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.

If you are trained or certified in ashiatsu/barefoot massage, use the word “ashiatsu” as much as you want! You may call it Ashiatsu, Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage, Barefoot Massage, Asian Barefoot Massage, Gravity Assisted Massage…

What not to do…

Now, a company or instructor can trademark their course or brand. For example, “Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy”, or “AOBT” is a trademarked term. You may not market yourself as offering “Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy” or AOBT, unless you have completed training and certification from a DeepFeet instructor. It is unethical to use trademarked terms to market your business unless you are associated with, or given permission from, the company that owns the term.

Just a few other examples of trademarked massage techniques include: LaStone Stone Massage®, Barnes Myofascial Release™, Rolfing® Structural Integration, ACE Massage Cupping™, Sacred Lomi®, HandsFree™ Thai, LiddleKidz® infant massage, Nurturing the Mother with Claire Marie Miller (prenatal massage).

As I am sure you know, there are plenty of other professionals practicing stone massage, myofascial release, cupping, lomi lomi, infant, prenatal and Thai massage that learned it safely from other sources. Maybe you are one of them. People trained by other sources cannot claim association with or certification from the above instructors or companies.

If someone tells you that you cannot use “ashiatsu” to describe your barefoot massage services, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to look into it.

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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