Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ashiatsu?
Ashiatsu is a barefoot massage technique using deep strokes from the massage therapists’ feet. It is a western version of an ancient form of bodywork, with roots dating back thousands of years from cultures across Asia, India, Africa and the Pacific Rim.
How does Ashiatsu work?
In an Ashiatsu session with our local massage therapist, the client relaxes on a comfortable massage table while the therapist stands on the table holding onto overhead bars for balance and support, using their feet to deliver the massage. The advantage of this massage — both for the client and the therapist — is that Ashiatsu allows gravity to do the work, leveraging the therapists’ body weight to provide a depth unmatched by other techniques.
What will an Ashiatsu massage feel like?
Ashiatsu offers deep, broad compression without sharp discomfort. Ashiatsu can sometimes feel like a mesmerizing Swedish massage — deep broad pressured flowing strokes — with no pain, but we tend to specifically address the fascia and connective tissue issues surrounding the deepest layers of muscle, joints and bone, so an intensity of pressure and relief of pain is what you can expect from us at Heeling Sole. Feel an awakening of your natural healing potential through true relaxation.
Is Ashiatsu for you?
Clients who have large frames, dense muscle tissue and chronic pain can benefit from this deep tissue massage, famous for back and hip pain relief, and deep relaxation. Sarah is able to perform this deep tissue massage on any client regardless of size. Ashiatsu is particularly popular among athletes, but is not recommended during the 1st trimester of pregnancy, or within 6 weeks of any surgery. Please discuss with your massage therapist any potential health concerns before trying Ashiatsu. Clients who enjoy feather light touch may not enjoy this deep tissue massage. Please check out this page for information on specific conditions NOT recommended for Ashiatsu.
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.
Is Ashiatsu safe to receive?
When this massage provided by a trained and certified ashiatsu therapist and trained by an Authorized Instructor, like Sarah, Ashiatsu is safe, effective and painless, not to mention profoundly relaxing. The amount of pressure is carefully monitored throughout the session, and easily adjusted to a perfect level of deep tissue pressure for the clients comfort. Ashiatsu is not a No Pain, No Gain massage — the safety and well-being of the client is our foremost concern.
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.