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Romi Romi, the ancient art of Maori Bodywork.




Romi Romi is the ancestral bodywork system originating from the Maori people of Aotearoa, New Zealand. It is still in common use today in its homeland, and thanks to the kind and generous foresight of some of its practitioners is now spreading, helping people around the world.


The Maori who have been the caretakers of the land and water for generations and have formed an intimate knowledge of the world around them; the way plants work in the ecosystem, the meanings of the songs of the birds, the subtle signs of change and they very much understand their part in the world and universe. Maori understand the world and what it was for those who came before them (told to them through an oral tradition, passed down by tribes and families) and what it could be for those who will arrive after them.


Maori understand the timeline they belong to and their place in it and give thanks to the struggles and efforts of their ancestors. They also understand what most people call 'karma'. They understand it in diffrent ways to how Indians understand Karma, they appreciate how it has been inherited from their tribes, previous deeds and given to them by people. One of the similarities they have with the Indian concept of Karma is how they may be able to release binds from negative past issues. These may hold people back from moving forward in aspects of their life, or may cause bad fortune, or ill health.


Amongst the ways used to heal issues from the past, are types of bodywork (more than just a massage); Romi Romi and Miri Miri (for now, it will be easier to differentiate these two by calling the first a deep and strong bodywork system, whilst Miri Miri is more the gentle, calming and soothing coercion of the mind into creating change, often through talking and/or prayer and song). Through Romi Romi, practitioners will engage and release inherited traumas, often in combination with Miri Miri.





The bodywork sessions will often have three or more practitioners working at the same time. In the same space can be the previous three people who have been worked on, the next three people to be worked on, friends, family, chaparones, children, pets and the odd curious onlooker. This is definitely not the norm for most in the West and definitely can be a strange experience on first arrival. However, during the first visit, it all makes sense and everybody understands and appreciates the supportive environment and community feel they find themselves in.





The Maori know that being in groups and having someone heal you, is not always possible, or even always desirable. They know that people will need to find a way to help themselves and take responsibility for themselves. So, one of the ways that is taught to help ourselves is to use implements to aid the bodywork, tools which will help you gain the leverage required to release the tightness and encourage the release of old injuries and traumas. One of the ways the use of the Raakau, or branch/stick, one of the oldest tools used by human beings.


Raakau can hold much meaning, a deeper meaning and connection to life on Earth and to ancestors. Raakau can be sacred, revered and utilised for many purposes. One way to help heal the human body and mind is to use to learn how to use it on yourself.





Learining to use a Raakau takes patience, percerverance and lot of breathing! It can be deep and physically painful at times, often induces screaming and swearing, as well as a lot of laughter, which now reading back over doesn't sound very appealing, but trust me, it works! :-)


Think of it like giving yourself a Sports Massage, but one you have control over how deep it penetrates into your muscle and how long it lasts. As you can see from the pictures above, a Raakau can be used on your feet, this is one of the first places people learn how to use one, but please don't do this yourself unless someone shows you how, becasue you can easily slip, trip and fall!!! You have been warned!!! Once you learn how to use one, you'll find that if you're being safe and using common sense, you will be able to help most places around your body.


Often it is the tightness of peoples' muscles which store them problems. Tight neck and shoulder muscles are the most common and of course tightness in the back and legs are common place too. Looking at screens, being sat at desks for extended periods, driving long distances and sleeping in awkward positions all contribute to the problems we have with our necks, not to mention everyday stress!



So, can you learn to help yourself with a common stick? Definitely! You need to use common sense, act safely and if in doubt, just stop doing it. Here are few different things you can use:


  • a solid one piece wooden Rolling Pin

  • a piece of dowling

  • a smooth piece of plastic pipe

  • a smooth sanded down stick


Make sure whatever you use, it is smooth. You definitely don't want to use anything that is rough, sharp or likely to shatter or splinter. Choose something strong, reasonably light and also without sharp pointy bits or edges. And of course something that is not going to break if pressure is applied to it, so a solid piece of wood is ideal, which is why I usually recommend using a Rolling Pin, made from just one piece of wood. Most people have one they don't use anymore and they're cheap, they're smooth, wooden and won't bend or break under resonable amounts of pressure.





To learn how to use one on your own neck and shoulders, you just need to know the simplest information on anatomy, you can of course flick through some books or check online to find out more.


You should only massage into muscles. Avoid bones, veins, arteries, joints, growths, broken skin or anything that doesn't feel right, or is too painful. And only apply moderate amounts of pressure. This isn't a competition to see how much pain you can give yourself, or the right time to see what happens if you press, prod or poke something with a Rolling Pin! If you keep sensible, learn what the right pressure is for your body and breathe out as you press, you'll be fine.


Below is a short video on how to apply the Raakau to yourself for neck and shoulder tension. Take your time with it and I'm sure you'll be fine. If you want a full session with me, that can be arranged (once the current situation with Covid-19 is over) and if you'd like to have a session with the Maori Healers on one of their annual visits to the UK, again just let me know and I can help arrange that too.


In the meantime, give this a go, be gentle and learn what works well for your body. Learn the contours of your muscles, feel how to press into your muscles from the best angle, learn the depth you need to press into for the best results and you must work into the muscles with slow pressure. This way you'll learn how to help yourself and give body what it needs, when it needs it.


I hope all goes well if you give this a try and as usual, if you havr any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.






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