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!
We all know how to apply massage lotion to your clients with our hands: but how about with your feet?
Our faculty and alumni all have their own ways of adding their creme, lotion or oil during sessions. One massage lotion application is to squirt the lubricant onto your foot, then do some smearing strokes to work it along the area you’ll be focusing on… then DO YOUR THANG! (You’ll need to have a holster on your hip to hold that lube tube!) This version definitely helps to avoid getting your hands slippery, which alters your grasp on the bars.
Stepping up to your massage table to start an Ashiatsu massage can be tricky sometimes. Placing ashiatsu step stools near your massage table can help make your life easier. Maybe the table is set real high. Maybe you aren’t the type of person who takes 4 stair-steps in a single leap when you run up the stair case! Lunging that far repeatedly overtime might put some extra strain on your knees (or KNEE if you tend to always step up with the right more than the left!)
Honestly? I was stubborn about this for years. I never had my table set obnoxiously high. I have long legs. I used my Ashi-strap (read more about that here) to help me up. I love to sneak in secret work-outs by engaging my own muscles to create a slow-mo stair climber exersize when I got up on the table. I would try and remember to take turns stepping up with my right foot this massage, and my left foot during the next massage. I would reverse the action when I was getting down off the table, and lower myself in a controlled, eccentric movement to play with that secret strengthening idea during each session. It was a nice meditative focus to maintain while I worked… and help me stay toned.
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.
My flannel massage sheets are the bomb. They are perfect for ashiatsu for several reasons. The fitted sheets are nice and snug, so my toes don’t get stuck in them when I move around, and they’re super comfy. Other massage sheets work well also (some of our instructors love Comfy Co.), but I’ve worked mostly with the flannel.
Twin sheets from anywhere work great for hands-on massage or for barefoot massage if you’ve got a wider table (like the 35″ Earthlite Spirit and Ellora that we love). However, my table I use regularly is 32″.
So when I recently purchased some lightweight twin sheets for summertime use, I had a little ashiatsu conundrum. My toes got stuck in the sheets whenever I turned, and the extra fabric got in the way, twisty and pulling when the client rolled over.
If you use flat sheets on the bottom, it’s easy to pull the corners into a knot to keep the sheet snug on the table, but it doesn’t work for extra loose fitted sheets. While I did consider cutting the sheets and resewing, that seemed like a waste of time and effort, so I pulled an old trick out of the bag that I hadn’t used in years–rubber bands.
How to fix your sheets so they work for barefoot massage:
You just need 2 regular sized rubber bands (you can use hair ties too if you have those handy.) Pull the sheet super snug in one corner, wrap a rubber band around it a few times until it stays put, and tuck the extra fabric under the sheet.
Do the same thing on the other side, and voilà! You’ve got a snug sheet for your barefoot massage, and you won’t trip on the extra fabric.
Just make sure you take the rubber bands off before you wash the sheets, or your sheet won’t get clean. Plus, the bands may melt in the dryer. Can you say “messy”? 😉
Do you have any favorite tips you’d like to share?
Did you know that your portable massage table has many settings and FEETures that work awesome specifically for Barefoot Massage?
Fold those legs up underneath the frame and take your massage table to the floor!
Have you ever been sitting at home wishing you could practice some of your barefoot moves on your partner or kids, only to find yourself frustrated about bolstering and the challenge of maintaining cervical alignment?
That massage table is so much more supportive and comfortable than just the floor or a yoga mat!
You lie them down prone and prop some towels under their head. Maybe you place a pillow under their chest so they’re up high enough to breathe and maintain alignment, never really feeling entirely satisfied with the results.
The FasciAshi faculty is lucky to be rooted in a strong network of “Sole Sisters”, as many of us have been friends, colleagues and online buddies for years. Even though we are all about a half days travel away from one another, we talk almost daily, so when we do get to meet up it’s as if no time has passed at all! With Jeni, Mariah, Jessica, and soon to be Sara all in the same place at the same time this week at the Barefoot Massage Summer Camp in San Antonio, we thought we’d make today’s “Tuesday TOESday” tip all about how you can combine forces with another massage therapist friend to grow BOTH of your businesses and careers in Barefoot Massage!
Sole Sisters and FasciAshi Ashi-Friends can help your Ashiatsu business succeed!
…read more by clicking on the “continue reading” link below~
If you are already an experienced Ashiatsu barefoot massage therapist and you share our passion for giving the best massage from your feet possible, then we already know that you know (deep down) that you want to know more!!!
(Did that make sense?!) It makes sense to us. We’ve felt the craving for more information, just like you are now. We want you to continue to improve your effectiveness and mindfulness in barefoot massage to help give your clients the healing (and heeling) that they are looking for. #NeverStopLearning is one of our favorite hashtags, and we have FOUR ways for you to do just that!