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Hilot is an ancient Filipino healing art. It is known as the Philippine’s brand of touch therapy. There are several varieties of this kind of alternative medicine massage. It has been a useful way of treating illnesses from flu to sprains and even bone dislocations. It is embedded in the Filipino culture and is still into practice as an alternative medicine massage.



The principles of hilot have been practiced in the Philippines for centuries, dating back to an era that predates the country’s written history. Since there is no history of this art, numerous new generation Hilot masters failed to document the origins, dates, facts, where the arts originated and who developed these effective and intriguing healing art. There is no doubt that Hilot was practiced in the Philippines to varying degrees or levels, nationwide.

Although hilot is indigenously Filipino, it has traces of influence from the great medical traditions, that is, traditional Chinese medicine, India’s Ayur-Veda, and the Yunani-Tibb medical traditions of Persia and Greece.

What is Hilot ?

Hilot, This age old indigenous filipino massage and healing practice is a combination of different healing modalitites, that bring about changes in the body.

It is a 3000 years old art of healing, and a part of the filipino culture and tradition that predates the coming of the spaniards and handed down from generation to generation.

Hilot as a healing methodology is being practiced all over the country as an alternative and cheaper means for medical health care in the Philippines.

However in a varying degree of variation and modification, adapting to the location “ regions” , tradition, culture and needs of the users.

Hilot is a philosopy and a culture unlike the other types of massages it not only relieves stress but also has “a rejuvenating , healing effect” on the patient or client. a good Hilot practitioner would know the type of ailments his client is suffering from just by looking at him and sensing his energy.

What is ManghiHilot ?

Manghihilot is the person that applies the healing processes. To the folks particularly in the remote areas , the manghihilot is their healer, the one that sets the dislocated bone or torn ligaments, the one who corrects the flow of electricity and enhancethe electromagnetic flow in their body. The Manghihilot considers illnesses are caused by disharmony of the human faculties , (mind , emotion, spirit and body ) and the misbalances in the elements ( fire , water, earth and air ) of the body. The Manghihilot considers healing as the bringing back the disharmony of the faculties of man and balance of the elements of the body.

Gerry Sy , NHP, DMT,

Tesda Assesor and Trainor for Hilot NCII , Chairman of ATHAG

HILOT training Inc.

for Hilot Healing visit our website http://www.shuihilotspa.com

for questions and inquiry pls call us up at (02) 6649369


A typical manghihilot

Like other systems of natural health care, the basic concept of traditional Filipino healing is that health and wellness are maintained by balance and harmony. On the other hand, discomfort, illness, and disease are the results of imbalance and disharmony. In applying hilot, the therapist identifies areas of energy imbalance in a client’s body through touch diagnosis. From here, the therapist proceeds to customize the treatment to remove or alleviate such imbalances.

At the beginning of the session (pre-hilot ritual) the manghihilot invokes Divine power to provide the energy for healing. This opening ritual also acknowledges and invokes the natural power of the natural surroundings. Then it summons the sick person’s inherent self-healing powers to action.

Coconut oil is essential in all kinds of hilot massage to maintain warm hands. The oil does not only lubricate the massage but it also keeps the manghihilot's hands warm.

After a hilot session, the person is usually warned not to bathe for approximately twenty four hours so the oils can absorb into the skin.


In rural areas, a hilot ambiguously refers to both the midwife (magpapaanak) and the chiropractic practitioner (manghihilot, masahe). It has deep roots in the Philippines’ rural areas where its practitioners--Philippine versions of shamans and medicine men--used this deep-soothing massage as an inexpensive alternative to medicine.

They were revered as healers and communities turned to them for relief from all ailments, minor or life-threatening. Despite the omnipresence of modern technology. The hilot is just one of the various folk doctors (albularyo) in the community which include the herbalist, the bonesetter, the obstetrician , the snake- or animal-bite curers and shamans or spiritual healers. All of these practices have common roots with other healing arts in southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and other outlying islands.

Diagnostic procedure

  • Panghihila - is one way of determining the presence or site of malady. After gently massaging coconut oil over the areas of concern, the "panghihila" is performed using a mirror, a strip of cigarette cellophane paper, or a stip of banana frond. Any of these is passed over the body areas. If the material, instead of being pulled smoothly, sticks to a specific spot, this is presumed to be an area of malady.
  • Bintusa - is a form of massage therapy used for a variety of musculoligamentous complaints (back pain and muscle strains) that is often attributed to "too much air" or "bad air" (masamang hangin).

A drinking glass is placed upside-down over this lighted wick and pressed firmly onto the skin. As the light extinguishes, a vacuum is produced, the skin and soft tissues inside the glass are drawn upward. The glass is then slid over the involved area producing a cooling and massaging effect.

Variations of the word Hilot

There are many words used to refer to the healer(or Hilot). From the Tagalog region there is "Hilot," "Manghihilot," "Hagod," "Manghahagod," "Haplos," "Albolaryo," and "Mangagamot." Also there is "Aplos" in Bontoc region, "Unar" in the Kalinga, Apayao region, "Aptus" in the Ibatan region, "Ilot" or "Ilut" in the Ibanag, Isneg, Ilocano, Itawis, Zambal and Pampango region. Then there is "Ablon" in the Northern Ilocano region, "Kemkem" in Pangasinan region, "Elot" in the Ilonggo region, "Agud" or "Agod" in the Mindanao and Maranao region, and "Hagod" in Bukidnon region.




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