hands are loving and gentle, your patient will feel the sincerity of your heart, their soul will reach out to yours and divine love will flow through both of you. Aunty’s lomilomi soothes the nervous system, releases toxins that have built-up in body tissues, and supports the circulation of the lymphatic fluids.
Lomilomi can use the palms, forearm, fingers, elbows, or feet to communicate with the tissues of the patient. There are many family styles of lomilomi, as well as variations for keiki, kane and wahine. I learned Lomilomi massage in an immersion program at Aunty Margaret’s hale on Kealakekua Bay, in Nāpoʻopoʻo, Hawai’i island. Sheila O`Malley of Oahu sponsored me as her apprentice. This is my lineage.
The word Lomilomi is commonly used these days in advertising to invoke a sense of culture. Lomilomi must be learned from an authentic cultural source and practiced on a daily basis. If you decide you want to experience Lomilomi, do take the time to inquire about the therapist’s lineage and how long they have been practicing. Try authentic lomilomi, you’ll experience the heart of Aloha. Mālama pono.
Aunty Kalehuamakanoelulu’uonapali Machado, beloved kumu lomilomi passed away peacefully in her home in Nāpoʻopoʻo, Kealakekua, Hawaii on 28 December 2009 surrounded by her ʻohana at the young age of 93.
Rob Kinslow was trained in the Lomilomi style of Aunty Margaret Machado of Kealakekua. He is a reiki master, craniosacral and energy medicine practitioner. He is active in creating sustainable community and documentary films. He practices in Honolulu.