Ashiatsu is my favorite style of deeper massage to receive, hands-down. Or feet-down, however you want to say it. As a solo practitioner, I don’t have easy access to good quality barefoot therapists close to me. Our instructors who have a team of ashi therapists have set themselves up well for both business purposes and for being able to conveniently receive ashiatsu. (Yes, they are smart ladies in many ways.)
Sadly, there are times when I don’t have half a day to block myself off for my 2-hour barefoot massage sessions. The ashiatsu massage therapists currently I see are about 50 minutes away.
When I can’t receive my barefoot bar massage therapy, my second choice is to get my hands-on deep tissue massage from a man. My other choice is from a tall, well insulated woman. (Stay with me here–there’s a point to the big vs smaller hands-on therapist!)
I like getting hands on massage from men and big, solid, farm-type women for two specific reasons:
As massage therapists, we’ve got a pretty good thing going on in general. Clients come in tight or sore, and we make them feel better by the time they walk out the door. Barefoot massage is deep but comfortable and can put muscles back in place where they belong. Hands-on massage therapists provide pain relief as well, and relaxation.
For that, people are grateful.
But sometimes we get “Creepers”- typically men (not always, I’m sure) who ask things like if they can inspect our feet to make sure they are pretty enough for ashiatsu. In the 20 years that I’ve been doing massage, no one has asked to inspect my hands.
Or perhaps they ask what we are wearing or if we are the person in the photo on our website or ad. Once someone asked me in person how much I weighed.
Most massage therapists have dealt with this in one way or another, unfortunately. I was fortunate that our instructors talked about this in massage school. In our FasciAshi Fundamentals class, our instructors talk about what’s legit and what’s too creepy in regards to our massage with feet.
Some inquiries are no doubt legitimate or have been asked out of curiosity, but there are ridiculously blatant ones as well.
Head on over to Bored Panda, where we’ve got our “Dear Massage Creeper” article live. It’s a letter many massage therapists are currently rejoicing over and are wanting to share with others.
What kind of weird or creepy things have happened to you in regards to massage? Also, if you have tips to share in how to handle weirdos, please do!
Leave a comment below then share this with a friend.
This question of “how do I go deeper in a massage so I don’t hurt myself” recently came up in a massage group in which I belong. Of course, my obvious answer to learn barefoot massage and directed her to our website.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to take an ashiatsu class anytime soon. Maybe the kids are back in school, your rottweiler just had a hip replacement, or perhaps taking time off work and traveling simply isn’t an option at that moment.
Where do your start your massage? At the feet? Perhaps at the client’s initial complaint area? At their upper back or in their neck? With their breath?
There’s not a wrong answer here, it all has to do with the theory you choose to approach the massage with.
Having procedures and protocols can produce results – but every client and every condition is different. Learning a routine massage and always sticking to it is like being on autopilot: it might always produce the same results, but you may be bored, uninspired… and your clients progress may plateau.
Read a few of the ideas below, and see if changing up the sequencing of your next massage helps you and your client get the results you are looking for!
“I’d never get a massage,” a friend once confessed to me. “You’d see how fat I really am.” And “I’m SO SORRY! I didn’t shave my legs!” another confesses when you’re about to start the massage. Do massage therapists care about extra cush or stubble? What do we really think about your body?
Most massage therapists are honored that their clients trust them to touch them with healing intent. It doesn’t matter what color you are, if you’re bloated from that big burrito you ate during lunch (yes, gas happens. It’s ok.), if you broke your razor or if you’re chunky.
One of the benefits of teaching is that we learn every time we teach. It may be what NOT to do 😉 but sometimes it’s something cool. One of my students in my last class showed us this cool tip as to how to effectively (and we’re all about effective) cover their bits and parts when they get up off the massage table. This trick is good for any massage therapist!
Normally, they’d get up off the table when you’re not in the room. But say they need to go to the bathroom and time’s short, so they don’t want you to have to step out for them to get dressed or wrapped up.
OR you’re taking a massage class and you don’t feel comfortable being all butt nakedy in a room full of strangers when you get up off the table.
Read on (or save yourself some time and just watch the video)!
The client needs to be lying on his / her back for this to work
Cover up their shoulders with the corners of the fitted sheet.
Have them sit up, holding the flat sheet against their chest. The fitted sheet should stay put on the shoulders.
Ask them to put one leg on each side of the table–make sure their feet are uncovered.
Pull up the bottom corners of the fitted sheet and have the client pull them through his / her legs.
They have on the biggest cloth diaper you’ve ever seen, and all the private parts stay private.
As they say in the film biz, “It’s a wrap!” (Get it? A massage client wrap! 😉 )
Many of us niche down pretty well after we’ve been doing massage for a long time. All of our instructors specialize in Ashiatsu barefoot massage. Some add in a little this or that in addition (like Pillossage or cupping), but we are, in essence, barefoot therapists. Who’s your ideal client for your massage?
When we first start out, our answer is usually, “EVERYONE!”
Massage therapists have a tendency to massage the way they’d like to be worked on. Love cranial? That’s probably your jam. NMT? You’ve likely taken a lot of classes.
What clients do you wantto have?
You can’t determine who your ideal client is if you don’t have a firm handle on what your business is and what it does best. -Stephen Sheinbaum, Founder, Bizfi
My ideal client when I started massage is not the same as it is now.
In 2006, at a massage convention, I ran into the author of the article that saved my back from pain, Richard Rossiter. I told him that I had been studying his work through his online website, DVDs, and books since discovering the powerful effect Rossiter had on my back. Since my wife, Mickey, was the only person who had worked on me thus far, I asked if I could sample the foot of the master.
Eager to grant my request, he invited me to hit the floor and proceeded to apply weight with much more authority. It was definitely more difficult to move through the stretches, but the effect was much more profound.
My back felt even better!
A year later, I was a Certified Rossiter Coach, and through continued advanced work on my legs, I experienced the ultimate back pain relief that continues to the writing of this article.
The crazy thing is, nobody ever touched my back.
All Rossiter work (for my situation) was done on the inside of my thighs (adductors). The work was done in less than thirty minutes, and my reward was a back that felt like it did when I was in the prime of my dance career.
When people meet me and find out that I’m a manual therapist with a reputation for getting people out of pain very quickly, they want to know what it is I do and how do I do it. To keep it simple, I tell them that my work is nothing more than power stretching and that they should visit my website (DontFearTheFoot.com) to get the full picture on how it works.
This is Chuck. He does not fear the foot.
Here’s where the fun starts. They immediately want to know what does fearing a foot has to do with massage, stretching or getting out of pain?
I spent 20 years of my life professionally stretching, for I was a professional Broadway dancer for twenty years. And during my professional career, I probably stretched more in a day than most people stretch in a year (or a lifetime for that matter).
My flexibility served me well throughout my dance years and now, with the addition of mobility and stability training, it continues to be my preferred weapon in maintaining a “relatively” pain-free body. now help others in their quest to getting out of pain.
I now help others in their quest to getting out of pain.
If you use your feet like your hands to massage, with intention, then your ashiatsu massage will not only be more therapeutic, but you’ll find your session time fly by faster. Getting specific in your barefoot massage and paying attention to details will make your ashiatsu session stand out from others’.
When I worked at a chiropractor’s office years ago, there were 2 other ashiatsu barefoot therapists there. One was taller and heavier by maybe 30 lbs, and the other was about my size. Doc told me once that my barefoot massage was way deeper than the others’.