Contraindications for the Ashiatsu Practitioner

2882341645_0cbf0bbed0_mAs massage professionals, we frequently discuss the contraindications for our clients. But, there are also times when ashiatsu is contraindicated for the massage practitioner. Your health and safety affects your client’s safety and health.

Because of the unique physical demands of ashiatsu, practitioners should be in good physical condition. If you are considering ashiatsu training, here is a list of a few acute and chronic conditions and situations that may temporarily or permanently keep you grounded (on the floor). Some conditions or situations may require you to modify your table or balancing bars.

Ear infections (possible dizziness), any symptoms of dizziness, or balance disorders

Ashiatsu requires the practitioner to have a good sense balance. Balance helps practitioners maintain foot and pressure control. For those practicing on an elevated massage table, dizzy spells could result in injury from a fall off the table, or onto your client.

Neuropathy of extremities

The foot is able to “feel,” or assess, muscle tension and dysfunction just like the hands. Those with decreased sensation in their feet/foot should not practice ashiatsu.

Any contagious infection

As with any form of massage, practitioners should take necessary precautions when contagious infections are present. For ashiatsu this includes fungal/viral/bacterial infections of the foot (including Athlete’s foot).

Cuts or open sores on the foot or heel

Treat your feet like your hands. Just remember, the foot in much harder to bandage than the fingers and hands. I have not looked, but I am not aware of nitrile gloves for the foot.


Standing on a table or stool can be dangerous, pregnant or not. And yes, you can do most things while pregnant that you did before you were pregnant. The problem is that during a pregnancy, the change in the center of gravity makes women more prone to falls. One of the most common injuries during a pregnancy occurs from falls. Falling off a massage table could be devastating to mother and baby. Even early in a pregnancy, bouts of morning sickness, nausea, and dizziness can make ashiatsu challenging. For some, the added weight on a massage table is also a concern.

On the other side, practicing ashiatsu can take some of the load off a practitioner’s changing body during a pregnancy. This is a personal decision that you should discuss with your health care provider.


Adjustments/modifications can be made to keep you and your clients safe, in business, and happy. Making the table much lower, using floor mats, shiatsu tables, and lower portable bars can eliminate the risk of falls.

As with any condition, contact your health care provider if you have a question, or talk to your colleagues. Explain your unique massage method and any concerns you have that might affect you and your clients safety and health.

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Photo Credit:  three_sixteen


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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