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The True Lineage of Lomi Lomi

Written by Dawn Charlton, a guest contributor.

Ancient Indigenous Hawaiian people lived as one with the land and nature through its abundant energy. Lomi Lomi was and still is, an essential piece of their life, providing balance to all aspects of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strains, relationship stresses, and challenges for many people. Working from an ancestral and energetic source through an established lineage ensures the knowledge remains true and correct 'as it should be through the passing on of the traditional techniques, beliefs, and training.

Traditional Old Style Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage has been a protected, sacred practice, kept strict in its content by the passing on in a lineage form, from master to disciple, always in a one-to-one apprenticeship. This was kept very strictly in the bloodline of the family, except in rare cases. In ancient Polynesia, up until the arrival of the missionaries, this practice flourished and nurtured the entire population. But then the "old ways" came under attack, and Hawaii's spiritual culture had to go "underground." Thus, the old ways became veiled in secrecy and even more secret in their teachings. Kahuna is a title given to "one who has mastered the secrets" or "keeper of the secrets." The word or title "Kahuna" (one word) is considered to hold tremendous power or "Mana" and is used in a hushed tone, reverent and holy. It is known that a true Kahuna will never admit to being such a one, and one who does, has no Mana.

To become the Lineage holder (keeper of the secrets and responsible for the traditions) and receive the ritual passing of knowledge and responsibility, you will need to be trained traditionally through a long and extensive apprenticeship that is served one-on-one with a master of the current Lineage holder.

The apprentice will need to embody a broader, deeper sense of understanding for restoring balance in the whole person through the relationship with bones, joints, muscles, trigger points, and meridian centres. Learning to create and maintain a sacred space where energy can flow, allowing healing for their clients' minds, bodies, and spirits in a safe and supported environment. Learning to read the physical signs and patterns of a body and how this can relate to personal issues and stresses the individual could be facing and being able to provide alignment and relief. Acquiring the understanding that Traditional Old Style Hawaiian Lomi Lomi comes from a place of unconditional love for the person on the table receiving the massage and the therapist giving the treatment. As my master wrote...

"One of the most essential imperatives of this tradition is that Lomi Lomi was a modality of pure love. The work must come from the heart and through the hands resulting in healing and bonding at a level beyond comprehension by the mind; it is the movement of pure love and grace; even to observe a treatment is to receive it. This is the way of Traditional Lomi Lomi in the Old Style."

There are few true Kupuna (elders) with the old traditional knowledge passed in the ritual apprenticed way, ensuring to preserve the teachings exactly how they need to be and not to lose or misunderstand any essential parts. Many forms or versions of Lomi Lomi are practised throughout the Hawaiian Islands and worldwide. These styles would have originated from specific islands and families traditionally. Lots of the modern schools of Lomi Lomi have been put together from two or more different styles and family lines or, in some cases, including non-Hawaiian strokes and techniques to create a particular style.

'Traditional Old Style Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage' roots are in Maui. I successfully apprenticed under my Kahu Sherman Dudoit (Raman Das) in Maui and Australia for over four years before receiving the honour and responsibility of being the new Lineage holder.

Learning or receiving a massage from a Lineage holder ensures that the students or clients receive a pure unchanged traditional Lomi Lomi massage (stroke by stroke) exactly how it was taught and learned from the beginning. This unchanged and purest form of Lomi Lomi massage is not a Hawaiian 'Style' Massage but a true Hawaiian Massage. There is a difference, and it is essential that people have the clarity to make an informed decision when choosing a Lomi Lomi treatment or when deciding to train and learn Lomi Lomi through various school options.

This lineage was not learned in a classroom or through workshops or courses; it is something very different that pulses inside me and can be physically, mentally, and emotionally felt by those in tune. Each time I have the honour to perform a treatment or teach new people some of these techniques, they receive a fingerprint of the ancient teachings to use as a practitioner to be of service to whom they touch. The responsibility to maintain the pure essence and strict methods prohibits others from teaching Traditional Old Style Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage, indifferent to other forms of Lomi Lomi here in Australia and worldwide. Therefore, I am the only teacher of this lineage from 'Traditional Old Style Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage.' Uniquely in this genuine form of Lomi Lomi, four levels are offered to therapists through training to provide a complete picture of a true Hawaiian massage and treatment, taking the students on a journey from the basics to a deeper level of bodywork and inner self practices.

This modality suits people who wish to learn something genuinely traditional, unspoilt, unpolluted, and in its purest form. Being a strictly traditional form, I cannot change or adapt the way it is and will be and have no intention to do so, despite the commercial demands and challenges made upon me as a true lineage holder and my responsibilities. Lineage holders are very different from those allowed or permitted to teach. They hold and are responsible for all the secrets they have been ritually passed.

I firmly believe that each person has their own personal truth and what resonates loudly within them. We find that most people experience a calling when finding the path to us.

About the Author

Dawn Charlton is a traditional Lomi Lomi massage therapist who received her ancient and sacred lineage teachings in Hawaii, making her the only true lineage holder in Australia. Alongside her husband, Dawn teaches and facilitates Lomi Lomi from her retreat centre near the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Visit Dawn at

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