Ashiatsu Massage—It’s All in the Feet
Sep 01, 2015 10:31AM
● By Linda Sechrist
Faced with a decision of whether or not to return to school in order to provide a solid financial future for herself and three sons, Michelle Mace-Lambert, founder and principal instructor of Barefoot Masters: Ashiatsu Massage Therapy School, in Naples, took a leap and chose to pursue a degree. “Although I loved school, I had to come to terms with the fact that as a part-time student it would take me forever to finish my degree, because I needed to split my time between parental responsibilities, school and studying, as well as working part-time. And then there was the question of what career path to follow after I graduated,” says Mace-Lambert.
Based on long-term observation of Mace-Lambert’s personality and the nurturing interactions she had with her parents, a close friend suggested she might want to consider massage school after finishing college. “I was telling her how undecided I was regarding a career. While her idea surprised me, it felt appealing. I put college on hold and enrolled at the Venice School of Massage. It was an excellent fit for me, and after getting certified and licensed, I began working in local nursing homes and eventually at notable resorts,” says the native Floridian.
Mace-Lambert was intrigued by the intricacies of the human body and how different styles of massage, such as Ashiatsu Bar Therapy, could be therapeutic in numerous ways. She flew to Colorado to take a class on the barefoot massage modality and impressed the instructor with her quick learning, as well as her interpersonal skills, particularly the ability to encourage fellow classmates. “The teacher in me comes out whenever I’m in those types of group situations. She saw that, and wanted me to teach classes for her, but I wasn’t ready,” notes Mace-Lambert, who, after refusing the opportunity, continued to stay in touch with her instructor.
Excited at the prospect of having a stationary space to work in, Mace-Lambert set up a massage business inside a Naples karate studio. Less than a month later, she was informed that she had 24 hours to remove everything. “I was devastated to learn that the karate studio owner had allowed his bankruptcy proceedings to progress to the point that everything in the studio, including what was mine, would be seized to settle debts. I had just finished faux painting the walls and installing new floors,” she recalls.
When the ashiatsu instructor called one more time from Colorado, Mace-Lambert took it as a sign that she was supposed to start teaching, When their partnership eventually unraveled she decided to travel to Asia and study with the master of the modality, Prahbat Menon, who wrote the only book on the subject [Chavutti Thirummal – One Rope, Two Feet & Healing Oils – The Ancient Art of Keralite Massage]. “I’ve also studied with Ruthie Hardee, from Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, and Lolita Knight, of Fijian massage, and became an instructor for both women. Ultimately, I broke away, developed my own style, wrote a manual and founded Barefoot Masters, my live teaching or home study course. Today, I show massage therapists how they can save their hands and continue doing their work for as long as they want,” she explains.
Mace-Lambert expanded her services in 2007 after returning to school for training in how to apply permanent makeup. Later, she enrolled for esthetician training. “It seems as though I’ve been in a constant learning mode for the majority of my life. I’ve had a great time and enjoyed every class I’ve ever attended or taught,” she enthuses.
For more information about Barefoot Masters, call 239-352-8200 or visit My2Feet.com.