What to expect in your first Lomi Lomi massage

Avatar for Declan Davey By in Coconut oil, Lomi Lomi massage, massage, natural therapy, wellness on 03/08/2020
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Are you considering booking a Lomi Lomi massage for the first time? Then you’re probably curious about what it’s like, right?

We figured! So, let’s dive straight in to talk about the origins of this soothing massage and what you can expect.

Key Highlights

  • Native healers, ruling chiefs, and even martial arts experts used ancient Lomi Lomi
  • Like cats? Seeing as Lomi means “to work in and out as the paws of a contented cat,” this massage might be just right for you!
  • Lomi Lomi massage is now a well-loved part of Hawaiian culture and tourism

Tell me… what is a Lomi Lomi massage, exactly?

Let’s start with the definition of the word ‘Lomi.’ Essentially, it means to shift/move/rub/soothe. The movements have been likened to when a cat happily kneads its paws, purring away!

You can think of this type of massage as a healing practice that releases blockages, promotes circulation, and shifts energy. It may also be called a ‘loving hands massage’ or simply a ‘Lomi massage.’

According to legend, the Lomi Lomi massage originated in Polynesia and came to Hawaii when the Polynesians settled there. As prescribed by the Polynesian elders, who were the community leaders, these massages were only performed by trained healers and were part of a spiritual event.

This form of massage could go on for hours (or even days!) and was meant to induce a deeper connection with the divine. In its current form, Lomi Lomi massages in Australia are typically available in spas and are freely available for anyone to book.

Did you know? Modern Lomi Lomi experts often play soothing music during the massage, such as the sound of the ocean surf.

Lomi Lomi Massage

The wellness philosophy behind Lomi Lomi massage

In Hawaii, the wellness of the physical body is considered equal to mental and emotional wellness. Therefore, any treatment for the body must also consider the mental and emotional aspects.

For this reason, a Lomi Lomi massage often involves gentle prayers for your wellbeing. Even if you are not religious, many people report that the prayers are extremely calming and soothing, not just for the body but for the soul too.

The massage therapists view themselves as enablers rather than healers, per se. They perform the massage to remove any physical and emotional blockages in order for your healing to begin. The practice is viewed as a spiritual way of reconnecting and encouraging recovery.

The art of the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage

How long does a Lomi Lomi massage last?

A Lomi Lomi massage can be booked for one hour (or even longer if you would like).

Some spas and massage centres will offer an option of two practitioners working on your limbs. This can create a deeper and more intense experience.

Your massage therapist will use long flowing strokes with hands and forearms, like those used in a Swedish massage. Lomi Lomi also includes gentle stretches and rotation of joints, which you might find similar to a Thai massage.

Still, there are several ways in which Lomi Lomi massage differs from the other varieties out there.

In the traditional form, Lomi Lomi requires the healer to pray or sing with the recipient. At a spa or massage centre, your massage professional may hum softly or spend a few moments of silence with you to help you disconnect from the everyday world.

At the end of your Lomi massage, you should feel more flexible and refreshed, as if any tension in your body has been loosened.

What are the Lomi Lomi massage benefits that I can expect?

Apart from being a deeply relaxing massage (ahh, blissful), Lomi Lomi also has several therapeutic uses.

The benefits of Lomi Lomi massage include:  

Increased flexibility: This massage includes gentle manipulation of joints and limbs, helping you to increase your range of motion and flexibility

Better circulation: Lomi Lomi is a long massage that targets the deep tissues, ensuring your circulation receives a welcome boost

More efficient removal of toxins: As your circulation improves, your lymphatic flow works more efficiently to expel toxins

Calmer and more regulated heart rate: This massage lowers your blood pressure and gives you a greater sense of calm and wellbeing

Balanced emotions and breathing: Unblocks energies and difficult emotions, leaving you feeling more connected to your true inner self

So, as you can see, the Lomi Lomi massage benefits are certainly wide-ranging!

Top tip: Allow some time after your appointment to fully enjoy and “soak in” the relaxed state the massage has brought to you. This will extend the benefits even further.

Will the massage therapist use oils?

This massage traditionally uses nut oil. Walnut oil and Brazil nut oil are two options for Lomi Lomi. The oil aids with the long strokes that the masseur or masseuse uses.

Nonetheless, the therapy may be performed dry or with other forms of oil. If you have a specific type of oil you’d prefer the therapist to use on you, you should check with your practitioner to ensure they can accommodate this before booking.

Massage therapist using coconut oil

Awkward question… but do I have to undress for a Lomi Lomi massage?

A Lomi Lomi massage usually requires oils. So, yes, you will need to undress, but you keep your underwear on if preferred.

Your practitioner will use towels to cover the parts they are not working on. This way, you can feel comfortable during the massage. However, if you are booking a massage with two practitioners, you may be fully uncovered as they work on both sides of your body.

It is best to check with your practitioner before booking so you know what to expect. Please note that some oils can stain your clothing and underwear. A sensible strategy is to wear darker-coloured items of clothing for your Lomi Lomi massage.

Is this your first time getting a massage?

Never had a massage before? Well, you’re in for a treat! Massages give your body (and soul) a wonderful reboot. When you walk out of the appointment, don’t be surprised if your muscles feel deeply relaxed, warm, and tension-free.

Read our guide to help on what massage to choose if you’re not sure which type of massage to opt for. Or, if you would prefer to keep things simple, why not experiment with a pampering self-massage session at home?

If you’d like to book a massage, Avaana can help you find a massage therapist near you.


  • Benefits of Reflexology – Discover the calming benefits of facial reflexology, the main reflexology points in the body, and what the sensation feels like.


  • Download the Avaana app – In a matter of moments, you can compare, book (and save!) when searching for services and experiences.
  • Book with a massage therapist today – Enter “massage” and your location in the search bar to get instant recommendations. Here’s a quick preview of how easy it is to search and book:
First time Massage
How to search and book massages on the Avaana wellbeing marketplace

Reviewed by Declan Davey (Health Writer) on 17/06/2021

Avatar for Declan Davey

Declan Davey is a health writer with a background as a psychological therapist. He has provided therapies for a range of NHS health services and wellbeing charities. Website: https://www.declandavey.com/

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