Ashiatsu is a generic name for a type of barefoot massage where the massage therapist uses their feet to provide deep compression, gliding strokes and assisted stretches(ROM). Massage has been around for centuries, but most people think about massage being performed with the hands, not the feet.
Barefoot massage is nothing new.
It has been traced back to thousands of years in many countries and cultures including India(i.e., Chavutti Thirumal, Marma Kalari), Japan(Shiatsu), Fiji, the Philippines and the US(Oriental Bar Therapy, Rossiter) to name a few. A few of the differences between these types of barefoot bodywork are the support and balance methods the therapists use: rope(s) or cable(s) suspended from the ceiling or walls, single or multiple bars mounted to the ceiling, bamboo rod/staff or even chairs.
Delivery of this technique was generally done with the client on the bare floor, or a padded mat, and some still are. But westernized Ashiatsu is performed with the client on a massage table. Another difference is the session may involve the use of therapeutic oils, creme or lotion, or no lubrication if the client remains clothed. Much of the history of Ashiatsu you can find on Google with little effort.
The focus of this blog post is to explain to you what our Ashiatsu looks like here at Bull City Soles, in Durham NC. All of our therapists at Bull City Soles have been trained personally and continually by me, as an instructor for the Durham Center for Barefoot Massage. I have been doing bodywork with my feet for 17 years, seven years longer than with my hands(10 years) for a total of 27 years as a bodyworker! Most massage therapists usually cannot sustain a successful career for that length of time. At least not without hurting their body and then being forced to choose a type of massage that may involve some form of indirect massage or energy work. If you are a massage therapist, read our NC Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage Training blog post What is Ashiatsu Massage.
Other indirect forms of massage can be beneficial if that's the therapist's and client's choice of bodywork. BUT it should be a modality of choice, and NOT because the therapist's body's limitations are dictating that type of work. We practice Ashiatsu because it saves our bodies, and we can give you the pressure you ask for to help treat chronic pain without hurting OUR BODIES in the process.
Providing massage with the feet is very useful, efficient, and it feels incredible!
Most clients don't realize we are using our feet because we're just that good. ;) AND we take care of our feet even better than our hands by keeping the nails short and filed, and the skin smooth and callous-free.
Before we begin your session, we sanitize our feet before stepping up onto the table. We use a yoga strap(or two) hanging from two parallel bars mounted to the ceiling to help with support and balance. Depending on your body type, we may use one or two feet. The larger the client, the more of our natural body weight we can use to deliver the strokes.
An Ashiatsu therapist can safely use their feet on just about anybody, age, or size, as long as they are appropriately trained in contraindications and anatomy.
Depending on the client's needs, we may start the session face up(supine) or face down(prone). The back, hips, and legs are prime real estate for the broad and deep strokes with our feet. When you are supine, we may or may not choose to do part of the massage with our feet. We save our hands for the more intricate parts of the body like the face, front of the neck, and abdomen.
I hope I've explained what Ashiatsu is and what your first experience with Ashiatsu will be like at Bull City Soles. Massage is more than a luxury; it can provide relief from chronic pain, injury, and be a vital part of maintaining health and wellness. Read our blog, 'Massage & Bodywork for Pain Relief' to learn more.
Ashiatsu barefoot massage is our primary modality of choice, and once you try it, we're sure it's going to be yours as well!
So get off your feet, get on our table, and under our highly trained feet for the best massage you'll ever have. But don't take our word for it, just read a few of our testimonies of what our clients have to say! Call 919-477-9887 to schedule your appointment or use our convenient 24-hour online scheduling!