What is Hilot?

Deep-Tissue Massage

Hilot Massage
Hilot Massage. Getty Images / Dimas Ardian/Stringer

Origins of the Term Hilot

Hilot is a Filipino word used to describe a healer

About Hilot Massage as a Healing Therapy

Originating in the Philippines, Hilot is a hands-on healing art that involves intuition and massage. A Hilot therapist, called manghihilot or albularyo, is trained in massage and body-mind connections. Although Hilot is a deep-tissue massage the touch is gentle. The manghihilotintuitively scans the body with hand touching as a means to diagnose areas which are energetically imbalanced. With this information in hand the manghihilot will zero in on those areas to work on to give balance and relief. Each session is unique because of the focus on treating problematic areas.

Hilot is not the typical massage a person would seek out as a relaxation form of touch therapy. For this reason you will unlikely find this type of massage on a typical "menu" of massages to choose from in a spa setting. Its focus is to identify problems in the body and correct them. A Hilot session may result in easing stress and relaxing tense muscles, but the massage itself could actually be less than relaxing... causing some deep tissue discomfort. It is a matter of getting to the source of pain and bringing balance.

How the Manghihilot Identifies Imbalances

Much like a doctor's visit, questions will likely be asked by the manghihilot or an inquiry sheet will be provided, allowing the client to give concerns or complaints as part of the full assessment. You may be asked to describe your urine output or stool regularities/irregularities.

The client's pulse (strength, weakness, etc.) will be assessed to identify which (if any) of the four elements (air, earth, fire, or water) is lacking or overpowering. For example, too much fire energies would be to consuming, not enough water could mean stymied emotions, etc. The body would also be evaluated for coloring, temperature, sensitivities, obvious lumps, open sores, etc.

Benefits of Hilot Massage

  • Balance and Harmony
  • De-stresses
  • Improved Circulation
  • Enhance Lifestyle
  • Promote Overall Wellness

Health Conditions Treated with Hilot

  • Muscle Tension
  • Stress
  • Post Pregnancy Recovery

Spiritual Tradition

Hilot healing has a spiritual element in its roots. The manghihilot conducts a humbling ceremony or ritual prior to beginning treatment, reaching out to his ancestors for assistance. This ritual is intended as acknowledgement of wisdom as well as serving as an honoring tribute.

Tools and Complementary Therapies

Therapies that work hand-in-hand with Hilot include herbal treatments, cupping therapy, and stress management.

Tools that may be incorporated into a Hilot treatment are coconut oil or coconut-laden banana leaves applied to the body in strips as a cleansing antiseptic, and various massage devices to assist sustaining pressure on the body tissue and kneading tense muscles.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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Your Citation
Desy, Phylameana lila. "What is Hilot?" Learn Religions, Mar. 4, 2021, learnreligions.com/what-is-hilot-1729136. Desy, Phylameana lila. (2021, March 4). What is Hilot? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-hilot-1729136 Desy, Phylameana lila. "What is Hilot?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-hilot-1729136 (accessed June 9, 2023).