Even if you’ve never been to Hawaii, you’ve probably heard the word “Aloha,” meaning both hello and goodbye. Yet within these three syllables are many other meanings: honor, respect, unconditional love, and sacredness in all things. The Hawaiian form of massage therapy, Lomi Lomi, perfectly reflects this Aloha approach to life. And as with the term “Aloha,” while Lomi Lomi may seem simple—long, relaxing strokes to release tension and rejuvenate the client—with more experience, the deep beauty of this massage modality becomes apparent.

Continuing our tradition of examining different types of massage, today we’re introducing the Lomi Lomi massage modality. Students at our massage school in Portland, Oregon can learn this form of massage in continuing education classes.

What is Lomi Lomi Massage?
Lomi Lomi can be translated in several ways, as “to create space,” “to break into tiny pieces,” or most simply, “rub, rub.” It began as a community-based healing practice, in which kin would use smooth, long massage strokes to improve health and digestion during luaus.

Lomi Lomi is a holistic massage modality, in that it seeks to work on multiple systems in the body, including muscles, bones, and connective tissues. Rather than focusing exclusively on one section of the body, Lomi Lomi aims to connect upper and lower extremities. Practitioners aim to increase mana, or “vital life force” in the bodies of both the therapist and the client. The characteristic long, flowing strokes of Lomi Lomi are often done with the forearm as well as with open, soft palms.

This wave-like approach delights the nervous system, by soothing the client throughout. While the therapist works on a hand or foot, his or her forearm can be “distracting” the client from any discomfort. The symmetry of this massage modality is soothing to the senses, allowing muscles to relax.

Here are a few more characteristics of Lomi Lomi massage:

–Generous application of lubricants to facilitate smooth movements.
–A warm massage room, to encourage the connective tissues to stay open.
–Rhythmic, long strokes, often applied in sets of three, with increasing depth.
–Range of motion work as well as deep-tissue release.

Lomi Lomi Massage Benefits

The client is benefited by…
…Improved circulation,
brought on by the long, smooth strokes. Increase circulation also leads to improvement in the lymphatic system, improving immunity. More circulation also means improved detoxification in the body.

…Clarity and Increased Well-Being are commonly reported sensations among Lomi Lomi clients. These heavenly takeaways may last for up to three days!

Myofascial Release, as connective tissues relax under the Lomi Lomi therapists’ touch.

The therapist benefits from Lomi Lomi’s dance-like approach. The therapist is encouraged to maximize flow and perfect pacing by seeing their work as a dance. As such, many Lomi Lomi practitioners report feeling energized after their deliver a massage session.

Another therapist benefit is the decreased likelihood of injury, as the extensive use of the forearm in Lomi Lomi allows for greater pressure to be applied without strain.

Finally, many therapists report increased client loyalty, as clients find the Hawaiian approach compliments and reinvigorates more traditional massage styles, such as Swedish massage or deep-tissue work.

Contraindications for Lomi Lomi Massage
This is a very safe style of massage which is generally beneficial for all. However, clients should know that Lomi Lomi is far more than a technique—it is a lifestyle which devoted practitioners embrace from the moment they wake up until they lose consciousness to sleep each night. Lomi Lomi sessions may include chanting and prayer. If a client is not ready for such a spiritual experience, a more traditional Lomi Lomi session may not be a good option.

Creating a Massage Space for Lomi Lomi Massage
Ensure that your massage room is warm, with plenty of lubricants nearby. A clean, organized beautiful space will set the stage for healing. Most importantly, prepare yourself. Lomi Lomi teaches that the massage therapist must release any negativity prior to a massage session.

Are interested in learning Lomi Lomi massage techniques? We have you covered. If you are new to the field, we encourage you to contact our admissions team for information on getting started in earning your massage license. East West College also offers courses in Lomi Lomi for massage continuing education credit. Our massage school in Portland is centrally located downtown, in the Education District. It is served by multiple modes of public transportation. To discover when our next Lomi Lomi course will be held, please visit our website at EastWestCollege.edu, and click on Continuing Education.