What is the Best Massage Cream for Ashiatsu?

Controlled glide is crucial during an ashiatsu massage. In my opinion, creams are a better choice than oils and lotions for ashiatsu, or any other barefoot modalities. Lotions do not provide long workability. Oils and gels create too much slip, which can be dangerous.

Creams offer the perfect blend of extended and controlled workability.

What is my personal favorite? (Thanks for asking.) Without a doubt, it is Sacred Earth Botanicals Cream. If you have never tried SEB products, do your clients and yourself a favor and contact the company for free samples.

Other superior quality, professional products that I am happy to recommend:

• Bon Vital Organica Cream
• Soothing Touch Versa Cream
• Pure Pro Massage Cream
• Biotone Dual Purpose Cream

What do you use in your practice?

What Exactly is Ashiatsu, Anyway?

Is it an Eastern or Western Technique?

Ashiatsu massage with overhead bars has not been practiced on a widespread basis until recently. The roots and history of ashiatsu, or barefoot massage, go back further than one might think.

Barefoot Massage is Nothing New!

Before we had memory foam padded massage tables and portable massage bars, there were other massage practitioners using their feet to perform massage therapy all over the world.

In the Kerala region of India, home of Ayurveda, a practice called “Chavutti Thirumal” is believed to be the one of the earliest ancestors of ashiatsu. “Chavutti” means foot and leg, and “thirumal” means massage. Chavutti thirumal practitioners use generous amounts of oil on the body and a single rope hung from the ceiling for balance.

This region of India is the home of the ancient art of Kalaripayattu, a martial art ancestor to Kung Fu, and Kathakali, a classical style of dance. Students of Kathakali and Kalaripayattu have used foot massage techniques (e.g. Chavutti Thirumal) to make their bodies supple and flexible.

Although it is rare, there are a few massage professionals in the United States that practice this ancient form of barefoot massage.

Chavutti Thirumal spread to surrounding countries and continents of Asia. There, it was combined with the study of meridians and the ancient practice of shiatsu. (“Shiatsu” translates to “finger pressure” (“shi” meaning finger).

When broken down, the word “ashi” means foot and “atsu” means pressure.

[Read more…]

The First Step!

For a couple of years I have written a blog on my other site, Massage & Bloggywork.  I write about general massage topics, current happenings in the massage field, and professional massage products.  I recently introduced a new ashiatsu barefoot massage course on my massage CEU website, Advanced Massage Techniques.  This course is available in a home study, correspondence format.  Rather than inundating my current Bloggywork followers with posts about ashiatsu, I decided I needed a new blog.  Here we are.

My intent here is to help educate massage professionals thinking about adding ashiatsu to their practice decide whether it is right for them and their clients.  I also hope to give ashiatsu and other barefoot massage professionals a place to talk, share ideas, and explore the work of barefoot massage.  I’m excited!

Please feel free to introduce yourself and share your stories about barefoot massage.  What has it done for you and your clients?

~Ivy