Ahh...Shiatsu: The Relief You�ve Been Looking For

By Michelle Mace-Lambert
2009-5-29

Ahh...Shiatsu: The Relief You�ve Been Looking For

By Michelle Mace-Lambert
2009-5-29

Many massage therapists embark on their career motivated by a deep desire to comfort and heal. Sadly, the physical rigors of their work often prevent them from reaching their financial goals. The hands, arms and upper body simply cannot continue the demands of many massage techniques for eight hours a day. Sometimes injury forces them to take time off. But what if varying techniques could bring the needed relief while still allowing the therapist to accommodate clients' needs?

Consider the financial side of the current predicament many therapists are in. Whether employed by a spa or working as an independent therapist, increasing income can only be done in four ways: charge more, do more services, sell more related materials or inherit money. Most of us are not in line for immediate inheritance, so let's consider increasing income by varying massage modalities. Let's say you're able to do five massages a day. If you apply the techniques of Ashiatsu at least part of the time, you could physically be able to add one service a day. If you earn $50 per service each day, this would amount to an approximate increase of $12,000 or more in your annual income.

How can Ashiatsu help you take on more services per day? It's simple. Using Ashiatsu modalities, you actually can provide a more soothing, invigorating massage; Ashiatsu uses feet and pressure from gravity to provide lengthening and broadening of muscles over a larger area of the client. The results also are longer-lasting. People love the results. At the same time, the therapist is resting and saving overworked hands and arms. This is a win-win situation for client and therapist. It saves your hands for detail work and ultimately saves enough energy to enable you to continue working for a longer time each day.

In Ashiatsu, feet and lower extremities apply deep-tissue compression massage. Ashiatsu means foot pressure, as opposed to shiatsu (meaning finger pressure). It has long been used in India, China, Japan, Tonga, Fiji and Hawaii. Western modalities for Ashiatsu bar therapy have added bars on the ceiling for the therapist's balance and a table for the client. It enables very deep, relaxing therapy without risking injury or overworking the therapist.

An innovative new application of Ashiatsu, Ahh...Shiatsu, is done on the floor. It eliminates the need for tables or bars, thereby making the modality very portable and more efficient than other techniques. Using the feet rather than hands provides steady manipulation of muscle tissue. Ahh...Shiatsu Floor can be applied as lightly as a Swedish massage or accomplish very effective deep-tissue therapy. The therapist uses a stool for balance and support while the client rests comfortably on a floor mat. One foot rests on the floor at all times. There is a company that formulates a special cream for use with Ashiatsu techniques. The cream facilitates easy gliding and need not be reapplied during the massage.

This is more like a dance than a workout for the therapist. Using feet and legs allows gravity to help do the compression work. Client's muscles quickly warm up, bringing on reddening of the skin - a hyperemic response. As muscles simultaneously lengthen, broaden and soften, the skeleton moves back into alignment. At the same time, blood surges into the area due to stimulation of the circulatory system; this aids in relaxing tensed muscles for a long-lasting, deep state of relaxation. Using feet and legs enables the therapist to apply consistent pressure throughout large movements. Desired effects are achieved comparatively effortlessly using the body weight of the massage therapist instead of upper body muscles. It does not require a large investment into special tools or tables. Because of the many benefits, the San Souci Couples Resort in Jamaica and the American Club already have adapted these modalities.

Traditional deep-tissue massage involving sustained repetitive use of hands can occasionally lead to soreness or bruising of the client. Despite excellent posture and technique, some therapists experience injury by overworking their thumbs, hands and upper body. Eventually some therapists have no choice but to change careers. Don't let this happen to you. None of this occurs with Ashiatsu. Say goodbye to exhaustion, especially if you work at a spa or resort and cannot control your scheduling. Now you can work continually without unpleasant results.

Ahh...Shiatsu floor certification training can be accomplished in a home study or a three-day workshop covering anterior and posterior routines. No previous experience with barefoot modalities is necessary. Anyone can do this, no matter their height or weight.