By Mark O’Brien
Over the years I have had the pleasure of receiving quite a few session of Hawaiian bodywork and have included reviews of 3 different sessions with different practitioners.
Hawaiian bodywork is about long deep fluid strokes, lots of oil and, oh yeah, lots of pleasure.
This particular (male) therapist does an amalgam of Kahuna Hawaiian bodywork, acupressure and the various other disciplines he’s been trained in.
Hawaiian bodywork is about long deep fluid strokes, and with the practitioners’s strong hands, forced me almost into a letting go of lots of tensions from my normally physically lazy lifestyle.
It was one of those sessions where it is necessary to breathe deeply in order to relax, as the bodily sensations were quite strong. He worked exclusively on the back of my body, the back, legs, hips and arms, and really got in there into the tender places.
Once he found any hot spots he zeroed in on them, and stayed there till I was able to relax around and into and thereby release the tension. With his diverse background there is a tangible sense of wisdom in his hands, and that helps relax and let go into whatever is happening on the table.
Working with clay for years has given the practitioner a kind of tactile perception as well as strength. Only occasionally did I get the feeling that I was a piece of clay being moulded!
As the session was at a float centre afterwards I had a float for an hour, which was wonderful.
Timelessly adrift in the water, in and out of awareness of where I was, the cooling effect of the total darkness and the faint music in the background all combined to help me leave the world behind for a while.
When my time was up he had to knock a few times for me to become aware what this knocking noise was! It was with some reluctance that I re-entered the world, utterly refreshed. I felt light and relaxed, floating somewhat, and enjoyed the next few days in my body.
What I find with this kind of bodywork, as there is so much stimulation happening there are lots of things that get released in the psyche, and over the next days feelings kept on arising, old body habits becoming clear.
This session was with a woman and was called Hawaiian Kahuna Bodywork
It was warm in the room.The therapist said that the Hawaiians like it hot! So it was into a whirlpool of energy that I surrendered myself.
Hawaiian massage is about limitlessness, and is not about trying to fix anything, not directly, mostly long fluid stroking, again and again, all over.
It is quite fast, and pretty soon my mind couldn’t follow it anymore. She was dancing around the table as she worked, using lots of oil, breathing fire as she lathered up my bioenergy in a maelstrom of sensation, all of it yum! Pretty soon, well, I’m blissed out!
The music was quite loud also, further transporting me to an island in the sun with hula skirts dancing before my eyes! Like most practitioners of quite defined disciplines like Kahuna massage, my therapist also has some very nice little tricks of her own which were fun.
The feeling was just luxurious, totally pampering. What to do? She worked on my entire body, leaving me feeling really cooked!
When after two hours it was over I remained on the table for a while, relishing the wonderful buzzing throughout my body, energy flowing all over the place!
When I went to stand up I had to be careful as I just wasn’t solid anymore. The therapist had left a kimono for me to slip into for the walk to the shower where she gave me some apple cider vinegar to spray on while I was showering.
To help draw out and release toxins, apparently.
I felt like I had been doing Tai Chi for weeks, moving very slowly, a Zen walk feeling. I felt really yummy, very pleased with my life!
This session was called Lomi Lomi, and the practitioner was a woman, different energy entirely.
The practitioner came over to my house to do the session and after setting up all of her paraphernalia including oil bottles and burner, and towels and sheets, I jumped up onto the table.
I have had Hawaiian bodywork before, so was looking forward to the luxurious of the massage, and I was not disappointed.
She had me lie on my belly, with no cloth underneath me and began the long timeless strokes of the Hawaiian Kahunas, the forearm strokes deepening with each pass, the elbow going into the neck.
Hawaiian massage is not so much about going into a particular area and working out all of the knots and tensions, but rather going over and over the same old section of the body, always connecting parts with the greater.
It is a ‘mindless’ technique because in Hawaiian bodywork you get lost in the whirl of sensations and there is no place for the mind to land, as it does not have the same linear expectations of other massage modalities.
Fairly soon the table is wet with oil, and it feels good to have these long strokes going the length of my body.
She worked for a long time on my back and neck area, always linking to the pelvis and from there to the legs, dispersing the energy, then building it up, then dispersing it again.
After some time she had me roll over and did more of the same to the front of my body, and fairly soon I was quite blissed, as my body just surrendered and relaxed.
She worked for a quite a while on my legs, over and over, up and down, and again, always made sure they were connected to the upper body.
She had told me she had just done a Lomi Lomi course where she had learnt some interesting things around stomach massage, and so that was also nice to feel something different.
After the session was over and I’d had a shower, I felt really grounded, very connected with the ground through my feet, and moved in a really nice slothful way!
Written by Mark O’Brien for the “Session of the Month’, Here & Now magazine 1999-2005
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