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Massage Today
February, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 02


By Lynda Solien-Wolfe, LMT

Author's Note: Welcome to my monthly column, DearLyndaLMT, where I answer questions from you, the readers. I have been blessed this past decade by working with many experts in the massage profession who will serve as resources, mixed with a touch of Dear Lynda's views and advice.

So ask away with all those things you've wondered about but didn't know who to ask! I can't guarantee that all of your questions will be published, but I will do my best to answer you, or at least point you in the right direction.

Please remember, as with all advice, it is just that: advice. Always check to make sure that you're working within your scope of practice in your city/county and state.

Please send your questions to or:

P.O. Box 173,
Cocoa, Florida 32923


I am fascinated with Asian bodywork and have taken many hours in Thai, Shiatsu and other massage modalities done on the floor mat. Although I do not incorporate the (TCM) energy work as taught with most of the programs, I love the foot work and the results that my clients feel from the muscles being stretched. My problem is that I find my self constantly bending up and down, to do the traditional Shiatsu. It's taken a toll on my knees, not to mention my thumbs. When I do Thai work on my heavier clients, it seems as if I am straining my back. I am only 5'2 and 106 pounds and cannot lift them to do the proper moves. 80% of my client base are hardworking guys who have low back issues, and they all want that "deep effleurage work." I read about Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy in one of the trade magazines, and would love to know more about this modality and any contact information you have.

-- Melanie from Austin, Texas

Dear Melanie,

I had that type of treatment at a day spa in Palm Beach Gardens about four months ago, and really enjoyed it!

I contacted Ruthie Piper Hardee, founder of the Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, to have her share to answer your questions:

Dear Lynda:

A huge smile came over my face when I read this question. I developed the Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy because of these types of questions and concerns. In 1995, I too had a client base of nothing but big, huge guys with chronic low back issues who demanded continuous deep efflurage. Even with good intuition and utilizing proper body mechanics on my floor mat, I too felt drained at the end of my day. I knew for me, personally, that there was a more effective way for me to deliver Ashiatsu [Ashi = foot, Atsu =pressure] rather that holding onto a chair or a bamboo rod wedged into a corner and using a floor mat, as taught to me in my original Shiatsu and Thai training. I searched everywhere in the United States for an approved massage course devoted solely to barefoot compression work, utilizing the bars on the ceiling and getting up off the floor mat like I had seen years ago in Bangkok and Manilla, but could not find one. I just wanted to know if anyone had already researched and put together a curriculum based on this technique with osteopathic and myofascial systems regarding spinal disjunction and less on chakras, meridians and energy work. No one had, so I developed a modality myself out of my own case studies.

The basic focus of my technique is to create a smooth push-pull-pumping effect on the tissue surrounding the inter-vertebral disk space. Pain is relieved because this style of compression allows the nucleus pulposus gel inside the disk to assume its central position and relieve irritation on the spinal nerve. Although the roots of Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy are definitely Asian, my technique and application are truly western. I created this form of body efflurage to help myself and other petite therapists who want to specialize in deep tissue massage without repetitive hand use and low back strain.

To date there are over 500 certified therapists practicing and loving this form of massage. From your letter, it sounds like you were born to do this work, and I would be happy to talk to you anytime. You can e-mail me at . If you would like to see photos or talk to a graduate of this method, you can go to our website at


I enjoy reading your column. I am in massage school right now and have less than a month to go. I want to work for a chiropractor when I get licensed. I want to ask your advise on finding the right chiropractor to work for, and what type of training they might want you to have. Do you think they would hire someone fresh out of massage school? Any advice on how to get their attention?

-- Steve from Ohio

Dear Steve,

Thanks for writing. Knowing that you want to work in a chiropractic setting when you get out of school is half the battle. I would research the chiropractors in your area who work with massage therapists, and ones who may be "pro-massage." Next, I would send them each a resume. You may want to schedule an appointment to get an adjustment, just to get to know a chiropractor's demeanor and style and to see what the office flow was like.

Next, I would make an appointment to meet with the chiropractor and offer to give him/her or someone on his/her staff a massage treatment. I think you should interview them, just as they would interview you. I know many DCs who hire massage therapists right out of massage school so they can play a role in their training. Most are looking for someone who communicates well, works as a team player, and has a willingness to learn and grow. Some advanced training that DCs might be looking for are: NMT, advanced whiplash training, and other medical massage techniques like pregnancy massage.

I contacted Dr. Hoxie, a practicing chiropractor in Merritt Island, Florida, to get a chiropractor's point of view on your question. Here is what Dr. Hoxie had to say:

In response to Steve's questions - "Do you think they would hire someone fresh out of massage school? Any advise on how to get their attention to hire me?" The answers are "Yes." The second question is a bit more difficult, because the simplest way to get noticed is to introduce yourself in person, and drop off a resume. An effective method to use when attempting to get hired by someone who doesn't have a LMT on staff, but has room for one, is to write a brief letter describing the benefits of massage and the profit associated with it in a clinical setting. Additionally, if the DC doesn't want to have a LMT on staff, or subcontract one, you can at least generate referrals from the DC. As far as determining which DC is the "right one," and what they are looking for in a LMT, it is truly dependent on the individual doctor.

For more information, Dr. Hoxie can be reached at .


I'm trying to locate an infant massage educators in California. Do you have any info on this type of ertification/training?

-- Kathy in California

Dear Kathy,

I contacted Kate Jordan to help with your question. Here is what Kate shared:

Kathy is in luck! One of the finest and most experienced infant massage instructor trainers is in California. Kalena Babeshoff has taught infant massage for the past 15 years. Her Foundation for Healthy Family Living offers infant massage trainings throughout California. She can be reached at 707-996-3545 or at her website,

Lynda Solien-Wolfe is Vice President, Massage and Spa at Performance Health. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist and has been in private practice in Merritt Island, Florida for more than 20 years. Lynda graduated from Space Coast Health Institute in West Melbourne, FL.


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