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How the traditional Filipino healing art of hilot gave this woman a second chance

"Finding hilot again and tapping into the healing arts myself, I realised it can be done - you can transition your life, you can live a happy healthy life." Source: Lorelie Luna

On her journey to self-healing, Lorelie Luna discovered how to heal others.

"A lot of the women and men I meet in my clinic who are in physical pain are also going through emotional pain; they don't connect the two though."

Pain is an all-too-familiar companion for healing arts practitioner Lorelie Luna. She's gone through a lot of it - some may even say, too much.

 

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How the traditional Filipino healing art of hilot gave this woman a second chance
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The purpose of pain

Pain has a purpose. It lets you know when something's wrong and when something needs to be attended to. 

Since the age of five, Lorelie has suffered from debilitating migraines. As she grew older, the sporadic pain worsened, further weakening her immune system.

Lorelie Luna
As she grew older, the sporadic pain worsened, further weakening her immune system.
Lorelie Luna

"I would feel very lethargic. I couldn't focus," she shares, adding,  "I was prescribed medications. They would numb the pain and help me to at least function properly throughout the day."

As she was using medications to numb her physical pain, she was living through two-decades of a farcical happily-ever-after.

Lorelie Luna
Lorelie with her daughter in their old home in the suburbs
Lorelie Luna

Whilst not going through specific details, Lorelie claims that the offences in her first marriage took a toll, adding, "My life then revolved around our Filipino store, our child and our home. I gave all of me to take care of our family, but I never got the care back. I was hurt in every way a person could be hurt; but of all the pain I suffered, the emotional pain was the hardest to turn around."

In order for her to turn the emotional pain around, Lorelie had to turn her back on the life she knew.

'I had enough'

"I said 'no' to spending one more day with the person I was with. I didn't need whatever material things we shared. I had enough," she shares, adding, "So I left our home in the suburbs. I moved near the water. We sold the house and the business."

Lorelie Luna
"So I left our home in the suburbs. I moved near the water."
Bea Brabante

Lorelie shares that financial insolvency was also one of the reasons she had to let go of their Filipino store, but adds that after she lost everything, she was "lucky" to find work as a housekeeper and cleaner.

Although she felt lucky to have a job, Lorelie admits to feeling defeated. The downward spiral also made her migraines worse and more frequent.

"I knew [my migraines] were my body’s way of signalling that I needed healing. I realised I allowed this - [I allowed myself] to feel lonely, to feel confused, and helpless and hopeless," she admits, adding, "I needed healing so I sought out hilot (Filipino massage) healers to mentor me."

Healing with hilot

The healers Lorelie would meet were not the first to mentor her in the hilot healing arts.

Lorelie Luna
Lorelie's grandparents
Lorelie Luna

"In the Philippines, the art of hilot healing has been passed down from an elder to the generation after them. My grandmother whom I called 'nanay'; her brother, Papa Isko; and their mother, Lola Dora - they were known in Bicol for practising hilot. They travelled from the mountain province and brought their practice to Bicol."

Lorelie recalls her grandmother creating pastes from herbs, plants and oils to use on her whenever she felt ill.

"She would spread a paste made of ginger, garlic and other herbs on my back and on my chest and, I would feel better."

Lorelie Luna
Pastes made from herbs, plants and oils are vital in the practice of hilot.
Lorelie Luna

Lorelie, who now carries a Diploma in Remedial and Sports Massage, says that while the advice of medical professionals still takes precedence, hilot can prove to be an invaluable part of one's healing.

"Hilot uses the modality of massage with energy healing in order to manipulate one's muscular-skeletal anatomy," she explains, adding, "But more than just deep tissue and compression techniques, hilot seeks to address the source of pain. Is it stress? Was it a fall? Why did you fall? Do you have an imbalance?"

Lorelie Luna
"More than just deep tissue and compression techniques, hilot seeks to address the source of pain."
Lorelie Luna

She emphasises that it is only in knowing the source of the pain that one is able to promote healing - not just of the body, but also of the mind and the spirit.

"It's transformational. It was freeing that I learned how to heal myself," she says, adding, "Finding hilot again and tapping into the healing arts - I realised I can transition my life. I just had to stop and make the decision that I've had enough - I needed to heal."

 

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