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Hilot (/HEE-lot/) is an ancient Filipino art of healing. It uses manipulation and massage to achieve the treatment outcome, although techniques differ from one practitioner to another.[1] It emerged out of the shamanic tradition of the ancient Filipinos with healers considering their practice as derived from their calling from visions or from having been born breech.[2]

Hilot could assume supernatural aspects or the philosophy of holism, particularly in cases of practitioners who claim that their ability is given by a supernatural source such as the case of manghihilot who embarks on pilgrimage to a mountain called Banahaw to satisfy the spiritual component of their healing practice.[3]

A manghihilot (Hilot practitioner) and the albularyo (herbalist) are usually cheaper alternatives to medical doctors in the Philippines, especially in very deep rural areas. A Manghihilot employs chiropractic-like manipulation and massage for the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal ailments. They also have been known to reset dislocated and sprained joints such as the knee, ankle, fingers and metacarpal bones. An Albularyo use herbs in addition to massage. The term hilot is also applied to traditional midwives, licensed or otherwise.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oths, Kathryn S.; Hinojosa, Servando Z. (2004). Healing by Hand: Manual Medicine and Bonesetting in Global Perspective. Walnut Creek: Rowman Altamira. p. 141. ISBN 0759103925.
  2. ^ Calvert, Robert Noah (2002). The History of Massage: An Illustrated Survey from Around the World. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. p. 23. ISBN 9780892818815.
  3. ^ Fajardo, Bibiano S.; Pansacola, Ma Aleli V. (2017-11-15). Hilot: The Science of the Ancient Filipino Healing Art. Anvil Publishing, Incorporated. ISBN 9789712728976.

Further reading[edit]

  • Grant, Alan (August 2008), "Taming a Martial Art", Discovery Channel Magazine, pp. 30–33

External links[edit]