Ashiatsu is Sports Massage Therapy


Schedule a Deep tissue massage therapy

appointment in San Antonio with one of the

massage therapists

at Heeling Sole.

We specialize in a form of massage called Ashiatsu, which means that we just happen to give deep tissue massage and sports massage therapy sessions with our feet instead of hands, and it’s disguised as a deeply relaxing session! We’ll blend deep tissue massage techniques in with the sports massage therapy style of passive stretching – ALL WITH OUR FEET!

Ashiatsu helps you ease out of common chronic pain patterns – whether it be for back, hip, shoulder or neck issues.

At Heeling Sole, we specialize in Barefoot Massage techniques such as Ashiatsu and Thai massage. We apply elements of deep tissue massage therapy, fascial work, trigger point, with active, passive and assisted stretching into our sessions, which has helped us assist our physically active clients with their weekly muscle recovery routine.

Compare it to what is more commonly understood from hands-on bodywork that you may be used to giving and/or receiving. The benefits of massage therapy as a form of post-event soft tissue injury treatment – it 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 – there are so many great aspects. What is really interesting is that you can have the same effect with Ashiatsu, as this style of barefoot massage includes a dynamic range of additional benefits for endurance athletes training for Marathons, Triathalons, Iron Man, CrossFit – you name it!

I know what you are thinking: 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.  It works fast, in my practice I’ve noticed that just 20 minutes of Ashiatsu accomplishes the physical benefits that occur in a 60-minute session of a more traditional style of hands-on bodywork. Since our sessions typically last 60-90 minutes (with a 120 minute option available) we can really focus on more than one issue and multitask, getting so much more accomplished.

The effectiveness of deep tissue massage therapy 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 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 Thai 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. It’s a true form of a therapist-guided exercise program, as the massage therapists at Heeling Sole literally guide your body through movements as you lay there and take a nap! The advantage of this massage — both for the client and the therapist — is that Ashiatsu and Ashi-Thai allows gravity to do the work, balancing the massage therapists‘ body weight to provide a depth and leverage to bring about injury treatment unmatched by other techniques.

 Ashi-Thai is an effective bodywork treatment for many types of athletic injuries – both for prevention and rehabilitation. Most clients report significant decreases pain and significant increases in range of motion and athletic performance after one session. Clients with sports or repetitive strain injuries receiving Ashi-Thai often find they are even more flexible after a series of 3 sessions than before they were injured!

Are you realizing yet that Ashi is so much MORE than just the catch phrase “deepest, most luxurious massage on the planet”? I am continually learning about massage, and this work never ceases to amaze me. If you are in San Antonio, schedule a massage at Heeling Sole to experience this work for yourself. If you are a massage therapist, you can learn this style of Barefoot Massage in my classes.

13 thoughts on “Ashiatsu is Sports Massage Therapy

  1. Pingback: Ashiatsu: DeepFeet in the Heart of Texas | Ashiatsu DeepFeet Bar Therapy's Blog

    • Hi Renee! In Ashiatsu, the client is undressed, so I’ll be able to see it just like a typical massage session. If we are doing an Ashi-Thai or Ashi-Anma session and they are clothed, then I lighten up or completely remove pressure directly on the bruise, just the same as if you were working through clothing with hands-on techniques. Communication is pretty important in any massage, especially Ashiatsu and Ashi-Thai, so if the pressure or stretch is too much on any area, the client and I can guage that through feedback. I usually ask if they have any little injuries before hand, and if I notice a bruise, then I always point it out. (Sometimes they forgot it’s even there!)

  2. Pingback: Ashiatsu Contraindications: When it’s not such a hot idea to get a Barefoot Massage | Heeling Sole

  3. What a fabulous way to meld your love of dance/movement with massage! I’ll be honest…I had not really been all that interested in receiving Ashi work before but the way you describe how depth is achieved and the incorporation of movement sounds wonderful. Thanks for this piece!

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