This is a familiar reminder that the manghihilot usually tells a person after a Hilot session. Most times, people just meekly obey, without knowing exactly why they are being temporarily banned from being splashed on with water. Hilot newbies might feel a bit uncomfortable, not being used to the cloying warmth brought about by the oil applied by the manghihilot and letting it linger on the skin for several hours—sometimes, even until the following day.
Dr. Bibiano Fajardo, an albularyo (traditional healer) who has been healing with Hilot for over forty-five years, finally sheds light on the mysterious reason behind this admonition. The reason why people are forbidden from taking a shower after Hilot?
“It will retard the healing process,” Dr. Fajardo says.
Hilot, being essentially a method of healing, is applied in order to correct problematic muscles and nerves. The hardening of a muscle means that there is a problem with the conductivity, or the flow of electrical energy, in the nerves. A good manghihilot concentrates on the affected areas to align these muscles and nerves and bring them back to optimal functioning (the number of Hilot sessions needed would depend on the severity of the condition).
Dr. Fajardo explains that once the stiffness in the muscle is released and the nerve regains its original functionality, there is usually a change in temperature in the affected area. This could mean the warming up of a previously “cold” area, or the return to normal temperature of a previously “hot” area. For healing to take place, the temperature in the areas worked on by the manghihilot should be kept warm for a certain period after the Hilot session.
That innocent-looking bottle of coconut oil used by the manghihilot actually serves several purposes aside from its obvious function of allowing the manghihilot’s strong hands to smoothly glide over the skin—it cleans the pores, keeps the affected areas warm, and also provides a measure of protective “waterproofing.” Keeping water away from the skin is critical, because water cools down the body and counters the healing effects of Hilot. Showering with warm water is also not recommended, because when water droplets evaporate, they still give off a cooling effect, especially when there is a breeze.
Ideally, you should allow a period of around 8-12 hours after your Hilot session before taking a shower, explains Dr. Fajardo. This is roughly the amount of time our bodies need to stabilize and return to “normal” (but improved!) functioning. However, when you are pressed for time, the barest minimum is between 3-4 hours, to give your muscles at least some time to relax.
But what if you are meeting the President and really, really, really need to take a shower shortly after your Hilot? In such “urgent” cases, Dr. Fajardo advises that you should apply a layer of oil on the skin for further waterproofing and then take a really quick shower. That way, the oil will further protect you, and the water won’t have much time to alter the temperature of your body and retard the Hilot healing process.
Want to experience the healing benefits of authentic Hilot? Visit ATHAG at 63 San Rafael St., Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City. For inquiries or appointment schedules, please text or call (0922) 884 4568.