People who are not familiar with Hilot often think that Hilot is just another type of massage. After all, that is basically what Hilot looks like. On the surface, the manghihilot manipulates muscles–very similar, it seems, to what they do at the spa.
However, people who have grown up with, or have encountered authentic Hilot, know that this is not the case.
Traditionally, Hilot is known for its therapeutic benefits–Hilot is used to heal. Anybody who has experienced Hilot, or who lives within the vicinity where there is a well-known manghihilot knows that the people who seek out Hilot are not there for relaxation. People who go to the manghihilot are seeking relief from pain, illness, or other discomforts.
The major difference between Hilot and massage, especially as it is understood in the Philippine context, is that massage is mainly for relaxation purposes. Massage emphasizes the use of a sequence of pre-determined strokes, which is applied to all clients. Hilot, on the other hand, follows basic natural principles and tailors the healing session to each individual’s unique healing needs.
The actual experience of Hilot, (even the more modern Hilot for Wellness) can also be worlds away from your soothing massage at the spa. Authentic Hilot can in fact, be painful, because the manghihilot often works directly on the problematic parts of the body. But with a good manghihilot, you can be assured that afterwards, you will feel relief. Depending on the problem, a few more sessions might be needed, but Hilot is very effective, surprising even skeptics with its speed and efficacy.
Hilot has been around for a long, long time. It had been practised by our ancestors long before the Spaniards came.Before there were even doctors in the Philippines, there were albularyos and manghihilots ministering to early Filipinos’ sprains and broken bones, attending to childbirth, and preparing herbs to treat imbalances in the body.
Hilot is not just massage–it is our ancestor’s system of healing.
For more information on Hilot, please refer to the book Hilot: The Science of the Ancient Filipino Healing Arts, authored by Bibiano S. Fajardo and Ma. Aleli V. Pansacola, published by Anvil Publishing, Inc.