Recently gaining in popularity, Ashiatsu massage has been around for centuries, and it notably has been said to be the deepest, most luxurious massage available. What is it, and why is it beneficial?
Benefits of Ashiatsu Massage
During Ashiatsu massage a specially trained therapist uses his or her feet to apply deep pressure to the body. It's often named "barefoot massage" and allows the deep tissues, joints, and muscles to be massaged while easing the nervous system. What does it actually feel like? Imagine a mesmerizing massage equipped with deep, broad strokes, and minimal soreness. Find out why the feet have it, and how it can benefit you practice.
Reduces chronic pain
Ashiatsu massage is a deep tissue compression massage. Deep tissue massage has been effective for pain reduction because it manipulates the deeper layers of soft tissue relieving muscle tension. Loosening up tension in tight muscles helps to increase circulation, which in turn flushes out inflammation that causes pain. Adhesions and tight connective tissues create much of our discomfort, which is why therapists tend to focus on reducing these pressures during an Ashiatsu session.
Scar tissue and adhesions can form from past injuries, stress, and over-use. All of these conditions respond well to the long, gravity-assisted strokes used with the Ashiatsu massage technique. The feet play a significant role in Ashiatsu massage; not only do they allow the therapist to pinpoint deep tissues, but the use of feet also allows therapists to use gravity to their advantage. The long gravity-assisted stokes can broaden and lengthen the muscle fibers in the body, creating more flexibility. Tissues of the body are also often stretched in two different ways during the massage, helping scar tissues and adhesions recover, increasing circulation and flexibility.
The deepest deep tissue massage possible
Traditional deep tissue massage employs the use of thumbs, fists, and elbows. Effective, but not always the most comfortable. In contrast, Ashiatsu massage uses the foot and feels like a giant hand, with the heel of the foot acting as a giant thumb. Utilizing feet allows the therapist to retain that deep pressure longer than in standard deep tissue massages. With the longer and deeper strokes come long-lasting effects on your body. Even after the massage is over, your body will continue to increase the circulation of the blood and lymphatic systems. With these effects still taking place, many clients admit to feeling just as relaxed hours after the massage is over. Since the deepest tissues have been manipulated and the body is effectively recovering, the overall effects last longer than a traditional deep tissue massage.
While Ashiatsu massage is similar to deep tissue massage, there is one major difference. Ashiatsu massage has little residual soreness while the treatment is being performed. Meanwhile, a major criticism about traditional deep tissue massages is that they tend to hurt. While some think they “hurt so good,” others want to minimize the discomfort as much as possible. In fact, the application of the foot allows for a more generalized dispersed pressure that is both deep and relaxing with little to no discomfort. The gentler but deeper application of barefoot massage does not damage superficial tissues or cause bruising, so clients do not experience the same residual soreness experienced with traditional deep tissue massage.
Less stress and tension
If you are looking for the ultimate in relaxation, you've found it with Ashiatsu. It's a powerful tool to have in your massage technique toolbox and it can lessen the stress level of your clients through reduced levels of cortisol, the body's main stress hormone. Positive effects including lowered heart rate, decreased tension, and overall mental health have all been connected with Ashiatsu massages.
This blog was curated from the article, "Top Reasons to Try Ashiatsu Massage" by ReFreshology Aesthetics and Massage Therapy. The entire article can be read here.
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