Since it’s Thanksgiving, it seems apropos to share with everyone out there what we’re thankful for. While lives and business can be a challenge and a lot of work sometimes, our instructor team has a few people in our lives we’d like to give a shout out to the people we’re thankful for.
Firstly, we’d like to say a big fat thanks to all of our students and those who believe in us and our work. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are.
We see it all the time when massage therapists are learning barefoot massage in class. They step on each side of the client’s body by the hips. Invariably the sheet pushes the client’s bum down towards the massage table.
It feels just plain weird. And annoying too. Plus, it makes your client aware that you are walking on the table.
They KNOW you are, but they don’t need to FEEL that you are.
I’ve said for years in class that learning the right amount of lubricant for Ashiatsu is really one of the trickier things to figure out. If you use lotion, it absorbs too quickly. Oil tends to be hard to reapply-I’ve felt it drip on my back from 3 feet up. Gross. And we’ve tested various massage creams too. Some are dry, some are more viscous.
So what’s the best Ashiatsu massage cream?
It’s really very individualized. We’ve found that some therapists want to stick with what they’ve been using for hands-on massage. Sometimes that works, sometimes not so much.
Today’s Tuesday TOESday tip is a simple one for all massage therapists, whether you do barefoot massage or not. A small Mother Earth pillow under the client’s neck is a lovely accoutrement. Clients love it and frequently comment on how nice it feels when I place under their cervical spine.
The small bolsterfeels great under the client’s neck when they are supine, and it warms the tissues well. This makes it even easier to get in deeply with your toes or fingers.
But it’s a pain to take the cover off, and worse to put it back on. They need to be washed each time they touch the client’s skin, and they have to hang dry.
And if you accidentally put one in the dryer, good luck getting it back on the pillow! I learned this the hard way. It was, I imagine, about as easy as putting a girdle on a walrus.
Mindfulness in massage is all about being present, focusing on the experiences happening in the current moment. In FasciAshi, even though you are “using your feet to massage,” you are honestly utilizing your whole body. Experienced ashiatsu therapists will start to dance across their clients bodies, focusing on where the clients fascia and their own intuition leads them within a session. The mindfulness of their massage becomes a sort of movement meditation.
We know learning how to massage “from scratch” all over again is a huge change. It can be humbling to your ego when your ease and natural hands-on massage skills don’t immediately translate all the way down to your feet.
Confidence and competence while applying FasciAshi techniques starts in class. A mindfulness approach that flows into your practice bridges the gap between classroom and clinical knowledge.
If you’ve ever had a barefoot massage client who is so tall that they have to duck to get through your doorway, then you can bet they’ll be so tall that they’ll dangle off the ends of your ashiatsu massage table, too! Today’s tip tells you about a little-known massage table accessory – the head rest extender. Contact a FasciAshi Instructor to buy one at a discounted price!
You can also use a footrest extender at the other end of the table – but in both cases DON’T STAND ON THEM!! (They really only can hold enough weight to support the client, not also your bodyweight.) We’ve previously shared a barstool trick that allows you to stand off to the side or on a diagonal if you need more leverage to lunge into those larger clients.
Can you actually feel knots when you massage with your feet? Every barefoot therapist has more than likely received this inquiry many, many times. With a little bit of effort, anyone who has feelings on the soles of their feet can learn to pay attention to even the finest bit of grit under their tootsies.
When I was a brand new barefoot therapist 15 years ago, I remember feeling something on someone’s erectors under the plantar surface of my foot. I didn’t know what it was, so I held onto the bar and felt it with my hand. It was a knot.
Like with craniosacral, if you think you’re feeling something, you’re feeling something.
We’re going to get just a teensy bit sciency here.
Recently, Jeni wrote a blog post about how to re-apply lubricant to her ashiatsu client by applying it to her shin. Today I’m sharing another easy way to add ashiatsu cream. Sometimes I wear long leggings or stretchy jeans (Must. Have. Stretch.) that come down to my ankles and so I can’t keep extra cream on my shins.
Why does this whole applying cream thing matter?
If you put cream all over your hands like you do for hands-on massage, the bars will get slimed up. When the bars are slippery, you need to grip them tighter. Because you grip the bars tighter, your forearms get sore. And then you’ve taken away part of the reason why you’ve learned ashiatsu in the first place: to save your hands and forearms from undue stress.
This week, October 22-28, the American Massage Therapy Association is promoting massage awareness in the public with “Massage Therapy Awareness Week“. We’re going to add the word “barefoot” since, well, that’s what we do. 😉
Barefoot massage has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, but it’s really been popular in the US for a comparatively short while. We wrote about Daniel Nowozeniuk winning 2nd place in the Freestyle category at the World Massage Championship this May (2017). While technically he wasn’t barefoot since he wasn’t allowed to shed his shoes, he gave a fantastic rendition with his feet on the table while wearing Vibrams.
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and intuitively inventive people from all around the world have dipped their toes into the world of barefoot massage because it was more effective than using hands, thumbs, and elbows.
A big part of what we at the Center for Barefoot Massage stands for is the growth of the ENTIRE niche field of barefoot massage. We want every massage therapist to learn how to use their feet to massage, in some form or another, at some point in their career. We want the massage industry to know what barefoot massage is. We want the term BAREFOOT MASSAGE to be as recognized as hot stone and sports massage. It starts with simply knowing about some of the staple styles: so here we go!