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