I recently had a massage from a woman in San Luis Obispo, California named Missy who uses a method I had never heard of. She practices Ashiatsu (Ashi = foot; atsu = pressure) Oriental Bar Therapy, which is massage that involves her body weight balanced over her client, massaging with her feet. So she basically walked, slid and rubbed on me, holding bars above her head to adjust the depth of the massage.
This massage was deep… very deep. I have never had it so deep. There were times a fight/flight response came up for me and I wondered why this woman hated me so much. I had to consciously relax my body. There was no falling asleep for this girl.
Sometimes her feet felt like hands, only larger. At one point knuckles worked the soles of my feet and I asked her if she was using her hands. A voice came from the ceiling, “nope!”
Missy performed more of an athletic event or a dance than a massage. Her entire body was involved. You can imagine how strong her upper body is, maneuvering around using her arms hanging from the bars. And her feet! They are as strong as any barefoot runner I’ve met, but she knows how to manipulate them so well. She can massage with her feet as skillfully as you can massage with your hands – and then she can intricately adjust your sheet with them.
The depth of the pressure, enabled by her body weight, makes this an excellent massage for athletes, acknowledged as a great recovery method, part of an overall regime of healthy athletic balance.
You won’t find me in a spa for a wimpy Swedish massage anymore. After Missy’s workout on my back, I felt affected. I felt done. I felt massaged.