Dose of Iloilo’s Healing Art of Hilot Massage

“Luya-Luya” … a piece of ginger is used by the therapist/healer as part of the  ritual

I’m a massage junkie, and so is Chase, my 5 year old son! 😀 You have to hear him to believe…he’s so mad at me last night because I got to enjoy a longer massage time than he did! He’s demanding of a 2 hour massage session! haha! ✌

My hubby’s mom has a friend who’s known to be a gifted Hilot. She’s believed to be bestowed a special gift, an ancient craft of providing body & spiritual balance or more popularly known maintaining the harmony of Qi (Chi). She does it by doing acupressure & then performes a folkloric ritual with the use of a small piece of ginger root to shoo away negative energies that gets in the way of the overall well-being. Here, they call this ritual as  “Luya-Luya”.  

We welcome and look forward our massage session with her. The “Luya-Luya” is actually a bonus treat from her, or could even be the main event more than the massage session. The concept of the healing ritual is actually her praying over to us before and after the session. I’m born with traditional grandparents who believe in the efficacy of traditional folk medicines. So this is actually not new to me. When I was a child, they always had the “albularyo”, the general practitioner in the hierarchy of healers and specialists in folk medicines, do a “tawas” ritual at me.  A “tawas” ritual is something like the healers determines which negative spirit is causing a malady, and then come up with the necessary amulet or medicines to counter its negative effect. I remember seeing the healer do a ritual with a candle and water in a basin, and from the wax droppings, a form will be seen by the healer.

Anyway, folk culture aside, she’s actually a gifted acupressure therapist! She just really know which pressure points to press. In the end, comfort from the pain. Oh well! Endure and persist. Like any massage, this one truly helps in relieving tensions. Having a small piece of ginger to hold onto during the session also helps me channel the pain from the pressure by squeezing it tightly. But the higher blessing of it all, last night’s “Luya-Luya” session made me sleep throughout the night, which I’ve been missing for almost a month now. If only without Chase’s constant nagging of how he wanted to have another round of massage, I would surely dozed off to la la land. We are so looking forward to another round of massage before we leave for Manila.

A great read on more of Philippines’ Alternative Medicine can be found here


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