I Drew The Short Straw

When I was in massage school many years ago, I remember our business teacher said “she drew the short straw” and was going to have a talk with us that day. What that meant is that she got to have that uncomfortable conversation with the class about things that could happen during a massage. Things that can happen which are totally innocent on the part of a male client, or something that maybe signals you to believe a client could be inappropriate. Okay, you understand where I am going with that, right?

Moving on…

So, today I am drawing the short straw. Mostly because I want to keep people off your massage table that are looking for something other than a therapeutic ashiatsu barefoot massage.

We cannot deny that there is a tiny segment of the population that has a fascination with feet – or foot fetishes. While I do not understand this fascination, it still exists. I mean I am not disgusted by by feet, but they are a tool to me – just like my hands. I find them really useful, but not particularly stunning (In. Any. Way.)

The people who do fine them interesting are very few and far between. Rare (I have not had one in 12 years). This is not something that should keep you from being a happy, successful ashiatsu practitioner – or from pursuing ashiatsu training.

I have never, ever had a client say anything weird/inappropriate about my feet or otherwise in my office. But, I recently received my first suspicious e-mail (which prompted this blog). The email started off normal and innocent, then moved to – “It would be heaven if I could find someone in the US who would massage my face with their feet… Could you recommend someone to me?”

No, no I cannot and will not do that for you.

Ashiatsu practitioners are not here to fulfill any foot fetishes or foot fantasies. We are professional healthcare practitioners who just happen to massage people with our feet. We use our feet because of the many benefits of gravity-assisted massage to our clients and our careers. Please do not use our professional barefoot skills/services in any unprofessional manner. We take our work very seriously, and sincerely ask that you respect that.

Barefoot Massage practitioners – It is unfortunate that a tiny segment of the population seeks out ashiatsu/barefoot massage. As always, trust your insticts and deal with the situation the same way you would with any other inappropriate client. You do not have to schedule/reschedule people who are giving you a signs of something you deem, or suspect as inappropriate behavior. Remember, the right of refusal goes both ways. Keep using your amazing barefoot skills to bring relaxation and pain relief to those who appreciate and respect your professionalism.

About Ivy

Thank you for reading this post! In addition to writing here at Ashiatsu.net, 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. I think ashiatsu practitioners should just start massaging face with feet. As long as there is nothing sexual involved I don’t see the problem. Be comfortable with your feet and enjoy it! 🙂

    • It is simply not safe. The skin on the face is delicate does not require pressure. Hands are best for that.

      • Respectfully disagree. I love feet being pressed gently on my face. Most relaxing thing, but then again I have a foot fetish so… Your right in most cases. 🙂 your obviously trained and know what your talking about, full credit to you. But I think that feet can provide the same soft pressure if done right that hands can. Masseuse would sit in a chair above the person lying on their back on the floor. Gently using your toes to lightly massage the face and nose and soles for cheeks and forehead even neck. Check out sue Kent.

        • I saw the Sue Kent comment coming as soon as I hit the reply button. She has no hands. She has been using her feet in vastly different ways then most of us since she was born. Most of us will never have her dexterity or developed palpation skills – which is what we need to be safe. So, I stand by what I said.

  2. 🙂

  3. Jim Keeanz says

    Cool post. Old post, but cool nonetheless. In Japan and Thailand, they do perform Ashiatsu on face fairly regularly. Either sitting down or using a rope. I was in Japan last year and I did try the face massage. It felt super weird at first (feet on my face!) but let me tell ya, it was fantastic. Now, I don’t know if it was the pressure (my therapist did stand on my face, but using the rope and she knew what she was doing balance wise), or if it was the shape of the soles or the softness of the soles, or if I was developing a likeness for feet. I don’t know but I came out of that massage experience feeling like a million bucks. Super refreshing. Can’t explain it. The massage oils were nice and safe. I know we don’t do that kinda stuff here in America because, you know, feet are gross and not safe, etc etc.
    I don’t know…but it’s great to travel and learn about other cultures and traditions. I

  4. Alejandro Carrillo says

    As long as the client is respectful, knows the boundaries and behaves as normally as any other client would without a foot fetish, then what does it matter if the client has a foot fetish? Sure it’s probably more pleasurable for a male or female who loves beautiful female feet on his/her face and/or body but no harm is actually done here. The client will still get the same therapeutic benefits from the modality as any other client would and from the perspective of the licensed massage therapist, it was a normal session from a paying customer.

  5. Alejandro Carrillo says

    An interesting question would be if someone with a strong foot fetish presented themselves to you as a client and actually was in love with your general appearance but especially your feet;

    This individual always maintained respect and never asked you for any unusual request such as massaging their face with your feet. Perhaps just a light and casual comment like “oh, you have very pretty feet” just one time.

    Suppose you suspected they had a foot fetish but otherwise was a “perfect” and respectful role model of a client.

    Would you turn that client away?

    • If they are appropriate, there is not an issue. I am referring to those who are not appropriate or who push boundaries.

      • Jim Keeanz says

        Of course being appropriate is the basic requirement for all interactions, massage or otherwise. If there is any indication of potential inappropriate behavior, the massage should end abruptly and that customer should NOT be welcomed back again.

        I myself have now gotten a few of Facial Ashiatsu massages in the US now. I picked up the idea from Japan where I got my first facial ashiatsu and I was hooked. I didn’t even like feet back then so as an American I had to get over the “eww” factor and I am glad I did.

        I have since gotten a few Ashiatsu massages on the face and then of course covid hit us and I haven’t been able to get any more yet.

        It takes a little getting used to for Americans. My first time in America, both parties were nervous. I mean if you’re going to step on someone’s face you better know what you’re doing. If not done right, it could be dangerous. It was great and the second time was way easier and my therapist was able to put a lot of pressure on my face as she got comfortable. Nothing like a rejuvinated face afterwards. There is no part of my face that wasn’t massaged by the sole and ball of the foot.

        Love it and can’t wait to get back to it once places open up again.

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