Living Well

Spa 101: Ashiatsu – Walk all over me, please.

Ashiatsu, a close cousin to shiatsu, is an ancient East Asian massage technique where the massage therapist utilizes her hands and feet to manipulate pressure points on? the body. Although ashiatsu is not found on most spa menus in the U.S., it has been performed by Buddhist monks for thousands of years. In Japanese, the word translates as “foot” (ashi) “pressure” (atsu). Different styles of barefoot massage have origins in China, India, Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand. Often a balancing prop is utilized such as ceiling bars; other times it is performed on a floor mat.

Shiatsu Massage

Living Well

Spa 101: Introduction to Shiatsu

The name of this massage comes from the Japanese word Shi (“finger”) and refers to the fact that it relies on slow, steady pressure rather than flowing strokes. Besides the fingers, the therapist may use her palms, elbows, knees and feet. At many spas, shiatsu is done on a floor mat and you wear loose clothes. No oil is used. If you do undress, the therapist usually keeps a sheet between her hands and your body the entire time. Classical Japanese shiatsu actually has more in common with Western massage than traditional Oriental medicine as it works primarily on the muscles and connective tissues, not chi (energy) and meridians (energy pathways).