Founder's Vision Con't


On a different trip to India, Ruthie was walking out of a temple in Kathmandu and headed for a shaded garden area outside the temple walls. There under a tall tree on a mat, was a man holding two white cloths with knots, hanging from a low branch while his foot swirled around a very well oiled body. It wasn’t until a decade later that these two different visions using hands above the head would creep back into her memory, provoking her senses and challenging her creative processes.


Living in California in the late 80’s, Ruthie enrolled in massage school quite by accident during a union entertainment industry strike. She specialized in deep tissue right out of school and the repetitive compression techniques took a toll on her hands and lower back. Born with scoliosis and mild spondylitus, coupled with constant bending over to meet her client’s demands for more pressure, exacerbated her lumbar situation.

The brain child for Ashiatsu Deepfeet Bar Therapy® came to her during an onsite massage session at a movie location set. She had a portable table set up in an electrical “grip” truck and would deliver sessions to the cast and crew during the production. Late one afternoon after 6 sessions when she had nothing left in her hands to give, a 320 pound stunt man came knocking on the tail gate of her make-shift studio.

He was in a great deal of discomfort with chronic back stiffness and pleaded for a session. Reluctantly, she agreed to another 60-minute session. She knew from the first compression that she was not going to provide effective relief without injuring her wrists and lumbar even more. While massaging his erectors, she gazed up at the roof of the truck to see a metal grid with tiny little holes. The grid was screwed on to the ceiling like a storage rack and was used to store lighting equipment for the set. Her mind was suddenly flooded with memories of what she had seen as a young youth traveling. A vivid flash back with details of that Pilipino woman and that man in India performing massage with their feet... inspired her.

Ruthie instinctively got up on the table unbeknownst to the client and fit the tips of her fingers through the tiny holes in the grid above. She began to deliver and combine Swedish effleurage strokes instinctively with her feet. The grid was solid and strong and she could use it for leverage and balance. As she approached endangerment sites and delicate veins and arteries, she was amazed at how she could control her weight through the massage cream and oil. The huge mountain that lay beneath her commented during the session that he was amazed that she had enough energy left to work “this deep” at the end of a long day”. Little did he know that she was NOT using her hands! Ruthie explained later she was using her feet the entire time and in his amazement the stunt man professed, it was the "BEST massage experience" he had ever had.

The next day when Ruthie arrived back to her studio/trailer, multiple notes were posted all over the tailgate from people trying to book appointments. They too wanted to experience the rumor buzzing around the set about the best massage in town. By the end of the day, a small waiting line had formed for “a-buck-a-minute-sessions”, and the “Deepest Most Luxurious Massage on the Planet” was born.

During that summer, Ruthie realized she had created something “big” but how on earth was she going to explain it to others? Was there anyone in California teaching barefoot massage with bars over head? Was it documented and approved anywhere? And what about those healers around the world? Was it handed down from generation to generation with no science behind it or formal training? 
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