People often ask if it’s possible to provide Ashiatsu for clients with any kind of contraindication, or on clients who want a “lighter” massage; or on clients who are “petite” or female. Over the years, I’ve heard things such as, “You can’t do that…Ashiatsu isn’t for everyone…it can’t be done on anyone smaller than you…it’s not good for women…,” and on and on. There is a very simple answer to those sayings. Here’s the thing: it’s very individual! For some, Ashiatsu becomes a specialty. It evolves into “the same” work that is done with hands for those who choose it to become so. It’s also more comfortable for clients, because we know the foot is a softer, more padded and pliable tool–fitting perfecting, compressing better than hands!
Picture a cake. Un-frosted. Soft, moist, cake. Now picture frosting that cake with only your hands, (no spatula or tools), trying to keep it from being misshaped, torn, or damaged in any way. Unfrost it, and now, imagine using your foot to apply that same frosting. Those who make it a point to practice this over and over, improving technique & mechanics every time, will be able to do frost it successfully, with no damage. Same with one’s Ashiatsu practice: having many Ashiatsu experiences, with many different body types “under-foot,” will provide the necessary foot contouring, shaping, balance, and coordination to be able to ice that cake with their feet– without disturbing any part of it, or losing a single crumb! Practicing bad habits, however, will strengthen poor body mechanics and prevent evolution of a better kind. Where are you with frosting your cake?
Ashiatsu is an individually progressive modality, like Thai is, or cupping, or any modality that you can think of: in the beginning, requirements are stricter, possibilities fewer. Once practiced, it can evolve and become one’s specialty. Remember when you’re online, “you-tubing” or surfing, that just because you see it being done, doesn’t make it right, and just because you can do it, doesn’t mean everyone can.
These days, it’s important to have qualifications, but even more important to have clarifications. Follow the few simple rules for safe Ashiatsu sessions:
If you wouldn’t use an elbow on it, don’t use a heel on it!
Seek refinement and refreshers from an authorized instructor at any level.
Never do something on anyone that you haven’t felt for yourself first!
Know your own body’s pressure scale!
Work on people you have “set aside” from your clientele–for specific feedback.
GO GET AN ASHIATSU! This should be mandatory for all Ashiatsu grad’s, especially those who have taken Advanced!!
Finally, remember the real Ashi Golden Rule, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! Know without a doubt who you should and should not be using two feet on, or using more pressure on. Know that unless you are a practiced specialist, you may not be performing safe Ashiatsu by copying what you see!
Try icing that cake with your feet, and then get into evolving your Ashi!