Ashiatsu: It is not backwalking; Its a massage.

In order for your ashiatsu practice to be successful, you will have some educating/explaining to do. If you have been a  massage therapist for a while, educating clients is something I am sure you are used to doing by now.

When you say you are going to massage your client with your feet, some clients will automatically assume that you are going to be walking on their back (or that you have gone mad). Some clients instantly associate your feet on their back  with memories of when they were kids and walked on their parents back, or when they laid on the floor and asked their own children to walk on them.

As we know, this common misconception is not ashiatsu.

They will not be laying face-down on the carpet.

You will not be “cracking” their back, or walking on them.

Ashiatsu is a massage.


Do not get me wrong, there are compression stokes in ashiatsu.  But there are also lots of effleurage (long, gliding) and petrissage (kneading) strokes like any other “regular”  massage.

What make ashiatsu different that other “regular” massages  is

  • the efficient use of gravity by the practitioner,
  • the direction that the stroke comes from,
  • and the increased surface area of the foot.

And ALL three of these things favor ashiatsu (for the client and practitioner!).

So, explain to clients (and potential clients) that their ideas of back-walking, is not what ashiatsu actually is.

Ashiatsu is so much more that that.  It is a massage.   An amazing, effective massage.

And yes, it will get old explaining this to people for the thousandth time what ashiatsu is (and is not). But, the gratification of hearing someone say “I am never going back to a “regular” massage makes it worth it.

One more marketing tip: Do not use the word “walk”, or refer to your service as “walking on your back” or backwalking.  Ashiatsu  is a massage performed with the feet. Clients are much more likely to say “yes” to a massage and “no” to you “walking” on them.

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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