Ashiatsu is still a bit of an unknown modality in the massage world—for clients…and even practitioners. There aren’t a lot of practitioners that offer it, though this is changing. So, I’d like to share some info about it...because I think it's interesting! :)
Ashiatsu history 101
Ashiatsu is a Japanese word that means “foot pressure”. Ashiatsu has its roots in the Far East, utilizing techniques that have been around for thousands of years. The specific form of Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy has taken these ancient techniques and transformed them into a form that is adaptable to meet the needs of our modern culture. It was developed by Ruthie Piper in the late 1990's.
My reason for learning Ashi
After giving many, many, MANY deep tissue massages using my hands, arms, thumbs, elbows and forearms, I decided that trying a new modality that would be easier on my body might be a good idea! I played soccer for 15 years and have been dancing for a dozen so when I saw a training for Ashiatsu--which uses the lower body instead of the upper--I knew it was the right modality for me. And what a win-win! I get to dance and play while I still provide a fantastic, deep tissue massage for my clients.
That said, I never stray far from the foundation of my career as a mind+body+spirit junkie; many people who are sensitive to energy work feel that Ashi is deeply transformative in that it integrates the earthly soul into the body, creating an embodied enlightenment. What needs to be moved out will move out and in, in. So if energy work is important to you, let me know and I can amp that aspect of Ashi, too!
How an Ashi session works
An Ashiatsu massage is given on a regular massage table, with a typical application of oils or creams, and appropriate draping. I use parallel bars secured over the massage table for balance while using gravitational force to apply slow, deep compressive strokes that glide over the body and along the spine. The full foot, heel, ball of the foot, and side of the foot are used to manipulate the muscle tissue. As with hands-on massage, I spend extra time on areas needing more work than others and work on both the back and the front of the body. And like with other modalities, the pressure can be adjusted for the client's needs.
Here's a video to see what it looks like--mine will be coming soon!
Benefits of Ashiatsu:
-Perfect "Reset" for All Levels, Body, Mind & Spirit
-Both luxurious & therapeutic
-Less painful & pokey than regular deep tissue massage
-Little to no post-massage soreness
-Very grounding for nervous system
-Quickly induces deep relaxation, lasting up to 48 hrs
-Deep pressure stimulates body’s self-healing capabilities
-Reduces chronic pain
-Increases mobility of the spine
-Improves posture with one or more sessions
-Increases circulation & lymphatic flow for profound cleansing/detoxifying effect
-Relieves tight muscles & stress
-Enhances exercise recovery & performance
-Relieves low back issues & can reduce need for surgery (as recognized by the AMA) -Reduces pain from chronic neck and back pain, scoliosis, bulging/herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, & sciatica
Signature Integrative Massage
The SIM is a combination of traditional massage techniques applied with perfectly exquisite pressure, this massage incorporates essential oils, Acutonics, energy work, cranial sacral and flower essences, as needed.
-Clears blocked energy
-Increases overall sense of well-being & centered-ness
-Regulates blood pressure
-Relieves tension headaches
-Improves cardiovascular health
-Enhances immune system function
-Promotes recovery from exercise, illness or surgeries
Cupping & Gua Sha
Remember all of the hype during the last summer Olympics about those weird bruise-y, hickey looking marks on some of the athletes, including US swimmer Michael Phelps? That was from Cupping. There was a lot of press about this ancient Chinese healing practice following its introduction to millions watching.
While Cupping got all the notoriety, Cupping has a sister, Gua Sha. Both work to draw out toxins and stuck chi or energy from the muscles and tissues of the body which is what you see; those purple marks from Cupping look like a red rash when using Gua Sha. Either purple or red—Cupping or Gua Sha—the markings are called Sha or Petechiae (Pa-TEEK-ee-eye). And those marks only occur in areas where where toxins have built up.
to cup or gua sha?
Gua Sha works on the surface, addressing the skin, fascia, muscles, and tendons and is best for acute and recent injuries, while Cupping goes deeper, down to the ligaments and joints and is best for chronic pain and older injuries. Often times, these techniques are used in tandem—Gua Sha is a great diagnostic tool (the Sha from Gua Sha pointing to where the cups are needed most) and also, addresses the outer layers protecting the deeper ones so that Cupping can be most effective. Of course, practitioners will decide on which technique(s) to use depending on things like the symptoms, the condition of injury, contraindications, and clients’ tolerance of either modality and constitution.
-Relief of Pain (in muscles, joints, back, muscular, stress-related, and mystery pain!)
-Release of toxins
-Reduce symptoms of colds and asthma
-Improve gynecological issues such as fertility, irregular menstruation, PMS, & painful periods
-Clear skin conditions including rashes, eczema, acne, and more
-Reduce appearance of cellulite
-Enhance athletic performance (due to less pain & overall inflammation, & speedier recovery)
-Facial cupping in particular is excellent for relief of TMJ and Post-concussion syndrome & facial rejuvenation
Add-on Cupping and Gua Sha to any session for excellent results and to your Ashiatsu for athletes or others looking for deep, top-notch bodywork.
Everything is energy, right? We all learned that but it's hard for some people to translate that into energy work or healing. For some reason, the science we "know" turns into some woo woo, hippie thing. But we can affect the energy system of the body by interrupting and reorganizing it's flow with energy-based therapies. True story!!
modalities that i use:
Some of the tools I use with clients are: Access Bars, Reiki, Cranial Sacral, Acutonics (a specific system of tuning forks) and Flower Essences. Even essential oils are considered energetic in nature when we use them according to their energetic properties versus the aromatic ones.
How each modality works:
Each modality works differently and the following VERY briefly gives you an idea of how they differ:
Access Bars reworks the patterning of our Nervous System and brain circuitry. For more information on the bars, go here.
Reiki works with the chakras, potent energy centers (vortexes/vortices) in and around the body to shift and rebalance the energy.
Cranial Sacral works by balancing fluids and structures in the head and spine and throughout the entire body.
Acutonics is a system that uses specially calibrated tuning forks, singing bowls, and gongs with or on the meridians, chakras, and areas of stress and tension in the physical body. People are always very interested in the tuning forks that I use for sound and vibration healing. The forks that I have are part of a system called Acutonics (think acupuncture with vibration or sound). HERE is a lovely article I just came across that talks about this sort of sound and vibration healing.
Benefits of Energy Therapy:
-Accelerate the healing of acute or chronic physical trauma
-Speed emotional healing of grief and depression
-Treat chronic disorders ranging from stress and anxiety to sleep disorders
-Restore balance and vitality, physically, mentally, spiritually
-Treat fertility issues
-Help you navigate life changes, growth, and transition
-Help you become more connected to your body and its signals
-Clear old patterns to make room to live with more clarity
-Resolve old wounds
-Provide a feeling of centered-ness and grounded-ness
-Disperse negative energy
(Extra Bonus) Benefits of Access Bars:
-Decreased stress and anxiety
-More ease and joy in your body
-Ability to receiving more and do less
-Improved sleep and feelings of being refreshed and full of energy
-Decreased ADD and ADHD symptoms
-Decreased test anxiety
-Increased deep relaxation
-Dissipated mental, emotional, physical, and energetic blocks that keep people Stuck
-More space and possibility for more ease
-Different way of being in the world
-Clearing, resolving and letting go of old stories
-Leading a more centered, joyful, and organic life wherein being and knowing are more common than having to think and figure out everything
Himalayan Salt (hot or cold) Stone Therapy
Typically when you hear of hot stone massage, the therapist uses basalt stones which are great to pull toxins from the body, especially energetically. Himalayan Salt Stones add a new dimension to this form of therapy because of the salt’s rich and varying mineral and energy-rich iron content which adds to the tissue health in a way that basalt stones only pull.
During a Himalayan Salt Stone massage, (like with basalt stone massage) often the stones are heated, but at times, the stones are chilled to help cool and flush the system (when used in conjunction with hot stones). While the stones are glided over the body with a carrier oil, these sessions also can incorporate the use of essential oils. Cool and warm stones can be used on the face for a super relaxing and toning effect.
-Balances body's electromagnetic field, central nervous system and meridians
-Soothes away an accumulation of stress, tension and pollutants
- Brings the mind, body and spirit, into balance
-Improves nervousness & anxiety
Deep Dive Hybrid Bodywork + Coaching Sessions
The deep dive truly utilizes all of my skills from massage to a masters degree in counseling. Using body and energy work to tap into body, mind, and spirit, the Deep Dive is intended to compassionately and mindfully support personal growth. It is a hybrid intuitive coaching + body and energy work session addressing life's challenges and transitions (divorce, death, emotional/mental/career/physical/life plateaus).
These sessions include traditional massage techniques, Multidimensional Touch, energy work, breath work, essential oils, flower essences, Acutonics, Access Bars, cranial sacral, and Shamanic work PLUS intuitive reading, dialogue between therapist and client when needed, pre- and post-session sit-downs to brief and de-brief, and structured suggestions for personal reflection and growth for clients to use as they please. While intended to support healing on all levels--physical, emotional, mental, energetic or spiritual--these sessions are both clarifying, opening, and transformative and deeply restorative, centering, and nurturing.
-Creates a sacred space to drop-in & let go
-Clears out the old, opening space for shifts to the next level of being
-Supports personal growth and awareness
-Talk therapy element creates a more in-depth healing experience
-Structured and clear suggestions for navigating life challenges
-Sparks transformation and re-ignites the Amazing
(The following is a list of offerings for the pre-natal & postpartum journey for mommas & their partners.)
Fertility & Pre-conception Support
In these therapeutic sessions, we work together to clear physical, emotional, spiritual or energetic blocks that are creating challenges around fertility or carrying a baby to full-term.
These sessions are a combination of massage, Acutonics, energywork, Shamanic work, cranial sacral, flower essences, and essential oils.
-To illuminate and clear blocks, increasing the possibility of conception and creating an environment that supports a full-term pregnancy.
These nurturing, relaxing, and therapeutic sessions release physical and emotional stress for any momma-to-be who has a low-risk pregnancy & who is medically cleared for massage--including women in their first trimester.
These session include a combination of massage, Acutonics, energywork, cranial sacral, flower essences, and Foot Zone Therapy.
-Decreases negative side effects of pregnancy (nausea, vomiting, edema, back pain, sciatic pain, and more!)
-Decreases stress to mom & fetus
-Calms & Soothes mom & fetus
-Increases breathing capacity
-Increases Oxytocin & production of other helpful hormones
-Fewer complications with delivery
-Decreases fetal distress, premature births & financial stress often associated with premature births
**When appropriate, physician approved & requested by Momma, I can help increase chances of inducing labor**
These sessions will leave new mommas feeling nourished, re-aligned, re-centered, and rejuvenated after carrying and giving birth to their new baby and adapting to life as a new mom. Addressing postpartum depression and other postpartum challenges is welcomed during these sessions.
This is a great time to take a break from the new, precious little being, but I am happy to have babies in attendance, too.
These sessions can include clearing trauma from difficult births. These sessions combine massage, Acutonics, energy work, Shamanic work, cranial sacral, flower essences, and essential oils.
-Allows mommas to digest and clear the conception to birth journey -Gives them the chance to re-jigger, so to speak, to re-boot, press the restart button. -It sets the stage and prepares them for the next phase of their journey, whether it's the first or fourth time they are a new momma.
-Helps with transition to new Momma emotionally, physically, mentally, energetically, spiritually -Improves hormone regulation & balance
-Facilitates elimination of excess fluids and waste products thereby reducing edema
-Eases fatigue, promotes relaxation and assists with sleep
-Improves breastfeeding both by improving lactation & easing sore muscles used when breastfeeding
-Can reduce the severity of postpartum blues & depression
-Decreases stress & anxiety
-Reduces pain & discomfort from C-section
Bodywork for Partners
Of course, the pregnant momma is taking one for the team, as they say, carrying, growing and delivering a baby!! But I have witnessed that when partners acknowledge theirs as a shared journey they--as individuals and as partners--more easily move through the months leading to birth and the transition after. Undoubtedly, both partners are experiencing feelings of rawness, bliss, fear, happiness, vulnerability, and excitement leading up to the birth. When both partners take time for bodywork, it is a very conscious way for families to take care of themselves and each other and allows for a beautiful deepening of connection and intimacy, respect, empathy, and appreciation for one another. What a fantastic way to set the tone for welcoming in a new human to the world.
This is for anyone who is supporting the momma and part of her team; partner, dear friend, mom, dad, sister, other kids (I’m happy to do mini-sessions for young kids who want to be a part of this Journey!).
These sessions combine massage, Acutonics, energy work, cranial sacral, flower essences and essential oils.
-Creates cohesiveness in the shared Journey
-Acknowledges the important role of Momma’s support system
-Eases tension in the home environment, conducive to fetal growth, relaxation, & calm