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. ūüėČ

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!


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.

Bolstering for Ashiatsu

To give your client a safe, comfortable and effective barefoot massage, it’s important to support them with specific bolstering for Ashiatsu where needed. We do this in many unique ways, from how we use a flat pillow for ankle and knee support while prone or supine, to what tools we use to position their body to best absorb and distribute¬†gravitational forces¬†and our weight.


Bolster #1: The Boob Pillow.

The purpose of a breast support¬†pillow, when it comes to Ashiatsu, is to position “the girls” while supporting the sternum, clavicle,¬†ribs and cervical spine when under pressure. Keep in mind that the table below the client is resisting your weight, and pushes back into the client’s body.

This “Oreo” of pressure coming from above and below your female client’s torso can translate into suffocating force in the chest, or a position of their head and neck that adds compression to the throat. ¬†Having a cushion helps your client maintain thoracic, cervical and shoulder alignment so that she may comfortably absorb the pressure applied by your feet. Keep in mind that the breast recesses built into massage tables don’t always work well with Ashiatsu because the table is still there to push back on the throat – so give the girls some lift, and put an added level of padding underneath!

What is Ashiatsu Massage?

Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage is a massage. That’s it, honestly. A licensed massage therapist will provide a professional, well educated massage service catered to a clients¬†needs, and they just so happen to use their¬†feet as the tools that deliver the technique, rather than hands. Why should a person try Ashiatsu?


You can talk about it’s depth and consistency of pressure. You can go on and on about how you use 1 foot at a time unless the client happens to weigh more than pounds than you… you can talk about your overhead bars or your super sturdy¬†massage table… you can explain your soft, smooth, clean feet… ¬†you can mention how it saves your own body…. FOR REAL THOUGH!?

Do you go into that much detail when you explain a deep tissue massage that’s delivered from your upper limbs?! Not usually. Although ALL¬†of this information is imperative¬†to explain at some point during your client education, sometimes you are limited on time, so get to the point.¬†Let them ask those questions instead, and you can come back to these key points while keeping them engaged in conversation.


How do YOU introduce this specialized technique to your clients or your surrounding community? Do you have a rehearsed elevator speech that explains the key benefits a person may experience when receiving an Ashiatsu massage from you? Sometimes an on-the-fly elevator speech seems intimidating, but it can be really fun and inspiring when you speak from your experience!

Instead of memorizing a script and repeating it back like a robot, aim to embody your own walking/talking advertisement so that when you need to, the words will roll off your tongue and fit the situation. Here are some tips to explain your work intuitively and fluently:

Ashiatsu Strap: it’s got your back!

Tuesday TOESday for Ashiatsu Massage Therapists … here’s a new tip to make your Ashi more Awesome.




Massage Therapists from across the country are asking me about my Ashiatsu straps and how to use them. These¬†extra supports¬†are something I‚Äôve had in my practice since my first year practicing Ashiatsu back in 2003, and since then I’ve been influenced by Aerial¬†Yoga, Slacklining, Chavutti Thai and my own pure laziness and love of hammocks to better utilize the assistance¬†it offers.

When I broke my wrist in 2011 and still needed to teach Ashiatsu workshops in San Antonio, and provide the deep stretches from Ashi-Thai services to my clients while I was in a cast – my strap kept me working, kept me balanced, and offered the leverage I was missing from my hand that was stuck in a sling, so the straps helped me provide 1 handed, 2 footed massages!

They are just yoga straps, but they are a life saver. Having a strap on your bars is a great tool to help you hoist yourself up onto your table anywhere in one easy step, rather than just at the head or foot ends of the table. It will help you to save your hands even further, by not needing to death grip the bars anytime you need to lean out.

A strap¬†helps you avoid the temptation to hang like a monkey (which honestly causes you to drop out any potential pressure – so by hanging you are only working harder to go deep.) The creative angles that your strap will support you into¬†really helps to give you smooth leverage during the FasciAshi strokes¬†we’ll teach you in our courses. You can lean back into the strap at varying angles, and it’ll have your back like a hammock. You can even lay on it like a hammock!!! This tool is a staple to this new generation of Ashiatsu, and is just as necessary as the overhead bars.