Aunty Margaret Machado's Pololei Lomi Lomi Massage

Pololei: “Eyes that are opened now, see truth and right.

For over 30 years I have had the great pleasure to practice Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage. I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to spend 1988-1990 apprenticing under the direct supervision of Aunty Margaret Machado. I was lucky enough to have to have numerous occasions where I worked on her and learned techniques not taught in her classroom. In that time I have seen Lomi-Lomi go from being virtually unknown in the mainland, to it becoming the hottest new technique, if an old, ancient, healing art can be described as “new.” I shouldn’t be surprised that the mystical marketing hype would happen to this incredibly easy to understand modality. Before I can talk about my experience with Lomi Lomi, I must acknowledge my instructor, Aunty Margaret Machado. Aunty Margaret is the only Hawaii State Certified Kahuna to teach Lomi Lomi massage. She is the Queen of Lomi Lomi and is considered a living treasure in Hawaii. Aunty’s style of Pololei Lomi Lomi is so popular that the top 5 star hotels on the Big Island of Hawaii require therapists to study Lomi Lomi with her before being hired in their spa. In the 2000 January/February issue of Massage Magazine Aunty Margaret is recognized as one of the “Stars of the Century”. Who is Aunty Margaret Machado, and how did she become world-renowned? Aunty Margaret’s massage career began when she was 10 years old. That is when her grandfather gave her the blessing to be the healer of the family. Lomi Lomi is traditionally handed down within families, through the generations. The knowledge is usually kept secret within each family. Aunty’s family did not want her to teach. But, because she was raised in a missionary home, she wanted to share it. Aunty would say, “The Lord wants me to share it. It’s love work, and because I love the Lord, I’m going to teach.” So that is exactly what Auntyhaddone since the 1940’s. Aunty’s philosophy is simple, yet profound. Aunty says, “ Lomi Lomi is a loving touch, letting them feel you. When they feel loving hands on their body, they’ll respond: ‘She loves me, she’ll take good care of me, and I’m going to get well.” It’s your talk and your approach. They know that you love them. Getting them to relax their body so there will be no stress. It’s love!” “If your hands are gentle and loving, your patient will feel the sincerity of your heart. His soul will reach out to yours.”


One key to Aunty’s healing was her use of talk and her approach. She watched as you walked up to her o’hana (home). She smelled you as you embraced her with a big Aloha hug. She looked at your face and into your eyes reading your countenance with love as you poured out your emotional traumas. She did all of this without even saying a word. Only a smile and a nod could be detected. Then she touched you, exactly where you needed the work. She created so much trust in those first few minutes that the client was already accepting her healing hands. You could see them melt and relax. With a relaxed body and Aunty’s loving touch, the human spirit rose and hope started the healing process. Aunty also incorporated ho’oponopono, which she considered her special ingredient for healing. Ho’oponopono literally means to empty your heart and mind. Focus on the healing of your patient. Ho’oponopono also means to forgive yourself and others before the sunset. Aunty said that you couldn’t go to sleep with a troubled mind or troubled heart. Aunty’s technique is also deceptively simple. Imagine massaging the whole body without ever using your thumbs. Pressure comes from using 8 different forearm and elbow positions. The tip of the elbow is hardly ever used. Your forearm is a fulcrum and your body placement is your weighted leverage. Slight angle changes create the exact pressure you need. There is also very little petrisage incorporated. Your hands are completely relaxed. No more worries about carpal tunnel. The elbow/forearm work is learned in the advanced section of the workshop. Lomi-Lomi is sometimes called “a dance.” The dance is simply using the energy of your legs and hips to create pressure and movement. The movement is rhythmic and encompasses all aspects of Aunty’s routine. This is the reason why therapist’s legs might become tired and not their shoulders, arms, forearms and wrists. Even effleurage movements come from the body’s movement and not the strength of the arms. The use of the legs, hips and body weight was used because the Hawaiian people are not small of stature. Aunty had to use a “tool” that was capable of sustaining pressure for as little as 6 seconds and up to as many minutes as necessary. These “tools” must also last a lifetime. Kahunas (healers) didn’t spend a few years practicing and then move onto another career. They were the healers of their family. Healing was their destiny, a lifetime calling within their family. When forearm and elbow work is performed correctly the technique feels soothing. The client will comment that your elbows and forearms do not feel sharp and painful. They are surprised to feel the muscles “sinking.” Many will tell you that using a thumb is too sharp. Correct technique is easy for the therapist. With proper body positioning you lean and fall, completely relaxed, into the tissue. If the therapist is relaxed, the client will be relaxed.


This is the simplest explanation of Hawaiian Lomi Lomi. And this is exactly how Aunty Margaret taught me in the time I apprenticed with her. If you feel drawn to learn Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi massage, please take time to research the style in which you feel would suit your needs. Choose the teacher and the style which sings to your heart. Don’t be afraid the ask questions about your potential instructor’s training and lineage. Are you comfortable with the amount of training they have received to master their technique? If they mix styles, are you comfortable with their interpretation of the various styles they use? You can ask if they have permission to teach that particular style of Lomi-Lomi. Permission can be written or verbal. Many of the old style teachers gave only verbal permission. I personally asked for permission to teach after 10 years of study. Aunty Margaret prayed a prayer of commitment to teach her way including Pule, (pray), Ho’oponopono and the power of the Lord in our work. This prayer was also heard by Nerita Machado. I am sorry to say that Aunty Margaret passed away on December 12, 2009. I am committed to share her knowledge of Pololei Lomi Lomi with whomever feels drawn to her work. Lomi Lomi massage has made a tremendous difference in my life and I consider myself very fortunate to have learned from a true master. My eternal thanks to Aunty Margaret Kalehuamakanoelulu’uonapali Machado.

Aloha,  Alice Belusko L.M.T.

How to Pitch...Yourself

Learn How to Sell Your Services

In baseball, you can’t play the game without pitching the ball. Likewise a self employed massage therapist can’t win the business without pitching their service. And this is where the dilemma begins for some therapists. The idea of self-promotion can be thought of as scary, bad, or beneath you. So, how do you promote your business without “pitching” yourself? That is the thousand dollar question and the answer is….you know I’m going to say it, you can learn to love self-promotion. There are quite a few reasons why people have so much trouble promoting themselves. One of which is fear of rejection. No one likes the NO word. We also compare selling with the thought of the local car salesperson or maybe even a street vendor hawking their wares. We also think if we work hard and are good at our craft, we shouldn’t have to promote ourselves. We hope clients will magically find us through karmic attraction. Let’s learn how to change our mind about self-promotion. The first lesson is to realize that you are not selling YOURSELF. You are selling what you can do to help others. Isn’t this idea the major reason why you went to massage school in the first place? If you just change that one mindset you will see that you are self-less when you “pitch” in terms of their needs. Once you have committed to the idea of helping others, you need to learn how to deliver a successful pitch. The key is to figure out what type of client you are dealing with and adapt to their style. If you have a chatty Cathy who greets you with a personal story, their style is more relationship oriented. They want to establish a connection with you, so you need to respond in kind. The second type of client is the stressed out business person who just wants to get down to business. Forget the chat and get to work. Then there is the analytical person who wants you to recreate anatomy and physiology class. Give him a lesson. Show him exercises to take home. Pull out your anatomy book to show him his Q.L. problem. When you match your client’s style they will truly feel as though you are helping them. I know that adapting your style makes sense, but the fact is most people don’t do it. People are resistant to the idea that they have to adapt their style to someone else’s. You’re not actually changing who you are. Change your mind and think about it as if you’re learning to respect the local customs of a foreign country. Again selling/pitching is all about what you can do to help others.  And you are doing so by emulating their style. Once these concepts make sense to you, you will realize that you pitch every day for something. The trick is to pitch consciously, with intent. For example, if I’m car shopping and you tell me how much you love your car. You proceed to talk about the quality, workmanship and fantastic service. Aren’t you selling this car to me? Can you see how your mind didn’t think you were selling? You thought you were helping me to make an informed decision about what to buy. Do you see when you unconsciously pitch your friend about the fantastic meal you had at your favorite restaurant? You’re selling, but you might think it’s just helping others to find an incredible meal.

When you become conscious with your intent it’s no longer scary to help others. It’s no longer is person also you don’t get offended. Another example would be if you stopped to help a person change a flat tire and they refused your help, you wouldn’t be hurt. If the fear goes away from the action you will create more action. The momentum builds and eventually others will pitch for you! This is when the fun begins because it’s much easier for others to say nice things about the way you help others. Your circle of business will become larger and larger. Eventually you will forget the word sell and remember your new key word SHARE. Then you can teach others to do the same.

A Qualified Instructor

Learn How to Select a Teacher

 Are you getting ready to learn a new technique? Whether your career has just begun or you’re a veteran of massage, there is always a feeling of excitement when you commit your time and energy to learning a new modality. After all, you’re embarking on a new path and learning new information, which will lead to new opportunities and a path for growth. At least, that’s the plan, right? What were the triggers that sparked your interest in taking a course?  Was it the glossy brochure?  Maybe it was the website that popped with professional graphics. Perhaps it was an article about that particular style?  Word of mouth, testimonials, and receiving massage by a therapist specializing in the modality of your interest are also some of the reasons why you might be interested in studying a new modality. However you became interested, the purpose of this article is to steer you to getting value for your money. With so many choices in bodywork, it’s amazing that we can narrow our search down to the classes that make sense to our body and also fit our pocketbook. There are a lot of things to consider when you choose a class. One of the most important factors to consider when selecting your class will be who is your instructor. In a perfect massage world, the laws of ethics would bind instructors. Before venturing out to teach specialized classes an instructor would have spent a considerable amount of time learning the modality, and would be considered an expert. But alas, our industry is not perfect. There are some instructors in our industry who are teaching specialized modalities with very little expertise in that particular modality. Just because an instructor has years of massage experience doesn’t mean that they are qualified to teach a specialized modality. You should do your due diligence and ask these type of questions. Before considering any continuing classes I would recommend you compile a complete list of questions for your potential instructor. I would start by asking them how many years of actual class time they spent learning the modality. Make sure they answer this question specifically, because they could say they studied for 10 years, but in reality they took a 40-hour course, 10 years ago! Your next question would be to ask who did your instructor learned from and how long did their instructor study the modality. If the potential instructor doesn’t know up front how long his teacher studied, I would recommend shopping around for another, more qualified teacher. Knowing the path of history from teacher to teacher insures the validity of the technique. Once you have done your due diligence on the authenticity of your potential instructor’s qualifications, you can inquire about how the class is presented.

Presentation skills can make or break a workshop. What you learn only becomes imprinted into your knowledge if the presentation captures your interest. Find out how your instructor teaches. Is he/she the type who sits in front of the class and has assistants demonstrate the techniques? And about those assistants…how much experience do they have? The blind leading the blind is no way to learn a new technique. Is the instructor available to each and every student for demonstrations? This is where class size becomes an important factor in the quality of your education. I’ve experienced packed classrooms with students straining to see and hear the main instructor. Assistants are running around trying to help very confused students who end up learning very little. This can happen to you if you’re not careful. Have you ever gone to a workshop and got handed a workbook that looked like it was designed by a five year old? Ask how the workbooks are designed. Do they even have a workbook? Can they guide you through the work long after you leave the class?  Or, do you have to return to class as an assistant just to figure out what those stick figures mean. You are spending your hard-earned money and you are entitled to value for that money. Remember, in massage, as in so many other careers, time is money. Don’t throw yours away. If you do end up taking a poorly run workshop, write or speak to the instructor and give them some feedback. Then write to your association and inform them of the problems with the class. Remember if you don’t speak up you are perpetuating the problem. Finally, don’t write off the modality because of a bad experience. Chalk it up as a learning experience and investigate your massage education providers thoroughly before spending your money. If you stick to the advice above, not only will you end up attending worthwhile classes, the methods of teaching and teachers will improve. Everyone will benefit from your taking these steps to insure you receive quality education.