In almost every massage I receive, I adjust the preset face cradle position as soon as I lay down in it. Sometimes it’s still set to the person who was on table prior to me, or maybe the LMT just snapped it into a random setting right before my session. Most of the time, I adjust the face cradle postioning because I know that an uncomfortable pillow can RUIN my entire experience during the massage.
…I can’t be the only massage therapist who does this, right?!
Read on, and watch the video below to see how we position a face cradle for an Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage.
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.
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?
I have raved about Ashiatsu for 15 years. “Save your hands!” I’d cry. “Take a class and learn barefoot massage! Extend your career! Give your clients the deep tissue massage they crave without hurting yourself,” I’d urge.
I don’t do hands-on massage. Ashiatsu barefoot massage is the name of the game.
Last week, a client whom I haven’t seen in years called me to ask about massage. “I see on your website you don’t do house calls or hands-on massage anymore,” she started with. Correct. I don’t do hands-on massage, with the exception of the occasional pregnancy massage.
So she scheduled a one-hour barefoot massage at my office for her and one for her husband the following day.
A few days later, she called me back to tell me that she had misplanned, and was there any way I could go to her house downtown (a 25-minute drive) and give her husband a hands-on massage for his birthday?
I don’t do hands-on massage, I protested internally.
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!
Up until 2002, I was one of those people who walked around barefoot whenever possible. While my feet were prettier looking than Frodo’s, no one would have wanted for me to use them to massage them. My entire life I had struggled with dry, cracked heels that were painful in the winter time and were mildly better in the summer.
That changed when I decided to learn barefoot massage. I got my first pedicure ever. There’s only so much you can do with Hobbit feet, though, I guess. I started wearing shoes instead of sandals and regularly scrubbed my feet with a foot file, testing the softness with my hands.
Miracle of miracles, this all helped to make my feet soft enough for barefoot massage, or so I thought.