Perpetuating Myths: A Gatekeeper’s Duty

If Someone Told Me That, It Must Be True.

gatekeeperAll of us who have been massage therapists for any considerable amount of time have heard, or been taught, “massage therapy flushes toxins.” Was this the truth? Was it reality? No! It was something false that was repeated continually until this widespread myth was finally debunked.

The same can be said for the argument about the safety of home study massage therapy courses, in this case specifically, ashiatsu continuing education courses.

If you believe learning this modality or any other modality at home is unsafe, then I would ask that, for a moment, you open up your mind and ask yourself why you believe this is so dangerous. [Read more…]

Liability Insurance for Ashiatsu

Does my professional liability insurance cover Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage?

Double check to make sure that your professional liability insurance covers ashiatsu or barefoot massage techniques. Most major insurance companies and associations do cover ashiatsu barefoot massage.


From an email I received:
“Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage is covered under the AMTA liability policy, if it is accepted within your state’s legal regulations. So basically, if your state says it is an acceptable and legal modality to practice, the AMTA liability coverage will cover it.”
[Read more…]

Getting Your Feet Ashi-Ready

Maybe you’re thinking of becoming an ashiatsu barefoot practitioner. Maybe you practice ashiatsu already and you are looking for ways to keep your feet smooth between pedicures.

Having smooth feet for barefoot work is essential. Pedicures are one of the best ways to get your feet ready for barefoot work. Professional pedicures are great, but they also can be costly if you find the need to go often. Maintenance at home is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to keep your feet ashi-ready. I am going to share a few tips with you. [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…]

Barefoot Massage Modalities and Resources

Chavutti Thirumal

Chavutti Thirumal

Barefoot massage is more common than one might think. As you research barefoot massage more, you will find there are many different barefoot modalities, with long histories that are still being practiced today. Here are just a few great resources if you want to learn more about barefoot massage.

Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage
This is a course I designed for massage professionals who would like to learn ashiatsu safely at home. This is a thorough approach for beginners, but also a great study for experienced barefoot practitioners. It includes 160 page manual with photos, bar installation instructions, and embedded instructional videos.

Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy ™ AOBT
Ruthie Hardee is credited with the widespread recognition of ashiatsu. Only seminar courses are available.

Barefoot Masters Ahh Shiatsu™
Michelle Mace conducts ashiatsu seminars along with seminars in Fijian, bamboo, and stone massage.

Fijian Barefoot Massage (Second Website BarefootMassage)
Fijian massage uses no parallel bars. A chair or stool is used for sitting and balance. Clients may be clothed or unclothed.
[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…]