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body • mind • spirit

Barefoot Bliss It’s All in the Feet

by Anne Batty C

ozily nestled in a well-appointed space in San Clemente’s Historic Old Town Plaza, owner/massage therapist/estheti-

cian Aimee Phillips is offering a unique mas- sage that promises to go “deeper than deep” to relax, rejuvenate and revitalize the body. Derived from ancient practices in Eastern

cultures over 3,000 years ago, Ashiatsu massage (Ashi meaning foot and atsu meaning pressure) uses long, gliding, oil infused strokes combined with full to moderate body weight and the broadness of the foot to improve range of mo- tion, elongate muscles, decompress the spine and decrease chronic low back pain. And in the process it is also said to increase blood flow and improve lymphatic drainage, allowing muscles to heal faster. As a journalist I have had opportunity to

enjoy many unique experiences, but as a person of petite stature and advanced age I must admit having someone walk on my body to execute a massage wasn’t exactly #1 on my bucket list. And although familiar with hot stone, Swedish and deep tissue massage, I was a little unsure

about a treatment that might put someone’s full weight on my body.

Bringing it On Upon approaching Barefoot Bliss massage

studio, Aimee’s friendly smile and warm greet- ing put me immediately at ease. Her relaxed manner, enthusiasm and concise explanation of the Ashiatsu technique were informative and reassuring, creating anticipation for what was to come. Looking around the small but intimate

room, I observed filmy curtains framing a com- fortably decorated area complete with cushy massage table, elegant wall décor, subtle light- ing and subdued music. I also saw two hanging bars dangling securely side-by-side over the table, and soon discovered that when grasped they allowed the therapist to maintain balance and adjust the level of pressure exerted during massage. I further learned that since the foot is twice

the size of the hand, covering twice the distance of a hand upon the body, Ashiatsu massage provides a more concentrated type of pressure

Aimee uses overhead bars to control pressure.

without the sharp, pointed sometimes uncom- fortable force of a thumb or elbow. It seems it is the shape of the foot combined with body weight that allows for a deeper, more comfort- able and effective treatment. For my session, Aimee began with a brief

hand massage to warm up and relax muscles and to distribute essential oils to all parts of the body. Once accomplished, the foot massage began in earnest. During the entire session Aimee asked about pressure levels, making sure there was no discomfort or pain. It was a relax- ing and pleasurable experience, and I found it to be one of the deepest most effective treat- ments I have had the pleasure of receiving.

Aimee’s Story Aimee Phillips opened her Barefoot Bliss

massage salon just a few months ago. After sev- eral years as a therapist in a resort setting she was tired of the constant turnover with no time to make connection with her clients. “Getting to know your customers and the

nuances of their bodies is very important,” Aimee explained. “Developing relationships and sharing needs lead to more effective results. It takes time to make connection and build trust, and that opportunity was unavailable in a resort setting.” As a patron of the former studio estab- lished there, Aimee learned that the cozy shop


she loved was soon to be sold. Facing a fright- ening transition from permanent employment to self-employment, she decided the time was right to take the plunge. “It was a very scary move,” she revealed.

“Leaving a steady job with benefits was risky. But I decided it was now or never and I know deep down it was the right thing to do.” One of the few therapists (maybe the only

one) in this area that specialize in this type of massage, Aimee now has the time to make that connection she was seeking. “I am servicing clients of the previous busi-

ness, and attracting new ones. I am introducing my clientele to a new experience, and in the process making friends daily,” she shared. “But most importantly I feel I am truly helping peo- ple improve and maintain their health.” While barefoot massage is a specialty of

this shop, a variety of services including hot stone, Swedish, deep tissue massage, reflexol- ogy, and the Bliss Trifecta (combining hot stone, Swedish and barefoot) are also available. “Do what you love and success will follow.”

Aimee Phillips seems to be well on her way to proving this adage to be true. 

To enjoy a Barefoot Bliss massage contact Aimee at (949)208-0200 or for a visual video demon- stration and more information visit her website

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