Hawaiian lomi lomi massage is one part of traditional Native Hawaiian medicine. The traditional practice of lomilomi is about connecting with spirit. The practice 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).
A number of different lomi lomi techniques have been passed down through the generations in Hawaiian families. Today, many non-native-Hawaiian massage therapists who offer this technique are doing work based on the teachings of Auntie Margaret Machado or Abraham Kawai'i. They were among the first Hawaiians to start teaching non-Hawaiians in the 1970s.
First, and foremost, this massage is a spiritual and energetic practice designed to align the body, mind, and spirit. The kahuna (experts in) lomilomi 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, a native Hawaiian who trained with Auntie Margaret, 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 massage giver says a prayer (pule) before beginning a session with the intention of aligning with divine energy and keeping pure thoughts during the session. The goal is to maintain a positive healing energy for the receiver (client).
In general, this massage is know for its long, flowing strokes mostly done using the forearms and often with a dance-like motion. The physical technique of lomi lomi has the same benefits as other types of massage, including breaking up calcium deposits in muscles, improving circulation and lymphatic flow, and releasing muscle spasms and tension. The unique aspect of this massage technique is the emphasis on spiritual connection.
Mana Lomi® has a clinical focus, using specific therapeutic techniques for injuries, while maintaining a spiritual grounding.
Sacred Lomi® combines flowing forearm massage strokes, presence, breathing, aloha, and sacred space for personal transformation. This style, based on the work of Abraham Kawai'i, is also called Kahuna Bodywork or Hawaiian Temple Bodywork.