Hawaiian Massage Therapy
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Hawaiian massage, or lomi lomi, is a traditional massage technique that has been passed from generation to generation. It has been used for such conditions as asthma, inflammation, childbirth, rheumatism, musculoskeletal disorders and bronchitis. It has also been used traditionally to mold physical features for beautification purposes.
Lomi lomi is comprised of both physical and spiritual pieces. In the physical component the fingers, palms, knuckles, feet, forearms and elbows are used to press and squeeze parts of the patient, often using nut oil for lubrication. On occasion lomi hot rocks are incorporated in the massage. The movement can be either deep or superficial and is usually in a 1, 2, 3 rhythm. During the treatment the patient is in the lying position on a mat or massage table. Throughout the treatment there is a focus of the practitioner to pass energy into the client. The spiritual ritual is not often included in treatment from westernized practitioners.
Originating in the South Pacific, European explorers experienced the healing benefits of Lomi lomi when they landed in the Polynesian Islands. One family member (usually the grandmother) was typically the keeper of this healing art. In the 1970s and 1980s a woman by the name of Auntie Margaret Machade popularized the modern form of Lomi lomi practiced today. Having learned Lomi lomi from her grandfather, she felt is was important to spread the knowledge of this highly effective healing technique. Despite criticism from many Hawaiians she began teaching both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians Lomi lomi.
The Board of Massage first began regulating Lomi lomi in 1947, requiring that practitioners pass written exams in anatomy, physiology and massage theory. At the time that these regulations were enacted many distinguished native practitioners were incapable or averse to fulfilling these requirements; forcing practitioners to practice in secret. In 2001, legislation amended these regulations allowing the Hawaiian medical board, Papa Ola Lokahi or other various community health centers to certify native practitioners.
Currently the Hawaiian Lomi lomi Association
offers three levels of certification in Lomi lomi. These levels are: Certified Lomi lomi Therapist, Licensed Lomi lomi Therapist, and Lomi lomi Clinical Practitioner. Respectively each level requires more instruction hours and supervised massage from one of the four approved instructors. The most rigorous certification requires an apprenticeship of 10 years with an approved Advanced Master Lomi lomi Practitioner with a minimum of 20 years experience.
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