If we break down the word Ashiatsu we get ashi and atsu. In Japanese ashi translates to foot and atsu to pressure. Ashiatsu Massage is a modality where the Massage Therapist uses their bare feet to give a massage working with gravity delivering a smooth deep pressure with no discomfort. This modality is great for relaxation and therapeutic body work. Ashiatsu is more than just a luxury service it can be added into any maintenance bodywork plan to help chronic pain, injury recovery and improve wellness.
Ashiatsu takes place on a massage table unders sheets used for draping. Massage oil is applied to the client so the massage is fluid, smooth and relaxing. Parallel bars are used above the massage table for balance, support and client safety. It is recommended that clients are 130 lbs or larger but it’s not impossible to work on other sized clients. The therapist can adjust how much body weight is used depending on size of client and preference of pressure. The broader the muscles the more the therapist will use their feet, but on smaller muscles such as those in the hands the therapist may switch to massaging with their hands.
Ashiatsu is not suitable for everyone:
Due to the compressive nature of Ashiatsu barefoot massage, therapists must take extra precaution with certain client conditions. This is just a handful of conditions that would be contraindicated for receiving an ashiatsu massage
Pregnancy or trying to conceive
High blood pressure
Recent injuries or surgeries
Contagious skin disorders
Compromised immune system
Acute liver or kidney disorders
Acute auto immune disorders
Recent surgical implants
History of Barefoot Massage
Barefoot Massage has roots that are thousands of years old. Many cultures not only mention massage, body work but specifically barefoot massage. Some notable cultures that have their specific modality are; India(i.e., Chavutti Thirumal, Marma Kalari), Japan(Shiatsu), Fiji, the Philippines, and the US(Oriental Bar Therapy, Rossiter). The biggest difference between all of these modalities are the ways the therapist balances around the client. At Balanced Therapeutics we use bars above a massage table.
Preparing for an Ashiatsu Session
Many clients forget that the therapist is using their feet during the massage! We take care of our feet so well (maybe even better than our hands). Before each session we wash and sanitize our feet, make sure nails are short and feet are callous free. We use soap and water, disinfectant and alcohol to keep our feet clean. You'll also notice extra towel around the table so when we jump off the table our feet stay clean.