Ashiatsu Massage Therapy

Ashiatsu is a unique style of massage therapy in which the therapists ‘walks’ on the client’s back, using gravity and their bare feet instead as well as their hands to apply pressure.
At The Wellness Center in Denver, the practitioner uses overhead bars attached to the ceiling to balance and control the level of pressure and weight on the client’s body. Although the word “Ashiatsu” literally translated means foot “ashi”, pressure “atsu” in Japanese, Ashiatsu therapists also use their hands and upper body when appropriate.  Ashiatsu is often referred to as ‘barefoot Shiatsu’ as Shiatsu means finger “shi”, pressure “atsu” in Japanese, although Ashiatsu is not as structured as Shiatsu, perhaps due to its informal origins. This hand or foot pressure is applied to specific trigger points or in long compression strokes, depending on the client’s needs.

Benefits of Ashiatsu Massage:

  • Deep relaxation
  • Relieve tight muscles
  • Reduce stress
  • Stimulate the body’s own self-healing capabilities

What happens in an Ashiatsu session?

Check out our video for a first-hand look:

The practitioner stands on, or moves their feet along the client’s body, using the overhead bars to distribute their weight as needed.  The therapist can also vary the pressure applied by having one foot on the table supporting their weight, and the other foot on the client, for example.  The foot itself can also be used in a variety of ways – heels and toes are very capable of detailed work, such as contacting specific trigger points in the muscle, and the entire foot can be used to apply broad, deep pressure. Generally, the feet are used for compression strokes on the larger muscles along the back and top half of the legs. Due to the restrictions of a massage table (as compared to a floor, where Ashiatsu originated), smaller areas such as the neck and arms are usually worked with the hands rather than the feet.  A technique called ‘jostling’ can also be used, and is similar to a sports-massage style movement. At The Wellness Center, a sheet is placed over the body and no oil is used when feet are the massage tool so the therapist can be very particular. Lotion or oil is used directly on the skin when the practitioner is using her hands for smaller areas such as the neck, arms and lower legs.

Due to the practitioner’s knowledge of the body’s meridians (energy channels), this style of massage can also leave the client feeling refreshed and stimulated. It is also useful as a sports preparation or athletic maintenance, as the elements of stretching and engaging the large muscle groups are incorporated. It is also a great way to quickly warm up the large muscles for more detailed therapy, especially on people who are very muscular, although there are no restrictions on body types who can receive Ashiatsu, due to the therapist having control of weight distribution. It is, however, a deep tissue massage that feels like a “good workout” to some, leaving them refreshed and relaxed rather than tired. Ideally, an Ashiatsu massage would be 90 minutes to allow the therapist time to work thoroughly both the large muscle groups with the feet, and the smaller muscle groups with the hands.

Call The Wellness Center today to book with Layhoon Kasa for an Ashiastu session.  Ashiastu is a $10 upgrade and generally a minimum of 60 minute session is recommended.