Lomilomi Massage with Gary Dillon

Lomilomi ke ala hoku

Lomilomi means “the great massage” in the Hawaiian language. The full name in this lineage translates as the “great massage journey” to the stars. Of course, “the stars” are here a code-word for “the Source.” Thus Lomilomi is a navigation through the body to reconnect with what is “the Source” of life and harmony for each individual.

It is a traditional and spiritual form of full-body massage originating in the rite of passage of the Hawaiians of the “old school.” Rites of passage which included massage were considered necessary in order to gain the deep alignment of body, mind, and spirit that would carry one to the next level of experience and awareness, in order to meet the challenges of new responsibilities in the community. This lineage was updated for modern presentation outside of this ancient context by Kahu Abraham Kawaii and has passed down to me and others in my Lomilomi family.

This massage flows from the heart out through the forearms and hands of the practitioner to navigate channels and connections in the body of the receiver. Both the practitioner and the receiver use the “Ha,” the breath of life, and the practitioner also uses pule—chanted prayers to inspire and inform the tissues. The use of vocal sound healing vibrates the tissues from the inside out. This bodywork is applied with continuous, long sweeping strokes that move across the body with both gentle and deeper pressures. It brings about an amplification and a transmission of an energy field so that the receiver can step into and be empowered by their own inner healing resource.

People find themselves drawn to visit the Hawaiian group of islands for many different reasons. To most it is an image of tropical paradise, a place whose reputation for beauty, romance, and sun-drenched beaches make it a magnet for longings of many kinds. Perhaps for the majority of visitors it remains an exotic destination, something to be tasted, enjoyed as a retreat from everyday life or a reward for hard work. Yet some of those who come to Hawaii find themselves stirred by something else, an unexpected and inexplicable effect of the place—it’s smells, it’s sights, it’s sounds—that does not readily recede to the periphery.

Even of those who feel it there are few who find in this unknown factor, mysterious and compelling, the inspiration to look more carefully into the hearts of the Hawaiian people themselves, whose ancestors deeply investigated this land as though it were a medicine—a medicine for the soul, a medicine that somehow increases and augments the capacity of a receptive mind to read the universe and find the true Self. This interaction of nature, land, and mind was called malama aina—caring for the land. It is an effect that some visitors of no matter what genetic heritage can and do also sense, perceive, and ultimately take in as a medicine to open their own hearts to the profoundest messages of our time and our situation. It offers a first lesson, too—that the most potent medicine is often to be found in caring for someone or something else with your whole heart. Bring out the best in it, and it will bring out the best in you.

I am fortunate enough to be one of those visitors who, as a result of encounters with those who were carrying the knowledge, and a long preparation to love the world deeply through skill as well as passion, have plumbed the depth and power of this malama aina, malama pono for myself.