(this page is dedicated to John Harris who wrote the book ( Fix Pain) my teacher, mentor, and friend!
What is Barefoot Massage?
DEEPER THAN THE DEEP
Barefoot Massage, is also called AHShiatsu Barefoot, is a massage technique that applies therapeutic or Ischemic compression pressure which is much deeper than what can be done by your finger pressure.
Another myofascial trigger point release is Ischemic compression. In this technique, the pressure is applied slowly and progressively over the trigger point as the tension in the trigger point and its taut band subsides. Pressure is maintained until the tenderness is gone or the tension is released.
Barefoot is perfect for lovers of deep tissue work or can’t seem to find a therapist to do deep enough work for them. 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 feels like a “good workout” to some, leaving them refreshed and relaxed rather than tired.
Ashiatsu massage with overhead bars has not been practiced on a widespread basis until recently. The roots and history of Ashiatsu, or barefoot massage, go back further than one might think.
Barefoot deep tissue massage techniques are ancient and barefoot massage has been around in different cultures (Thailand, Japan, and Australia) for hundreds of years and is an organic form of touch. Barefoot is rich in history and tradition, and now is available in Santa Barbara. Barefoot is not something you typically see at local spas or massage spas. I’ve used Barefoot Massage on athletes to the elderly and my clients are loving the long-lasting effects of prolonged Ischemic (Restriction of blood due to factors in the blood vessels with the damage already to the tissue) pressure.
AShiatsu Barefoot massage, in general, can have many positive effects on the body and mind.
Ashiatsu: Deeper than Deep Tissue Massage is a deep, painless form of barefoot massage that you will love. Ashiatsu is a massage where massage strokes are performed with feet. The pressure can be applied as deep as necessary because the therapist can engage the whole body to perform the moves unlike only the upper body strength with regular deep tissue massage. Ashiatsu massage can be as relaxing as Swedish and as light and painless if you want it to be. As well t can be more intense in muscle tension relief is that is whats necessary to do during the session.
It’s been shown to help people with back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also reduce something in the body called substance P (which causes pain), improve sleep, increase circulation, boost immunity, raise levels of serotonin (a feel-good neurotransmitter) and decrease levels of cortisol (a stress hormone).
What is Ashiatsu?
When broken down, the word “ashi” means foot and “atsu” means pressure. However, ashiatsu practitioners may also utilize their knees, elbows, palms, and fingers.
Ashiatsu includes the combination of Swedish, myofascial, and compression massage strokes. It includes long gliding strokes associated with Western or Swedish massage, and aspects of the ancient Eastern techniques and philosophies of Shiatsu and Ayurveda. Thai techniques stretch, and compression may also be used.
This modality has long and interesting history, but a relatively new and growing following here in the United States. It may also be referred to as barefoot massage or gravity assisted massage.
Ashiatsu Barefoot is for people who have chronic pain in their muscles as well as people who have range-of-motion problems. Athletes may be the best candidates. They tend to have tense, tight muscles, and their strong bodies can withstand the increase in pressure. A couple of my patients — both were athletes — found that Ashiatsu Barefoot massage helped them relieve tension in the lower back and hip. Ashiatsu Barefoot is one of my favorite modalities to receive massage.
ASHIATSU BAREFOOT MASSAGE BENEFITS
- The feet are more comfortable than pointy elbows and thumbs (it’s not painful).
- The broad surface of the feet enables the client to relax into the strokes. It’s known to induce deep relaxation quickly.
- Gravity enables the pressure to be deeper than with hands-on.
- Ashiatsu increases circulation quickly.
- It’s both luxurious and yet therapeutic at the same time.
- Ashiatsu is especially beneficial as it warms up the larger muscle groups.
- Ashiatsu relieves tight muscles and stress.
- Deep pressure stimulates the body’s self-healing capabilities.
- Less soreness typically results than with deep neuromuscular work.
CONTRAINDICATIONS WHO SHOULD NOT RECEIVE ASHIATSU
- If you are a woman that is pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- If you’ve had breast implants within nine months
- If you’ve had recent eye procedures/Lasik surgery within 72 hours
- If you have a history of Tuberculosis, thrombosis, aneurysm, or ongoing kidney disorders.
- If you are currently going through radiation therapy treatments.
- If you’ve had any knee, hip, spine, shoulder, or major joint surgeries within 6 weeks
- If you have phlebitis or cellulitis
- Any Autoimmune Disorders (such as lupus, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, etc) and Lyme disease
- If you are currently taking any blood thinners, painkillers, or muscle relaxants
- If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart condition
- If you have a pacemaker, stint or shunt
- If you’ve had a rib or any bone fracture/break within 6 months
- If you have Osteoporosis
- If you have spondylolisthesis
- If you have Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome, any neuropathy, or any neurological disorder that causes loss of sensation or muscle weakness
- If you have been on a plane flight longer than 6 hours within the last 24 hours prior to your massage appointment.
- If you are sick. (If I get sick, then I have to reschedule everyone)
- If you weigh less than 120 pounds (Ashi-Thai and Ashi-Anma are OK for most any weight, but not Ashiatsu.)
- If you do not like deeper pressure massage.
- If you are under 18 years old.
*Exceptions apply to contraindications, some of the contraindicated people might be able to receive a part of Ashiatsu in certain areas. For example shoulder and neck area with a massage therapist being seated instead of standing.
What is Sports Massage?
Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment. It’s more vigorous than a Swedish Massage.
The purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. Above all, it can help prevent those bothersome injuries that so often get in the way of performance and your athletic goals, whether one is an athlete, or a once a week jogger.
This treatment is not just for the sportsperson: anyone can benefit from sports massage, including people in physically demanding jobs and those not quite so obvious (occupational, emotional and postural stress may produce many similar characteristics to sports injuries).
Sports massage tends to be deeper and more intense. It is based on the various elements of Swedish massage and often incorporates a combination of other techniques involving stretching, compression, friction, toning, and trigger point response techniques similar to Acupressure and Shiatsu. A skilled therapist brings together this blend of techniques, knowledge, and advice during treatment, to work effectively with the client to bring about optimum performance and to provide injury-free training and minimize post-event injuries.
Sports Massage is best administered 1 /1/2 hours before your event or 1 1/2 hours after your event.
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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