You know that YOU want to learn Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, but you can’t quite win your spa or clinic director over. You’ve probably tried everything, have no idea what else to do, or maybe it’s hard to remain persistent to the powers that be. You need cold hard evidence that Ashiatsu is worthy of being on your locations service menu. In this three part blog post, we will discuss ideas on how to help plant the seed of Ashiatsu in your massage location, present information confidently on how to “convince the big cheese” of your genius idea, and ultimately launch Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy as a popular option of bodywork for all to benefit from. You’ll learn about the importance of installing permanent overhead bars, the advantages of our Hardee-Ashiatsu Portable Bar System, as well as the benefits of Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy for you, your clinic/spa, and of course your clients. Even if you are your own “Big Cheese” and have your own private practice, we’ll help put doubts and worries to rest so that anyone with the drive to succeed can offer Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy (AOBT) at their location.

Let’s get started! 

First of all, the seemingly largest hurdle to get past is the installation of the overhead bars necessary to perform this modality. You will definitely need a sturdy, permanent structure to provide Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, there is no getting around this fact. Some therapists who would love the chance to use AOBT unfortunately have the idea completely dismissed because either they, or someone in charge, feel that bars won’t work in any existing massage rooms, or that bars will cause too much damage to the building, or even that the presence of bars overhead might be off-putting to clients. Don’t fret those pretty little feet, we can help you make it work! 

For independent therapists out there who have their own space and have no upper management to appeal to, their common obstacle is the landlord. One approach in this situation is to “ask forgiveness, not permission!” and just build those bars as soon as you get home from class. In many design options, the removal of the bars (should they ever need to be taken down) is a piece of cake. Minimal repair to the walls/ceilings will be needed, leaving no more damage than a screw would to hang a picture. Just spackle the small hole and repaint, or simply replace the commercial drop ceiling tile, and voila! Back to normal. It’s a breeze to cover your footprints, so to speak, handy for when you need to move out of that space because, say for example, Ashiatsu has taken your business to the next level and you require a larger location! 

Another approach for independent therapists and employees alike, is to discuss the details of the purpose and benefits of installing your bars to whoever is standing in your way. Assure them that with proper installation, no permanent damage will come to the ceiling or walls. Instill a sense of confidence that with your own training and certification in AOBT, backed up by your liability insurance coverage, they can feel at ease knowing that you apply safe, smart bodywork under their roof. 

Now – just because it’s easy to take your bars down, don’t go building them just yet! A common misconception is that installing the bars is just as simple as looking up a picture or amateur instructions online. Nope, sorry.  Photos sure do make it look easy, but bar installation can be more complex than just screwing 2 wooden dowels into a ceiling! Uninformed design decisions usually don’t allow for proper body mechanics or for the intended use of the application, and it is very possible to build them incorrectly so that they are either completely useless, or cause injury to YOU down the road. Ashiatsu is meant to save your body, not wreck it, so please be patient and wait to design your bars until you have taken our course.

Before I go any further: For the safety of the public, and to protect our modality as well as the reputation of the entire massage therapy profession, the AOBT organization does not feel comfortable giving out bar installation instructions unless you are a graduate of our course. Barefoot massage can be a dangerous tool in the wrong hands – or feet – and without successful completion of training from the original source of this form of bodywork with an authorized AOBT instructor, we do not teach anyone how to design bars. This blog post is not intended in any way to instruct you on how to build anything, and I’m not going to show you pictures of our example bars. Sorry. If you want to see pictures, come to a class! Please keep in mind that without the detailed information provided by your AOBT instructor in class, people have unknowingly spent 3 times the amount necessary to build a set of bars, unintentionally built bars in such a way that their upper body or knees are in pain after delivering a session…. or worse even still: the bars were not safe!!! Trust in AOBT’s 16 years of “tried and true” experience, and hold off on building anything until you complete your training with us. Life will be much easier, and your big cheese will appreciate the details you bring from your training.

The proper bar height, width and placement is crucial to the AOBT application, and is unique to each individual therapist’s body type. In every beginner AOBT course, our highly trained instructors will teach you how to build a set of sturdy bars for many different room layouts – with many ceiling possibilities discussed – since no two rooms are the same. Our instructors ask you to bring the measurements of your massage room and massage table to class so that we can visualize your situation and help you personally. Full schematics and different installation designs are provided as part of your course manual. Custom designed hardware is available from your AOBT instructor to help make the construction process fast and accurate. Many construction-minded people can take one glance at the examples in your manual and understand exactly what to do, and after class, you will too! Have confidence that support from AOBT is available to you every step of the way. What if you run into a problem during construction? No problem, just call your instructor! We AOBT instructors are also available for phone, email, and sometimes in-person consultations to help you, your spa/clinic director and construction team design a set of bars specific to your situation, from start to finish. 

What about the cost for these amazing bars? The average price range for one set of bars in individual treatment rooms can range from $75 to $300, depending on materials, the elaborateness of design, and labor costs if any. You’ll want to set aside time to draw up designs, double check your work, and finally build the structure carefully. Our designs, plans and schematics for safe and proper bar installation have been used by thousands of graduates for many years. However, it is still the responsibility of the installer to make sure bars safely support the weight of anyone using them, so don’t rush the process to save money on any labor costs. The bar costs can be recovered within just a few sessions, and you can move on to building your Ashiatsu client base in no time!

By the way, the style of your bars can vary from stealthy simple to elegantly extravagant and fit into the existing decor of any massage room. Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy is currently offered across the globe in therapists homes, private practices, small business offices, medical clinics, gyms, massage chains, resorts,  destination spa’s, cruise ships and more – which means bars have been built to suite the atmosphere in all those situations… it’s been done before and with some creativity and the knowledge we provide, you can do it too!

Of course, in a last-case scenario, if you absolutely can’t build permanent bars, the Hardee-Ashiatsu Portable Bar System is an option. We’ll talk about this idea in the next blog post. Thanks so much for your interest in Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy! Come back soon for information on the portable bars, and later, tips on how to further convince the big cheese from a few perspectives: how Ashiatsu will benefit the massage therapist, the spa/clinic, and the clients. Be sure to subscribe to this blog to be alerted of new posts automatically!


Ashiatsu Deepfeet Bar Therapy® is the leader in Continuing Education for Massage Therapists  nationwide. Our method of deep tissue barefoot Swedish massage using an over head support system has improved the quality of life for many massage therapists around the world. Learn more at