LomiLomi: The Ancient Art of Massage, Part 2

Dr. Maka’ala Yates

At my last entry, I introduced one of the styles of massage that I have been practicing for a little over a decade, Mana Lomi. This form of Lomilomi, taught by Dr. Maka’ala Yates, incorporates the physical manipulation of the Golgi tendon organ apparatus (GTO).

The Golgi Tendon Organ (GTO)

The Golgi tendon Organ is a sensory receptor designed to notice a change in muscle tension. GTO are located near the junction where the muscle meets the tendon. GTO are active during tendon reflex which occurs as a feedback mechanism to control muscle tension through muscle relaxation. The opposite of the tendon reflex is the stretch reflex which creates contraction. When tension is applied to a tendon, the GTO activates and sends a signal to the central nervous system where a synapse between a sensory neuron and corresponding inhibitory neuron allow for a signal to be sent back to the associated muscle to cause relaxation in the muscle fibers. Of course, whenever we affect one action the opposite occurs in the antagonistic muscles. Therefore, when we apply static compression pressure to a tendon, we need to stretch the muscle fibers the opposing muscle group.

The physical manner we affect GTO is in a technique that Dr. Yates refers to as CT or compression + traction. Using our forearm contact, we locate the muscle/tendon junction that we want to affect and apply static compression for a 10 count and then apply a small tug or stretch in the direction to the muscle fibers. This process is repeated as many time as necessary, but no less than three times. After the therapist completes CT, a soothing stroke glides over the entire muscle belly to promote movement to fluids and increased circulation. My study of Mana Lomi has primarily focused on the practical and physical aspects of the technique. For the Hawaiians, Lomilomi was very spiritual. My next blog will talk about the meditative practices associated with Mana Lomi.


Interested in receiving a therapeutic massage?

Oahu Spine and Rehab offers $60 massages for $60 minutes! In addition, patients can request deep-tissue, Lomi Lomi (Jason), prenatal, cupping or a variety of relaxing massages techniques. The OSR Massage Therapy team prides themselves on customer service and attention to detail during every session. Be sure to give us a call at 808-488-5555 to inquire about our schedule, ask about discount packages and to use the discount below! We look forward to hearing from you! Mahalo!


Yates Photo
Golgi Tendon Diagram

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