When Nancy Sinatra sang “these boots are gonna walk all over you,” perhaps she was describing ashiatsu. This ancient practice—which involves a massage therapist literally walking on your back—has been performed by Buddhist monks for centuries and is now available in various forms across America.
After a day of intense massage work, Ruthie Piper Hardee nearly cried when the last client of the day walked into her “bodywork office” on movie location for Tri-Star Pictures almost a decade ago. At 250-plus pounds, this stunt man needed and asked for the deep tissue work for which Hardee was known. With the pain in her wrists and thumbs persisting and being “completely out of juice,” Hardee knew she couldn’t deliver what this client needed. Still, she tried to offer the last of bit of energy her worn-out hands could offer.