Frequently asked questions:
Q: What is the origin of ashiatsu?
A: Ashiatsu is a Japanese word that means “foot pressure”. Ashiatsu has roots in the Far East, utilizing techniques thousands of years old. The specific form of Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy adapts these ancient techniques to provide a deeper and more therapeutic approach suited to meet the needs of our modern culture.
Q: Does this mean you are walking on my back?
A: No, that would not feel good! The ashiatsu technique that we use is better described as a slow gliding over your muscle tissue rather than walking. Ashiatsu utilizes the feet as if they were hands. You can expect long flowing strokes along the muscle fibers, starting at a muscle’s origin point (typically muscle is attached to a bone or tendon) following the entire length of the muscle where it attaches. Feet can cover a larger surface area than hands thereby accessing an entire muscle group at one time. Your muscles are essentially being ironed out. The bars above each of our massage tables are securely fastened to the ceiling, providing the support the practitioner needs to assure a smooth and even pressure.
Q: What are the benefits of having an ashiatsu deep tissue massage as opposed to a regular deep tissue massage?
A: With ashiatsu, the practitioner is able to apply and sustain the smooth and constant deep pressure necessary for muscles to release tension. Rather than having to depend on a therapist’s hand and arm muscle strength, a therapist uses the overhead bars and her own weight to regulate the amount of pressure and angle to the muscles as needed for the condition being treated. This allows the therapist to access a far greater range of pressure than they would have if relying solely on her own brute force to achieve the appropriate depth of pressure for the client’s specific needs. You never have to be concerned about whether or not you will receive the amount of pressure you need to get the therapeutic benefit you are seeking.
Q: Is it possible to receive the same kind of detail work with ashiatsu that you can get in a regular deep tissue massage?
A: Absolutely! The techniques used in an Ashiatsu session exceed the limits of detail work possible in a typical deep tissue massage. Many of the angles accessible using overhead bars and the feet prove quite difficult to achieve with the hands. For example, the top of the shoulders (where 90% of the population tend to store their stress) can be difficult to truly release when standing next to the massage table. With our ashiatsu approach, we are able to use feet and hands and leverage to precisely target and release shoulder pain and tension. Additionally, depending on the detail work needed, the therapist may use her hands and feet at the same time, achieving a pushing and pulling motion which offers a passive stretch encouraging smaller muscles to release. Another example is the use of heel pressure for trigger point work and active release therapy. With the aid of gravity, we are able to apply concentrated pressure to a specific area and effortlessly maintain that pressure as long as it takes for the muscle to release.
Q: Does an ashiatsu session have to be deep tissue?
A: Though we do specialize in therapeutic deep tissue massage, the amount of pressure needed and applied varies from moderate pressure to profoundly deep. The level of pressure is always dependent on the client’s needs and feedback. The depth of pressure is carefully regulated by the practitioner’s use of the overhead bars.
Q: Does ashiatsu hurt?
A: The amount of pressure given during an ashiatsu massage is carefully regulated to meet the specific comfort level of the client. We aim for results, which requires a certain level of intensity. The old saying, “no pain, no gain” certainly applies here. However, we work with our client’s sensitivities to pressure and work to achieve a pressure both therapeutic and comfortable for the recipient.