Have you ever had a little Lomilomi?

According to “Auntie” Margaret, the Hawaiian word lomilomi (pronounced low me low me) means going to and from. A holistic healing tradition beyond simple massage, lomilomi is a popular modality practiced throughout the world, especially in Hawaii, Japan and Europe. Auntie Margaret (August 21, 1916 ~ December 28, 2009) taught lomilomi with a loving touch. She was the only authentic, Hawaiian kupuna (an honored elder) licensed by the state of Hawaii to train therapists under state requirements.

I recently got my first lomilomi massage from Puamana (pronounced poo ah mah na). Born and raised on Kauai as Jerilyn Guyang, she got her Hawaiian name Puamana (meaning heavenly sent flower) from Auntie Margaret during her training.

As Puamana massaged me, she explained that lomilomi is a regional art focusing on healing the spirit first and the body second. Every island and every town have different ways of doing lomilomi using palms, forearms, fingers, knuckles, elbows, knees, feet, even sticks and stones. Auntie Margaret used the palms of her hands, believing them to be a concentrated vortex of energy. Puamana’s gift is her thumbs, she can use them without injuring herself.

Lomilomi is a thoughtful practice infused with pine intention.

“When a treatment is to be given, the one who gives the treatment first plucks the herbs to be used. He prays as he picks the herbs. No one should call him back or distract his attention, all should be as still as possible for they do not want the vibration broken. They knew the laws of vibration. They knew the power of the spoken word. They knew Nature. They gathered the vibration of the plentiful.”

Emma Akana Olmstead, a kupuna of Hana, Maui.

Massage is a healing conduit my body readily responds to, so I’ve had close to 200 in my life. This full body 90 minute massage, front and back, was magical. Instantly, I became calm and relaxed as Puamana’s deft thumbs and hands worked down every muscle and along my bones. The best way I can describe this delightful ripple like massage is to say it felt like hundreds of tiny loving fish nibbling away tension, easing my tight muscles.

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