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Oh That Ashiatsu



TA DAAAAA!!!  Here is a demo of my Ashiatsu Deep Tissue Massage


What is Ashiatsu massage?  Literally translated, Ashiatsu is a Japanese term: “ashi” means foot and “atsu” means pressure. “Massaging with my feet,” is accurate, but it doesn’t properly communicate the feeling you receive from this deep tissue massage – and people make the weirdest faces when I say it.  So with the help of Julian Duque, I made this little video to show everyone exactly what the technique is like. I’m sorry to disappoint – as fun as it would be – I don’t ACTUALLY swing from the bars. I’ve also attached a link from Florida Keys Girl, a local travel agent and blogger who has experienced the Ashiatsu massage first hand:  http://floridakeysgirl.com/2015/10/28/simply-massage-fort-lauderdale/

Some History: After we get past what it is, inevitably clients ask me where this came from. Many forms of barefoot massage have been brought to the US from India, Japan, Thailand, China, and the Philippines. Historically, they involve the client laying face down on a mat on the floor, with the head turned to the side. The founder of Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy modified these therapies, bringing the client onto the table so their spine could remain straight (with their face in the cradle) and adding the overhead bars to help the therapist balance and control pressure, creating a luxurious, deeper than deep massage technique. There are only a few barefoot healing techniques that have been developed to use an overhead support system.

Trying it out: If you’re curious about Ashiatsu but nervous about committing to an entire hour, feel free to ask me for a demo during your regular massage session. If you don’t live near me to receive my treatment, you can visit DeepFeet (www.deepfeet.com) and click “Find a Therapist” to find an Ashiatsu massage therapist near you. Below are a few additional tid-bits that separate Ashiatsu from the standard Swedish massage:

  • The broad surface of the feet enable to client to relax into the strokes, which can induce deep relaxation quickly
  • Gravity can enable the pressure to be deeper than with hands-on
  • Ashiatsu increases circulation quickly
  • The feet are more comfortable than pointy elbows and thumbs

I welcome any questions anyone may have about this great technique!



Manual Lymphatic Drainage – Part Two – The Technique

What Does Manual Lymphatic Drainage Feel Like?

This is an excellent question and it always helps to know what to expect before you receive any type of treatment. Personally, if I don’t know, my mind is spinning trying to figure out what comes next and I never fully relax. This segment of my Manual Lymphatic Drainage Series reviews the location of the lymph nodes and what it’s like to experience the Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique.

Your Lymph Nodes

We have lymph nodes throughout our body. All of the nodes eventually drain into two “mother nodes” located in the supraclavicular area (just above your collar bone). Working the way down the body, the next major nodes are in your armpits (axillary nodes), your cisterna chyli is located in your abdomen, and your groin (inguinal). Below is an abbreviated chart to give you a basic visual.

The Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique

When performing full body manual lymphatic drainage the client starts face up and the therapist starts by clearing the nodes just above your collar bone. Everything else eventually drains to this area, so you need to clear the path and give everything a place to go! We work through the body clearing the areas closest to the nodes and working away so we are always directing the lymph to towards the cleared areas. We work through the face, scalp, and neck all the way through the front of your body before turning you over. Majority of the work is actually completed with the client face up (supine), so it can be a much more comfortable experience, especially for those who get congested easily in the face down (prone) position.

The technique itself is very gentle. This is not a deep tissue massage. The lymph system is located very close to the surface of the skin, so the sensation you feel during the massage is very light pressure with a slight tug of the skin, typically in the direction of the nearest mother node (the tape playing in our heads is, “how light can I go, how far can I stretch”). There are a few areas that are massaged where you may not be used to receiving massage.

1) The eye sockets. I found it was a stranger sensation to perform this technique than to receive it. You can do it to yourself (pretty please be gentle and don’t poke out your own eye). Close your eyes, place a finger tip (preferably a clean one) on the bone UNDER your eye. Slightly roll your finger in until you feel the flat part of the bone. Yes, this helps relieve eye puffiness.

2)  Your armpits. It’s a quick technique, but if you aren’t expecting someone to put their hands in your armpits it can catch you off guard. The full palm goes in your armpit, so there are no little finger tips tickling around. It’s actually kind of a comforting sensation (I find this whole treatment to be very comforting in general).

3)  Under the breast. There are lots of nodes at the breast fold. The technique I use is for one hand to be on the side of the chest (kind of holding up the side of the breast tissue with my forearm and the other hand is under the breast, at the fold. Again, this felt much more invasive to perform than it did to receive. The hands barely move and the motion of the technique is towards your side and up into the armpit (to the auxillary nodes). Fun Fact: Wearing underwire bras and very tight sports bras can inhibit the full function of these nodes, which is why it’s important to clear them. It’s also important to let the girls breathe, either bra-less or with soft bras so your lymph can flow.

4) The Groin. Again, this sounded much more invasive to me than it felt when receiving the technique. The therapist’s hand is placed approximately between your hip bone and pubic bone and I always use secure draping. There’s lots of nodes in this area which is why it’s important to treat, and the therapist hangs out there for a while (about 30 seconds where other areas are about 10 seconds: one Mississippi, two Mississippi…).

Please note that techniques will vary by therapist and the issue you may be having treated. These notes are based on full body manual lymphatic drainage, but if your therapist is treating a specific area for any reason, that may be the only area treated. As with all my treatments, there may be techniques I do not perform if I’m not comfortable or if you’re not comfortable. It’s all about communication.

In addition to providing a stand alone lymphatic drainage massage, I will be adding this technique to select areas of the body during my Integrative and Ashiatsu massage sessions at no additional charge. Typically these will be areas that require extra attention or deeper work and the lymphatic drainage techniques will help minimize inflammation in those areas.

SPECIAL: During the month of September you may try our full body Lymphatic Drainage Massage for the special rate of $40 for a 60 minute treatment. May not be combined with any other offers; additional charge applies for mobile massage.



All the New Things!

I’ve been talking about the “new things” for quite some time (so long you’ve probably forgotten I’ve said new things were coming!)  So here we are – all the newness, presented in one handy blog post.


I’ve restructured my menu of services to give a truer representation of what I do. The new Integrative Therapy Massage is our former Relaxation Massage with all of our Massage Enhancements thrown in. If you want a relaxation massage, no problem. If you need some reflexology, stretching, hot stones, or cupping, those techniques are available to you now at no additional charge. Aromatherapy and hot towels are still provided at no additional charge.

The Ashiatsu Deep Tissue Massage is unchanged. If you’re not familiar with Ashi, check out our video demonstration here.  If you need one of the extra tools from my mental toolbox, no worries, I’ll break that out for you as well. No extra charge.

I’ve added the Ashi-Express for when you need a quick lunch time fix. Available Tuesday – Friday 11:30am – 1:30pm, this 30-minute massage focuses on the back and neck to iron out the kinks and let you get back to your day.

WHY THE CHANGE?  It’s actually really simple. I want to offer my clients the benefits of ALL of my services. I don’t want to withhold a technique that can help you because you may not have an extra $15 that day. I don’t want my clients having to do extra math – it’s supposed to be a time to RELAX YOUR BRAIN – math isn’t relaxing (and if it IS relaxing for you, just let me know and I’ll come up with some word problems for you to solve during your next massage session).


Our prices are now all inclusive. You receive your massage, enhancements, AND gratuity for one reasonable rate.

WHY THE CHANGE? Again, it’s all about making life easier. You know how much your session is going to be, easy peasy.  I see clients calculating percentages, trying to remember what they tipped last time, and all that thinking undoes all the mental relaxation we’ve just achieved (see note above regarding extra math…). I’ve had clients be SUPER generous and then they find they can’t maintain that level of generosity, so they don’t come in for a massage, which makes me sad. By keeping it simple it makes life easier for all of us. Still want to share the love? Please review me on your favorite site: Yelp!, Facebook, Google


Prices have been slightly adjusted to better represent the change in services. Pricing is all inclusive:

Integrative Therapy Massage $80 / hr;

Ashiatsu Deep Tissue Massage $90 / hr;

Ashi-Express $45 / 30 minutes

You may add time to your session for $1 / minute, billed in 15 minute increments (75 minute Integrative Therapy Massage = $95;  90 minute = $110, etc).


Our mobile massage rates have been adjusted to a $125 minimum for a 60 minute session (based on client’s location). Additional time is still billed at $1 / min (15 minute increments). If two people are receiving massages at the same location, the second 60 minute massage will be billed at my studio rate of $80. NOTE: All of our enhancements are not available for mobile massage (such as hot towels, hot stones and cupping) so please chat with me before booking.

WHY SUCH A LARGE DIFFERENCE IN PRICE? I know it seems like a large difference, but here’s the honest, mathematical breakdown:

  1. Drive time = minimum 20-30 minutes each way.  I hate being late so I leave enough time for traffic, weather, bridges, and trains. If I do mobile massage for you, I’m sure you can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been *gasp* tardy. Just for giggles, we’ll include loading and unloading the car, signing into security, etc into this time.
  2. Set up time = 15 minutes to set up, 15 minutes to tear down.
  3. The MASSAGE!

When you do the math I think you’ll agree that this is a great value for the convenience of an in-home massage.


I love, love, love bringing massage into the office place. I will come to your office and provide chair massage services on a one-time or recurring basis. My rates are extremely competitive and here’s a hint: The national chair massage companies hire ME to represent them. I’m giving you the opportunity to receive the same services AND save your company money! I am networked with a number of licensed and insured therapists, so I can staff any size event to meet your company’s needs. So go ahead, slip your HR manager my business card… you won’t regret it!


Let me know what you think – Do these changes resonate with with you? I’m always interested to hear what my clients and potential clients need. So don’t hesitate to share! You may email me directly at Erin@SimplyMassageFL.com or call me at 954-380-8829.



What is She Doing To Me? Part 3 – The Truth About Deep Tissue

I was recently at a forum with twelve massage therapists from across the county, in various stages of their massage careers. Our opinions varied on different topics but one thing we agreed on: we dislike, possibly HATE, the term “Deep Tissue.” We would like to eliminate it from the vocabulary of everyone we know. Why? The general population doesn’t really know what it means. So I’m going to try to offer up a little education.

Full disclosure: I simply don’t believe in the “no pain no gain” approach to massage. Some people want it to hurt. They think it needs to hurt to work. I beg to differ. I have been complimented for giving a very intuitive massage and I pride myself on listening to the client’s body. A client recently said to me, “It’s like you know it’s going to hurt before I do.” Yes, I do. Because your body tells me and it tells me more than you think. For example, if your muscle kicks me off (I’ve had muscles practically buck me off like a bucking bronco!), and I force my elbow in anyway, your muscles are going to seize up. They do this because they think you are in danger and they are trying to protect you. The massage will be ineffective because your muscle is fighting against the elongation I’m trying to achieve. The more relaxed you are, the more your muscles trust me, the deeper I can go.

But what is Deep Tissue Massage. Basically, it’s massage that reaches the deeper layers of muscle tissue and fascia. Duh, Erin, that’s what the NAME says. True, but the real question is how does a therapist get to those muscles? Deep Tissue techniques are supposed to be very slow and use light lubrication. That’s all great too, but to get to the deeper layers, we have to work through the upper layers. Stop for a minute and think about it. That includes any superficial muscles, the fascia, and all other tissue obstacles. If we can’t get through the upper layers, how do we get to the deeper layers? A true deep tissue massage would take many, many HOURS.  In addition, forcing myself into your body can hurt ME. As much leverage as I may be able to use, if your back is like a cinder block wall, and I’m just digging in, there’s a good chance I’m going to strain an elbow, hurt my back, or blow out a thumb.

What about your Ashiatsu deep tissue massage, Erin, you big talker, you? Ahhh, I’m so glad you asked. The beauty of Ashiatsu is that it can soften superficial tissue faster, AND reach the deeper tissue without the pointy elbows and bony forearms. So? Remember when I mentioned your muscles will seize up to protect you if they think you are in danger? The gliding motions of the Ashiatsu massage keep you and your body relaxed and your body will ALLOW me to access deeper tissue. Plus, this advanced technique allows me to give you the pressure you desire without hurting myself. It’s a win-win in the world of Deep Tissue that looks like it’s here to stay.



Menu of Services Check our menu of services regularly for updates and specials. Current Specials Integrative Therapy Massage – 60 Min All Inclusive $80 ________ Manual Lymphatic Drainage – 60 Min All Inclusive $80  ________ Ashiatsu Deep Tissue – 60...