When one hears about Ashiatsu deep tissue massage, for the first TIME it’s easy to get slightly worried and wonder, is it really a spa treatment or is it a workout? Is it going to hurt? Should I give it a try?
Ashiatsu massage is a style of deep tissue massage. This particular type of deep tissue massage is known for the use of barefoot practitioners. Although the word “Ashiatsu” literally translated means foot “ashi”, pressure “atsu” in Japanese, Ashiatsu therapists do also use their hands, elbows, thumbs, and palms when appropriate. Ashiatsu is often referred to as ‘barefoot Shiatsu’. Shiatsu translates to finger “shi”, pressure “atsu”. During a traditional Shiatsu massage, a fully clothed client lies on a mat on the floor. The practitioner applies pressure targeting specific pressure points to support the flow of energy through the meridian systems. Dependent upon the therapist’s preferences and the type of room used, there may be bars or other types of props for extra support.
Developed in 1995 by Colorado massage therapist Ruthie Piper Hardee when she had difficulties helping a larger client, Ashiatsu Bar Therapy is the Western version of traditional Ashiatsu massage. Finding it successful for clients of all shapes and sizes, she has now taught her style of Ashiatsu to thousands of massage therapists across the country.
Holding on to parallel bars attached to the ceiling for stability and balance, therapists utilize their feet, in long compression strokes, to massage muscles and active the energy channels through the entire body. Although some clients might be wary of being “stepped on,” really the practitioner is using the overhead bars to vary the amount of pressure, giving them greater variation and control than they would have with their hands alone. Not only does this gravity-dependent therapy save wear on the practitioner’s hands it allows them to get a deeper more constant pressure. Ashiatsu treatments are a more effective type of deep tissue massage because the pressure is more evenly maintained, which increases circulation and brings about faster healing. Which is why, Ashiatsu is known as, “The deepest most luxurious massage on the planet”.