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Ashiatsu Massage: Gives "Foot Massage" A Whole New Meaning

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Most people have heard about shiatsu massage, the Japanese massage therapy that involves pressure applied with the thumbs in circular motions and long strokes. However, significantly fewer people in the Western world have heard of ashiatsu. Ashiatsu requires that a fully trained therapist walk on your back, using his or her toes in very slow strokes. The full weight of the therapist's body never rests on your back, but the pressure applied is much deeper than any other type of massage. To learn more about this type of therapy, and where therapists train in North America, read on.

How It Works

Ashiatsu therapists have to be fairly lightweight, or at least petite in stature. You will never have to concern yourself with (or worry yourself about) a two- or three-hundred pound person on your back. Also, a set of poles or ropes strung between two sides of the room assist the therapist up onto your back to control the amount of weight applied. Your back is oiled, and then the therapist uses the poles or ropes overhead to lift him- or herself up, and then the therapist continues to hold onto them while he or she puts his or her feet into position. Walking backwards down your back in slow, controlled movements while gradually increasing pressure is said to produce a very relaxing massage.

Why Specialized Training Is So Important

The special training ashiatsu massage therapists receive teaches them how to avoid stepping on a client's spine and how to massage with their feet. It also teaches them how to avoid cracking ribs, which could kill the clients almost instantly. Although it may seem like a really dangerous and anxiety-producing way to get a massage, it has the opposite effect because of the training these specialists acquire through massage schools. At least one school in Canada and several more in the U.S. teach ashiatsu massage techniques, but only after a therapist has a degree in traditional massage therapies.

How You Will Feel After an Ashiatsu Massage

Clients who have experienced an ashiatsu massage session say it reminds them of a light Swedish massage, while other say it reminds them of a deep tissue sports medicine massage. These slight differences in sensation have a lot to do with A) the size of the client, and B) the skills and weight of the therapist. Regardless of either of these factors, it is still very relaxing. For more information on this type of massage, contact a clinic such as MassageWorks Of Sarasota Inc.