What is lomilomi?
Lomilomi is Hawaiian for “massage”. The Polynesian bodywork has its variations, but is essentially a mix of prayers, breathing techniques and long, rhythmic massage strokes administered in an almost dance-like movement by the therapist. The masseur is said to use the palms, knuckles, fingers, forearms, elbows, knees and feet to release tension and the free flow of energy in the body. The open-hand movements of the lomilomi therapist are said to be symbolic of the masseuse’s open heart.
Sounds like a spiritual experience.
It was definitely soporific. The only audible sound during the hour-long massage was piped-in instrumental music but I’m sure my therapist Irene must have said her prayers. By the time she’d worked from my feet to my shoulders and asked me to flip over, all I wanted to do was to curl up under the thick towel and pass out.
What was it like?
After a glass of kokum sherbet, Irene wiped my soles with a warm cloth. She used generous dollops of leafy-smelling relaxing aroma oil blended by spa director Tahera Ashraf for the massage. In a brisk, effective manner, Irene’s fingers circled up my calves, her elbows slid across my thighs, back and arms, and her palms gently kneaded my soles and stomach. The pressing motions along the length of my bones were slightly painful at times, but the fluid, rhythmic strokes had a calming effect. The massage ended with a brief pressing of points on my head and neck. After a steam and shower, I sipped on green tea.
Did it work?
Lomilomi massage is said to help the body release toxins, improve blood circulation and digestion, among other benefits. The film Pineapple Express dubbed couscous so delicious that it had to be named twice; we feel the same is true of this Hawaiian therapy. I was so blissed out that I didn’t mind the kid who screamed through the 45-minute train ride home. We recommend you keep your post-massage schedule clear because all you need after lomilomi is a long, long nap.
By Saumya Ancheri on June 23 2011 6.30pm