What is ashiatsu massage

Your first time going to a spa? Or perhaps you might have seen a video on your social media feed where a therapist stands on a man’s back?

Wondering what it is called?

How does it work?

And why would anyone allow a stranger to walk on his back potentially? Well, we have got all the answers for you in this article.

Keep on reading for all the juicy details on the Ashiatsu back massage.

According to globalwellnessinstitute.org, a leading research publisher for wellness and health worldwide, the spa industry alone in the U.S. boomed to an all-time high of $17.5 billion in revenue!

Even with the covid-19 virus, a staggering 126 million people engaged with the spa industry in 2019 alone. So, what’s stopping you from going to that spa bar?

Here at NeedforSpa, we bring to you only the best self-wellness and D.I.Y. massages that will help you alleviate any bodily and spiritual pains.

The term “Ashiatsu” generally means foot pressure. Ashiatsu massage has been there in the world, relieving back pain for over 3000 years.

What is ashiatsu massage

What is Ashiatsu Massage – The Origins

Health and wellness will forever be a big part of our lives. In fact, I consider it to be a basic human need, whatever you do in your leisure time is up to you, some people like meditation while others go for sport, massages, however, have stood the test of time! 

Pinpointing the exact origin of the Ashiatsu massage has been a difficult task for historians over the years. As we have mentioned above, the name is Japanese in origin, but early records of the recipients of such massages are scattered between China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, India, and for the love of God, some of the Pacific islands like fiji and Samoa.  

Ashiatsu has been there in recorded history for over 3000 years in various shapes and forms. Yet the earliest written record is found in the Mulayam language of Indian origin. 

Ruthie Piper Hardee

No one really knows when the ashiatsu practice was introduced in the almighty U.S.A. Over the years, the practice has also been modified and adapted in different cultures. Ashiatsu only became popular a few decades ago when the spa industry boomed and Ashiatsu boomed with it. Modern-day Ashiatsu massage therapy is widely recognized as an essential spa deep tissue massage all Europe, U.K. and the U.S. 

Ruthie Piper Hardee, a local of the great state of Colorado, is attributed as the pioneer of barefoot massage in the western world. 

Ruthie’s parents were medical campaigners who traveled around the world trying to help people ease their pain. Ruthie shrewdly observed alternate healings methods of the east in her travels. 

She saw the phenomenon of barefoot massage first time in the Philippines, then India, and finally, she observed the practice closely in Japan. 

To her surprise, Ruthie had exceptional entrepreneurial skills as well. Good old Ruthie moved swiftly and founded the first-ever barefoot massage company, created a slightly different type of Ashiatsu massage therapy which she appropriately named “Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy”, trademarking it in her own name as well. 

What is ashiatsu massage

Her technique required the use of rods fixed to the ceiling of the roof, which provided support to the therapist/masseuse. By balancing themselves with the strength from their arms, these masseuses can generate exactly the right amount of pressure needed to calm your aching muscles. Read more on the technique below.    

How Does Ashiatsu Therapy Work?

As you know by now that feet are key to this massage therapy, but why is it so? Ashiatsu back massage starts with you laying on your back on a comfy massage table, and your masseuse would support himself/herself up above the client then would proceed to give stress-destroying strokes to the client. 

There are a few variations in the performance of the massage therapy itself. For example, your therapist or masseuse might be using ropes, stools, or benches instead of the traditional ceiling bars that are commonly used. This might be due to your geographical location like in some state, they use ropes, but it also might be due to the fact that your masseuse is comfortable using the said equipment.

However, almost all elite-level spas would have ceiling bars as a common practice, its just safe for both the client and the masseuse themselves. The point being that the equipment may vary from location to location or masseuse to masseuse but the technique remains the same overall. 

Ashiatsu Back Massage – Strength Requirements of a Masseuse

If you have seen Ashiatsu being performed on T.V. or youtube, you would easily observe that a masseuse who isn’t an expert can easily worsen a client’s pain or leave permanent damage to the client’s back. 

Yes, you do require sheer skill to perform strokes that relieve pain and stress from the client’s body but in order to move and maneuver yourself on the table with the support of the ceiling bar requires a lot of arm strength from the masseuse. 

Observing a good Ashiatsu masseuse being performed would a spectacular show where you would find a masseuse gliding over the client’s back as if they were amateur figure skaters. Yup, you read that right! 

Ashiatsu back massage is way better than traditional hand massages. The human foot anatomy allows this all its freedom. The foot covers a broader area to start with. Unlike the fingers or palm of the hand, which only focus tension in one area, the foot can cover more ground resulting in a deep tissue compression on your back. 

Many have coined the gliding foot of the ashiatsu massage as the “steamroller effect”. With the help of some very exotic oils and lotions, the therapists perform gliding strokes on your back which feel extremely relaxing and provide satisfying pain relief. 

Force of the foot provide deeper pressure to the muscles, masseuse around the world feel awkward, painful and poking with their bones when they try to give deep pressure with their hands. 

Why we love our Ashiatsu back massage therapists!

To my knowledge, the person stroking your back always matters! *wink wink*. Jokes apart, you really don’t want to try this on your own or with the help of a certified inexperienced professional you met online. 

Ashiatsu back massage therapists are one of the most dedicated people you will meet in this world. They have spent hundreds of hours in training just to get those strokes and gliding movements right.   

What is ashiatsu massage

In my opinion, I don’t recommend going to a noncertified person for this massage. It takes years to perfect your exact weight to body distribution so that you can apply deeper pressure yet feel gentle to the touch. 

A person’s back consists of the spinal cord the runs right to the brain, and it is a hub of nerves; that is why back massages are so relaxing because the tension you lose here also relaxes the brain. You feel calm, excited and stress-free after a massage. 

Similarly, you have the trickiest human hardware and software running up and down your spine. Inexperienced hands or should I say feet run a greater risk of damage and injury. Always go for certified massage centers.

5 Amazing Benefits of Ashiatsu Massage

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Straightens your spine
  • Alleviates bundled nerves
  • Detoxifies and loosens muscles
  • Increased Blood Flow

Due to our modern daily routines and a lack of physical activity can lead to blood circulation problems, the numbing of your hips, legs and back can get felt after sitting hours and hours in the same position. 

Ashiatsu back massage is a deep tissue massage; what this means is that the pressure of those feet is felt directly on your muscles; they compress under pressure and then decompress as well when the pressure is lifted—initiating a sort of movement that brings blood flow to that muscle. 

Remaining stagnant is never good for our muscles; over time, you lose muscle mass and the body replaces the muscle with fat, but the Ashiatsu can trigger blood flow to these stagnant muscles resulting is good health of your muscles over a longer period and relaxation for an extended period of time in the shorter run. 

Straighten your spine

What vis ashiatsu massage

Straightening the spine and giving you a better posture is what therapists crave to do in Ashiatsu massage. They do this by shaping their strokes that would align and activate those muscles which pull on your back. A curved spine is often due to inactive muscles that can easily be activated again. 

Why use the foot? As discussed above the foot offers more surface tension, more force due to huge muscles in your legs and the gravity weighing in on your client through your body weight. The foot compressions are longer and wider than that of the hands. 

Alleviates bundled nerves

Ashiatsu back massage as the name suggests, the focus is on your back which, as we stated earlier, is the trickiest piece of human hardware and software combined. Your back is the home of a million nerves that have different functionalities around the body. 

The first thing you feel after Ashiatsu back massage is deep relaxation due to the fact that your bundled nerves have been unbundled. You feel an improved sensation as a result; your skin due to increased blood flow and unbundled nerves, would now respond quicker. 

Your peripheral nervous system has started responding faster and transmits messages as a faster pace to the central nervous system. Strokes to the lumbar region of your back are key activators of the nerves. They get rid of any tensions you feel in the back, which might result in spasms in the future. 

Detoxifies your muscles

As a general rule of thumb, always drink plenty of water before and after Ashiatsu sessions. Ashiatsu back massage activates the lymph nodes as well in your body. The lymphatic system can increase the amount of metabolic waste your throw out of your body. 

Today our diets comprise more of junk food and less of the essential nutrients that we desperately need. It is of paramount importance that we detoxify ourselves. Impurities just do not build up in your blood; they can build up in your cells as well and with a weak lymphatic system that does not support metabolic waste out of your body. 

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