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  • Writer's pictureNaomi Kitchener

The power of loving touch

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Blog Feb ‘22

Aloha beautiful people! To kick off 2022 I’m starting a blog. I need a way to more deeply share about topics relating to The Lomi Room so here I am! Hopefully along the way you’ll be uplifted, moved or inspired aaannnd have a giggle. Where to start? Weelllll, at the risk of sounding cheesy and even though by now the roses will have wilted, chocolates nibbled and bubbles guzzled….. it is still February --- so love. Love is where I’ll start and coincidentally (and you know I don’t believe in coincidences) when it comes to lomi lomi, everything begins and ends with love.

So. Love it is! Today in particular I’m talking LOVING TOUCH:

  • The way we think about touch has gone erm…tits up

  • I’m no sociologist so let’s LOOK TO SCIENCE for some answers

  • You’d be surprised how many people snore during a message - don't fight it

  • We need more loving touch in the world

  • What is loving touch exactly?


  • You can become a better loving toucher if you want to

  • When giving loving touch can be useful

  • 7 tips for giving loving touch

It’s said that not getting enough touch or touch starvation can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. It’s common for increasingly-isolated elderly to miss touch so much that a simple haircut can be a valuable source of touch. Also at higher risk are people (glancing your way men) who live with limited touch – handshakes, sex and occasional hugs e.g. visiting a relative.

This is an age where we’re highly connected electronically, but have lost touch (pun intended) with how to connect physically in a non-sexual way. Think baby bellies being rubbed, children’s heads patted and women being groped while walking through dah club. These types of touch are many things, but they are not loving touch.

So why the confusion and misunderstanding about what loving touch is? (Raise your hand if you’ve heard the words “massage” and “happy ending” in the same sentence…) Why do we so often see the notions of loving touch and sexual touch collapsed to mean the same thing?

I’m no sociologist so let’s LOOK TO SCIENCE for some answers:

You’ve heard of the “fight or flight” mode our body switches to at times of real or perceived danger. When you’re fighting or fleeing it’s the sympathetic nervous system in action which decides that if your life is in imminent danger, you don’t need to digest that meal or reproduce in that very moment so valuable resources i.e. blood is redirected away from your digestive and reproductive systems to your legs and arms all the better to launch into action. This is why people can feel nauseous before public speaking. But this state is supposed to be temporary and your body returns to the parasympathetic nervous system “rest and digest” mode. You know your body is in rest and digest during a massage in The Lomi Room when your tummy rumbles and gurgles which is fine, you feel the need to pass wind oh the dilemma, you feel sleepy

you’d be surprised how many people snore during a massage

– don’t fight it

also your sexual energy might flow better – wait, what? It’s not because you’re being touched sexually (because you’re not, I’m sure of that), but because when your body’s parasympathetic nervous system is active, it’s giving you the signal that it’s safe to digest food and reproduce.

In The Lomi Room some people might feel horny after a massage but that doesn’t mean they were being touched sexually – the two are not mutually exclusive. Could it be that adults who are touch starved are more likely to confuse loving touch for sexual touch?

This confusion over touch has caused touch to become taboo in the workplace. In my work facilitating corporate training, my antidote to the dreaded 3pm snooze fest is to guide the class through a simple paired massage activity to boost energy. Most participants are surprised when I invite them to massage a colleague but by the end of the activity the room is full of laughing, smiling faces, energy is boosted and people are visibly less tense than before. It works because I know how to guide people through appropriate touch in this context.

[Warning: don’t touch work colleagues until you’ve mastered the art of giving loving touch in other contexts e.g. home, friends, sport.]

We need more loving touch in the world!

My partner Mr D. endearingly calls my hands “killer mittens” referencing my mosquito-squashing superpower, but I wasn’t always comfortable with touching people. Many years ago I watched a TV documentary: An anguished teenage girl was in a hospital waiting room while her parent was having a health crisis, then a nurse sat down next to her and placed her hand on the girl’s leg in an act of comfort. I saw how touch could communicate things words couldn’t say and I wanted to learn how to touch better.

It’s interesting how food that’s been made with love tastes better and we know loving touch when we receive it. I was once gifted a facial voucher and found myself at a spa I’d never have chosen for myself and the moment the beautician laid her hands on me, I could feel that the touch of her hands was special.

One of my favourite chants taught by my Kumu Jeana Iwalani Naluai finishes with a line that says “e ike ka lokahi e, aloha e”

which translates to

“we are connected by the knowledge of what love is”

(i.e. our common lived experience of love and capacity to love is what connects us)

So what is loving touch exactly?

It's when the heart is open and the purest and most whole form of love comes from the vast source through a ‘toucher’ to a ‘touchee’.

Wise elder and Kumu Aunty Margaret Muchado, a beloved lomi lomi teacher now in spirit, would say “cold hands, cold heart”, in reference to the way our touch is influenced by what our heart is doing. Having an open heart matters.

IN THE LOMI ROOM there’s a lot going on for me when I’m giving a massage (more on that in a later blog!). But one of the things I’m doing is holding space for us both and keeping myself (including my heart) open for the love to come through. See, if I just said “I’m going to send you all my love”, it’d be a drop in the ocean compared to how much love you can receive when I allow love from the vast source to come through.

In another blog, I will talk more about what it is to “walk the razor’s edge” and “stay in neutrality”. But what I will say today, is that loving touch is the single-most important ‘ingredient’ of lomi lomi. One way I continue to grow personally is to keep exploring how I can continue to open my heart.

You can become a better loving toucher if you want to.

Loving touch is a vital part of being human. If you feel touch starved, remember that it’s possible to extend your sources of touch. Booking a lomi lomi with me can be a great way to keep your ‘loving touch tank’ topped up!

Arohanui for now,


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