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Hilot is a Filipino art of healing that emerged from the shamanic traditions of the ancient Filipinos and has been practiced in the islands for centuries. Visitors from around the globe travel to the Philippines to experience some sort of traditional manual medicine. The goal is to relieve the individual of pain and
bring the body back to a harmonious state. Hilot shares similarities with East Indian Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
It is common belief in the islands that healing abilities are passed down through the generations. My maternal “Lolo” or grandfather was a powerful psychic with healing abilities. He named my mother Remedios, which is Spanish for remedies or cures. I can remember from a very early age my mother teaching me some of what she learned from her father and using it on her to ease her aches and pains.
As a musician, I was experiencing quite a bit of pain due to hours of repetitive movement while playing violin, guitar, cello and bass. In addition to hours of playing, we must often haul heavy equipment from place to place. My pain was so bad that I sought out treatment with a Chicago based doctor, Dr. Nick Lorenz. Dr. Lorenz is himself a musician – percussionist – and specialized in naprapathy. I participated in his case study which was geared specifically towards musicians. Dr. Lorenz used several holistic modalities such as cupping and Gua Sha. His treatments were quite effective and dramatically reduced
my pain issues. It also got me thinking about what I had learned from my mother and grandfather and
our own healing methods.
In my search to learn more about my own Filipino healing traditions I met Virgil Apostol several years ago at a Filipino cultural festival in the Los Angeles area. Virgil is also a descendant of several generations of healers on both his maternal and paternal lines, is the author of the book “Way of the Ancient Healer” and is the founder of the Kailukuan School of Indigenous Science. It is there where I obtained my certification in Ablon (Hilot) Seated Therapy in Fall 2022.
At the Kailukuan School I learned how to apply pressure combined with specific manipulative movements on different parts of the upper body. In the course of training and after having experienced the treatments of my fellow students I noticed that I had reduced pain, improved circulation and greater range of motion and the results were similar to what I had experienced with Dr. Lorenz in Chicago. While my treatments are geared towards musicians, hilot can have benefits for anyone that sits for extended periods of time in front of a computer or anyone who plays sports. My treatment
focuses on the various musculoskeletal tensions or imbalances in the neck, head, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. 45 minute sessions of hilot are recommended and can be stand alone or in combination with some sound therapy.
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