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Massage or commonly known as hilot, hagud, aplos or ablon in the Philippines is perhaps one

of the oldest therapy known to man. Based on the concept of physical and spiritual channels
latent in the human body thus, possible clash between a patients religious beliefs and the
principles or foundation of a particular alternative healing method must be put into consideration
when opting to employ a particular therapy. Defined by American Massage Therapy Association
defines massage as manual soft tissue manipulation that includes holding, causing movement,
and/or applying pressure to the body and a profession in which the practitioner applies manual
techniques, and may apply adjunctive therapies, with the intention of positively affecting the
health and well-being of the client.
Massages are mainly used to promote relaxation, treat painful muscular conditions, and reduce
anxiety. Massage may be utilized as the primary therapeutic intervention or as an adjunct to other
therapeutic techniques. Therapeutic uses include mobilization of intertissue fluids, reduction or
modification of edema, increase of local blood flow, decrease of muscle soreness and stiffness,
moderation of pain, facilitation of relaxation, and prevention or elimination of adhesions.
Psychological benefits of massage therapy include improvements in mood, body image, selfesteem, and perceived levels of anxiety and may be accompanied by decreased tension, anxiety,
and pain.
There are two main categories of massages existWestern and Eastern. Western massage is the
most common type practiced in the U.S. today and includes: 1) effleurage. the focus of pressure is
moved by the hands gliding over the skin, along the length of the muscle; 2) petrissage, soft
tissue is compressed between the hands or between the fingers and thumb, across the width of the
muscle; 3) tapotement, the skin or muscle is impacted by repetitive and compressive blows (i.e.,
hacking); and 4) deep friction massage, shearing stresses are created at tissue interfaces below the
skin. Examples of Eastern massages include Shiatsu, Chi, reflexology, and auriculotherapy.
In the Philippines, hilot is categorized into three main branches of Philippine healing tradition.
Filipino folk healers were generally categorized into three divisionsthe manghihilot (masseurs
and bonesettes), the albolaryo (healing repertoire consists of herb tinctures, prayers and rituals)
and the kumadrona or partera (midwife).
Considered as a gem of Filipino heritage, hilot, with responsible research may be a potential
alternative therapy for Filipinos.

Source: Smith, W.D., & Lal, L.S. (2009). Massage Therapy: Implications for Pharmaceutical
Care. US Pharm, 34(5), Epub.
http://liasuzuki.com/2008/07/15/a-closer-look-at-hilot/