In the Tagalog language, hilot means a soothing touch or a massage rub. Hilot is a traditional Filipino art of healing. That makes use of massage, chiropractic manipulation, and herbal medication to restore mental and physical health. The exact methods of this folk medicine are passed down from generation to generation. And the healers do not usually share these. This traditional medicine form was popular in the Philippines before the advent of modern medicine. And it has seen a resurgence in recent times as people seek non-invasive and safe alternative medicine avenues.
The underlying belief in the hilot practice is that most illnesses and troubles are brought on by an inner imbalance and disharmony. The hilot practitioner uses a touch diagnostic method to identify the root of the problem. And then decides on a suitable treatment to help the patient. The treatment session generally begins with ritual chants. They are intended to invoke and acknowledge divine and natural healing powers. And in the course of the treatment, the healer will make use of coconut oil, banana leaf extracts, and various other herbal preparations.
Coconut oil is used in the massage to help knead the body. And help relax tight muscles and pinched nerves and revive internal energy. This type of stress healing is often recommended for overworked people. And it can also be safely used on pregnant women. The massage can be used to ease the rigors of childbirth. And in certain cases, when necessary, the masseur may also be employed to bring about abortion.
Hilot is a medical practice in Pilipino.
The hilot practitioners also treat sprained joints and set dislocated bones. It is common, in modern times, to get an X-ray done and then, with the doctor’s agreement, have the masseur resolve the problem. This treatment can be rather painful at times and the healer may give the patient an herbal brew beforehand to alleviate the pain. Many people are willing to endure the discomfort of the massage as the body appears to heal faster after it, and there are no negative side effects.
The duration of the hilot massage depends on the type of health issue that is being treated, and a specific round of massages may be necessary for some instances. People who have had the massage are generally advised to not bathe for at least a day after it. Apparently, this is to give the skin the chance to properly absorb the coconut oil used in the massage.
Before Western medicine became popular in the Philippines, the task of healing was shared by the albularyo (herbalist) and the manghihilot. Hilot (pronounced hee-lot) in Filipino means “massage” and the person who gives hilot is called manghihilot. Traditionally, he or she was trained by an elder who had developed the ability to detect congestion in the body, misalignments in the skeletal structure and energy imbalances.
In the provinces, training usually began at an early age and it was not unusual to find a son or daughter undergoing training. The ability to do hilot was deemed a gift that needed to be passed on to members of the family. And because a hilot session always resulted in feelings of wellness, the manghihilot was very popular in the community.
How does Hilot massage work?
Hilot massages work with the application of acupressure massage and herbal medication, and the practice may differ per healer and geographic location.
During a session, the healer generally checks certain areas of the body to determine any signs of abnormalities and imbalances within the skeletal and muscular structures. This can be done by detecting differences in body temperatures or pulse rate, among others, to determine the severity of any perceived underlying conditions.
Generally, the treatment sessions start when the healer chants to invoke and acknowledge the natural powers of divinity and healing. Once done, they will use coconut oil or extracts from banana leaves combined with other herbal ingredients that promote healing effects. This mixture is then kneaded into the body of the person to help loosen tight muscles and nerves.
This method is commonly practiced as it is believed to rejuvenate the individual’s internal energy and release aches, soreness, and stress from the body. Depending on the severity of the person’s condition, the treatment can also involve pain. But despite this, Filipinos are still willing to undergo such treatment because it is said to promote faster healing without major side effects.
In some cases, the individual may be given a special herbal brew before the session to provide some relief to the pain.
The Health Benefits of Hilot Massage.
While medical science is considered to be far superior to traditional healing practices, hilot is believed to have a few benefits that make the experience worth trying.
- Relieves muscle pain
More commonly, Filipinos seek out the aid of a healer to relieve themselves of persistent muscle aches. This healing method can be done on both adults and children.
- Alleviates pain from pinched nerves
A hilot massage can target pinched nerves and surrounding areas to reduce body pain accumulated from stress and work. It can also help reduce swelling from these problems and promote instant relief.
- Aids in giving birth
Healers can be called to help a mother deliver their child safely throughout the stages of giving birth.
- Helps mothers recover from childbirth
Getting a hilot massage after labor can help a mother’s body to relax and improve circulation. At the same time, it can also offer emotional relief and lower levels of stress hormones.
- Restores balance and harmony in the body
A hilot massage is believed to help a person gain more inner balance. In some cases, people seek it to deal with issues related to spiritual beliefs.
Other stress relief befefits of Hilot Massage.
Like other types of massages people regularly get at spas, many Filipinos find this traditional form of healing relaxing post-treatment.
- Enhanced lifestyle
A hilot aims to rid the body of ailments and other problems, allowing individuals to focus on daily activities better. Similar to other therapeutic massages, it is believed to be an effective way to improve overall health and wellness.
- Reduces fatigue
When a hilot massage reduces your ailments, the body’s balance is restored, allowing an individual to gain better quality sleep. At the same time, this treatment is also believed to help boost a person’s general mood.
- Eliminates toxins
As the healer stimulates your body, toxins are believed to be released through blood circulation. It can help promote faster healing in the process.
- Gain better flexibility
Just like other types of therapeutic massages, a hilot massage relaxes your muscles and joints. So that you can gain a wider range of movement.
The magic of hilot
Traditional healing has often been questioned in the world of modern medicine. And it would be best to classify this as a type of therapeutic massage. However, this does not mean that you should ignore the advantages of these practices entirely. When done by a professional, a hilot massage can provide several healing benefits to the body.
For more serious muscle and bone conditions that need medical attention. You can reach out to any of the orthopedic doctors at Pune Medical Center today for world-class healthcare and services.
Western Medicine vs Hilot
With the introduction of allopathic medicine, the albularyo and manghihilot were forced into the background. For decades, these two healing modalities became the poor man’s medicine. Indeed, for a long time, hilot was but a word spoken by the poor who resorted to it to address a wide range of physical ailments — from body aches, and muscle sprains, to fevers, colds, and coughs.
Hilot as an Effective Healing Modality
With the increasing realization that ancient healing arts are capable of restoring harmony and homeostasis to the body. The venerable healing art of hilot has once again been acknowledged for its efficacy in healing. And because of this, hilot is now being offered in Massage spas in the Philippines and some parts of India. As an effective healing technique along with Ayurveda, shiatsu, and reflexology. It has indeed made a resounding comeback.
Two Methods of Hilot
Some manghihilot feel the pulse for irregularities. And based on this, they can say if a person has a misalignment in the skeletal system. A simple tug here and a tug there often result in the same “cracking” sounds that a chiropractor produces when he works on his patient’s body. This kind of manghihilot specializes in the skeletal structure and addresses pilay. A Filipino word that means “something’s wrong with the bones.” These manghihilots are also called bone setters. They are much sought after by professional basketball players and other sports enthusiasts. A big part of their clientele are children whose fever, coughs, or colds refuse to go away. Amazingly, a single session that lasts a few minutes is enough to heal a lingering bout of fever or respiratory disease.
The other kind of hilot is similar to massage. Just like other massage therapies, a typical hilot session begins with the spreading of oil on the skin. Then the manghihilot’s deft fingers will feel the body for areas of congestion. Once the area of congestion is found, the manghihilot gently massages the body using upward, circular or downward strokes. It takes only a few minutes for an experienced manghihilot to find the congested areas.
There is one method manghihilots use to find congestion which anyone can easily learn.
Traditional manghihilots sometimes use a leaf — usually a banana leaf — which they run through the body after it has been generously covered with oil.
The theory is that the area of congestion is usually hotter or colder than the rest of the body and will therefore have a different reaction to the banana leaf and oil. As a result, the banana leaf gets “stuck” as opposed to the smooth passing banana leaf in places where there is no congestion. The places where the leaf gets “stuck” are the places of congestion which are then massaged or cupped.
Learn How to Do Hilot Massage.
This is one method that anyone can learn to do. If you cannot get hold of a banana leaf, you can use a plastic strip that is three inches wide and about six inches long.
Begin by rubbing oil on the body. Then gently press the leaf or plastic strip onto the skin and pull it across the width of the body.
If the plastic strip gets “stuck” give the area a thorough massage or if you know how to do cupping, position a cup on the area.
Relief from colds, pain, fever, and fatigue is usually immediate.