Typically, massage therapists begin a lomi lomi session by placing their hands gently on you and remaining still for a few moments. They may ask you to breathe deeply to help you relax. A traditional practitioner may incorporate other rituals, such as chants and music.
Often, more of your body is uncovered during this massage than during a typical Swedish or deep tissue massage. That’s because therapists rarely massage one body part at a time. Instead, they move in long flowing motions that, for example, may start at the top of your shoulder and go all the way to your foot. Some therapists use massage sheets in the usual way, just uncovering larger areas of your body at once. The more traditional practice is that the therapist uses no sheets, covering your genital area and breasts with small towels.
Lomi lomi is best known for long, flowing, dance-like strokes, often using the forearms and generous amounts of oil. But, because there are so many styles, the specifics of a massage can vary. Gentle stretches and joint rotations are common in this massage, as is the massage therapist massaging two parts of your body at same time, for example, using one hand or forearm on your shoulder while simultaneously massaging a hip with the other hand or forearm.
Both massaging two areas at the same time and the long flowing strokes are believed to promote harmony and balance in your body. Traditional lomi lomi always includes abdominal massage because Hawaiian tradition considers the colon part of a person’s soul or heart.