Island rhythms

Island rhythms

Longing for a deep massage that offers more than one-day relaxation, but wary of the “no pain, no gain” approach? Say “aloha” to lomilomi massage, which has come to Charlottesville all the way from the Hawaiian islands. Practitioner Gabe Gavin spent eight years living in that balmy place (he just made it through his first real winter here in Virginia), and learned the art of lomilomi on the island of Kauai from a traditional Hawaiian master.


Gabe Gavin puts his knuckles and forearms into his work as a lomilomi practitioner—not to mention the power of the planet.

Translation? You might feel the heat of a volcano and the power of the ocean during your session. In lomilomi, Gavin says, “There’s a connection to the energy of the land,” the Hawaiian word for which is mana—hence the name of his practice, Mana Massage. “The work itself uses very long strokes,” he explains, and the practitioner uses not only fingers but forearms, knuckles and the heels of the hands. “It allows you to do deep work without making someone uncomfortable” or causing pain, he says.

Another feature of lomilomi is that the practitioner often works on more than one area of the body at once—say, the calf and the hip. “The brain can’t focus on both,” he says, “so it’s more inclined to relax and not have the mental chatter.” The practitioner, too, aims for a meditative state of mind, and for “dancelike” movements around the table. Give him a call at (703) 638-0767.

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