ASHIATSU - AN ANCIENT MODALITY FOR THE MODERN THERAPIST™
“Ashi” in Japanese means “foot.” “Atsu” means “pressure.” In the US, Ashiatsu has become the known term to describe barefoot massage, however barefoot massage of this now well-known style originally derived from Chavutti Thirummal, an ancient massage technique developed in Kerala, India. The Asian styles of barefoot massage, traditionally known as Ashiatsu, were not gliding effleurage, but rather compression-over-clothing. For centuries, throughout the East, Chavutti Thirummal and other styles of barefoot massage were used to create balance in the Qi (marma points/meridians) of the body and alleviate everything from headaches to heartaches. Traditionally, the treatment was a 15 day process, with blended essential oils and specific techniques that began on day 1 with very light pressure, increasing to very deep by day 7, then a day off and continuing back down the intensity scale of pressure. What we now have is the ability to control pressure, application, and session times to best suit the needs of clients and therapists in the US. With the rise of Portuguese settlers and influence in India, Goa and south, came different styles of barefoot massage. Women, not just men, provided it as a massage therapy more than as a martial art with Ayurvedic tradition, as Chavutti Thirummal was known for. Climbing onto the table and using barefoot effleurage began. Using poles, beams, ropes, and anything they could, they evolved this modality from the mat on the floor to the massage table. Since then, barefoot work has continued to evolve and gain popularity for it's diversity in the massage industry.
Many versions of Ashiatsu have developed over the years, and opposed to the term’s original roots, gliding effleurage is what it’s most famous for now in the United States: deep, gliding, compression. Padded, sanitized, soles, provide a luxurious feel that is not only deeper, but more soothing and comfortable than traditional massage. Feet vs. hands stimulate the clients’ parasympathetic nervous system, allowing them to dive deeper into relaxation. Therapists can achieve better, more satisfactory results for clients, while sustaining fewer injuries to their own muscles & joints.
It is simply the most effective massage, with the longest lasting benefits.