Ashiatsu massage is a unique technique that uses the feet to apply deep pressure to the body. It is often referred to as barefoot massage and is a descendant of an Ayurvedic practice called Chavutti Thirummal. This ancient practice is deeply rooted in oriental medicine and is used to work deep tissues in areas of chronic pain or muscle tension. A therapist will have the person lie face down on a massage table and use ropes, bars, stools or benches to maintain balance above the client.
The therapist will then use their feet to hit the client's entire body, allowing for long, deep movements on the body. Oils, creams or lotions are often applied prior to the massage to further release tension in the muscles and provide a more satisfying experience. The Ashiatsu technique allows for a freer range of motion and a better posture with more relaxed muscles. It also allows for stronger but still gentle pressure to be applied because the pressure of the massage extends over the feet.
This differs from regular deep tissue massage, which involves intense movements. In reflexology, pressure is applied to specific reflex points on the foot that correspond to organs and areas of the body. This treatment is said to induce a curative response, even alleviating some ailments. Not everyone should try Ashiatsu massage because of the extra weight and pressure applied to the body with this deep-tissue foot technique.
However, it can be beneficial for those who are looking for an alternative hands-saving modality that improves and facilitates the main goals of massage therapy. Deep tissue massages, such as ashiatsu, manipulate the circulatory system and increase blood flow and therefore oxygen flow to promote healing throughout the body. As a masseuse for over two decades, I have seen firsthand how Ashiatsu massage can help clients more efficiently while also easing the workload on the therapist's body. Spas across the country offer this barefoot miracle, so if you're looking for an alternative form of massage therapy, consider giving Ashiatsu a try.