Introducing Ashiatsu to Clients

It is no secret that some of the American public is comfortable with the thought of someone using their feet to massage them. Many of them are just getting used to the idea of massage, and now you want to massage them with your feet!

Introducing ashiatsu to your valuable massage clients is a delicate art.

Learning how to market your ashiatsu skills is an imperative part of training. In my ashiatsu training course we cover many ways to introduce ashiatsu to your clients. This includes focusing on the benefits of ashiatsu to the client (instead of all of the benefits of ashiatsu to you – the practitioner), and debunking the thought that your feet are dirtier than anyone’s hands.

DIY Ashiatsu?

Another way to introduce barefoot massage to your clients is to make a little video like the one below and send it out in a client newsletter, or post it on your website. Let clients try a little informal ashiatsu massage at home where they are comfortable. This video encourages couples to try to massage each other’s feet using their own feet.

How many of your clients have told you their spouse tries to give them a massage but their hands get tired so quickly?

My guess is – a lot.

Show your how to safely try a little ashi at home! You may find that clients (and their spouses) are more willing to give ashiatsu a try the next time they are in your office.

Installing Ashiatsu Bars – What you should know before training.

DSC_0170Are you thinking about taking an ashiatsu course, but have some questions about the overhead bar installation in your office?

For most practitioners, a permanent set of ashiatsu barefoot bars is the best option for the safety of you and your client, and the most cost effective bar solution. They are not really permanent.  They are removable-but not portable.

What is the purpose of ashiatsu bars?

The ashiatsu bars are used primarily for your balance and support.  They allow the massage professional to provide consistent, fluid pressure during the massage.  You can also use them to pull up on to take your weight off your client. You can use them to push your body weight down in the event your client wants more pressure.

All ashiatsu bars are not created equally.

In order for the bars to be installed safely and to maximize the reduced stress on your body, adding ashiatsu bars to your office requires a little bit of planning.

Ashiatsu bars are not a “one size fits all” installation.  For your benefit, ashiatsu bars should be built to suit your body.  Proper height and width of the bars will help ensure proper body mechanics.  Measurements for your ashiatsu bars, and the type of bar installation required, are based on a few factors:

  • Your height
  • Your shoulder width
  • Your room size
    • A small room is actually a plus in the event you do not have access to ceiling support structures.
  • Your massage table
    • Do you have a hydraulic, portable, or stationary table?
    • Do you have the ability to adjust the table easily if you use other modalities?
  • Ceiling type / Access to ceiling supports.
    • Drop ceilings, low basement ceilings, eight or nine foot ceilings, cathedral, or loft ceilings are factors in the height and difficulty of the installation of your ashiatsu bars.
  • Room situation
    • Do you rent? Will your landlord be okay with 8-10 very small patchable holes, or a few more if a loft style bar set-up is necessary?
    • Do you share an office with another ashiatsu practitioner?
    • You may need to be a little creative depending on your room situation.

Is this a DIY project?

I have installed all three of my bar sets with the help and guidance of my constructionally-inclined family.  Each set took me, with some help, a day to complete.  If I did not know how to do it, I definitely had family members who I could have enlisted for this project.  For those without construction knowledge, or someone who knows their way around a drill and saw, then I would most definitely hire someone to complete this project for you.

There are dozens of ways to install ashiatsu bars. Which ever way you build your bars, do it safely! You and your client’s safety is dependent on your bars being installed safely and correctly!

What is the cost of installing ashiatsu bars?

For a DIY person that needs a standard set of bars installed (no tricky ceiling/room situations), a bar set up should be $50-$100.  If you hire someone to complete this job for you, you should expect to pay a few hundred dollars.

Soon, you could be learning at home while your ashiatsu bars are being built.

Now that you have starting thinking about the possibility of adding ashiatsu bars to your office, it is time for the next step – ashiatsu barefoot massage training.   My home study ashiatsu barefoot massage course includes a detailed bar installation guide within the eBook to help you on your journey to the hardware store to buy all the supplies you will need to hang your ashiatsu bars up and ready for practicing on willing volunteers (family, friends, or colleagues) and eventually your clients.

Click here to start learning more about the powerful benefits of ashiatsu for you and your clients.


P.S.  If you have questions about bars, your room situation, or anything else ashiatsu related, Email me at :


Does Ashiatsu Use Light or Deep Pressure?

A common myth with clients, and perpetuated by some practitioners, is that ashiatsu is only for deep-pressure-loving clients. Not so. Yes, ashiatsu is typically pure bliss for those clients who cannot seem to get enough pressure from a typical massage. However, ashiatsu strokes can range anywhere from light to deep.

A light pressure ashiatsu massage requires more restraint from the massage practitioner. The therapist must use less of their body weight when leaning in to a stroke. It becomes less of a gravity-assisted massage. For these reasons, giving a light pressure ashiatsu massage can be more tiring than a deeper ashiatsu massage, from a practitioner’s perspective.

People who enjoy lighter pressure will appreciate the broad, consistent light strokes from head to toe and the different directional application of massage strokes. Also, the surface area of the heel is larger than the thumb, and people who like lighter pressure will notice less pain than the pressure applied from the thumb. For these clients, ashiatsu can be a great, therapeutic experience!

If you are having problems getting clients to try an ashiatsu massage, maybe they assume that this massage is only for those who enjoy deep, firm pressure. Make sure you educate your clients that ashiatsu is much more than just a deep massage.

A Little More About Me…

I have had people ask me a few questions…

• Where and how did you learn ashiatsu?
• What type of people did you work with in your practice?
• Why another ashiatsu course?

I hope this post answers a few questions for you.

In my twelve years as a massage therapist, I have taken both live and home study ashiatsu courses from various instructors. I enjoyed taking both seminar and home study courses. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

The seminars I have taken have been primarily at local massage schools. I have taken both beginner and advanced courses. I have also studied a few other barefoot techniques, but ashiatsu has remained my focus and passion.

Seminars allowed me to visit with colleagues, learn new techniques, get feedback from a few strangers, travel, and share some of my techniques and experiences with colleagues.

Home study courses allowed me to take my time; to review videos over and over again, to learn and absorb a little each day instead of being overwhelmed with new information. I was able to work with/on friends, family and colleagues that I could trust to give me honest feedback. [Read more…]

Is Ashiatsu Safe?

I think it is easy to see why massage therapy clients and other health care practitioners may be a little apprehensive about ashiatsu, or barefoot massage. Ashiatsu is becoming increasingly popular, but a majority of the public is still uneducated about the modality.

The first thing most people think, or assume, is that ashiatsu practitioners are “walking” on the backs of their clients. This leads to presumptions that ashiatsu is dangerous.

One foot stays on the table a majority of the time. A practitioner’s full weight is rarely, if ever, on a client. Trained ashiatsu practitioners use overhead bars for extra balance, know the requirement for a low, sturdy massage table and what contraindications to look out for with clients.

The main difference between a Swedish massage and an Ashiatsu massage is that the long flowing strokes to address soft tissue is performed with the feet instead of the hands. Ashiatsu practitioners are trained to skillfully use their feet to assess muscle dysfunction and utilize larger muscle groups and gravity in a highly efficient manner. [Read more…]

Choosing a Safe Table for Ashiatsu

With the added weight of the massage practitioner on the massage table, choosing a safe, sturdy and reliable table is extremely important. When you choose a table, there are two numbers you should take note of; the static weight and working/dynamic weight.

Static Weight vs. Working/Dynamic Weight

Static weight is the weight of your stationary client on the table. Most of the time, we only consider the static weight of the client in concerns to table weight limits.

With ashiatsu, we also need to factor in the weight of the practitioner,
in addition to the weight of the client.

Working weight (also referred to as “dynamic weight”) is the sum your weight, the pressure you are exerting down onto the table, plus your client’s weight. Adding your weight to the table and the changing pressure of massage strokes may exceed the static and/or working weight limit. Look for a table with a high working/dynamic weight limit. [Read more…]

Is Ashiatsu Trademarked or Copyrighted?

I see a lot of misinformation about the use of the word “ashiatsu” on Facebook and other internet hubs. I would like to clarify what is and isn’t trademarked, and who can use the term ashiatsu in their massage practice.

The term “ashiatsu” is not trademarked, nor is it likely possible to be trademarked. Ashiatsu it is not an original word. It is the literal translation of “foot pressure” in Japanese. A trademark attempt would be like trying to trademark shiatsu, myofascial, or Swedish massage. It cannot be done.

We can use massage tables as another example. Lots of companies make massage tables, but then they brand their table. We have Oakworks, Comfort Craft, EarthLite, and Custom Craftworks. All make great massage tables, just in different ways.

The same goes for barefoot massage therapists. We all use our feet, just in different ways. Some use bars on the ceiling, stools by our tables, or a staff for balance. [Read more…]