What are the differences? And which one is best for you? Which is easiest? Since we offer training classes, both live and online, these are common questions we get asked. Both Fijian and Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage are deep tissue massage techniques. Each uses the same application. The use of the massage therapist’s feet. Likewise, they also both come from cultures rooted in ancient traditions. Each has been passed down through the centuries. The similarities end here. So, let’s start with where they come from and then move on to their applications and differences.
From where does Fijian Massage originate?
Not a trick question. It comes from the island of Kadavu, one of 300 islands in the Fijian chain. These islands were remote. Communication and travel were limited. When faced with an ailment there was only the village doctor. He would use his feet to work out illnesses. It was a critical need for the community. At the time, Fijian massage was applied standing up.
Lolita Knight traveled to Fiji and learned this barefoot technique. She was teaching it in New Zealand where she lived. After communicating with Lolita Knight via emails, we decided it was high time we meet. Along with her husband, she came to the states on holiday. My interest was to add another barefoot technique for CE’s for LMT’s. Hers was to spread the method across the USA. We met in Frisco, Colorado. The elevation there is a little over 9000 feet. Oxygen is thin at 5000 feet so almost doubling that will affect one’s balance. Because of this, she had to hold on to a chair and sometimes sit.
And the idea of sitting took root. Lolita went back home to New Zealand, and I went back home to develop the curriculum. Sitting was by far the most efficient means to apply Fijian Barefoot Massage.
Currently, Lolita having dual citizenship has moved back to the states. She has to be in her seventies now. Last, I heard she continues to teach her method of Fijian massage.
From where does Ashiatsu originate?
Hence, Ashiatsu Massage finds its historical roots in India. Chavutti Thirummal is its name. Prabhat Menon held training in Thailand of which I attended. To completely understand what barefoot massage was all about. The Chavutti Thirummal technique uses two ropes secured from the ceiling. It is for balance. The client lies on a mat below the two cords. Then, the practitioner applies healing oils to the client’s body. The oil mixture is a combination of castor, camphor, and sesame oils. The practitioner would dip their foot in a bowl of the oil. Then they would slide up and down the client’s body with his or her foot in rapid movements.
Here again, Ashiatsu is the westernized version of Chavutti. It is a muscular-based technique. First, I trained with Ruthie Hardee. And briefly, I became one of her instructors. At the time, the program did not include an anterior routine, nor did the manual have much instruction. Then workshops were primarily taught by verbal means. When I left it was time to develop a complete and detailed manual. And so Ashiatsu has evolved into what it is today.
How is Fijian applied vs. Ashiatsu?
Barefoot Fijian Massage is a very detailed. The movements are small and precise. It is more like neuromuscular massage but implemented with the feet instead of the hands. The heel of the foot makes trigger point work a breeze. It works each muscle. Fijian works the posterior, the anterior and side-lying positions of the body. There is no need for lotion or a massage table. The client lays on a yoga or exercise mat dressed to receive this deep tissue magic. For convenience, a stool, a yoga mat and a face cradle off a massage table are all the LMT needs. And a pillow is helpful to support the knees.
Where Ashiatsu requires lotion, Fijian does not. The client uses the traditional method of receiving a treatment. Undressed and covered with a sheet or towel. The foot is in direct contact with the client’s skin. The therapist’s foot slides the over the contours of the body. The therapists use gravity assisted strokes. The movements are a combination of compression, myofascial and deep Swedish massage.
What’s the Difference Between the Seated Part of Ashiatsu vs. Fijian Massage?
Although both have a seated part, the seated Ashiatsu routine is short. It is for both the posterior and anterior side of the body. The posterior segment is just for warming up the body. It is for preparing the tissues before applying deeper pressure strokes. The anterior seated part is more in-depth than the posterior. The work ends with a big stretch of the shoulders before finishing with the face. The massage therapists use their hands to massage the face. Because both have a seated routine, it creates a little confusion. Fijian massage is all done from a seated position. Unlike the Ashiatsu routine where the therapist is standing through most of the routine.
What equipment does each of the technique need?
Uniquely, no specialized equipment is necessary for Fijian. You are ready to apply this service at a moment’s notice. Most massage therapists take techniques to enhance their abilities. Fijian massage should be an essential addition to every therapist’s bag of tricks. Use your feet to save your hands and body. Overuse injuries incurred from deep tissue massage is common. It is a must-have for any outdoor event. An ideal massage for friends and family who are throwing their body parts at you when you come to visit.
In comparison, Ashiatsu requires bars for balance, whether on the floor or the massage table. Too, the Ashiatsu floor uses a mat. But, Ashiatsu on the massage table uses overhead bars for balance. Then again there are now Portable Ashiatsu Bars on the ground. These bars are light. They are great for taking Ashiatsu on mobile-house calls. Are very useful for Ashiatsu Stretch another barefoot course.
Fijian vs. Ashiatsu, which is easiest to learn?
Feet down, no pun intended, Fijian barefoot massage is the easiest to learn. But, Ashiatsu massage training is a lot of fun. Once you see how easy it is to use your feet, you will be amazed. Deep tissue pain is a thing of the past. For more information on Ashiatsu Massage read: Is Ashiatsu Massage for You? And Ashiatsu Class: What to Expect. But if you want to start slowly then take a barefoot training course in Fijian massage. It is easy enough to learn in a live class or an online course.
So, which is best, Ashiatsu or Fijian Barefoot?
In as much as I would like to this choice to be simple, both Fijian and Ashiatsu are best. These two modalities altogether cover your deep tissue bases. Each is different in application, but they both bring a different perspective. Adding the Fijian Massage technique to the Ashiatsu massage routine is easy. But Ashiatsu massage is not possible to add to Fijian. Oh, and did I mention Ashiatsu Stretch. Barefoot stretching works with both Ashiatsu and Fijian. Another option to save your hands. We hope this clears up what the differences are between Fijian and Ashiatsu Massage.
Why Should You Use Alternative Deep Tissue Massage?
In conclusion, seasoned massage therapists usually find out what I did. After taking many different deep tissue methods, it never got more comfortable. Until, I included barefoot massage, my hands hurt all the time. So, why did I keep doing what everyone else is doing? There didn’t appear to be many other options. That was until I discover barefoot massage. It saved my career. I did not want to become another casualty of overuse injuries.
Since Barefoot Massage doesn’t use hands, it is the answer. Deep tissue massage takes its toll over time. No matter what methods that women use. Their hands do not hold up well under deep tissue work, done hours on end. By far, deep tissue massage or medical massage is the most lucrative. Your choices are to do more Swedish massage. Or another alternative is to close shop and get another job. With all these new options, there is no excuse not to give your hands a break. If you love massage, then you owe it to your career to add these modalities to your current repertoire.
The Barefoot Masters®, a developer of continuing education. We dedicate all our unique techniques to save your hands and body. We offer both of Fijian and Ashiatsu seminars in the form of live classes or online training. Michelle D. Mace, LMT, and CEO have been in your shoes. As a massage therapist of 20 years, she knows all too well the downtime required for overuse injuries. We are an NCBTMB approved provider #403532-0. To learn more about us go to The Barefoot Masters®.