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We Tried It: A Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage
Courtesy Modern Honolulu
What is it: A Polynesian spa treatment that’s very popular in Hawaii and is catching on back on the mainland
Who tried it: Zoë Ruderman, Senior Style Editor
Why she did it: Why did she get a massage? What kind of crazy-talk question is that?
How crazy is it on a scale from one to Kim Kardashian’s blood facial?: 1. The craziest part is that you strip down to your underwear, but that’s par for the course when it comes to massages.
My idea of a great vacation is one on which I’m so busy and so active the whole time that I come back home exhausted, as opposed to well-rested and blissed-out. My recent trip to Kauai and Oahu was no exception. I hiked, I kayaked, I hiked, I snorkeled and then I hiked to get to another hike. So, by the end of the week, when I got to our last hotel, the fantastic Modern Honolulu in Waikiki, and perused their spa menu while checking in, I decided my body deserved a massage.
I’m not really a get-massages-on-vacation kinda person. But after all of the aforementioned activities, I was beat. Plus, the hotel spa’s signature service is the Lomi Lomi massage, a Polynesian treatment that’s really popular in Hawaii. I justified it as a cultural experience and signed myself up. (Plus, I had read about the spa at the Modern Honolulu when researching this story for PeopleStyleWatch.com, so I was curious to check it out.)
The next morning, I showed up for my appointment and found a sleek, chic, minimalistic spa in keeping with the rest of the hotel. I filled out a lengthy questionnaire (always makes me feel like I’m in a legit place!) and was ushered to a locker room where I changed into a plush robe and slippers. Then it was off to the treatment room.
My masseuse explained Lomi Lomi to me — it was created by the Polynesians, who brought their ancient tradition to the Hawaiian islands, and involves rolling one’s forearms all over the recipient’s body — then got to work.
The next hour was like your basic massage. Only better. I loved that the contact was almost always her entire forearm pressed against me. I never realized how little I like the focused-in pressure of just fingertips pushing into me until I experienced something totally different. The Lomi Lomi never hurt, but I still felt like she was really gettin’ in there, working my muscles.
I read later that the movements are supposed to mimic the gentle rocking motion of the ocean and in retrospect, that sorta seems like what it was. The massage was soothing as opposed to invigorating.
And my favorite part was the attention she paid to my legs and feet. It’s almost as if she knew I’d been trying to set the world record for hours hiked on a vacation, and she really gave my neediest muscles extra loving.
After 50 lovely minutes, she wrapped up. I considered asking for a second session — it was that good — but then remembered I wasn’t that kind of vacationer. And anyway, my boyfriend Kris was probably waiting so we could start our next hike.
Do you like to get massages or other spa treatments when you stay in hotels? What’s your go-to type of massage? Think you’d ever try a Lomi Lomi?