Soundproofing Your Massage Studio part 2


Here’s part 2 for soundproofing massage rooms and studios, written by Julie Marciniak, owner of North Pointe Body Therapies and our Durham, North Carolina FasciAshi Instructor. Part 1 of this post is for those of you who are fortunate enough to build your space from the floor up. That’s the only opportunity you have to address noise reduction because that’s when you can choose certain methods that STOP THE NOISE from getting through the wall. If you are renting or buying a space with walls already intact, however, then the only option for soundproofing your massage studio is to address noise absorption. Read on to learn how Julie manages this “hush-hush” issue!

FASCIAnate your Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage: Part 2

How can existing Ashiatsu therapists learn FasciAshi?

If you are an LMT who already has formal Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage training, the Center for Barefoot Massage wants you and your Ashiatsu skill level to continue to grow.  We want you to continually be self-aware and conscious of how you are applying barefoot massage daily. We want you to question and expand your approach, but check back into the foundations of its body mechanics and intentions. We want you to grow to understand the aspects of the work that you didn’t quite “get” during class – and we want you to continually discover new aspects of the material that you never noticed before. We have FOUR ways for you to support your advancement in this style of massage, and blend the new strokes in with the old, to dive deeper into the material we present, to know it inside and out. These retraining opportunities allow you to revisit your Ashiatsu technique and biomechanics, while infusing it with FasciAshi’s innovative myofascial approaches to how you apply pressure through your feet.

Today we’ll discuss the REVITALIZE classes and what they entail – in the following weeks we’ll cover all options to step up your Ashiatsu game!

If you want to be a Jedi Master at Ashiatsu, training and retraining is key.


Soundproofing your massage therapy studio

In 25 years of massage/bodywork, I’ve worked in several spas, a Physical Therapy clinic, two home offices, and four massage therapy offices including my current location, a commercial condo that I own. SO…. you could say I have a little experience with noise in different scenarios. Or should I say TRYING to reduce the effect of noise?!? I’m going to share some of my successes and not-so-much with soundproofing.

Over the years I’ve worked on several projects to help with reducing noise in the massage studio. I love decorating in my spare time, and I’m always looking to create a beautiful and functional space where the massage client’s comfort and experience is at the forefront.

A calm space that clients can appreciate when they walk in the door, encourages them to take a deep breath, RELAX and to focus on their bodywork goals without distractions.

No one wants to hear what’s going on in the treatment room next to them, the UPS man delivering a package, front door slamming or the office phone ringing.

When I purchased my commercial condo three years ago I had the opportunity (a difference of opinion between my husband and me 😉 ) to start from scratch within the four walls of the condo.

I tore down all the “beautiful” temporary office walls, pulled up old carpet, several layers of linoleum and designed my massage studio from the concrete floor, walls to the ceiling. I’m going to share a few material options I lucked out on choosing and some I wish I had known while I was in the planning stage. I’m starting off with the basics~ flooring, walls, and ceilings.


Installing cork flooring to help with soundproofing

While the flooring was actually the last thing to get installed in the building process it was the first and easiest choice that I had to make. As a massage therapist, I discovered that standing just a few hours on concrete floors with basic carpet was torturous on the feet.

Even with decent padding underneath, it wasn’t the best. And I hate carpet anyway. It’s difficult to keep clean, and the dust and crap it collects are awful for sinus sufferers. But it’s an excellent insulator(concrete floors are COLD) and sound absorber. So what do you do?

I chose cork floors! Cork is a very good insulator(temperature and sound), it’s ideal for standing on and easy to clean! They have been awesome to work on and they still look awesome.


Drywall was a given, but I had the choice between wood studs (which were my outer walls) or metal studs. My building is over 30 years old, and there was a history of water damage from the building being empty for a few years. So I chose metal studs and the fact that my brother-in-law was the installer and recommended it for ease of installation.

Using metal studs in massage build out

What I didn’t know then and found out later when doing some more sound proofing research on was that  “A steel-stud wall with insulation alone performs about the same as a wood-framed wall with insulation and resilient channel.” A plus for me… On the walls that got insulation… ugh! The budget got blown to smithereens when the city’s code got involved.

A $20,000 bill from the plumbing contractor forced me to pick and choose which inside walls I could insulate. Inside walls weren’t required for code, but the attic/ceiling WAS. So it came down to only putting insulation between kitchen/laundry room, the adjacent massage room and between my treatment room and the Ashiatsu training studio.

Of course, this would come back to bite me in the butt later. There’s a ton of info out there on the internet but here’s an article I found helpful on insulating walls – How to Soundproof a Room.  It also has some great tips on caulking outlets that I did NOT do. Sometimes budget and time make the choices for you, and you just have to deal with it.

There is one issue with the metal studs that I didn’t realize until a year or so. They don’t seem to be as strong as wood studs. They seem to flex and creak just a little bit. In Ashiatsu massage there is a seated portion where the therapist sits on a stool with their back against the wall using their feet to massage the client’s upper back and shoulders.

I can hear the walls creak while the therapist in the next room is working against the wall and I think it has to do with the gauge of the studs. I’m not sure what gauge mine is but if I could have done it differently, I would have researched it more and gone with the heavier gauge. But it’s not a safety issue so it’s not a big deal.


My original ceiling was acoustic tiles. They were utterly destroyed. Did I mention this was a fixer-upper?!? Acoustic tiles are great sound insulators and generally cheaper to install than drywall. But since my family was helping me, I was able to get drywall ceilings for about the same price as acoustic tiles, and this was my preference as all my therapy rooms would have Ashiatsu bars in the ceiling. So this was one choice that I chose to NOT go with the best sound insulator because the bar installation had a higher priority. In a later blog, I’ll show you how I used soundboards on the ceiling and walls to help with sound absorption.

Custom built ashiatsu bars and a drywall ceiling

Remember the walls that I didn’t insulate?  After a few months in the space, it was evident which walls had been insulated and which had not. So I came back a year later and tried to fix the problem without taking down the original drywall and insulating the walls. A few sources recommended I just add another layer of drywall.

Well, I did one treatment room. Several hundred $ later, paying a drywall person to put up another layer and repainting the wall… I barely could tell the difference. The more articles I read, the more confused and frustrated I got. Disgusted and frustrated I began looking at other options. Instead of tearing down the other walls I started focusing on controlling the sound within the rooms themselves.

In the next blog post, I’ll show you how I did that with rugs, fabric, soundboards, and other ideas. I’m not a soundproofing expert by any means, but I have tackled a TON of different projects. Some with a little $ and time investment and some more than I wanted to pay. And I’ve had success and failures with both. 

Our guest post blog has been written by our Durham, NC instructor, Julie Marciniak. Julie’s a certified Rolfer with a husband who works full time in the NC National Guard, a son serving in the Army, and a daughter in high school.

Oh, and there are 2 adorable Daschunds, too. In her off time, she enjoys cooking, reading, gardening, decorating and creating beautiful and functional spaces.

Tuesday Toesday – using a meditation pillow

Having an electric massage table solves a lot of problems for barefoot massage therapists, one of which is the ability to use only one stool instead of two. You simply raise or lower the table according to your needs. When using a portable massage table, ashiatsu therapists typically need 2 stools–that is, until now, for we’ve got a meditation pillow to the rescue.

Typically when an Ashiatsu therapists does work while the client is on the table and she’s seated, she will need a taller stool. Proper alignment calls for the therapist’s hips to be about the level of the client’s back when she’s doing seated work.

However, we don’t recommend standing on the tall stool because the higher you go, the more unstable your stool will be. Plus, you end up with crummy body mechanics-you’ll end up hurting yourself or tipping the stool forward onto the client’s head. I’ve been on the receiving end of that and definitely don’t recommend that.

Having an electric table resolves the need for a taller stool because you just raise and lower your table as needed. Doing seated work, lower your table. Standing? Raise it. Jeni’s got a quick video explanation of how she does it using a bamboo stick.

The problems with having to switch out stools in the middle of your session are:

  • you have to pick up or slide the stool out of the way and then
  • pick up / slide the other stool into place

The difficulty lies in that the client’s head is only a couple of inches from your stool. If you’re not extremely careful, you’ll either hit the wall with one of the stools, which makes a big “clunk” or you’ll hit the face cradle.

Add into the time involved in switching out your stools, and the client may wonder what’s going on.

Using a meditation bolster completely resolves this issue. Now, the ashiatsu therapist can just use the short stool. When she needs to be higher, she quickly and quietly can simply place the bolster onto the short stool.

I’ve tried a couple of different kinds-one was filled with flax seed (or maybe buckwheat hull) and is squishy. It made a lot of noise when I sat on it, and it wasn’t terribly stable.

The kind that I’m using now are filled with cotton, are 6″ thick and are super stable and quiet.

An added bonus is that my SITS bones aren’t sore from sitting on a hard surface.

I tell you where I got this bolster in the video. They have lots of different colors. I simply chose paisley because I figured it would help disguise any random ashiatsu cream or oil drips. Students tend to be a little messy sometimes. 😉

Extending your massage career-avoiding burnout

Learning Ashiatsu was, by far, the best choice I’ve made in learning how to extend my massage career. However, after making a big financial and time commitment is when most massage therapists discover that their career may only last 3-5 years. Massage burnout and injury are the 2 biggest reasons.

Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals has reported that the burn out rate within the industry has been estimated at 50% to 88% within the first 3 to 5 years after graduation.

Massage Therapy Schools Information reports that “enrollment statistics seem to support this with over 50,000 students enrolling per year with 45,000 that leave the field annually.”

FASCIAnate your Ashiatsu Massage

How can existing Ashiatsu therapists learn FasciAshi?

If you are a massage therapist who already has formal Ashiatsu training, the Center for Barefoot Massage wants you and your Ashiatsu skill level to continue to grow.  We have FOUR ways for you to support your advancement in this style of massage, and blend the new strokes in with the old. These retraining opportunities allow you to revisit your Ashiatsu technique and body mechanics, while infusing it with FasciAshi’s innovative myofascial approaches to how you apply pressure through your feet.

Today we’ll discuss the Converge classes and what they entail – in the following weeks we’ll cover all options to step up your Ashiatsu game!


Barefoot Massage wins 2nd place at World Massage Championship!


Last weekend, the International Massage Association hosted a massage competition in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Massage therapists and bodyworkers from all over the world came together to share their techniques, approaches and love for their work – and a chance to win gold!

One person stood above the crowd to us… literally and figuratively… we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Nowozeniuk, who acheived 2nd place in the Freestyle Category with the use of Barefoot Massage!


Photo Credit: MassageNerd

Tuesday Toesday–fix your stool tip

Just when you think that you’ve got a grip on your ashiatsu barefoot massage session, your body tilts just a teensy bit the wrong way, and CLUNK! Your stool at the head of the table slams into the wall. Today we’ll show you how to eliminate that issue so your client’s not terrified you’re about to fall on his head, and you feel a little more stable.

Problem:  caused by your baseboard that juts out from the wall, and the top of your stool often comes several inches from the wall itself. When you’re not quite centered on your stool as your using your other foot to massage, the stool tilts backwards.

Solution: costs under $1 and takes less than one minute.

Simple homemade scrub for ashiatsu feet

One of the key factors that can make or break your ashiatsu massage is the softness of your feet. Now that the sun’s out and the temperatures have gotten warm, we all want to go barefoot. Unfortunately, that will make your tootsies unpleasant for barefoot massage. After all, our clients are not coming in for an exfoliation, right?

Whether you are getting ready to take your first ashiatsu class or you’re a seasoned barefoot massage therapist, you’ve got to keep those feet baby butt smooth.

Sure, you can pay for a pedicure. Some accountants say it’s even tax deductible. (Check with your own to see if she thinks the IRS will allow that.)

But you can make your own foot scrub to get your feet super soft with just a couple of ingredients and it will cost next to nothing!