Lomilomi was developed as a healing art within the kingdom of Hawai’i. This art included prayer, chanting, the principle of aloha, and a style of massage unique to the islands. Each family developed their own style, and the techniques were passed down within a lineage of shamanic healers called “kahunas”. Many of these styles are no longer known, but two styles have been preserved with the teaching of lomilomi in the mainland United States. These are Temple Style or Kahuna Massage, taught by Kahuna Abraham Kawaii; and Auntie Margaret’s Style or Big Island Massage, taught by Kahuna Auntie Margaret Machado.
Sacred Lomi, formulated by Tom Cochran and Donna Jason, was created using the teachings of Temple Style lomilomi. It largely uses the forearms and elbows as “massage tools”, and incorporates the Hawaiian principle of ho’oponopono, an energy work rooted in love and prayer. The massage style makes use of the power of mana (breath) and allows the practitioner to more effectively address the whole person and take care of themselves as well.
Lomilomi utilizes a less conservative style of draping, which can be adjusted to the client’s comfort level, but is not derived from the westernized concept of modesty. The human body is seen as sacred and avoiding large areas of the body like the chest, abdominal and gluteal tissue, is to avoid potential trouble spots or areas that are hanging onto tension.
Temple Style lomilomi is designed to facilitate emotional healing in the body through movements that help to quiet the thinking mind. These flowing figure eight movements will allow the recipient to “ride the wave” of the rhythmic techniques, and thus to let go. This letting go, when preserved in daily routine, means better usage and therefore preservation of energy.