Last weekend I massaged at a cycling/sports expo on the finish line of the Hill Country 600 – a 375 mile qualifier for the Race Across America. The winner of that race, Marko Baloh, who finished on an injury but yet still in record time (19hrs. 14min. 23sec!!) received an Ashiatsu session from me and was pleasantly surprised at what Ashiatsu had to offer! I spent the whole day with some awesome people, especially my booth buddy Nydia! (Who you should all go take a yoga class with: http://www.nydiasyogatherapy.com/)
The following article was originally “feetured” on a blog for runners in San Antonio, see the original here: http://werunsanantonio.com/ashiatsu-for-athletes
Ashiatsu for Athletes
You can’t count the benefits of sports massage on just one hand – boosts performance, breaks down scar tissue, prevents injuries and loss of mobility, reduces delayed onset muscle soreness, decreases anxiety, enhances microcirculation, improvement of tissue elasticity – but can you count it all on both feet?!? You can with Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, a style of barefoot massage which includes a dynamic range of additional benefits for the sporting life.
Ashi-what!? It’s pronounced “Ahhh-shiatsu”. “Ashi” means foot, and “-atsu” is pressure. In this style of massage, the therapist uses gravitational forces and distributes their body weight by holding onto bars in the ceiling, using their feet to deliver the strokes, applying painless pressure directly onto your body. Ashiatsu is not just walking on your back; you will feel a deep, broad, flowing centrifugal pressure that engages the fascia throughout your whole body, loosening adhered tissue, opening tissue membranes, which allows fluids and nutrients to follow more thorough pathways. Additionally, compression of soft tissue is applied throughout the session, helping to release spasm, muscle contraction and tension, always working within your perfect range of pressure. It works fast, typically just 20 minutes of Ashiatsu accomplishes the physical benefits that occur in a 60-minute session of a more traditional style of bodywork.
Ashiatsu effectiveness comes from treating all layers of your tissue and your entire body as a whole, resulting in a calmed fight-or-flight response and a dramatic dilation of blood vessels. By massaging you with the larger surface area of a foot – in comparison to a hand or forearm – and by accessing the deeper layers of your tissue without the sensation of pokey pain that triggers muscle guarding, the rate of post-event recovery is faster. The depth is more consistent throughout the entire length of the muscle, curbing pain responses and flooding the body with new sensory information to help it evaluate itself and begin to heal.
To encourage pre or post-workout low intensity exercise, passive stretches are incorporated to improve your tissue elasticity and reduce spasms. Ashi-Thai – another form of barefoot massage developed from Ashiatsu and Thai massage – offers a unique chance to rest, relax and recuperate from strenuous activities while the therapist maneuvers your limbs and body into deep stretches that you may not be able to achieve on your own. If you need your Psoas stretched, IT Band unbound, Soleus/Gastroc’s drained and your spine decompressed, this massage will do it all. The benefits of Ashiatsu combined with the passive stretching techniques that are included in Ashi-Thai offer a well-rounded holistic approach to aid in improving your performance and maintaining overall health.
Track down Jeni Spring, LMT from Heeling Sole Barefoot Massage in San Antonio if you’d like to try Ashiatsu or Ashi-Thai and feel how it benefits you. Jeni is highly trained and certified in these styles of massages, and also offers in-depth training Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy to other massage therapists (in case you don’t want to leave your favorite LMT!)
Heeling Sole Barefoot Massage
By appointment only @ the Integrative Healing Institute: 7122 San Pedro, #106, San Antonio Texas 78216