What is a Lomi Lomi Massage: Ultimate Guide to a Relaxing Hawaiian Massage

by | Feb 10, 2023

Lomi lomi massage is a holistic approach to self-care that treats not only the physical body but also the mind and spirit. By taking the time to indulge in a lomi lomi massage, you are investing in yourself and your overall well-being.

The long, flowing strokes, deep tissue manipulations, and gentle joint rotations will leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and refreshed.

Making time for self-care through a lomi lomi massage is a way to release negative energy and increase circulation, leading to improved overall health and happiness.

What is Lomi Lomi Massage?

A Lomi lomi massage (or lomilomi) is a traditional Hawaiian massage technique that uses rhythmic flowing strokes to relax the physical body and restore balance. The word ‘Lomi’ means ‘to rub,’ which describes the massage perfectly.

The therapist will use their forearm and/or hands in a continuous, circular motion to provide a relaxing and healing massage. This type of massage works on the blockages in your body, making relaxation easier. Some Hawaiians believe that lomilomi massage can also have positive effects on spiritual healing too.

The information and material on this blog, website or any linked resources should not be used as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

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Hawaiian ​History of Lomi Lomi Massage


The lomi lomi massage technique is believed to have originated from the Polynesian settlers of Hawaii. Traditionally, healers called kahunas performed lomilomi massage using different approaches and techniques.

This massage technique was originally used by native Hawaiians as a healing practice and was passed down through generations of healers. It is said that this massage technique has been used for centuries in Hawaii to treat ailments such as muscle tension, headaches, stress and fatigue.

Today, it is still widely practiced in Hawaii and many other parts of the world. Its popularity has grown due to its ability to provide deep healing benefits with aloha.

Kupuna of Hawaiian Lomilomi: Aunty Margaret Machado

Aunty Margaret Machado is a revered Kupuna (elder) in the Hawaiian healing tradition of Lomilomi massage. Her grandfather, John Au from the Island of Hawaii, recognized Aunty Margaret’s special gift and passed down his knowledge to her by bestowing the powerful name Kalehuamakanoelu’ulu’uonapali Aha’ula Keali’i.

Aunty Margaret dedicated her life to perpetuating Hawaiian lomilomi massage, an ancient healing art incorporating the knowledge of the ancestors, spirit and energy work with hands-on massage techniques. She taught people from all over the world in her beach house, providing a safe and healing environment for her students.


What Happens During a Lomi Lomi Massage?

The traditional Hawaiian practice involves slow and gentle strokes with the therapist’s fingers, thumbs, palms, arms and elbows. This type of massage is designed to relax and soothe tense muscles while providing spiritual healing. The massage usually starts with the therapist using long, broad strokes to relax the entire body from head to toe, then moves into more specific areas depending on the individual needs.

To enhance relaxation and ensure a smooth experience, certain types of oil, such as macadamia, palm and coconut oils, which are chosen for their moisturizing properties as well as their ability to nourish the skin. The oils used can also be enhanced with the addition of fragrant essential oils like lavender, sandalwood or jasmine, all chosen for their calming effect. 

The goal is to create a deep state of relaxation while also relieving tension in tight muscles. Therapists may use pressure points throughout the session to help release stress held in specific parts of the body and long gliding motions that aim to connect physical ailments with emotional ones through a healing touch. This connection between mind and body is an integral part of traditional Hawaiian beliefs that come alive through this experience. 

Although a single session can provide relief from aches and pains, many people benefit from multiple sessions over time since lomi lomi massages tend to bring about feelings of great peace and wellbeing. As a holistic therapy, it helps promote overall balance in both mental and physical health by bringing about greater awareness within the body for improved wellbeing.


What to Know Before You Go?

When receiving a lomilomi massage, it is important to dress comfortably and appropriately. Depending on the massage therapist, you may be asked to undress completely or just partially. If you are asked to undress, you will be provided with a drape to cover yourself with during the massage.

It is best to wear loose-fitting clothing that can easily be removed for the massage. Avoid wearing items such as jewelry or watches as they can interfere with the massage strokes. The therapist should always respect your privacy and provide you with enough drape coverage throughout the massage session.

Remember that you should always feel comfortable and respected when receiving a lomi lomi massage from a qualified practitioner. Also, you’ll want to avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking alcohol in the hours leading up to your massage.


After Your Massage

After your Lomi Lomi massage, you will feel incredibly relaxed and refreshed from head to toe. Take some time to enjoy the peaceful feeling, and go for a swim or take a relaxing shower before getting back to reality. If you’re in Hawaii, you can even sit by the ocean and let the waves lull you into a deeper sense of calm and relaxation.

A Lomi Lomi massage is an incredible experience that can bring about deep relaxation and improved wellbeing. It’s a great way to connect with the ancient Hawaiian healing traditions while also giving your body some much-needed rest and relaxation.

Before you go, it’s important to be prepared by dressing comfortably and allowing yourself plenty of time before or after the session for self-care activities such as taking a swim in the ocean or showering off any oils used during the massage. Afterward, take some time to enjoy how relaxed you feel and bask in all of its benefits!

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy, owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel, is a certified Hawaii destination expert from the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. He actively participates in the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as a member and has a strong educational background focused on local culture and sustainability. As the host of “Hawaii’s Best Travel,” a top-30 US travel podcast, Bryan combines his years of experience with valuable insights. He connects with a broad online community, reaching nearly half a million people, and offers a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.