Gregory Braveheart is a practitioner of Hawaiian lomilomi massage and holotropic breathwork. He has lived in Santa Barbara for three years and has been in private practice since 2002. I had the opportunity to ask him about his work over coffee at the Java Station.
How would you describe lomilomi and breathwork to a beginner?
Lomilomi is an ancient bodywork rite of passage once practiced by the Kahuna of Hawaii. This profound journey of body and spirit supports the recipient to achieve harmony and health on all levels. Sessions include invocation, body anointment, Hawaiian chanting, and music. Lomilomi is designed to empower one’s intention and bring it into one’s life experience.
Guided breathing techniques are used to super-oxygenate the body and brain, and detoxify and vitalize the cells of the body. Guided breathwork offers a gentle and supportive vehicle to release blocked energies, allowing the recipient to live with greater health and freedom.
What personal struggles or beliefs have led you to this path?
In 1999 I was working full-time as a chef at a retreat center in a huge industrial kitchen. I was working six days a week and there were a lot of very difficult dynamics in the kitchen. I was feeding up to 3,000 people a day and I was one of seven main cooks in this huge center. I basically began to have a break-down in my physical body as well as emotionally, so I began to seek out help. I met a man in the community where I lived in up-state New York who was a renowned healer and Reiki master. He did a form of counseling that was not official psychotherapy but really listening and giving bold and valuable feedback when needed. I was so overworked I was borderline chronic fatigue. I would go into these absolutely clear consciousness states under his guidance… a deep pure awareness [after which] I would always be deeply rejuvenated and I would have to look at how I was living my life. As he helped me help myself, I became clear that it was my path to do the same for others.
What have you learned from your practice?
I think I’ve learned that I can only truly and consistently offer work that is reflective of the level of consciousness that I am operating out of. If I want my art to evolve, I have to evolve, if I want my offering to grow and make a difference, I have to make that difference in my life first.
What does a standard session look like?
Generally, someone comes in for an hour or an hour and a half-long session. It begins with an interview intake where I learn about the individual, what they want, about their body, any injuries, and then it moves into bodywork. The substance of that session is me drawing on 12 years of training and experience to deeply listen to what need their body is telling me in the moment.
What do the Hawaiin Kahunas think about healing?
First of all, the Hawaiins literally have no word for healing. What’s understood is that there is no healing because there’s nothing to be healed. There’s only the present state of experience that’s due to causes in the past, and those causes are addressed. Instead of being tangled in the past and still recreating it, when we get truly present, we free up our energy. This can affect everything in the current day from our relationships to our finances to the state of our body. When we are able to free that energy up, what is there to be healed? I am much more interested in teaching my clients to fish than in feeding them a fish for one day. This is the philosophy of the Kahuna; to balance and correct our understanding.
Talk about some of your teachers.
My first teacher was Mother Nature. I remember as a young man having experiences out in the wild: looking at the stars and the moon and being in the ocean and back-packing. A lot of these were solo experiences. I would have a surge of feeling – like I was remembering myself as something ancient, beyond this personality and this life.
What would you recommend to someone starting along a similar path?
Receive sessions. Don’t just become a consumer, but go deeply after your own healing process and find allies that are many steps ahead of you on the same path who can hold your hand and walk you through your own process.