Hilot aka manghihilot

A Traditional Healing Art of the Philippines

Hilot, the ancient art of Filipino healing, weaves a tapestry of holistic wellness, blending touch, and intuition to restore harmony within.


The Philippines is a land of diverse cultures, traditions, and practices. Among these is the ancient healing art of “Hilot,” a holistic approach to wellness that has been passed down through generations. Hilot, also known as “Filipino traditional massage,” encompasses not only physical healing but also spiritual and emotional well-being.

In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of Hilot and explore its history, techniques, and enduring significance in the Filipino culture.

1. Origins and History of Hilot:

Hilot traces its roots back to pre-colonial times when indigenous healers, known as “manghihilot,” practiced their healing arts using ancient techniques and herbal remedies. These healers were highly respected members of the community and possessed a deep understanding of the body’s energy flow and the interplay between physical, mental, and spiritual health.

2. Principles and Techniques of Hilot:

At its core, Hilot operates on the belief that the body has an innate ability to heal itself. It follows the principle that the body’s energy, known as “life force” or “lambat,” must flow freely for optimal health. Hilot practitioners utilize a combination of techniques, such as manual manipulation, herbal remedies, and energy balancing, to restore harmony and balance within the body.

3. Hilot as a Holistic Healing Modality:

Unlike conventional massage practices, Hilot encompasses more than just the physical aspect of healing. It recognizes the interconnection between the body, mind, and spirit. Practitioners often incorporate elements of prayer, intuition, and spirituality into their sessions, aiming to address not only physical ailments but also emotional and spiritual imbalances.

4. Traditional Hilot Techniques and Modalities:

Hilot employs a wide array of techniques, each tailored to specific ailments or conditions. These may include “hagod” (gentle strokes), “pindot” (finger pressure), “hilod” (deep tissue kneading), “suob” (steam therapy), and the application of traditional herbal medicines. These techniques work in synergy to relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being.

5. The Role of Hilot in Filipino Culture:

Hilot holds a significant place in Filipino culture, serving as a source of pride and a symbol of the nation’s indigenous heritage. It embodies the deep connection Filipinos have with nature and their strong belief in the interconnectedness of all living things. Hilot is often passed down through generations within families or taught by master healers, preserving its traditions and ensuring its continuity.

6. Hilot in Modern Times:

While the Philippines has seen significant advancements in modern medicine, Hilot continues to thrive as a complementary and alternative healing practice. Many Filipinos still turn to Hilot for a range of health concerns, both physical and emotional. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Hilot, with efforts to promote its recognition as a valuable traditional healing modality.


Hilot stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage and wisdom of the Filipino people. Its holistic approach to healing, encompassing the physical, mental, and spiritual realms, sets it apart as a unique and deeply rooted tradition. As Filipinos continue to honor and embrace their cultural practices, Hilot remains an essential part of their identity, offering a harmonious blend of tradition and wellness for generations to come. 

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Published by Sharmaine Nicole Pasion

Sharmaine Nicole Pasion, the founder of Reiki with Pasion in Newport Beach, CA, is a holistic healer who specializes Reiki energy healing. Sharmaine’s holistic approach to healing focuses on energy balance and promoting well-being in mind, body, and spirit. She is a certified Reiki Master Teacher in Usui and Tibetan Reiki and a 200-hour Certified Yoga Teacher. Connect at ReikiwithPasion.com

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