How has practicing Ashiatsu impacted your career?
Becoming an Ashiatsu Deepfeet Bar Therapist has brought newness I’ve been crying out for. It wasn’t long ago when I felt as if I could never let go of the old and familiar social work job I had for over 15 years. Of the numerous possible career choices I explored, wellness and bodywork related jobs attracted me most. Eager to make a change, I walked towards the path of becoming a licensed massage therapist in 2015. Fast forward to spring of 2016, massage school was done, I passed MBLEX, and got LMT initials after my name. I was ready to dance with my newfound reality - at least that was what I thought. But when my actual reality kicked in, I came face to face with the question that massage school didn’t prepare me for - what do I want people to know that’s different about what I do? The growing and competing number of bodyworkers at the corner happy and healthy, if I may use the Walgreens tagline, made me nervous. Determined to find my answer, after finishing massage school I headed out for continuing education at Mudra Massage in Portland, Oregon. There I was trained and certified as an Ashiatsu Deepfeet Bar Therapist by Matt Dalton and Nancy Delong. The following year I headed to Denver, Colorado and was trained in Ashi Thai by Ruthie Hardee, the amazing mother, and founder of Ashiatsu Deepfeet Bar Therapy. Once I learned that Ruthie, as a young girl, had first glimpsed barefoot massage in an open-air market in Manila, Philippines, which provided the roots and inspiration in her development of deep feet bar therapy, it became even closer to my heart as a Filipino. Ashiatsu Deepfeet Bar Therapy has given me another layer of creativity where I am able to artfully interlace other modalities I was trained in, such as Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Tui Na, Guasha, Cupping, Sports Massage, Thai Massage, yoga stretches, and more.
What advice can you give to new graduates?
Practice, practice, practice, and bring humor to what we do. I love it when I can make my clients feel at ease with the unique qualities of the kind of massage I do. They always laugh out loud whenever I tell them I clean my feet before I floss my teeth.
What is your favorite stroke?
Warrior Pose (parallel glide) and Mortisha’s Rack (perpendicular glide) are my two big favorites, but my best one is Hip Hiker 1. Clients love the release work on Ashi 7 (gluteus maximus and piriformis).
What was your fondest memory of your DeepFeet Training?
The moment my foot was able to palpate muscle tissue and "woke up". It took about 10 practice sessions to start feeling the sole sensitivity but when it happened it was magical!
How has your barefoot practice evolved since your training?
I’m humbled to be the first to introduce Ashitasu Deepfeet Bar Therapy in Madison, WI and plan to keep it available for our community to enjoy for many years to come. I find my practice different each session, as my repeat and new clients are all unique. One thing I make sure of is that they get the best service either through hands-on, deepfeet, or a combination. One twist I incorporate when I do the “MAKE NICE” stokes is the add-on heat. I call it atatakai (meaning warm in Japanese) Ashi. I step on heated large flat basalt stones to warm up my feet as I apply repeated soothing make nice strokes on Ashi 6 to Ashi - 2 areas of the body.