frequently asked questions
what is the origin of ashiatsu?
Ashiatsu is a Japanese word that means “foot pressure”. Ashiatsu has roots in the Far East, utilizing techniques thousands of years old. Basic approaches to ashiatsu are now practiced around the world.
After receiving general ashiatsu training at Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, we went on to develop our own unique approach to deep tissue massage using feet instead of hands. We call this style Ashiatsu Therapeutic Massage. Our method incorporates a variety of therapeutic massage techniques such as deep tissue, trigger point, active release, and myofascial release therapies. Each session is tailored to meet each client's concerns and goals.
does this mean you are walking on my back?
Not Exactly. The therapeutic ashiatsu technique that we use is better described as a slow gliding over your muscle tissue. You can expect long flowing strokes along the muscle fibers following the entire length of the muscle. The broad pressure of the feet can cover a larger surface area than a pair of 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.
what are the benefits of having an ashiatsu deep tissue massage as opposed to a regular deep tissue massage?
With Ashiatsu Therapeutic Massage, 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 and depth of pressure, as well as the angle to the muscles, allowing the therapist to work across a far greater range of pressure than other forms of massage. All of this gives the therapist more opportunities to treat the condition causing pain and 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.
is it possible to receive the same kind of detail work with ashiatsu that you can get in a regular deep tissue massage?
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 or forearms. 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.
does an ashiatsu session have to be deep tissue?
No. For those who are just looking for a relaxing experience to release tension, we offer our Swedish-style relaxation ashiatsu session for stress release. No matter which style you choose, 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.
does ashiatsu hurt?
The amount of pressure given during an ashiatsu massage is carefully regulated to meet the specific comfort level of the client. With our Ashiatsu Therapeutic Massage, we aim for results, which requires a certain level of intensity to break through fascia build up. While the old saying, “no pain, no gain” certainly applies here, we work with our client’s sensitivities to pressure and work to achieve a pressure both therapeutic and comfortable for the recipient.