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Lomi Lomi - Ka Huna Massage

by Stephen Langley(more info)

listed in massage, originally published in issue 57 - October 2000

This healing system is derived from the ancient Polynesian methods of restoring balance to the body, mind and soul (Huna). Through this treatment of the physical body, powerful healing is able to take place more quickly and completely on the physical, psychological and spiritual levels.

The body work has a beautiful way of: bringing the joy of life to your body; bringing a feeling of peace to your mind; and bringing a sense of wonder to your soul. It also releases memories and allows change physically, mentally and spiritually, bringing them into balance and harmony.

Heated healing stones are placed along the spine before the massage. The warmth of the stones penetrates the major nervous system junctions and creates a deep, relaxing effect
Heated healing stones are placed along the spine before the massage.
The warmth of the stones penetrates the major nervous system junctions
and creates a deep, relaxing effect


Before the massage begins, stone therapy is used to relax the client completely. This therapy (often used on its own) has a long history in Hawaiian healing. Special stones (those that retain heat) are warmed and gently placed at specific points along the spine for five minutes or so. This gentle warmth permeates the whole body and is deeply relaxing, dissolving stress through its application on the major junctions of the nervous system.

The Technique

Lomi Lomi is a deep and rhythmical massage. The rhythm is very relaxing; like rocking a baby in a cradle. It works gently but deeply into the muscles using continuous flowing strokes totally nurturing the body. The practitioner uses the forearm, fingers, heel and palm of the hand in flowing movements over the body that bring fresh oxygen to every cell.

It differs from other forms of massage in many ways. It is an experience that overwhelms the mind with sensations and at the same time communicates an acceptance and a nurturing of the inner self. Most massage techniques work on only one level, usually the physical such as in remedial massage. Massage is often used in stress management but not necessarily addressing or transcending the cause of the stress. Lomi Lomi changes the way you think, feel, move and breathe.

On a physical level

The lymphatics, immune, circulatory, respiratory, muscular and digestive systems are treated to promote health.

On a mental and emotional level

The nervous system and the senses of awareness are tuned. The use of Frankincense essential oil may be used. This has an uplifting quality on the emotional level. It offers a bridge between mind and body and can be effective for depression and similar mental states.

The body work may also release past life memory, stress and trauma locked away in the subconscious mind.

On a spiritual level

Harmony is achieved between the body, mind and soul through energy activated in the body. The body's subtle energy channels – the chakras, nadis and meridians – are used to effect the harmony.

The Principles of Huna

Whilst the technique is an important part of the massage and associated healing, the work is done with unconditional love. The focus of the practitioner is deep and complete. Feeling love and compassion for the client, rather than treating her/him as an object to be 'fixed', allows for harmony to be created within the body. This incorporates two of the main principles of Huna – everything seeks harmony and everything seeks love.

These master healers of Hawaii knew there were special ways to release and unblock the powers of the body so that physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing could take place effectively. The Hawaiians see life in terms of energy flow. Following this premise, an idea or belief can block energy flow. Using body and energy work helps release the blockages, while at the same time gives energy new direction and sets new patterns. This results in mental clarity and physical release, thereby allowing powerful healing in yourself and your life. This creates a new level of harmony and facilitates healing on many levels, levels one may not be aware of at the time.

Flowing with total energy, combined with a very loving touch, relaxes the entire being. Using one of the principles of Huna-Makia, which states that energy flows where attention goes; the focus is totally on the client. This initiates a 'letting go of old belief patterns and behaviours that are not appropriate and cause limitations'.

The Way of the Kahunas

The secret of the Lomi Lomi massage technique lies with the practitioner. It is embodied in the way of the Kahunas. It is not something one can just learn and do, as in the Swedish massage technique – the strokes, the pattern etc; or in remedial massage, by working on specific muscle groups. It is a culmination of life processes in understanding – an understanding through their own work, experiences and through meditation. Most practitioners evolve from working with other therapeutic practices to learn Lomi Lomi. From this basis the Kahuna teachings afford greater insights into the nature of life and are therefore able to relate more effectively to the client. This is the gift of healing.

The path of the healer is one who dedicates life to the helping of others to attain health and well-being. The healer too is on a journey of greater self-awareness and discovery and is often filled with a desire that can lead to travels around the world in search for the tool and the secrets of healh and the philosophy that is part of this. This path may lead to many people and places throughout the world – be it India, Tibet, China, the Middle East – some exotic, some seemingly more down-to-earth. The island of Kauai in the Hawaiian group is one such place, a powerful energy node on the Earth's meridians.

It is on the island of Kauai that this traditional wisdom flourished with the elders and keepers of the Huna (Kahunas), wise spiritual teachers, who were the holders of the esoteric knowledge of ancient Hawaii. The quality of the teaching of the Kahuna is such that they are recognized for their holistic understanding of life in that the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical aspects are not separate but one. The Kahunas teach that healing is the integration of the four aspects. This is the underlying concept of many of the holistic healing modalities now making a greater presence in the West.

Serendipity is the word used to describe why one comes to learn the art of Lomi Lomi massage. Most practitioners are qualified in other fields of therapy, which include other soft tissue or structural work. The place to learn it is in Hawaii and all who come to learn are drawn to the amazing energy of the islands – unique and mystical. It is an experience that words cannot express. The teachings of the technique of the Kahunas are part of a very intensive course, which can only be built upon from the integrity of past experience. The practitioner has arrived in the practice of a superior healing modality.

The Kahunas were wise men – they have worked on themselves. The intent or consciousness of the practitioner of Lomi Lomi is the key element in the practice of this healing technique. One does not learn this from school, but is part of the life process through experience. Life's resistance, the challenges and obstacles, makes us look inwards, and the Lomi Lomi practitioner has achieved a semblance of mastery. This enables greater and more sensitive use of the consciousness aspect of the massage and strong centred energy flowing hot from the hands.

Releasing and Resolving Problems

In daily life our problems are stored in the body's memory bank, deep in the physical structure. This tenses the body. The release has to be dealt with, and herein lies the secret of the practitioner: how to help the client resolve that which is released – be it termed as toxins in the cellular structure or the stored emotional aspect. Elevating the person to a better understanding of themselves and of their experiences is the determining factor in Lomi Lomi. The person is free to talk openly and discuss in a confidential environment.

Sometimes the person will talk at the start of a session; others may talk of how their life has changed over the course of several sessions. There is then a counselling aspect to Lomi Lomi. This is not sought by the practitioner, but may be a welcomed opportunity by the client. The practitioner has, through life experiences, the ability to pinpoint the real point of stress or issue, at that particular moment.

One cannot say the various techniques evolved by the Kahunas are better than others. The Way is different for everyone and people will be drawn to whatever suits them for the resolution of the conditions at that moment in time.

Photos by Cornelia Biegler

The printed article has 12 photographs, only one of these being reproduced here

The Seven Principles of Huna

The world is what you
think it is
Be aware

There are no limits
Be free

Energy flows where
attention goes
Be focused

Now is the moment of power
Be here

To love is to be happy with
Be happy

All power comes from within
Be confident

Effectiveness is the
measure of truth
Be positive


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About Stephen Langley

Stephen Langley ND DBM DipHom DipAc OMD MBAcC MRN is a registered Naturopath, Homeopath, Medical Herbalist, Acupuncturist, Reiki Master and Lomi Lomi practitioner. He lectures in Naturopathic Medicine at The College of Naturopathic & Complementary Medicine (CNM), London and practises at The Hale Clinic, London W1. Tel: 020-7631 0156. The CNM has colleges in London, Manchester, Belfast and Dublin. For information on available courses, please contact CNM head office – Tel: 01342 410 505.

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