Ashi Therapeutic Massage
Ashi points involves areas causing with pain and dysfunction that are usually unknown to the patient, and which actually constitute the root cause of their physical pain or dysfunction. Adopting ashi therapeutic massage as the primary treatment method when treating physical pain, numbness, tingling or burning due to inhibited circulation or nerve impingement, as well as a range of motion issues.
The most fundamental concept to grasp regarding ashi work is that the place where a patient feels pain is rarely the actual source of that pain.
Pathways of pain
A pathway of pain is a line connecting two places in the body affected by an injury, the first being an area of stagnation, and the second being the location where pain is perceived. The first point (Ashi Point) is usually unknown to the patient. The second point – the location of the pain – is where the patient tends to point when asked about their injury. The true injury is at the ashi point, which physically tightens part of the tendomuscular channel, or manifests as knot at a specified location along it pathway.
In both situations the overall length of the tendomuscular channel is shortened. This creates a pull that is not a normal tension-vector of healthy body movement – put plainly, the injured tendo-muscle pulls on the skeletal system in an abnormal way. This causes pain to be perceived elsewhere, usually where the tendomuscular channel passes through or connects to a joint of the skeletal system, which is compressed or pulled out of place. The pathway of pain is the direct – but unknown – connection between the ashi point and the perceived injury/pain.
This does not mean that the patient’s perceived injury is not real – it does actually hurt at the place indicated by the patient. In fact, it is not uncommon for the ashi injury to cause physical damage further down the pathway due to the shortening of the tendomuscular line. But if one treats the injury at this location without discovering the actual cause further down the pathway and using this to release the contracted tendomuscular channel, then either the results of treatment will be poor, or the injury will improve temporarily but remain a recurring problem for the patient. As a clinical example, take the common case of a patient who has ‘thrown out’ their lower back. The injury seems to be in the lower back – as the person is unable to straighten up or put any weight on the lower spine – but the most common cause of this problem is actually not in the lumbar vertebrae or muscles of the back, but in the tendomuscular pathways in the anterior aspect of the thigh somewhere between the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) and the knee.