Hey, will you walk on my back?- Ashiatsu massage
"Hey, will you walk on my back?" Is a question we've all either asked, or been asked, as bizarre as that is. When muscles get tight and our backs get achey I don't know why our first reaction is to ask another human to walk on us, but, we do, and now you can have it done professionally!
I recently learned about ashiatsu massage through Jessica, co-owner of The Massage Barre here in Utah, which is basically the elegant and professional form of "will you walk on my back?". Ashiatsu massage is a barefoot massage technique where the therapist uses their feet to perform the massage using barres suspended from the ceiling to control pressure. It ends up looking kind of like a dance or massage yoga. Jessica invited me down to give it a shot, and with my body being in a constant state of tight/sore, I was soooo in.
Now, before we go any further, I know what you're thinking, because I thought it too, FEET. Here's the deal though, they make it not weird! Really, I swear. I wasn't completely sold on the idea of getting massaged by feet, until I was literally being massaged by feet and realized it's next level guys! It makes a traditional deep tissue massage feel totally sub-par, as in this style the therapist has the advantage of utilizing gravity to apply more pressure than if they were just using their hands. That being said, they do blend some traditional hands-on techniques with the ashiatsu but we'll talk more about that in a minute!
When I arrived for my massage I was frazzled after having just fought crazy traffic with two kiddos in the car, but the atmosphere was so chill it cut right through my stress. Also…they totally tolerated, and even helped, me with my crazy instagrammer needs to shoot everything ha ha. The things we do for the gram, right? Anyway, I changed out of my clothes while Jessica warmed her feet to prepare and we got started! She started out massaging my scalp (amazing) and then slowly warming up my muscles in my back and shoulders will light pressure to prepare for the good deep tissue stuff. As soon as she moved into the full on barre massage I realized just how tight and sore my muscles were! Having that pressure and targeted movement really forced my muscles to relax. I also found it totally crazy that I honestly couldn't tell when Jessica switched between using hands vs. feet.
It's so much more elegant than I expected as well. The therapist doesn't really apply their full weight and definitely isn't just walking around on your back ha ha. It's more like a dance than anything else with broad strokes and strong pressure. Jessica also offered a psoas release for me as I have been dealing with some low back pain. While not the most comfortable experience, the psoas release was definitely needed. She finished the massage with some amazing neck work, one more pass at my, once super-tight, upper back muscles, scalp massage, and hot towel decompression. By the time we were done I was in a total massage-daze.
I was told not to do any activities requiring lifting and twisting of the spine as your muscles and connective tissues can be loose and injury prone after the massage. While the initial massage left me feeling totally relaxed, I was sore the following two days like I’d had a legit sweat sesh at the gym. I took it easy, drank lots of water, and have noticed a big improvement in my upper back in terms of tightness and posture.
Overall honest opinion, if you're looking to release tight, sore, or fatigued muscles, you've got to try ashiatshu at The Massage Barre! I've had quite a few deep tissue massages in my life but I've never had anything release my muscles like this before. If you've got a foot thing, you need to get over it real quick and give this a go.
One more thing! If you use the code ‘courtneyfit’ at checkout you can get $10 off ashiatsu or $5 off apprentice massage at The Massage Barre in September AND if you can’t make it in September, you can purchase a gift certificate for $30 or $60 with my code and utilize it for a massage whenever it’s convenient for you.