Lakes Area Wellness Center (formerly Perfect Touch Massage)
Alternative Health Care - Body Mind and Spirit
Ashiatsu Massage Info and FAQ

What is Ashiatsu?

Ashiatsu is a Japanese term for “Foot Pressure”.

During an ashiatsu massage, the massage professional uses their feet to deliver a smooth, therapeutic massage experience.

Ashiatsu is derived from Eastern forms of barefoot massage, but has been adapted to imitate Western forms of massage (Swedish, Deep Tissue) and accommodate mainstream massage goers. Ashiatsu combines elements of Thai Massage, Shiatsu (Japan), and Keralite/Chavutti Thirummal massage (India), but with a Modern, American touch.

What to Expect

Ashiatsu is like most other massages you have received. Other Eastern forms of massage are performed on a floor mat while the client remains fully-clothed.

Ashiatsu, on the other hand, is performed on a standard massage table. Clients undress to their comfort level and are covered/draped with a sheet throughout the massage.

Before the massage, the massage professional will warm, cleanse, and sanitize their feet.

Overhead bars on the ceiling allow the massage therapist to maintain balance while standing on the table and also regulate pressure during the massage.

Ashiatsu is great for those who enjoy deep pressure, but it can range from light to deep, according to the client’s preference for pressure. Pressure is consistent and smooth.

Benefits

The benefits of ashiatsu are the same as other massage techniques, such as Swedish and deep tissue massage. Massage therapy has been shown in research studies to reduce stress and pain.

Ashiatsu allows the massage professional to use consistent pressure, compression, and gravity. Clients feel stretched, relaxed, with less pain and dreaming about their next appointment.

As with any massage, certain contraindications (times when you should not get a massage) exist. Discuss any health care issues, health changes, or medications with your massage professional.

There are benefits for the massage professional, too. Ashiatsu can help the massage professional reduce repetitive hand and wrist movements and injuries.

But what massage practitioners enjoy most about practicing ashiatsu are the results they see in their clients (pain and stress relief). Results they have not seen from traditional massage techniques. This is what makes ashiatsu really great.

Most ashiatsu practitioners agree that clients who try ashiatsu have a hard time going back to a “regular” hands-on massage. These ashiatsu enthusiasts have led to increased public interest and demand for barefoot massage.

There is just something about ashiatsu that clients and practitioners cannot put their finger on; something that keeps clients coming back for more, and leaving a traditional massage behind.

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Published with permission from Advanced Massage Techniques.

 

Ashiatsu FAQ

 

What does “ashiatsu” mean?

Ashiatsu is Japanese for “foot pressure”.

Ashi = foot

-atsu = pressure

*Shiatsu is broken down to: shi = finger and -atsu = pressure

What is ashiatsu?

During an ashiatsu massage, a practitioner skillfully uses their feet in lieu of their hands to apply pressure. With the exception of the abdomen, face and scalp, an ashiatsu massage is completed using the massage practitioner’s feet.

Before the massage, the therapist will warm, cleanse, and sanitize their feet.

Ashiatsu is performed on a standard massage table. Clients undress to their comfort level and are covered/draped with a sheet throughout the massage. Overhead bars on the ceiling allow the practitioner to regulate pressure during the massage and also maintain balance while standing on the table.

Ashiatsu uses long gliding strokes associated with Western or Swedish massage, as well as aspects of the ancient Eastern techniques and philosophies of Shiatsu and Ayurveda. Thai techniques, stretches, and compression may also be used.

Where did ashiatsu come from?

Ashiatsu is derived from Eastern forms of massage, but has been adapted to imitate the Western forms of massage (Swedish, Deep Tissue) most Americans are familiar with receiving.

Ashiatsu combines elements of Thai Massage, Shiatsu (Japan), and Keralite/Chavutti Thirummal massage (India), but with a modern touch.

What are the benefits of ashiatsu?

The benefits of ashiatsu are the same as most other massage techniques. Massage has been shown in multiple studies to reduce stress and provide pain relief.

Ashiatsu allows the massage professional to use consistent pressure, compression, and gravity to their advantage. Ashiatsu is great for those who enjoy deep pressure, but pressure can range from light to deep, according to the client’s preference. Clients feel stretched, relaxed, with less pain and dreaming about their next appointment.

There are also benefits for the massage professional. Ashiatsu can help the therapist reduce repetitive hand and wrist movements and injuries.

But what massage practitioners enjoy most about practicing ashiatsu are the results they see in their clients (pain and stress relief). Results they have not seen from traditional massage techniques. This is what makes ashiatsu really great.

I do not like deep tissue massage; why should I try ashiatsu?

It is common for people to assume that ashiatsu is synonymous with deep tissue massage. However, ashiatsu can range from light to very deep pressure. The amount of pressure given will be tailored to the client’s preference. The overhead bars are there to help the massage professional regulate pressure, deep or light.

For clients who desire deep pressure, ashiatsu will help them finally receive the pressure they desire throughout the massage.

Who should not try ashiatsu?

Ashiatsu is not for everyone. As with any massage, certain contraindications exist. Inform your massage professional about any health conditions or medications prior to your massage session.

Does ashiatsu hurt?

No. You should never be uncomfortable during a massage. If you feel discomfort during a massage (ashiatsu or not), speak up. A massage professional needs, and wants, to know.

People who desire deep tissue massage often report less pain from ashiatsu. This is attributed to the increased (broad) surface area of the foot. Pressure from the foot or heel is distributed over a larger area, therefore the pain is less intense than pressure applied from the thumb or elbow.

Do you walk on the back?

No. Most practitioners keep one foot on the massage table and the other is used to massage the client. Just imagine a traditional massage session, but instead you are trading the massage professional’s hands for their feet.

What are the bars on the ceiling all about?

The bars above the massage table are used to help the practitioner maintain balance. They help insure smooth and consistent pressure during the massage. They are not to hang and swing on.

Can you still work on specific areas of pain and discomfort?

You should expect the same amount of specific, detailed work you would receive during a traditional or deep tissue massage. An ashiatsu massage is still tailored to meet each individual client’s needs. Need extra time on your shoulders, low back, or legs? That can be done.

The feet, really?

Before every massage, practitioners wash their hands. Ashiatsu is no different. Before every massage, the feet are cleaned and sanitized. Ashiatsu practitioners take great care at work and home to help maintain soft, clean feet.

If you think about it, your feet are more hygienic than your hands. Hands touch a lot of things in a day. After an ashiatsu massage, you may agree that the feet were designed to massage.

Published with permission from Advanced Massage Techniques.

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
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