Using the foot as a massage instrument is more common than one might think. As you research barefoot techniques more, you will find there are many different modalities, with long histories that are still being practiced today. Here are just a few great resources if you want to learn more about barefoot bodywork.
Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage: This course is designed for massage professionals who would like to learn ashiatsu safely at home. This is a thorough approach for beginners, but also a great study for experienced barefoot practitioners. It includes 160 page manual with photos, bar installation instructions, and imbedded instructional videos.
Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy ™ AOBT: Ruthie Hardee is credited with the widespread recognition of ashiatsu. Only seminar courses are available.
Barefoot Masters Ahh Shiatsu™: Michelle Mace conducts ashiatsu seminars along with seminars in Fijian, bamboo, and stone massage.
Fijian Barefoot Massage: Fijian massage uses no parallel bars. A chair or stool is used for sitting and balance. Clients may be clothed or unclothed.
Barefoot Lomi Lomi: This barefoot technique originated in the Pacific. It includes the philosophies and long, head-to-toe flowing strokes characteristic to traditional lomi lomi massage.
Chavutti Thirumal: Chavutti Thirumal is thought to be one of the earliest ancestors to ashiatsu. Although it is not widely practiced here in the United States, there are a limited amount of trainings stateside.
Barefoot Thai / HandsFree™ Thai: Thai practitioners commonly use their hands, feet, knees, and body weight during a massage. Chuck Duff conducts a specific HandsFree Thai course for practitioners that only use their feet.
Trisoma®: John Harris has a great video and manual about using barefoot compression techniques. A staff is used for balance and the client remains lying on a floor mat.
European Barefoot Massage: Sue Kent is a successful massage professional across the pond. Born without hands, she developed her own style of barefoot bodywork. She sits on a bench over her client during the session. A DVD is also available on her website.
There are a few other resources that I recommend, but are fairly difficult to get a hold of these days:
- “Heeling” A VHS video by Kate McBride
- One Rope, Two Feet & Healing Oils: Chavutti Thirummal: the Ancient Art of Keralite Massage. A book by Prabhat Menon and Asokananda
If you have a specific interest in one or more of these barefoot modalities, do a quick Google search. There are many great learning resources available.