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What Is Lomi Lomi Massage?

Hawaiian lomi lomi massage is one part of traditional Native Hawaiian healing. The traditional practice of lomi lomi is about connecting with spirit and includes not only massage but also cleansing, heat, diet, topical herbal therapy, exercise, and ho'oponopono (a practice of forgiveness described in the book Zero Limits).

Lomi Lomi Massage on back

First, and foremost, this massage is a heart-centered spiritual and energetic practice designed to align the body, mind, and spirit. The kahuna (experts) in lomi lomi believe suppressed emotions, mental disturbances, and/or spiritual disharmony cause physical pain and disease. The focus is to remove energetic congestion from the body, letting the body heal itself.

In Wise Secrets of Aloha, Kahuna Harry Uhane Jim states, "When we speak of the art of lomilomi here, we are speaking of the sacred shift within you that is inspired by the healing kahuna raising your vibration and all that is around you."

The giver of the massage says a prayer (pule) before beginning a session. The intention is to align with divine energy and keep thoughts pure during the session. The goal is to maintain a positive healing energy for the receiver (client).

Types of Lomi Lomi

A number of different Hawaiian lomi lomi massage styles have been passed down through the generations in Hawaiian families. Here are a few:

Big Island Lomi: Aunty Margaret Machado

Aunty Margaret was one to the first people to teach non-Hawaiians, and her style is quite popular. In general, this massage is know for its long, flowing strokes done mostly using the forearms and often with a dance-like motion. See Hawaiian Lomilomi: Big Island Massage by Nancy S Kahalewai, LMT.

Temple Style Lomi or Kahuna Bodywork: Abraham Kawai'i 

The distinguishing characteristics of kahuna bodywork are:

  • Creative, dynamic, rhythmic flowing forearm strokes
  • Sacred geometric patterns used in a massage/dance that unlocks and unblocks energy
  • Following the script of the recipient's body-mind from moment to moment and not using a set routine
  • Deep joint rotations
  • Ka'aleleau (the flight) shamanic trance/dance for cosmic alignment, expansion, opening portals, and clearing a pathway for transformational healing in both receiver and giver.

See Abraham Kawai'i: A Brief History of the Man, the Kahuna, and Kahuna Bodywork.

Heartworks, traditional Old Style: Sherman Dudoit

Heartworks is partly based on Hawaiian structural alignment techniques and also focuses on breathing divine light and love in from above through the top of the head.

Kahi Loa, the Touch of Magic: Serge Kahili King

Kahi Loa is an energy healing technique where the practitioner uses gentle hand movements, moving from head to feet to remove stagnant energy from the body, guiding the receiver on a meditative, interactive healing journey. The receiver remains clothed, and no oil is used. See King's books.

Traditional Hawaiian Touch Medicine: Harry Uhane Jim

  • Creating space between the bones and joints of the body
  • Bone washing: cleaning and clearing the skin on the bones, removing density or crystallized energy
  • Po'o: bone washing techniques and clearing the bones of the head and face
  • Ha breath medicine uses breathing to clear stuck emotion
  • Laulima: laying on of hands, often done in a group

See Jim's Wise Secrets of Aloha: Learn and Live the Sacred Art of Lomilomi.


Mana LomiĀ® has a clinical focus, using specific therapeutic techniques for injuries, while maintaining a spiritual grounding.

Sacred LomiĀ® combines flowing forearm massage strokes, presence, breathing, aloha, and sacred space for personal transformation.

Lomi Lomi Massage Video

More Information

Hawaiian Shamanistic Healing: Medicine Ways to Cultivate the Aloha Spirit by Wayne Kealohi Powell and Patricia Lynn Miller.

Lomilomi Massage: The Art of Hawaiian Sacred Healing at Massage Magazine.

Lomi Lomi: Traditional vs. Contemporary at Massage Magazine at Massage Magazine.

Na Mo'olelo Lomilomi: The Traditions of Hawaiian Massage and Healing and Hawaiian Massage Lomilomi: Sacred Touch of Aloha by Makana Risser Cha.

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Photo Credit: Ryan Hoyme