Shiatsu vs Ashiatsu Massage Therapy

Written by Matrix Massage and Spa , Posted in Articles, Massage

Shiatsu and Ashiatsu are two types of massage therapy practices that originated in Japan. Both of these practices include the root word “atsu” which translates to “pressure“. The idea behind both practices is to apply the right type of pressure on critical body points in order to relieve stress and improve overall health and wellness. Where they differ is how they apply pressure. The following is a look at what you should know about these two exciting and effective types of massage therapy practices and their massage therapy benefits:

Shiatsu Vs. Ashiatsu Massage Therapy


In shiatsu massages, the masseuse primarily uses their fingers to apply pressure to the patient’s body. They will knead, tap, press, sooth, and stretch the skin and muscles of along specific points of the patient’s bodies in order to stimulate key pressure points and free the blockages causing fatigue, pain, and other issues. While shiatsu massages primarily are done with finger and hand pressure, the masseuse here may also use their elbows, knees, and feet where needed.


In ashiatsu massages, the masseuse primarily uses their feet to apply pressure to the patient’s body. Many people have a passing familiarity with ashiatsu massages thanks to movies and television shows. This is the specific massage practice in which a masseuse walks upon someone’s back and is, in fact, sometimes referred to as a ‘barefoot massage‘. Here, the masseuse uses massage oil and their feet to apply pressure to their patient’s back in order to relieve pain and improve health and wellness. Generally, massage therapy centers and spas equipped for ashiatsu massages will have bars attached to the ceilings that give the masseuse balance and precision in performing the massage.

Shiatsu and Ashiatsu Massage Therapy Benefits

Both shiatsu and ashiatsu massage therapy techniques rely on the same principles of applying pressure to what is known as the 12 Meridians — the difference between the two lies in how that pressure is applied. Therefore, which one is right for you will largely depend upon your personality and preferences. Because of this, we strongly recommend trying both to see which speaks most to you! Both practices provide a myriad of massage therapy benefits which include:

  • Restored energy and vitality by opening up your chi much like acupuncture
  • Reduced pain from an injury or similar physical accident
  • Treatment and prevention of depression
  • Treatment and alleviating of symptoms caused by digestive issues, PMS, general nausea, migraines, and more
  • Muscle relaxation to relieve stress and anxiety
  • Improve posture and elongate the spine
  • Relieve pain associated with pinched nerves

Schedule Your Shiatsu or Ashiatsu Massage at Matrix Spa & Massage

Located in the heart of Salt Lake City, our expert spa of Matrix Spa & Massage offers a great variety of massage therapy techniques including ashiatsu massage and shiatsu massage. Our masseuse team is among the best in the business as evidenced by our long list of awards and outstanding reviews. Learn more about our business by visiting our website, calling us, or by simply stopping in and talking with our friendly front staff next time you are in downtown Salt Lake City.

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Massage Therapy FAQ’s

The law always requires that you be appropriately covered with sheets or towels to keep you comfortable and warm. If you start feeling uncomfortable or exposed, speak up. Your therapist will respect your wishes and work with you to make the massage session a comfortable one.
No, only undress as much as you are comfortable with. Some people prefer undressing completely, while others prefer to keep undergarments on. You'll have privacy in your massage room to undress before the session and redress afterwards.
It depends on your massage therapy goals. Some people get a monthly massage to manage stress or to prevent health problems. Others opt for weekly sessions if they need relief from injuries and chronic tension.
Licensing and certification mean that the massage therapist can legally practice massage in your city or state. To get this license, they must have performed several hours of training at an accredited school, past the extensive licensure exam, and have paid any relevant licensing fees.
Every insurance plan works a little differently, so your best bet is to contact your insurer directly. Some plans do cover alternative therapies including chiropractic and massage. You will likely need a doctor's prescription first. If you don't have health insurance, or if it doesn't cover massage therapy, you can find massage therapy coupons and discounts on our site.
How much depends on how pleased you are with the service and how much the massage costs (the full price, not any discounted fees). One easy trick is to think about how you would tip a waiter after a similarly priced restaurant meal. This is often 15-20% or more if you received exceptional service.
Let your massage therapist know before the session if there are areas on your body that you don't want to be touched. They will have the training and experience to give you a therapeutic massage while working around ticklish or sensitive places like your feet or abdomen.
Yes, absolutely. You should always speak up if something is uncomfortable. Secondly, keep the lines of communication open during deep tissue massage or sports injury massages. Your therapist needs the feedback to work on you properly and without aggravating an injury. On the other hand, if you are looking for relaxation, it's often best not to talk unless necessary. This lets your mind as well as your body release tension. With the right mindful breathing technique, you may even achieve a stress relieving meditative state during the massage.
Most likely, unless your doctor says otherwise. Prenatal massage can reduce and relieve common pregnancy issues like lower and upper back pain, sciatic nerve irritation, swelling, tension headaches, heartburn and constipation, and more. Let your massage therapist know that you're pregnant so they can use the right techniques during the session.

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