My first experience of Lomi Lomi was in California many years ago while I was studying for my first Yoga Teacher Training qualification. Being very much in the “California vibe”, I decided to go and have a massage with a therapist who had been recommended to me by one of my teachers and I wanted to try something different.

In the USA, it is common to be covered with a cotton sheet instead of a towel for massage, this was the first thing I noticed which was different to my massage experiences in the UK. The therapist explained that he would give me a full body massage and that ideally, I would be naked, if I were comfortable, under the sheet to allow him to work freely up and down the length of my body.

Once I was settled on the table, the sheet was carefully folded for as little coverage as possible whilst still protecting my modesty before warm oil was applied all over the back of my body from my neck right down to my feet.

My first thought once he started massaging me was how different it felt. I was aware that he was working mostly with his forearms which applied a good level of pressure over a broad area. By using long sweeping movements, he worked up and down my back hips and legs repeatedly. At points he worked slowly while at others, it was deeper and more vigorous.

There was not a specific routine, it was more a case of him working with what he could feel needed attention. I found this to be a really refreshing approach to massage as it meant that in some areas such as my hamstrings, he spent longer working on tight muscles and knots. At times the pressure was gentle and relaxing and at others deep and firm but the massage flowed so beautifully that I felt deeply relaxed and very comfortable.

The sheet was unfolded to recover my full body for me to turn on to my back and again, it was folded carefully and sensitively to maintain my comfort while he worked on the front of my body in a similar fashion.

Upon my return to the UK, I knew that I wanted to learn more about the techniques of Hawaiian massage so that I could incorporate it in to my massage practice and so I went on to train.

I have been working with Lomi for a while now and I have always found how much my clients love this style of body work. It is very different to regular Swedish or Deep Tissue Massage as it does not follow any set sequence and I am moving and using my body in a much different way. The long sweeping movements of the full body are performed with my forearms, elbows, knuckles and hands encourage the muscles to lengthen and relax whilst the warm coconut oil that I use for the massage sinks in to the skin and leaves it feeling soft and deeply nourished.

When my regular clients ask me to describe Lomi Lomi, I often say that it is very similar to Chavutti Thirumal in that it is deeply relaxing, meditative and sensual. The main advantage of Lomi is that it can be received just like a regular massage, working on a table and it can be just an hour or for best results, 90-minute in length. Just like any massage, I always start by chatting with my client to see if they have any aches and pains that day so that I can put more focus on those particular areas whilst allowing my arms and hands to explore the body looking for tension and tightness which may be hidden. Lomi is usually less tender to receive than normal Deep Tissue massage when working into areas of tight or knotted muscle which many of my clients prefer as a combination of deep massage with relaxation. It has quickly become one of my most popular treatments.

By Steve Mason. Steve provides a range of treatments at Natural Balance Therapies including Lomi Lomi, Tuesday through to Saturday. You can check availability here.