In many cases a particular technique like lomilomi massage is passed on through family lines with parents teaching it to their children who become practitioners and eventually pass on their knowledge to their own children.
In India the holy Vedic texts have given rise to a healing system known as Aurveda. Within this healing system one of the main components is massage. This form of massage has thus come to be known as Ayurvedic massage. It is based around the idea of manipulating the seven humors that affect the human body. In Japan Shiatsu massage has evolved from traditional Chinese medicine techniques such as acupuncture. It primarily focuses on applying pressure through hands and fingers and often includes some stretching of the limbs. It primarily helps with relaxation but is also thought to improve digestion and fatigue. Some methods such as Balinese massage have a wide number of influences from traditional Chinese, Indian and Indonesian health systems. It incorporates percussion techniques along with acupressure and skin rolling.
One of the techniques that has probably had the furthest to travel is Lomi lomi massage. It is the traditional form practiced on the islands of Hawaii. The early Polynesian settlers already had their own forms of massage and from those lomi lomi developed. Practitioners of lomilomi employ every part of the body to perform the massage. Fingers, palms, knuckles, elbows, knees, feet and forearms are all used. Stones and sticks are also used meaning there are a very wide variety of techniques employed. Because the practice is passed down through families the specific methods used by a single practitioner can vary depending on which family they are from. Beyond the variations in family practices there are also regional differences and variations between islands.
The intensity of lomilomi has made it a popular form of massage around the world and in particular Japan and Europe. It can be found on the list of treatments at many health spas and holistic centres. Practitioner’s knowledge often extends to dietary and other health subjects. After a session, therapists may suggest a particular diet the client may want to follow in order to relieve an ailment or specific forms of exercise that work with the massage to improve the overall health of the client. Difficulties with digestion is one of the traditional ailments that lomi lomi is used to treat. Historically it was carried out as a luxury for chiefs and other tribe members of high rank after a large meal to help move the rich meats move along.