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The History of Lomi Lomi and Thai Massage

31 Jul 2013

In massage clinics and centers across the continental U.S. two techniques from Far East have become entrenched. One comes from Polynesia, the other by way of Thailand.  We’re talking about Lomi Lomi (“loving hands”) and Thai massage, also referred to as Thai yoga massage.

It’s fitting in the case of Lomi Lomi massage that there are two word bonded in syllabic and phonetic harmony.   Harmony what this Polynesian form of massage, popularized further in Hawaii, is all about. The Polynesian and Hawaiian Huna tribes believe that all creatures on earth should live in a state where harmony and love are in perfect balance. The massage techniques of Lomi Lomi are all about nurturing and maintaining that perceived, ideal state.

Thai massage is similar, in a sense, although it has more of a medical practitioner lineage. Ancient purveyors of the technique in Asia and Thailand believe that energy courses through invisible (to the naked eye) channels in the body. There is also a lot of Buddhist philosophy commingled with Thai massage. So once again, harmony is a key value here as well.

Most Asian forms of anything – including bodywork – are about cultivating balance. Thus, Thai massage is not too far removed from the art of Tai Chi. If you’ve ever seen someone doing the latter in a park or open space, you will have noticed it’s all about careful, incremental movements. Thai massage is largely the same. Centuries and millenniums of accrued knowledge are coursing through the practitioner’s fingers.

There is one big difference here though. While Thai massage can be performed on a clothed person, Lomi Lomi is intended to be applied to a person’s bare skin. The former is a lot like yoga, increasing client flexibility. The latter is maybe a little more akin in this sense to a low-impact workout, being known among other things for primarily benefiting blood circulation.

Whether you say “Aloha!” to Lomi Lomi or “Namaste” after a Thai massage, both are infused with the wisdom of civilizations steeped in the benefits of an organic, ancient culture.

CenterPoint is currently offering a continuing education workshop on Lomi Lomi August 2-4, 2o13.  Thai Massage is offered as an elective for students in one of our three bodywork diploma programs.  Click here for more details

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