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Do you recommend Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage for a person who is older?

Updated: Jun 5

Recently an acquaintance sent a FaceBook message asking this question.

"My mom is 72, has fibromyalgia, and complains of her neck, shoulders, and back hurting.

She has seen your ashiatsu barefoot massage videos on social media, but since she had only received a "regular" massage, she wants to know if ashiatsu was appropriate for her because of her age?"

At Bull City Soles we'll work with just about anyone that walks through our doors as long as you aren't actively sick or contagious! BUT that doesn't mean that we won't limit the type of massage or bodywork treatment you can receive.

We do a thorough health intake and depending on your age, health, and issues that you are experiencing to determine what type of massage and length of session may be appropriate for you.

With that being said, here are just a few contraindications (reasons to withhold or alter treatment) and considerations we have to take into account for older clients, physical issues or the medications they take. Medications that thin blood, control blood pressure, regulate blood sugar(diabetic) have the following issues:

  • more delicate skin that may bruise easily (also caused by drugs)

  • painful joints, weak/frail bones, Osteoporosis

  • inability to lay face down on the table or move easily

Because the therapist uses their body weight to give deep pressure with Ashiatsu, it may not be appropriate for an older client, but it just depends on the individual and the therapist's level of training.

I have a client that is 87, and every two weeks, she comes in for a 30-minute massage or Rolfing session. Her session consists of a few one-footed Ashiatsu compressions along her hips and back. She then turns over, using my handy-dandy ashiatsu straps hanging from my bars ;) and we work on her neck, knees, or whatever is bothering her the most. We've been working together for several years, and she's still very active outside. The slow, broad compression with on her posterior hips helps keep her mobile, and it feels more comfortable to her than my elbows and fists.

Elderly Massage

I had another client that was 92 years old. We started with Ashiatsu on his back and upper shoulders, but he had so much difficulty turning over from his stomach onto his back that we stopped having him turn over during sessions. He would just lie face up and receive work on his neck, shoulders, arms, legs, and feet. Towards the end, he became immobile, and I traveled to his home for our sessions until he passed away that year.

Another consideration for elderly clients is allowing them to remain dressed for their sessions.

Most of the time, it's easier to just work through the clothing, instead of having them undress because elderly massage clients can either get too cold, or it's such an ordeal for them to disrobe and then redress after the session. The broad compression of ashiatsu barefoot massage is excellent for this as long as it's in the appropriate area with a discerning pressure.

While barefoot massage is known for its ability to provide deep pressure, we CAN vary the amount of pressure we deliver. Sometimes a lighter, SUSTAINED broad pressure can just as powerful as giving depth.

Our therapists at Bull City Soles have experience working with clients aging from 13-92, so you are assured that we will always have your safety in mind when working with you.

Sometimes Barefoot Massage may not be the best choice depending on the situation, but that doesn't mean we can't massage the back or shoulder with our feet, and other regions with our hands. Again, it just depends on the circumstance, and we encourage clients to give constructive feedback through the entire process to enhance the outcome of their massage session.

If you are looking to increase mobility, find relief from back pain, joint stiffness, or whatever keeps you from living life to its fullest; massage is an excellent alternative to drugs without all the side effects and complications. Read more in our blog post 'The Benefits of Massage and Bodywork'.


Schedule an appointment online with one of our trained massage therapists at Bull City Soles. We have front desk staff Monday through Friday 9 am-2 pm if you'd rather call 919-477-9887, but online scheduling is faster and more convenient. Be sure to follow Bull City Soles on Instagram or Facebook for last-minute massage availabilities, self-care tips or upcoming events.


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