Is Ashiatsu the same as Barefoot Massage? What is the difference between a Barefoot Massage and a Foot Massage?
WOW! So many questions, and we get them often from our clients as well as from massage therapists. I’m sure you’ve either asked, or have been asked these questions, too. So lets break it down!
Barefoot Massage is a growing specialty in the massage therapy industry where the massage professional utilizes their FEET as tools to give the massage rather than hands. A foot massage is where the clients feet are being massaged through techniques such as Reflexology, Acupressure, Thai Foot Massage, or a general foot rub – like what you may receive from a Nail Technician during a pedicure. A Bear Foot massage is another thing entirely, ha!
Ashiatsu is a form of Barefoot Massage…
(Read our Barefoot Massage Awareness Week blog post to learn about many other styles of Barefoot Massage!)
…and FasciAshi is a style of Ashiatsu.
(Read this blog post to see how FasciAshi is an independent technique within the Ashiatsu style.)
It’s important to know that not all barefoot massage is ashiatsu.
That’s just the popular name, and a lot of other beautiful, amazing styles of barefoot massage (like Fijian, Chavutti Thirumal, Rossiter, Breema, Thai, Sarga and others) tend to get wrapped up in the “ashiatsu” tag, when really, they are their own individual styles with different intentions and focuses. Just because someone massages with their feet, doesn’t mean it’s Ashi.
The “A” word is so ingrained into the current massage cultures vocabulary that it seems we can’t get away from using it, no matter how accurate it is to what we all do or not. But that can change as our industry and communities are better informed on how the work is explained and defined. Choose your words wisely, and help educate your clients by defining what STYLE of barefoot massage you are utilizing within each session … if you’ve got everything from Fijian to FasciAshi and Table Thai so seamlessly blended, then it’s easy and accurate to say that you are giving barefoot massage, but don’t forget to give props to everything you’ve incorporated. Letting the client know all the blended styles you incorporate helps them understand that what you provide is more than likely different than the Thai Massage therapist down the road.
The more YOU, the trained barefoot massage professional, can accurately explain exactly what styles of barefoot massage you are trained in – the better other therapists and clients in your wake will explain it when they bring it up in conversation.
Keep in mind that your clients are still trying to understand what the difference between a Foot Massage and a Barefoot Massage is – so ease them into our world with compassion. What I’ve done at Heeling Sole, due to this common bit of confusion, is we offer a foot massage… but we do it with our feet! So if a person comes in wanting a Foot Massage, misunderstanding that it’s not the same thing as a Barefoot Massage, then we can at least massage their feet for thirty minutes, while also letting them see how deep, dexterous and detailed our feet can be!
Can this be useful to you in your practice? If so, combine the foot work we teach in Fundamentals, Intermediate and ROM, along with any other training you have that applies to the feet and lower legs, and try offering this introductory service to your town!
Take baby steps to raise up the awareness of Barefoot Massage in your community. Every new person under your foot is progress. No matter which style you provide, watch your local “footprint” in your community start to grow by using your two feet every day!
If you are struggling with explaining the differences between all the styles of Barefoot Massage you are trained in – or trip up on talking about what you do versus what your client thinks you do, sometimes it’s best to let your feet do the talking, then echo the work with your best elevator speech! Practice makes perfect. Help make your clients smart marketers who not only know to NEVER call you a
masseuse, but who instead refer to you as their Barefoot Massage Therapist, and can help spread the word around town.
If you are ready to take that step into becoming a Barefoot Massage Therapist, or if you want to level up your Ashiatsu, we invite you to attend a FasciAshi class from our instructors at the Center for Barefoot Massage! Visit our website to learn more about the courses available and where we teach.