Hilot is the Philippine’s traditional way of healing. Thus, the main benefit of Hilot is really the restoration of the person’s physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being.
Traditionally, people sought out the albularyo (or the manghihilot) for a wide variety of health concerns, such as:
Pregnancy and childbirth. The albularyo took care of the mother’s pre-natal needs, including the positioning of the fetus for an easy birth. He assisted the mothers in the actual birthing process, and aligned her pelvic bones and damaged muscles after delivery to speed up the healing process. Hilot, together with suob and banyos, was also done to prevent stretch marks. Childless couples who wished to have a baby also went to the albularyo for advice and treatment.
Fractures and dislocations. The albularyo spliced fractured bones with bamboo and uses herbs as poultice to aid in healing. He also treats sprains and torn ligaments, sets displaced bones, and aligns muscles around the spinal column to allow neurological electricity to flow freely.
Childhood illnesses. Young children were a familiar sight in the albularyo’s waiting area. Common ailments in childhood, such as fever, cough, colds, chicken pox, and measles were treated by the albularyo using Hilot, herbs, and specific food. The albularyo also circumcised the boys in the village.
Ailments/Diseases. Using traditional Hilot diagnosis, the albularyo determined imbalances in the body and healed maladies using Hilot, herbs, and food. Believing that good health is the natural state of the body, the albularyo used Hilot to restore the balance of the four elements and bring the person back to health.
General malaise. By pressing specific points in the body, the albularyo facilitated the free flow of neurological electricity to the different parts of the body and eliminated general malaise.
Other concerns. Apart from his capacity as a healer, the albularyo was also consulted for advice on matters in the community such as conflicts among neighbours, the suitability of marriage partners, locating missing persons or things, and exorcism, among othes.
For more information, please refer to Dr. Bibiano Fajardo and Ma. Aleli Pansacola’s book, Hilot: The Science of the Ancient Filipino Healing Arts published by Anvil Publishing, Inc.