Barefoot Massage in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.

Based on data collected between July 2016 to July 2017, here are the primary reasons people in the US get a massage:

Improves Posture and Decreases Pain

After only a few treatments, ashiatsu barefoot massage has been known to improve posture and range of motion. It will significantly reduce or eliminate chronic muscle pain, and improve bodily functions, which will create a higher sense of balance and well-being within the body.

What is Barefoot Massage? 

In Ashiatsu, the practitioner uses their feet to deliver treatment. The name comes from the Japanese, ashi for foot and atsu for pressure. This technique typically uses the heel, sesamoid, arch, and/or whole plantar surface of the foot, and offers large compression, tension, and shear forces with less pressure than an elbow, and is ideal for large muscles, such as in the thigh, or for long-duration upper trapezius compressions. Ashiatsu is a generic name for a type of barefoot massage where the massage therapist uses their feet to provide deep compression, gliding strokes and assisted stretches(ROM). Massage has been around for centuries, but most people think about massage being performed with the hands, not the feet.



I offer barefoot deep tissue massage techniques. Ancient barefoot massage has been around in different cultures (Thailand, Japan, and Australia) for hundreds of years, an organic form of touch barefoot is rich in history and tradition and is available in Santa Barbara at Riktr Pro Massage. Barefoot is not something you typically see at local spas or massage places. I’ve used Barefoot Massage on athletes to the elderly and on my clients who love the long-lasting effects of prolonged ischemic (Restriction of blood due to factors in the blood vessels with damage to the tissue) pressure.

Barefoot Massage, is also called Ashiatsu Barefoot, is a massage technique that applies therapeutic or ischemic compression pressure which is much deeper than what can be done by your finger pressure.

Another myofascial trigger point release is Ischemic compression. In this technique, the pressure is applied slowly and progressively over the trigger point as the tension in the trigger point and its taut band subsides.  The pressure is maintained until the tenderness is gone or the tension is released.

Barefoot is perfect for lovers of deep tissue work or can’t seem to find a therapist to do deep enough work for them.  It is also useful as a sports preparation or athletic maintenance, as the elements of stretching and engaging the large muscle groups are incorporated. It is also a great way to quickly warm up the large muscles for more detailed therapy, especially on people who are very muscular, although there are no restrictions on body types who can receive Ashiatsu, due to the therapist having control of weight distribution. It feels like a “good workout” to some, leaving them refreshed and relaxed rather than tired.

Ashiatsu massage with overhead bars has not been practiced on a widespread basis until recently. The roots and history of Ashiatsu, or barefoot massage, go back further than one might think.

Barefoot deep tissue massage techniques are ancient and barefoot massage has been around in different cultures (Thailand, Japan, and Australia) for hundreds of years and is an organic form of touch. Barefoot is rich in history and tradition, and now is available in Santa Barbara. Barefoot is not something you typically see at local spas or massage spas. I’ve used Barefoot Massage on athletes to the elderly and my clients are loving the long-lasting effects of prolonged ischemic  (Restriction of blood due to factors in the blood vessels with the damage already to the tissue) pressure.

Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage, in general, can have many positive effects on the body and mind.

Ashiatsu: Deeper than Deep Tissue Massage is a deep, painless form of barefoot massage that you will love. Ashiatsu is a massage where massage strokes are performed with feet. The pressure can be applied as deep as necessary because the therapist can engage the whole body to perform the moves unlike only the upper body strength with regular deep tissue massage. Ashiatsu massage can be as relaxing as  Swedish and as light and painless if you want it to be. As well t can be more intense in muscle tension relief is that is what’s necessary to do during the session.

It’s been shown to help people with back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also reduce something in the body called substance P (which causes pain), improve sleep, increase circulation, boost immunity, raise levels of serotonin (a feel-good neurotransmitter) and decrease levels of cortisol (a stress hormone).

What is Ashiatsu?

When broken down, the word “ashi” means foot, and “atsu” means pressure. However, Ashiatsu practitioners may also utilize their knees, elbows, palms, and fingers.

Ashiatsu includes a combination of Swedish, myofascial, and compression massage strokes. It includes long gliding strokes associated with Western or Swedish massage and aspects of the ancient Eastern techniques and philosophies of Shiatsu and Ayurveda. Thai techniques stretch, and compression may also be used.

This modality has a long and interesting history, but a relatively new and growing following here in the United States. It may also be referred to as barefoot massage or gravity-assisted massage.

Ashiatsu Barefoot is for people who have chronic pain in their muscles as well as people who have range-of-motion problems. Athletes may be the best candidates. They tend to have tense, tight muscles, and their strong bodies can withstand the increase in pressure. A couple of my patients — both were athletes — found that Ashiatsu Barefoot massage helped them relieve tension in the lower back and hip. Ashiatsu Barefoot is one of my favorite modalities to receive massage.

Benefits of Ashiatsu Massage


1. Reduces Chronic Pain

Ashiatsu massage is a deep tissue compression massage. We know deep tissue massage has long been effective in pain reduction. It manipulates the deeper layers of soft tissue. So, it relieves muscle tension. It does this by loosening tight muscles. In particular, it increases the circulation that flushes out inflammation that causes pain. The compressive strokes of Ashiatsu loosen adhesions.  And it releases the connective tissues. Adhesions and tight connective tissues create much of our discomfort. Alignments go back into place.

2. Improves Flexibility

The long gravity-assisted strokes broaden and lengthen the muscle fibers. Stretching the tissues in two different directions is effective and efficient too. It improves and restores flexibility. Scar tissue and adhesions can form from past injuries, stress, and over-use injuries. These all respond well to this technique. For instance, Ashiatsu is effective at stretching the IT Band. The iliotibial band is a thick band of tissue on the lateral leg. It runs from the hip to the knee. And it also stabilizes the knee. It creates lateral knee pain in runners.

3. Deepest Deep Tissue Massage Possible

Traditional deep tissue massage employs thumbs, fists, and elbows. They are often associated with discomfort and sometimes bruising. But, Ashiatsu massage with the foot feels like a giant hand. And the heel of the foot acts as a giant thumb. Again, this is an alternative to the use of a bony elbow. A nice benefit of this massage is that it feels much gentler.  Hence, it is almost too good to be true. It equates to getting a luxurious deep tissue massage. So, the no pain no gain motto does not apply to this deep massage.

4. No Residual Soreness

Deep compression massage does not break blood vessels. So, there is little to no bruising. The client does not experience the same pain as with traditional deep tissue massage. The softer but deeper application of the barefoot massage is a nice benefit. Instead of the use elbows and thumbs which feel like sharp tools. The barefoot massage does not damage the superficial tissues. Deep tissue massage is rough on the therapist’s hands and body. Ashiatsu massage is much more comfortable for both the therapist and the client.

5. Reduces Stress

Thus, the clients float out of the treatment room. This type of massage puts them in a deeper state of relaxation. In turn, it relieves stress. In fact, the application of Ashiatsu  enhances the state of nirvana. The client experiences a whole new level of calm. Massage reduces cortisol levels. It has a positive effect on diastolic blood pressure. It has been well documented in many studies. According to this article, “Adjustments to Stress Measures Following Massage Therapy: A Review of the Literature” published by the NCBI in 2008, said that after a massage, a reduction in salivary cortisol and heart rate was consistently noted. The lowering of both heart rate and cortisol benefit the health and wellness of the client.

6. Effects Last Longer

To be sure the whole body benefits from the broad and deep compressive strokes. In comparison to the traditional deep tissue massage, the effects of this service go on for hours. As a result, most clients go home and relax for the rest of the day. Don’t plan on doing much after receiving this massage. This benefit is due to the combination of deep compression strokes. There is an increased circulation of the blood and lymphatic system. The broad compressive strokes from head to toe enhance these two systems.  To put it another way, it magnifies the awesome feeling of well-being.
Ashiatsu massage is different in application. The massage therapist uses their feet instead of their hands to perform this service. We apply Ashiatsu on a massage table. We then use the overhead bars for balance. Or the client can lie on a mat on the floor. The therapist uses a stool or Portable Ashiatsu Bars on the floor for balance. It assists the foot to slide over the contours of the body. Strokes are long and short. No other massage technique is deeper than Ashiatsu. You are only two-feet away from relief.

Riktr Pro Deep Tissue Massage, Swedish Massage, Best Sports Massage, Barefoot Massage, Trigger Point Massage, Reflexology Massage, Professional Bodywork, Santa Barbara Massage, Massage Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria, Summerland, Goleta, Tri Counties Massage: Nicola , LMT. Licensed Massage Therapist. 805- 637-7482 On the EDGE Therapeutic DEEP TISSUE, Swedish Healing Massage: Massage Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria, Summerland, Goleta and the Tri-Counties, Ca.

  • The feet are more comfortable than pointy elbows and thumbs (it’s not painful).
  • The broad surface of the feet enables the client to relax into the strokes. It’s known to induce deep relaxation quickly.
  • Gravity enables the pressure to be deeper than with hands-on.
  • Ashiatsu increases circulation quickly.
  • It’s both luxurious and yet therapeutic at the same time.
  • Ashiatsu is especially beneficial as it warms up the larger muscle groups.
  • Ashiatsu relieves tight muscles and stress.
  • Deep pressure stimulates the body’s self-healing capabilities.
  • Less soreness typically results than with deep neuromuscular work.


  • If you are a woman that is pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • If you’ve had breast implants within nine months
  • If you’ve had recent eye procedures/Lasik surgery within 72 hours
  • If you have a history of Tuberculosis, thrombosis, aneurysm, or ongoing kidney disorders.
  • If you are currently going through radiation therapy treatments.
  • If you’ve had any knee, hip, spine, shoulder, or major joint surgeries within 6 weeks
  • If you have phlebitis or cellulitis
  • Any Autoimmune Disorders (such as lupus, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, etc) and Lyme disease
  • If you are currently taking any blood thinners, painkillers, or muscle relaxants
  • If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart condition
  • If you have a pacemaker, stint, or shunt
  • If you’ve had a rib or any bone fracture/break within 6 months
  • If you have Osteoporosis
  • If you have a spondylolisthesis
  • If you have Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome, any neuropathy, or any neurological disorder that causes loss of sensation or muscle weakness
  • If you have been on a plane flight longer than 6 hours within the last 24 hours prior to your massage appointment.
  • If you are sick. (If I get sick, then I have to reschedule everyone)
  • If you weigh less than 120 pounds (Ashi-Thai and Ashi-Anma are OK for most any weight, but not Ashiatsu.)
  • If you do not like deeper pressure massage.
  • If you are under 18 years old.

*Exceptions apply to contraindications, some of the contraindicated people might be able to receive a part of Ashiatsu in certain areas. For example shoulder and neck area with a  massage therapist being seated instead of standing.


What is Sports Massage?

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Nicola Working Post Event Massage at the criterium in Goleta


Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment. It’s more vigorous than a Swedish Massage.

The purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. Above all, it can help prevent those bothersome injuries that so often get in the way of performance and your athletic goals, whether one is an athlete,  or a once a week jogger.

Nicola Working Post Event Massage at the SB Marathon

This treatment is not just for the sportsperson: anyone can benefit from sports massage, including people in physically demanding jobs, and those not quite so obvious (occupational, emotional, and postural stress may produce many similar characteristics to sports injuries).

Sports massage tends to be deeper and more intense. It is based on the various elements of Swedish massage and often incorporates a combination of other techniques involving stretching, compression, friction, toning, and trigger point response techniques similar to Acupressure and Shiatsu. A skilled therapist brings together this blend of techniques, knowledge, and advice during treatment, to work effectively with the client to bring about optimum performance and to provide injury-free training, and minimize post-event injuries.

Sports Massage is best administered 1 /1/2 hours before your event or 1 1/2 hours after your event.

more info at:
Therapeutic Swedish Massage, Sports Massage Therapy, Barefoot Massage  in Santa Barbara, Goleta


*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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