This is a new and old form of massage that is gaining traction here in the US. It has roots in Japan and India dating back centuries. The east has more of a massage culture in the sense they massage their family members starting in childhood. It is more of a tradition for them than here in the west, where we treat it as a luxury.
In Japan Ashiatsu is prevalent and can be seen in movies showing a petite Japanese woman walking on a man with just her balance. They tend to not use oil, but rather step around on a clothed body compressing the muscle and joints.
In India Ashiatsu is performed on a mat on the ground. Being the motherland of Ayurvedic medicine, oil is used. The practitioner uses a rope to swing back and forth, pressing the feet on the body with each pass.
Now in the U.S. of A. we combined what we learned and what we like. Ashiatsu (“foot pressure”) is a blend, using a standard massage table, oil, and bars for balance. It ends up mimicking a really, really deep Swedish massage. The client disrobes just like a standard table massage, with sheets and blankets covering the important bits.
During a typical session the massage therapist will use her heel, the lateral edge, and the flat bottom of the foot to create long, slow, deep strokes. The massage therapist can use one foot, creating a softer pressure or we can use our whole body weight and completely stand on the client. The pressure depends on the client and the body part- Hamstrings, Trapezius and Glutes can take pressure. The foot is padded and larger than a hand and makes for a broader more complete stroke. I liken it to being steam-rolled; like the cartoons who inflate right back up after.
Ashiatsu is great for anybody looking for pressure, while also being relaxed. After a lot of training the massage really becomes like a dance. It’s great for tight muscles and stiffness that standard table massage just can’t touch.
After an Ashiatsu session the client needs to take it easy for the next 24 hours. Using such deep pressure has created space between the joints of the body. Everything has been shifted. Your body is not as protected or stabilized as it was before the session- in a good way. So working out, lifting heavy objects (over 35lbs) is not recommended as injury is more likely. Ashiatsu is also not always recommended for everybody. Before scheduling a session read thru the list of Contra-indications page to make sure your body can receive Ashiatsu.