You may have seen massage therapists hanging from bars and using their feet to walk on people and wondered what the heck it’s all about!
Well, it’s called Ashiatsu, and there are some awesome Ashiatsu massage benefits for your physical and mental health to be enjoyed from this form of barefoot massage therapy.
I first had an Ashiatsu massage while traveling across Asia a couple of years ago. I’ve since had another in the US, and while the experience wasn’t quite the same (maybe I missed the nostalgia of a great holiday, or it’s a case of the ‘first’ lasting impression), I still felt great afterwards however and I recommend anyone tries an Ashiatsu massage at least once.
What Does an Ashiatsu Massage Feel Like?
The first thing people think is, ‘ will this barefoot massage from someone standing on my back is going to hurt!’
It doesn’t hurt at all, at least it shouldn’t do. If it does you need to talk to the therapist to find out why.
The therapists are using the bars overhead to help them use the broad, flat surface of their feet to give clients a deep, but pain-free massage.
They can deliver a deep tissue massage while using a larger surface than they would with their hands. Similar to when they use elbows or forearms if you’ve ever experienced that.
The bars allow gravity to do some of the work too, so it’s actually easier on the therapist. It’s particularly useful for sports injuries as Ashiatsu gives a deep tissue massage and allows the therapist to work on larger muscle groups with long strokes.
The longer strokes feel incredibly relaxing. They can manipulate the soft tissues all over your legs, arms, and back. As well as penetrating muscles to deal with knots and injuries where needed.
Ashiatsu Massage Benefits
It’s estimated that around 80% of people in the US will experience life changing back pain at some point in their lives.
Instead of relying on pain medication to mask the pain book a massage. Ashiatsu massage can help relieve back pain and resolve muscular and tissue damage, make sure you explain your symptoms to the therapist before they start.
Improves Sleep and Relaxation
Despite having someone pounding you with their bare feet, as discussed above it’s incredibly relaxing and doesn’t hurt at all.
The lasting benefits being that your brain releases hormones and delta waves connected to improving sleep and relaxation. There are a number of studies to back this up.
Helps Lower Blood Pressure
There have been some interesting studies showing the connection between deep tissue massages and lowering blood pressure.
Always make sure you have clearance from your doctor and make your therapist aware if you have high blood pressure. It’s a safer alternative to medicines and the side effects they carry.
Boost Your Immune System
Massages and deep tissue work in particular are great for boosting your immune system. They can increase your white blood cells, an important line of defense in fighting off illness.
Regular massages are great for keeping you feeling and operating at your best. If you have an Ashiatsu therapist nearby add it to your bookmarks!
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are bad for your health in a wide range of ways. It can lead to muscle tension, compromised immune system, high blood pressure, mental problems, and more.
Ashiatsu massage stimulates your body to release more feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin. As well as lowering cortisol, both of which contribute to you feeling better, and relieving the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Speeds up Muscle Recovery and Performance
It’s no coincidence that athletes have a lot of massages, and deep tissue massages in particular. Through Ashiatsu you can have a ‘sports massage’, and you don’t need to be a professional athlete to enjoy the benefits.
If you work out, or maybe you have a physically demanding job, your muscles are being broken down and will recover faster from a massage.
Ashiatsu massage will help lactate clearance, improve circulation to your muscles, flush toxins, and help your muscles recovery stronger, faster, and even increase flexibility.
Ashiatsu Video Demonstrating Massage Techniques for Back Pain Relief
As with any form of massage therapy, if you’ve never tried it – what are you waiting for?
Ashiatsu massage has all the benefits you would expect from a good Swedish massage, while being performed in a pretty unique way and having a different feel.
I really enjoyed the feel of the therapist’s’ feet gliding across my back. The foot is larger than the hand and has a longer plane to glide over larger muscle groups smoother.
It’s an absolute must try. It’s not as popular or readily available as a standard table massage, so even more reason to book yourself in if you see Ashiatsu massage available near you.
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.