Fijian Massage History

Fijian Massage Barefoot Techniques do more than save your hands. Become masters with your feet to give a deeper yet gentle massage.

Lolita Knight has been to Fiji several times in the past 18 years. With a very strong affinity towards the Fijian people she has lived in some of the remote villages on the smaller islands. Lifestyle has been very primitive with 60 homes sharing one communal cold shower with the sky for a ceiling.

She has learned many of the customs of the native Fijians including learning Fijian Massage and natural healing methods.

Simonis Fiji

Fijian Barefoot Massage has been evolving for generations on the Fijian Island of Kadavu. Simonis, the village doctor and Lolita’s teacher, had learned this massage when he was 7 years of age. When any of the villagers have sore or damaged muscles, they would seek out Simonis.
He simply gives of his time without payment to help his friends and neighbors even after he has worked a 12-hour day.

Perhaps this is why such an effective massage technique has been handed down generation to generation to generation in the remote villages in Fiji. The people HAVE TO maintain strong and efficient muscles to survive as their bodies are their source of transport (to walk 5-10 miles daily towork their plantations), work is very labor intensive (including climbing coconut trees) and there is no social welfare for those unable to work. Plus the therapist doesn’t have an “hour” to help people so the method evolved that helped people rapidly.

Simonis had a very rapt student who wanted to learn everything he had to share.

Lolita fell literally at the feet of her new teacher.

Fijian Massage

In Fiji the villagers would lie on the ground or on a Fijian woven mat and Simonis would use mainly his feet, sometimes his hands to release the tension and repair the damaged tissue. Lolita has made many modifications to his technique to make it more comfortable for both the client and the therapist.

Lolita also created a modality that only employs the feet to help save therapists hands from repetitive movement injury.

Once home to New Zealand, Lolita gradually introduced her clients to this new barefoot technique and now over 80% prefer the Fijian Massage to the other deep tissue sport massages offered.

Is This the Same Massage as is Done in Fiji?

Fiji Location

Fiji is comprised of 400 islands and each island has a variety of massage. Some Fijians massage with their hands, some with feet, some not at all and many different styles. Lolita has developed 80% of the current Fijian Massage strokes. Therefore, her method has expanded from what Simonis taught her. For example, Simonis only stood when he did his barefoot massage. Lolita has added sitting in a chair while using her feet. Simonis included his hands when massaging the back. Lolita never employs hands. Simonis’s movements were fast and occasionally painful. Lolita’s strokes are slow with varying pressure to meet each client’s needs and comfort levels.

Why is Fijian Massage So Popular?

Mainly clients want a therapeutic deep massage that is also relaxing. Deep Tissue Massage using elbows is a “sharp” pain. With the Fijian, the main deep work is with the heel of the foot. This deep pressure is softer than an elbow, yet it is a stronger stroke. As a bonus, clients often find that the repair happens much quicker with the Fijian Barefoot Massage.

If you think about it, the foot has stronger bones and the leg muscles are more powerful than the arm.

Try this: rotate the lateral edge of your foot on the floor by raising the inside arch pressing the lateral (pinky toe side) edge of the foot into the floor. Now put your hand on the floor and do the same thing. It is obvious that your foot is much, much stronger than your hand.

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Therapists enjoy employing their foot and leg (and abdomen) as not only does it relax the use of hands, but it also gives legs and abdomen a good workout; therefore adding more balance to a therapist’s own muscular structure.

Personal Note from Lolita

When I reflect, it is amazing that this technique learned quite by accident on a remote island in Fiji,where I learned to accept cold showers, outhouses and no electricity as a pleasant way of life, is being taught all over the world including the 2004 National AMTA Convention in Nashville. I feel forever grateful to the warm and amazing villagers on this remote island of Fiji that shared and taught me a technique that I firmly believe will enhance deep tissue sport massage for both the therapist and client.


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