Natural Healing With The Spa Experience

Ashiatsu Massage

ashiatsu massage

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Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage - Full Body Massage Only Using Feet

ashiatsu massage

Are you considering an Ashiatsu massage? Wondering if it’s for you? Or if it’s even safe? And are their any benefits? We will share insights on  the things you need to know about this massage modality.

Our hectic life styles, schedules, and commitments can be very demanding, not just mentally, and emotionally but also physically. As the to-do lists pile on, aches and pains start affecting us and can wreck havoc on our bodies. 

When left unchecked, this can become detrimental to our overall well being.

Unfortunately, not everyone is in tune with their minds and bodies – case in point yours truly. If you also fall into this category, let me give you some tips, to determine whether or not you’ve reached that threshold.

A good gauge you can use is when you find it difficult to concentrate on a task, or your ability to stay focused dwindles on an activity you perform regularly. We all carry tension in different parts of the body. Make a point to pay attention to those muscles and feel which one(s) tend to carry the bulk of that stress.

The next time you go in for a massage, be sure to share this information with your therapist. Although you may think of it as trivial. This insight will be extremely helpful to your RMT and will help them recommend the best treatment(s) for you.

Those of us whom understand and appreciate a proactive approach to managing stress (physical, mental or emotional), commit to regular massages and in fact, look forward to the subtle manipulations of our muscles in the expert hands of a massage therapist.

During your massage the therapist will identify those tense or knocked muscles and manually ease soreness, aches and pains trapped within your muscles. 

The treatment is meant to free up those tight nerves and muscles, allowing you to relax and decompress. It’s no wonder; massages are becoming more and more popular.

However, the hands are not the only tools your therapist can use. Thousands of massage techniques exist today. One of which is growing in popularity – Ashiatsu massage or massage Ashiatsu.

If you’ve heard of it, then you may be wondering how and why it is a popular request amongst massage aficionados . In this article, we hope to help you get a better understanding, and  make an informed decision, should you be considering trying Ashiatsu foot massage.

What is Ashiatsu Massage all About?

Massage Ashiatsu bars

In simple terms, the technique involves a person laying on a mattress or table. While a massage therapist standing over them, uses their feet to apply pressure to the body.

The RMT, is able to apply various levels of compression using their leg muscles, body weight, and as you will see below. Wooden bars running the length of the massage table.

For better results, parallel bars are often secured to the ceiling, providing better stabilization and leverage. These bars also allow more control and much improved leverage.

The ability to push against or pull from the bars really enhances the treatment.

Ashiatsu Foot Massage also called Ashiatsu massage therapy is a deep compression barefoot practice involving the feet and legs.

Not to be confused with a regular foot massage , where your massage therapist works on your feet with their hands. Massage Ashiatsu, on the other hand, focuses on only using the feet to massage your body.

Essentially a trained therapist walks on your body for the deep and broad pressure distribution to release tension and tightness  

In this case, your massage therapist will hold on to parallel bars suspended from the ceiling while walking across your body. The bars provide support, balance, and takes away some of her bodyweight. What you will feel is a consistent deep tissue glide on your body.  

However, some massage therapists also use rope, stools, or benches to balance themselves above you, although bars are preferable. Often lotions, creams, or oils will be applied to your body before commencing the massage to deliver a more satisfying experience.  

Massage Ashiatsu room

A Brief History of Barefoot Massage

The description “Ashiatsu massage” comes from the Japanese, “ashi,” meaning foot and “atsu,” meaning pressure. It is a powerful massage therapy that dates back as far as 3000 years to the southernmost part of Kerala, India. In truth, it’s still in practice there to date.

However, there are diverse schools of barefoot massage found in history across Japan, India, China, Thailand, the Philippines, and other Eastern Countries. It led to different beliefs surrounding its use and techniques.

Therefore, some practitioners work on floor mats; others used supporting props such as chains, ropes, poles, bamboo rods, chairs, and ceiling bars.  

At the onset, most practitioners were more interested in the flow or release of energy than calming aching muscles. Therefore, the early forms of Ashiatsu were more connected to the Zen (connecting to the greater whole) and Chi (energy) aspects and seen as a healing art. These passed on through generations and have become a part of our contemporary society.  

Nevertheless, many spas today might not have the overhead bars. What you might find is the simplified versions using massage tables. Some therapists today equally use the mat on the floor for the client. They now use portable Ashiatsu bars or stool for stability.

The new mobile bars are light and suitable for traveling. At Exige Medi Spa, we do offer ceiling bar ashiatsu massage as our go-to for this massage modality.  

For ropes or bamboo rods or poles, therapists can go to their client’s locations or give the massage effectively, even in situations where installing overhead bars is impossible. Nevertheless, most therapists will always recommend the use of overhead bars above other methods as they provide more balance. However, the results are mostly the same. 

How Does Ashiatsu Therapy Work?

How Ashiatsu massage works

Bare foot massages involve using the meaty part of the foot, which provides for a broader surface to massage with.

The sensation is quite different and you can expect to feel deep and broad compressions throughout your massage. Some people call this sensation, ‘the steamrolling effect”, this is due to the pressure experienced over a much wider surface.

This is in contrast to the much more focused area given by the palm of the hand or the elbow.

The reason behind the use of the feet in massage is deeply rooted in history. The foot can offer tension, force, and wide compressions without causing pain. You get the benefits of affecting a broader area without loosing out on that sought deep pressure.  

This is why some prefer massage Ashiatsu massage with feet to the sometimes, pokey or bony feel of thumbs, elbows, and knuckles.

There are different Ashiatsu techniques. Depending on your preferences, your massage therapist might use the heels, arch, sesamoid, or the whole plantar surface of the foot.  

Please understand that massage with feet Ashiatsu, is not about stepping on people and should not be performed by anyone… Otherwise you run the risk of being injured. Please be careful and always go to a certified massage center!

Your Ashiatsu Therapist has taken the time, dedication, and proper training to learn how to properly apply this technique. As well as how to vary, weight distribution, pressure, leverage as she/he glides their feet over your body.

When done correctly, it looks as though the therapist is dancing on and around the body. This is why Ashiatsu therapy offers “ deep, gliding-assisted compressive strokes ” to your body.  

10 Benefits of Ashiatsu Massage

Better blood flow

Ashiatsu massage therapy is a deep tissue massage so, it does a fantastic job of increasing blood and oxygen flow through the body. In turn, these improved flow of oxygen to different parts of the body will bring all-round healing. That way, the Ashiatsu can bring fast healing to your entire body in just minutes. Furthermore, it gives a deep state of relaxation that lasts for hours.

Straighten your spine

Because it’s all about broad and lengthening movements, the Ashiatsu can soften the musculature and realign the muscles pulling on your skeletal structure. Ashiatsu Massage gives your therapist more opportunity to target specific pressure points and help decompress the spine effectively.

Alleviates bundled nerves

As the pressure is released from the spine, the deep broader strokes along the lumbar region and paraspinal will get rid of muscle spasms. It can also free up the intervertebral foramen where the spinal nerves go through.

It, in turn, means your nerves have improved spaces between them, allowing the free flow of oxygenated blood to affected areas. 

Detoxifies your muscles

Besides improving blood circulation, those Ashiatsu strokes will also enhance your body’s lymphatic systems. These increases the release of metabolic waste at a high rate. Therapists also recommend drinking plenty of water before and after the session to boost this process.

Decreases muscle pain

Many people swear by the boost in their posture and range of motion after only a few treatments. It is because those long Ashiatsu strokes can go more in-depth and stretch muscles effectively.

It will significantly alleviate chronic muscle pain and boost bodily functions. In turn, you will instantly feel less pain and discomfort. On a long-term basis, you will enjoy a higher sense of balance and well-being.

More comfort with higher Intensity

One of the biggest complaints in regular massage is that the therapists don’t go deep enough. These traditional deep tissue sessions often need the fists, elbow, and thumbs to work magic into your muscles.

Movements usually cause a lot of bruising, when therapists go very deep, and discomfort for some time.  But with the Ashiatsu Massage, the foot will feel gentler on the body.

The results after each session are often almost too good to be true.

Sports Massage Therapy

Ashiatsu foot massage is ideal for massaging large muscles. It is perfect for chronic conditions such as back pain, thigh/hip pain, shoulder pain, or scoliosis.

It is ideal for everyone, including all types of athletes, such as runners, cyclists, and cross-fitters.  As an athlete, Ashiatsu massages help treat and prevent injuries.

It also increases range of motion, enables you to recover from injuries faster, and delivers long-lasting results.

Even if you are not an athlete, but involved in jobs that demand much heavy lifting or menial tasks, this massage therapy is highly beneficial.

Improves flexiblity

As the long gravity-assisted strong lengthen your muscle fibers in two different directions, it boosts flexibility. Athletes recovering from overuse injuries, stress, or past injuries will enjoy these benefits.

This is because the Ashiatsu will help improve flexibility around adhesions and scar tissue.

Deep pressure is maintained longer

As a bonus, Ashiatsu Massage Therapy is also beneficial to your therapist. Because they have more ability to give deep tissue massage without their hands, they can avoid injuring or overexerting their hands and arms.

The deep compression also ensures there are no breaks in blood vessels. So, there’s almost no bruising or damage to your superficial tissues. In turn, the Ashiatsu takes it easy on your therapist’s hands and body.

That way, you can both stay healthy while saying goodbye to sore spots.

Enables a deep state of relaxation and wellbeing

There is nothing more amazing than the elating feeling after a good massage session. With Ashiatsu, these feelings are more profound, since you won’t also have soreness to worry about. Ashiatsu has been shown to give a deeper state of relaxation, which is highly necessary for getting rid of stress.

When applied, it enhances the state of nirvana, so you feel a new level of calm. On a general note, massage helps reduce cortisol levels and influences better diastolic blood pressure.

Therefore, there’s much improvement to your heart rate and cortisol levels that benefit your health and wellness.

Is Ashiatsu the same as Shiatsu Massage?

Ashiatsu bare foot massage therapy should never be confused with the shiatsu massage. Shiatsu massage therapy involves the use of “finger pressure“. Where as in Ashiatsu therapy, pressure is provided by the use of the feet!

Shiatsu therapisst use the fingers to apply pressure to specific areas on your body, moving rather quickly from one area to the next while maintaining flow during the transitions.

Both forms of massage therapy share the same history, in that they both focus on the 12 meridians. In doing so, the therapist helps restore and open energy channels.

Massaging with the feet follows a much calmer route which allows you to enter a deep state of relaxation (don’t be suprised if you fall asleep). The technique also reduces chances of experiencing sharp finger force.

Many proponents of Ashiatsu state that treatments bring about an overall deep state of relaxation and tranquility. This is in contrast to shiatsu massage therapy, where this is not typically achievable.

Is Ashiatsu Massage Safe?

The Ashiatsu is perfectly safe for most people. Thanks to the equipment used (bars, oils, and excellent surface), you don’t have to worry about bearing your massage therapist’s weight on your body.

Your therapist is trained to distribute and suspend their weight, to control the amount of pressure being applied. Light pressure can also be achieved with this method.

The feet also allow your therapist to control and provide steady movement, which is different from regular deep tissue massage.

So, Ashiatsu is a lot gentler. In reality, the therapy combines physics and bodyweight to formulate the most profound pressure that can be safely applied.

Who Should not get Ashiatsu massage?

Like everything else, Ashiatsu Massage is unfortunately not for everyone. Your Massage Therapist will be able to gauge whether it is okay for you to use this form of therapeutic treatment.

However, when unsure. Please always check with your family doctor to discuss if Ashiatsu barefoot massage is an option.

The following are specific conditions where Ashiatsu Massage is not recommended

Concluding Thoughts

Ashiatsu focuses on the therapist using their feet to get rid of your deep muscle tensions. It is considered by many less invasive than common deep tissue massage styles and is extremely effective.

There really is nothing quite like that broad, deep, powerful pressure that is achieve from barefoot massages.

It is ideally suited for those who are looking for stronger pressure, over a larger area of the body/muscles. Plus, how cool it is to have a trained therapist hanging on bars while applying the kind of pressure you’ve never been able to experience before.

In the past, due to the additional equipment and setup needed in order to provide the service. Finding Ashiatsu Massage Therapists in clinical or spa settings has proven to be challenging.

Nowadays, thanks to it’s popularity and effectiveness, spas are beginning to adopt this barefoot miracle to meet the needs of clients.

So if you’ve never tried this massage modality before? Take the plunge! And book your Ashiatsu experience Today.

Interested in exploring the therapeutic benefits of Ashiatsu therapy? At EXIGE MEDI SPA, we don’t just promise an exceptional massage but also a wonderful pampering experience! Step into our spa and elevate your wellness.


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