Tuesday TOESday: Ashiatsu Face Cradle Position

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.

The main key for your Face Cradle Position is a neutral spine


Over the years, I’ve taught my clients how to use the lever on the side to tilt and pivot the platform. They also know how to adjust the pillow on the cheek plates and make sure that it’s set on the velco just right. I never want the worst to happen: their mouth or chin to hit the bar, or the frame to be jamming into their cheeks! Nowadays, when I come back into the room I usually find my clients in a comfortable prone postion – they can adjust the frame like a pro.

As I walk around my massage table when I first enter the room, I’ll just assess their alignment as they lay prone. I look for a crease in the neck cause from too much extension – AKA the Pez Dispenser.

I’ll also look to see if they’ve flopped their head down too far anteriorly, which will end up just absorbing a lot of weight, and ultimately push the pegs of the face cradle platform out the front of the table, or their forehead through the pillow hole…

(…if that is happening, you may be pushing towards the head too much… try to angle your pressure down into the table more!)

You also want to consider bolstering under their shoulders or chest if they are anteriorly rotated in the shoulders.  Make sure that your client never feels any pressure in their throat – and if they do, that’s another reason to add a chest bolster or boob pillow (and also re-assess your intent and direction of pressure!!)



This is Earthlites “Deluxe Adjustable” platform and pillow.

(BTW: If you are still using the non-adjustable wooden platforms with pillows harder than a tire, it’s time to burn that thing and get something adjustable. The safety, support and comfort from your equipment for your clients during Ashiatsu massages should always be a priority.)

Need a new face cradle? We love Earthlite’s FlexRest Platform with the StrataCool Pillow, and the Oakworks Boiance cushion and “Float” platform.

What face cradle are YOU using!?!? Tell us in the comments below!

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