The Philippines may be most famous for its beaches, food, and its warm hospitality. But if there’s something about it that’s not getting enough attention, it would be its hilot massage. As part of its rich culture, hilot plays an integral role in the people’s lifestyles. While there are those who swear by the healing properties of this traditional form of massage, there are others who are skeptical about it. And with more and more spa parlors offering this type of massage, is there something we should know about it?
What is Hilot?
For Filipinos, hilot is a traditional massage that they opt for whenever they are feeling tired and under the weather. As explained by experts, hilot refers to the changes in the body through energy manipulation, physical manipulation, the use of herbs and food. Apart from being just another massage technique, there’s actually more to hilot that is not widely talked about. Hilot is actually an entire system used for healing. In order to make an individual’s health better, a combination of the different components that comprise hilot are utilized. Only then can the individual feel a hundred percent better than before.
How is Hilot Applied?
A hilot practitioner is often referred to as a healer, because his line of work does not merely limit itself to the physical attributes of the massage. Before a hilot session starts, the healer would usually perform a salutation in honor of his ninuno (ancestors) and the diwata (forces in nature) that operate to promote peace in the environment. This is a traditional ceremony that the healer performs to humbly ask for assistance in applying hilot to his clients.
Once the salutations are done, a few yoga-like stretches are done by the client. This is a vital part of the therapy as it increases the health benefits that are provided by the massage. When this is over, the healer continues to massage his client’s body using gentle kneading with emphasis on the key pressure points of the body. Combining this with a few breathing regimens, the effects of hilot massage can be greatly promoted to the overall well-being of the client. And since each session is customized to fit the needs of the client, the healer knows which specific body part to pay attention to the most.
Health Uses of Hilot
In the Philippines, hilot has been used as a traditional way to heal certain diseases. For centuries, it has long been used to restore an individual’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being. But apart from improving one’s welfare, it is used for a variety of reasons. While some of these have been proven to be effective, there are others that are purely a belief:
• It treats diseases. Using techniques involved in hilot massage, the albularyo is able to determine if there are any imbalances in the body. After identifying this, they make sure to provide the necessary hilot, food, and herbs that are fit for the individual. By using these, the individual gets to restore his health back to the usual state.
• It treats fractures and dislocations. If there are any dislocations or fractures, the albularyo makes sure to use the necessary tools to treat these. It is common for individuals to have hilot therapy when they have a fracture or dislocation in their body. However, there has not been any scientific explanation behind this.
• It is used to treat childhood illnesses. Young children are often brought by their parents to an albularyo so they can be treated of common ailments such as cough, fever, colds, measles, and chicken pox.
• It is used for circumcision. Apart from treating young kids, albularyos are often the ones that circumcise little boys in their villages.
• It helps pregnancy. Traditionally, albularyos were believed to help ease out the pregnancy of a woman. They were thought to position the fetus for the woman to have an easy way of giving birth.
Albularyos are not only limited to providing hilot therapy to their patients. Apart from treating them of certain ailments, a number of people visit their village’s albularyo for advice on neighbor disagreements, locating missing persons, exorcism, suitability of marriage partners, and many more.
What to Avoid After Getting Hilot Therapy
Despite the traditional beliefs of using hilot, there are some ways that it can still be effective as a form of therapy. If you’ve decided to get a hilot session, make sure that you avoid doing these things right after:
• Avoid taking a bath or a shower. Usually, after you have the hilot session, you will be told to avoid taking a bath or shower. This is because the effect of this will neutralize the therapy’s healing benefits.
• Don’t dare to run in the rain. You might belittle raindrops and think they are not a threat. But just the same, running in the rain will cause you to be wet and the effects of the session will not be fully experienced.
• Stay away from drafts. After your session, make sure to stay away from an electric fan or air conditioner where you can get a draft. The coconut oil applied to your body during therapy helps in warming up your skin. To get the most out of the therapy, stay away from drafts.
• Don’t eat too much. Especially if you had the hilot therapy to help with problems in your digestive system, you should let your body rest for a while. This will allow your body to cleanse itself and be fully healed.
• Don’t strain your muscles. If you had a hilot session to heal a muscle problem or even a fracture, make sure that you don’t do anything that could be strenuous to it. Instead, get as much rest as you can so your body can feel heal right away.
• Don’t limit your water intake. This is true if you had the session to address some urinary and kidney problems. Make sure that you drink a lot of water so that you can rehydrate yourself and be rejuvenated.
Hilot therapy may be a good way for you to treat your tired body and help it recuperate on its own. But if you’re planning to do it for other reasons, make sure to check with your physician so you can get his expert opinion on how effective this form of treatment truly is.