Jan. 2, 2009 — Masseuse Sonya Crow was looking for a way to expand her small business, Massage by Sonya, and she found it with Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy.
Ashiatsu can be translated to “foot pressure” which describes the style of the massage. It’s done with the feet for some very practical reasons.
A foot is a larger surface than a hand, Crow explained, and it’s also stronger. Most people’s leg muscles are more powerful than their arm muscles and in addition, the masseuse can put their body weight behind their feet. The result is a much deeper massage.
An Ashiatsu massage can reach more than just the client’s muscles, Crow said, with this technique she can apply pressure to tendons, ligaments and even the vascular system.
Not only is it better for the massage client, it’s also better for the masseuse. Crow began researching the technique after a car accident damaged her wrist. For a while she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to practice traditional massage. Her wrist has since healed, but now she can also use her feet and that will probably extend her career by saving some future wear and tear on her hands and wrists.
[Crow] traveled to Dallas to take a multi-day seminar and get certified in Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy by Ruthie Pipen Hardee, the women who developed the technique.
There are 16 Ashiatsu therapists in the state, but only two others in northwest Arkansas, she said.
Foot massage has been around for a long time, Hardee explained. What makes her technique unique is the way the therapists uses overhead bars. By steadying herself on a bar securely attached to her ceiling, Crow can move the length of her clients back safely.
Hardee has also patented a portable bar system that can be used outside.