Top 5 Benefits of Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage
Ashiatsu is a barefoot massage technique where the massage therapist uses their feet to massage. Clients and massage therapists benefit from this type of massage in many ways. If you are looking for a massage therapist in Durham, NC, to provide chronic pain relief and deep, sustained pressure that's been challenging to find, read our blog What is Ashiatsu at Bull City Soles. This blog post will focus on the benefits of barefoot massage for the massage therapist or bodyworker.
1. Ashiatsu barefoot massage can save your body from repetitive wear and tear of the hands(especially the thumbs), the arms, and the shoulder girdle.
Whether its bad habits, overworking, or clients that require more pressure than we can deliver, the struggle for longevity in a massage therapist's career is real. And the statistics show it. Currently, they say the average career span of a massage therapist's career is six years. Why is that? Because massage is hard work.
In massage school, we learn beneficial body mechanics, such as how to engage the core, supported thumbs, how to sink into the tissue, not force it, and a host of beneficial body saving techniques. But let's face it. We slip into bad habits. You have five to six massages on the schedule; you're rushed, you get tired, slack with your body mechanics, fail to engage your core, and muscle through those concrete traps or hamstrings lying on your table. You're just trying to take care of the client. Happy clients come back.
Recently, I saw a therapist using their elbow on a client's medial thigh, in a sidelying position, and they were leaning against the table and reaching across his body. There was no way to engage their core from the floor. They were bent over, head down and all their power was coming from their shoulder girdle and arm. I foresee rotator cuff issues in a few years if that tendency continues. I know several female Rolfers that had to retire because of shoulder issues. When you're standing on the floor, repeatedly bending over a massage table, you're giving 100% effort and muscling through your upper body, the shoulder girdle, arms, and even the neck are going to pay later.
2. With barefoot massage, you can give more pressure and sustain it longer.
You can stand on the table with your center of gravity closer to the client's body, engage your core, and use your feet and body weight to provide all the pressure a client could ever need! The pelvic girdle by design is a weight-bearing structure. And the natural weight of the hips and legs make a perfect combination for providing more pressure in a massage. There's no need to "push" as you would from your shoulder girdle.
3. Ashiatsu barefoot massage provides another tool, in addition to your hands and elbows.
Joints will eventually wear out, with repetitive movement. Upper extremities soft tissue disorders are the most common injuries for massage therapists. Adding the feet to the massage therapists' toolbox gives them more options and flexibility. Ashiatsu empowered me to go back to Rolfing school because I knew that I would be able to adapt my feet to Rolf.
4. Barefoot massage provides extra social distance from the client.
Instead of my face being one foot from the client's body using my hands, or less if I'm using my elbow, it's at least four feet away! With all the Covid-19 concerns and the spread of the virus, I feel more comfortable knowing that I could provide a full body massage to a client with my feet. And coronavirus aside, as a petite therapist with short arms, I love being able to thoroughly work the gluteals and anterior hips without my face being so close to the client's groin or backside.
5. Last but not least, Clients LOVE barefoot massage.
Whether it's the deep pressure the therapist can effortlessly deliver, the broad surface of the foot versus sharp elbow or pointy fingers, or the fluid strokes that the therapist can provide along the entire body; It just feels out of this world! Once a client gets a taste of barefoot massage, they won't go back to normal massages. And neither will you!
After ten years of providing deep tissue massage and trigger point, constant neck pain, sore elbows, and thumbs were norms for me. As a petite therapist, I was the perfect example that even after decent body mechanics, performing repetitive deep pressure type bodywork therapies can eventually wear your body down. Learning barefoot massage was my savior. At 52, I look forward to many more years of bodywork, and it will be on my terms when, or IF I retire. Not because my body dictates it.
Check out our barefoot massage classes at NC Ashiatsu.com if you are looking for longevity in your massage career. We are the Durham campus for the Center for Barefoot Massage and we specialize in the advance myofascial ashiatsu barefoot training. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram.