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Benefits of Ashiatsu Massage

Posted 3/11/2016 by UHBlog

Learn how ashiatsu massage can give you a foot up on wellness. Ask us.

Benefits of Ashiatsu Massage

Ashiatsu massage therapists are always on their toes. Literally.

“I use the broad, flat surface of my feet, rather than my hands and elbows, to provide a deep, pain-free compression massage to the body,” says licensed massage therapist Pamela Hietanen who is certified in ashiatsu (deep tissue) massage.

Hietanen balances herself on overhead bars while alternating her weight on her patient’s body. She uses her meticulously prepared soft and hygienic bare feet as her massage instruments.

“Ashiatsu massage helps patients who prefer to receive deep tissue and sports massage,” says Hietanen. “This is great for the relief of overused muscles and muscle soreness resulting from sports injuries or everyday stress.

Hietanen’s patients, who are undressed under a sheet, rest on a massage table, which is set up to allow them to put their face down comfortably in a face rest. Then Hietanen goes to work for the next 45 minutes.

While you lie on your stomach, Hietanen, holding onto the overhead bar while standing on the edge of the massage table, applies even pressure in one continuous massage stroke, starting at the ankle, up the leg, over your hamstrings, up the entire back and off the shoulder.

“As I glide slowly along a patient’s tension-filled muscles, my feet allow me to deliver long, consistent and smooth massage strokes,” she says. “With the exception of the face and the stomach, I use my feet anywhere that a massage practitioner uses her hands to manipulate the soft tissue.”

A Far Eastern practice that dates back to the 12th century, the term "ashiatsu" comes from the Japanese words ashi (foot) and atsu (pressure).

“Ashiatsu massage improves circulation due to more surface compression," Hietanen says. "It elongates and broadens constricted muscles, and helps the patient experience postural alignment gains. And there is no residual soreness after the treatment.”

Many of Hietanen’s clients become so relaxed and have such a pleasant sensory experience they fall asleep on the table, she says.

Before receiving an ashiatsu massage, you are screened because this type of massage can't be performed on:

  • Pregnant women
  • People who had surgery over the past nine months, or who have broken or injured bones
  • Diabetics
  • Sufferers of advanced osteoporosis
  • People receiving chemotherapy
  • People taking pain medications, or those with uncontrollable blood pressure or who have varicose veins

“For those who qualify, ashiatsu massage feels great and can be applied very lightly or deeply,” Hietanen says. “It is the most luxurious massage around and has a longer lasting effect than traditional massage.”

Pamela Hietanen is a licensed massage therapist with University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network. You can request an appointment with Hietanen or any other UH Connor Integrative Health Network provider online.

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