Perpetuating Myths: A Gatekeeper’s Duty

If Someone Told Me That, It Must Be True.

gatekeeperAll of us who have been massage therapists for any considerable amount of time have heard, or been taught, “massage therapy flushes toxins.” Was this the truth? Was it reality? No! It was something false that was repeated continually until this widespread myth was finally debunked.

The same can be said for the argument about the safety of home study massage therapy courses, in this case specifically, ashiatsu continuing education courses.

If you believe learning this modality or any other modality at home is unsafe, then I would ask that, for a moment, you open up your mind and ask yourself why you believe this is so dangerous.

A Baseless Accusation

Maybe you have been told this is unsafe. But, is that the reality? Is that the truth? Do you believe this only because of what you have been told by someone? Maybe by someone with a vested interest in limiting your choices? Do you have proof that it is dangerous?

Since we are all about “evidence-based” massage right now, I ask you,
where is your evidence?

This is certainly not the first kinesthetic home study course (ashiatsu or not), and I honestly hope it is not the last. I have countless manuals, books, and DVDs by other great and respected massage professionals who have taught ashiatsu/barefoot massage techniques. There are DVDs and books on barefoot massage, barefoot shiatsu, barefoot Thai, and barefoot etc. Many, many massage therapists have used these resources to learn more about barefoot massage. Taking a seminar does not ensure you or your colleagues have safely learned a technique (barefoot or not).

Ivy, your course does not have feedback from the people you work on,
like in a seminar.

No, it doesn’t, but that itself does not make it dangerous. Throughout the course, I HIGHLY encourage people to seek feedback from friends, family, and mostly importantly colleagues before working with clientele. There is only so much an instructor can do, whether it be a seminar or home study course. Once you leave a seminar or take a home study course, no one is checking up on you to make sure you are doing and installing everything safely.

“Because I’m a slow learner and a visual learner, I tend to do best in a relaxed atmosphere that allows me to absorb the theory, view each technique over and over, if necessary, and practice on friends and family.”
– Erik Dalton

Everybody Learns Differently

Home study courses are not for everyone, but for some people they are a very safe and effective way to learn a new massage technique. Not everyone can teach a home study course effectively either. The course I offer includes a comprehensive eBook, embedded videos, and lots of other detailed information. I would not offer this course if I did not think it was safe. It would be against my professional ethics to offer something I thought was unsafe.

Most of us are competent massage therapists who know the contraindications, and ins and outs of massage therapy. This, my friends, is not rocket science; this is common sense. When we have a solid foundation about massage therapy, learning a new technique in a home study format is a great way to expand a person’s massage repertoire.

The Gatekeeper Army

I think it is unfair to assume the course is unsafe without any knowledge of what is in my course. I have to say I’ve found that many ashiatsu practitioners have been told (mostly by a certain branded instructor) that this great modality cannot be learned safely in a home study format. Therefore, they are usually the first to attack it without reason or cause, just because it is a talking point they are repeating.

I find it particularly sad that a group of ashiatsu practitioners feel the need to tear down anything ashiatsu that is not affiliated with their brand. I personally think ashiatsu is fantastic, and I want to share that experience with as many interested colleagues as possible; be it through my course or someone else’s.

I know this is not the last time I am going to need to defend the safety of my courses, or home study courses in general. I am already gearing up for round two.

Change Your Thoughts and You Change Your World

So, I hope you will join me here and see that you can learn a lot from your fellow colleagues in a different way. I hope that you will look around and see that there are many people out there safely learning and practicing barefoot massage, or any other modality, in a different way that is not necessarily unsafe.

About Ivy

Thank you for reading this post! In addition to writing here at, I write about more general massage topics at Massage & Bloggywork, as well as teach massage continuing education at Advanced Massage Techniques.


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  1. Minette Howell LMT says

    took Ms. Hultquist’s online course and it is not the first time I had experience gaining knowledge this way.
    I found her site easy to follow with a downloadable book and videos to assist in the training process.
    We are not performing brain surgery and with a little common sense, I found EVERYTHING to be so detailed and clear to understand. If I need any additional information, it is MY responsibility to ask for help.
    I have found it incredibly easy to contact her for help. Sincerely, Minette Howell LMT

    • Thank you so much for feedback and support, Minette! I really appreciate it! You were a wonderful help in the beginning when I introduced the course and requested colleague feedback. It made the course better for others!

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