If you’re looking for a unique and effective massage technique, then Ashiatsu Massage might be just what you need. This form of therapy is gaining popularity in the wellness world as it provides deep tissue work while utilizing the therapist’s feet instead of their hands.
Ashiatsu Massage is performed on a massage table with the recipient lying face down. The therapist uses bars above the table to balance themselves while they use their feet to apply different amounts of pressure to your body’s muscles, depending on your needs.
Because the therapist can distribute their weight more effectively, this form of massage allows for deeper pressure penetration than traditional massages, without causing discomfort or pain.
“The benefits of Ashiatsu Massage are numerous, including relief from chronic back pain, improved flexibility, relaxation, reduced stress and anxiety, better sleep quality, improved circulation, and lymphatic drainage.”
This unique practice is beloved by many, not only because of its effectiveness but also because of the incredible experience that accompanies it. If you want to discover the benefits of Ashiatsu Massage and rejuvenate your mind and body, then book your appointment today!
Origin And History Of Ashiatsu Massage
Japanese Roots of Ashiatsu Massage
Ashiatsu massage is a unique form of bodywork that originated in Japan. The word “ashiatsu” comes from two Japanese words: “ashi,” meaning foot, and “atsu,” meaning pressure.
Historical records indicate that ashiatsu has been practiced for over 2000 years as a traditional healing therapy in Japan. It was commonly used by monks and Samurai warriors to treat injuries, improve circulation, and promote relaxation.
Ancient Forms of Barefoot Massage
Ashiatsu massage is not the only ancient technique in which practitioners use their feet to apply pressure to the body. Various forms of barefoot massage have been around for centuries in different cultures around the world.
In India, for example, Chavutti Thirummal is a form of barefoot massage that involves using one’s feet to apply forceful strokes to the muscles. In Hawaii, Lomi Lomi Nui is another type of barefoot massage that incorporates long flowing strokes using the therapist’s feet and hands.
Introduction of Ashiatsu to the West
It wasn’t until the late 1990s that ashiatsu began to gain popularity in the United States and other Western countries. Ruthie Hardee, founder of DeepFeet Bar Therapy, is credited with bringing this technique to the West.
“Our bodies ache because we do too much work with our hands. If you can take those specific techniques where you’re standing on someone and applying deep pressure, it just exponentially saves your body.” -Ruthie Hardee
Since its introduction in the West, various versions of ashiatsu have emerged, with different practitioners putting their own spin on the technique.
Modern Developments in Ashiatsu Techniques
Today, there are several variations of ashiatsu massage, each with its unique set of techniques and approaches. For example:
- Classic Ashiatsu: This is the traditional form of ashiatsu that involves using the therapist’s feet to apply deep pressure to the client’s body while holding onto bars for support.
- Ashi-Thai: A combination of ashiatsu and Thai massage, this style involves applying pressure using the feet and hands while stretching the client’s body into yoga-like positions.
- Bamboo-Fusion Ashiatsu: In this technique, bamboo sticks are used to apply pressure to specific areas of the body, combined with the use of the therapist’s feet.
As technology advances, even more modern developments have arisen. Some therapists incorporate additional tools, such as ropes or suspension systems, to enhance the experience and increase their range of motion during a session.
How Does Ashiatsu Massage Work?
Ashiatsu massage is a type of deep tissue massage that involves the use of feet instead of hands. The therapist stands on a treatment table using bars overhead for balance and support, while applying weight and pressure to the client’s body with their bare feet.
Gravity-Assisted Deep Tissue Massage
The weight and controlled pressure from the therapist’s feet allows for deeper penetration into muscle tissue, promoting relaxation, reducing tension, and increasing flexibility. This modality can provide longer-lasting relief from chronic pain and assist in recovery from injury or exercise-related fatigue.
“Ashiatsu therapy provides sensory stimulation and stimulates nerve impulses in the affected areas allowing for specific muscles to relax as it reduces overall tension.” -The NCBTMB
This technique also offers an extended reach beyond typical techniques used by hand, like knuckles and elbows, which helps target knots and tense areas more thoroughly.
Barefoot Techniques and Foot Placement
A skilled practitioner understands foot placement and uses various parts of their foot, including the heel, sole, toes, and ball, to apply different levels of pressure on varying areas of the client’s body. Because this technique spreads the applied pressure over a larger surface area than most manual styles, clients report that it doesn’t ache as frequently like some traditional massages may do.
“A trained therapist knows the precise angle to put their heal, arch or toes to work through the layers of soft tissue effectively, without causing discomfort to their client.” -MassageMag.com
Additionally, therapists who specialize in this modality regularly maintain clean feet and soft skin so they are able to glide smoothly across the clients’ body, resulting in a seamless and comfortable experience. With not wearing shoes while performing ashiatsu, additives like oils and creams aren’t necessary.
Use of Bars and Straps for Support and Balance
To provide even deeper pressure as well as use specialized foot techniques along the spine or large muscle groups, therapists rely on sturdy overhead support. Sturdy bars, connected by straps to the ceiling, gives them a structure that can balance them and also hold their weight when required.
“If performed correctly, clients will feel firm, but with less pain during treatment compared to some hands-on modalities.” -Natural Healers
Safety is essential while performing this type of massage since practitioners depend on these tools as much as technique. An experienced ashiatsu therapist provides regular maintenance checks to ensure equipment stability and updated knowledge in regards balancing protocols. According to experts, balanced bodywork allows therapists to work through applying broadened strokes & deep-tissue compression easily and without fatigue.
“An effective therapy requires both experience with big leverage movements but also a concise understanding of human anatomy and physiology.” -Michael Wolford, founder of Ashiatsu DeepFeet Bar Therapy®
Ashiatsu massage isn’t suitable for everyone, especially those who require lighter touch. However, others see it becoming one of the most preferred methods due to its effectiveness with working out difficult knots. Based from surveys conducted in different areas, people enjoying getting an ashiatsu are high amongst headache sufferers and athletes looking to improve their overall performance (Tewson SW). If you’re considering giving it a try, search out qualified practitioners familiar with bar therapy or better yet, who have been trained extensively under accredited programs. Always inquire about how comfortable they are with identifying problems before scheduling your first session!
What Are The Benefits Of Ashiatsu Massage?
Increased Range of Motion and Flexibility
Ashiatsu massage is a form of bodywork that utilizes the feet instead of the hands for deep, relaxing pressure. This unique technique can provide numerous benefits to the body, including increased range of motion and flexibility.
During an ashiatsu massage session, your therapist will use their feet to deliver long, smooth strokes along your muscles, employing different parts of their soles or heels to target specific areas that may be tight or knotted up. The broad coverage that ashiatsu offers means that it’s especially effective at releasing tension in large muscle groups like those found in the back, legs, and glutes.
The result? Improved mobility and flexibility. When your muscles are flexible and supple, you’re less likely to experience strains, pulls, and other common issues that can arise due to stiffness or overuse.
Relief from Chronic Pain and Tension
Ashiatsu massage has also been shown to effectively relieve chronic pain and tension. By applying pressure with their feet, therapists are able to penetrate deeper layers of tissue than they would with traditional hand-based techniques, providing clients with welcome relief from stubborn knots and entrenched stress.
In addition to alleviating physical symptoms, ashiatsu massage can also help address emotional stress. Many individuals find that this type of bodywork provides a deeply calming and grounding sensation, allowing them to let go of worry, anxiety, and mental fatigue.
“While receiving Ashiatsu massages, I feel relaxed and free from the aches and pains that had become regular visitors in my daily interactions prior to having discovered this treatment.” – Christine C., Yelp Reviewer
Improved Circulation and Lymphatic Drainage
Finally, ashiatsu massage can help improve circulation and lymphatic drainage. By stimulating blood flow to the tissues, this technique can promote healing and recovery by delivering vital nutrients and oxygen where they’re needed most.
The process of ashiatsu massage also stimulates the lymphatic system, which is responsible for clearing away waste products and harmful toxins from the body. This means that clients who receive regular treatments may experience reduced inflammation, faster healing times, and a clearer, brighter complexion over time.
“I have struggled with lymphedema in my legs for years but ever since I started getting Ashiatsu massages regularly, it has helped tremendously with my swelling and discomfort.” – Sarah T., Yelp Reviewer
If you’re interested in experiencing the unique benefits of ashiatsu massage for yourself, be sure to seek out a licensed professional who specializes in this form of bodywork. With their skillful use of feet and heels, you’ll likely find yourself feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and balanced from head to toe in no time at all!
Is Ashiatsu Massage Right For You?
Ashiatsu is a massage therapy that originated in Asia and involves a therapist using their feet to apply pressure to the client’s body. It has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its unique approach and numerous benefits. However, it may not be the right choice for everyone. In this article, we will discuss precautions and contraindications, types of clients who may benefit from ashiatsu, qualifications and training for practitioners, and how to choose a certified ashiatsu massage therapist.
Precautions and Contraindications
While ashiatsu can offer many advantages over traditional massage techniques, there are some situations where it may not be suitable. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), there are several precautions and contraindications to keep in mind:
- Recent surgeries or injuries, especially those involving bones or joints
- Certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis or arthritis
- Blood clots or varicose veins
- Open wounds or infections on the skin
- The use of certain medications
“It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before receiving an ashiatsu massage,” says Jessica Albers, President of AMTA. “They can help determine if it is safe for you based on your individual health status.”
Types of Clients Who May Benefit from Ashiatsu
Despite the mentioned restrictions, there are still plenty of people who could potentially benefit from an ashiatsu massage. For instance, athletes who engage in high-impact sports or have tight muscles may find deep tissue work particularly beneficial. Additionally, individuals seeking stress relief or those who suffer from chronic pain may also find ashiatsu to be helpful. It is important to discuss your goals with your massage therapist to ensure they use the appropriate techniques and pressure throughout the session.
Qualifications and Training for Ashiatsu Practitioners
Ashiatsu requires specialized training to learn the proper foot mechanics and pressure application required for effective and safe treatment. In addition, a practitioner must have significant knowledge of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and pathology. Prior massage experience is also typically necessary. Look for therapists who have completed substantial coursework in ashiatsu and hold certifications demonstrating their expertise.
“When seeking an ashiatsu practitioner, you should look for someone who has taken at least 100 hours of training and is certified by a reputable organization,” suggests Julie Onofrio, an experienced massage therapist and author of The Ultimate Deep Tissue Guidebook. “This ensures that they are adequately trained in aspects such as body mechanics, ethics, safety, contraindications, client assessment, and more.”
Choosing a Certified Ashiatsu Massage Therapist
If you decide ashiatsu therapy is right for you, it’s essential to select a qualified and certified therapist. To help get started:
- Ask friends or family members who have received ashiatsu if they can recommend anyone
- Research local practitioners on sites like Yelp or Google reviews
- Contact professional organizations like AMTA or Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) for a list of certified practitioners in your area
“It never hurts to ask potential therapists about their qualifications and how long they have been practicing ashiatsu,” says Onofrio. “Therapists understand that clients have different preferences when it comes to style and pressure, so it is important to feel comfortable with your practitioner and their abilities.”
Ashiatsu massage can be an excellent choice for those looking for a unique and effective therapy. However, it’s crucial to understand any restrictions or contraindications before you seek treatment. Choosing a highly trained and certified therapist who understands your goals is also essential in having the best possible experience.
What To Expect During An Ashiatsu Massage Session?
Initial Consultation and Assessment
Ashiatsu massage is a unique practice that involves the therapist using their feet to apply pressure and manipulate muscles. Before any treatment begins, you’ll have an initial consultation with your therapist. The consultation involves discussing your medical history, current physical condition, and any specific issues or concerns you may have. This information helps the therapist provide personalized care tailored to meet your needs.
During the assessment part of the session, the therapist will take a closer look at areas where you experience pain or discomfort. Depending on what they find, they may decide to incorporate techniques from other modalities in addition to ashiatsu to optimize your results.
Preparation and Positioning on the Massage Table
The next step involves getting onto the massage table and preparing yourself for the treatment. Since this type of massage requires direct contact between the therapist’s feet and your body, there are certain things you’ll need to do to ensure optimal positioning.
The therapist will show you how to place your body correctly on the table face-down, so they can walk freely over your back without putting unnecessary strain on your joints. Your arms should be loosely positioned at your sides, and your head resting comfortably on the pillow provided by the therapist.
Ashiatsu Techniques and Pressure Intensity
Once you’re comfortable and properly positioned, the ashiatsu massage treatment will begin. The therapist uses bars strategically installed above the massage table to stabilize themselves while they use their feet to deliver sustained deep compression strokes along your spine.
In some cases, they may also use their feet to work deeper into other areas like your hips, glutes, shoulders, and legs. Depending on your preference, the therapist can apply either moderate or deep pressure.
Throughout the session, you’ll experience slow and deep strokes combined with light stretching to release any tightness in your muscles. The sustained pressure produced by the therapist’s feet allows for deeper muscle penetration while avoiding the sharp discomfort sometimes caused by more traditional massage techniques.
“Many types of massage have been studied for various types of pain including back pain, neck pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and headaches. Some studies suggest that once-weekly massages may decrease cortisol levels (a stress hormone) by 31% and increase serotonin content (a brain chemical responsible for positive emotions such as happiness and well-being) in adults.” -Providence
The benefits of Ashiatsu are wide-ranging. Not only will you feel invigorated after your treatment, you may also experience long-term benefits like improved physical function, better range of motion, and increased flexibility. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to tackle whatever life throws your way!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the history of Ashiatsu Massage?
Ashiatsu Massage originates from the Japanese word “ashi” meaning foot and “atsu” meaning pressure. This technique was first practiced in Asia over 3,000 years ago. It became popular in the United States in the 1990s and has since evolved into a popular massage therapy technique.
How is Ashiatsu Massage performed?
Ashiatsu Massage is performed with the therapist using their feet to apply deep pressure to the client’s muscles. The therapist holds onto overhead bars to help balance and control the pressure applied. The therapist may use one or both feet to perform the massage, depending on the client’s needs and preferences.
What are the benefits of Ashiatsu Massage?
Ashiatsu Massage can help relieve pain and tension in the muscles, improve circulation, and promote relaxation. It is also effective in treating chronic pain, injury, and postural imbalances. This technique can be customized to fit the client’s specific needs and preferences, making it a versatile and effective massage therapy option.
Is Ashiatsu Massage safe?
Ashiatsu Massage is generally safe for most people. However, it is not recommended for those with certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, varicose veins, or osteoporosis. It is important to discuss any medical concerns with your massage therapist before trying Ashiatsu Massage.
What should I expect during an Ashiatsu Massage session?
During an Ashiatsu Massage session, the client will lie on a massage table while the therapist uses their feet to apply deep pressure to the muscles. The therapist may use oil or lotion to help glide across the skin. The client may feel a deep pressure and stretching sensation during the massage.
Who should consider trying Ashiatsu Massage?
Ashiatsu Massage is a good option for those who enjoy deep tissue massage and are looking for a new massage experience. It is also effective for those with chronic pain, injury, or postural imbalances. However, it is not recommended for those with certain medical conditions. It is important to discuss any medical concerns with your massage therapist before trying Ashiatsu Massage.