Hi Alexa, welcome to our forum community and the Thai Foot Massage certification program. I already enrolled you in the new version of the course. The modules from the previous version will keep coming as well, unless you want me to stop that.
Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:
I am looking forward to reading about your progress with the course!
Module One -
Great video! I have done sen work on the feet for years, BUT on my knees (rocking) however I needed to move the feet together to get to the far sen line. Staying on my toes make a big difference. I tried both ways and asked my recipient how it felt and they liked the feeling when I on my toes better and that the work felt deeper. Looking forward to the next video.
You obviously have a big advantage with your Thai Massage background for this type of work. Many new foot massage course students initially struggle with this technique, because you have to have a good sense of balance, you have to be able to squat on your toes, and you need good body coordination. Since you don't seem to have any of those issues, you must be in pretty good shape.
In my mind, this technique is a good example why Thai Massage is as much art as it is technique.
I used these methods on my employee who has tiny feet and tight hips but the modifications were very good. She liked the feeling of three knuckles over one and it was more comfortable for me to use three. She kept asking me to "try that move again" until I realized she just liked it too much. Do you ever give each move a "name"? Sometimes I make them up so that I remember the sequence. I have to stay focused so I don't use my old techniques and it is really fun! I can't wait to be able to do a full foot massage. I think the hardest part is being careful of tight ankles, western people are a mess Bring on Module three!
Yes, sometimes I have been thinking about giving each technique a name, but I kind of gave up on it since there are literally hundreds of techniques and modified techniques in all my courses, and it was just too much for me to come up with precise and descriptive and short names. Just in ONE of my courses, the shoulder course, there are already over 80 techniques in that one. I haven't even tried counting the techniques in the foot massage course. You will see!
You are right, there are plenty of ankle problems in the western world. You will find not only very specific techniques for this issue in the course, but also other holistic remedies, life-style changes, and self-help exercises - all for this exact issue.
Module Three -
Now the going gets tough! I am loving the new version of the program and find the PDF's not only great but very needed. After years of working on larger clients I am now experiencing new issues with "big feet" especially "big stiff feet". I will continue to work on the problem but would love any advice. I was working on my fiance and he is great to work on because he is a disaster. Stiff ankles and knees and moaned through this whole module. I guess it is just "do what the client can take, be gentle since they need this more than anyone" do you agree or am I doing something wrong? I love the first technique and the circular rocking is wonderful. That one was actually easier for me than the rest mainly because of my hand size with the next protocols. I have very strong hands but need to get used to working on two feet instead of one. Most of my foot work has been work on one and then go to the next. For example the ankle depression point I normally access with two hands using both thumbs. I felt really weak doing both feet but I will keep trying and will use is during my Thai sessions for added practice.
I am trying not to ask too many questions as I know with practice I will figure it out.
With the PDF's I no longer need names. Although I am known to make up names silently in my head 🙂
Here is a quick question - on the first move do you try and follow the three sen lines during the foot roll individually or are you working them really all at the same time.
Thanks for your time - this is a lot of feedback for you. I hope you know how appreciated it is!
Fire away with any and all questions!
“Do what the client can take, be gentle since they need this more than anyone”. I think this expresses it perfectly. I guess you might even have to be more gentle on your fiancee so that he enjoys it and gradually loosens up. Those stiff and locked up people are hard to work on and it can feel frustrating sometimes for us to see little progress initially. But as you say, they need it the most.
I used to work on a client with Parkinson's who was so rigid and locked up that I was wondering if I could ever get anywhere with him. I worked on him twice a week for two years. He did improve significantly over time, and along with other natural therapy work that he got, his disease went into remission. But boy it was a slow process!
My philosophy is to have so many techniques available that you always have SOMETHING that will work for a particular client. Not all techniques will work well on everyone. My motto is that "the techniques are options to choose from, not rigid sequences".
On some people it makes sense to skip certain techniques and use another one instead. This might be because their feet are very big, or they are extremely stiff, or you just prefer to work with your forearms and elbows instead of your hands on someone to preserve your health...
I am not too concerned about precisely following the sen lines in the first move. If you do this move for a while, you will hit them all pretty much if you just move your hands around on the foot. There are other techniques which lend themselves better to following the sen lines.
I have never used my forearm on the foot but did a lot of walking on the feet. Also I can't believe I didn't think to use my knees, I had to be careful on the pressure but my client loved it. With any prone positions I find that if I rotate the actual thigh of the client using both of my hands then the leg falls into a perfect position so the heels fall outward.
This is wonderful and gives so many more options. I have been trying the prone with the clients foot on my thigh and I think I like this one better than side lying. However I now can see how you can pick and choose as you go along to see what fits.
Also the two stretches are lovely and easier than when I have done them during a Thai Hamstring stretch!
On a side note I just found out that I have some nasty neck issues.... 3 bulging disks, degeneration, c3/4 leaning toward spinal chord and a c5 nerve root trying to escape. I have found that my normal massage practice really bothers it but Thai doesn't seem to but I still need to be careful. Hopefully after a lot of PT I will be ok. My question is, do you think as a practitioner our necks are relatively safe? I have no problem putting my normal massage practice aside but I can't stop doing Thai 🙁
Thai Massage definitely has the advantage when it comes to ideal body mechanics/ergonomics compared to table massage styles. However your neck issues clearly require some serious work. We have the ideal course for you learning how to do amazing neck work on others (Heavenly Head Massage), but you can't do this on yourself. So I hope that you have a good therapist who can get your neck back in good working condition.
Shama, sorry to put 2 notes on one day. I was in Maine getting married and was able to practice 4&5 on my inflexible husband but had very limited internet access for forum notes.
I think my favorite part of this module is body mechanics. I am realizing that after 12 years of practicing Thai my awareness of my mechanics has dwindled. Probably why suddenly my neck became worse! For example when bending the feet forward, leaning forward with my whole body makes it so easy. The same with where you are positioned between the legs. I think with the feet I wasn't changing positions enough.
Another big revelation was the tight hips, this is something I never stressed with my employees and I now realize that often they stretch the feet open at the beginning of a table session but they really can't see the body because it is covered by a blanket! Once a client said her ankles were very sore....guess why? 🙁
On the note of blankets...I hate when clients are cold but if they are, especially as they relax, do you have any tricks besides covering them up? Maybe I need smaller blankets.
The last section of twisting wasn't something I was doing except the part when you put one hand on each side of the foot. Mainly because I was bending over to try to twist instead of putting the foot on my thigh and angling my body.
This is so much more information than I received in training! Thank you Shama.
On to Module 6. So much fun!
Congratulations to getting married!
It sounds like you had several lightbulbs go on with this module. Yes, I am a big proponent of good body mechanics, and I teach it a lot more than is usually done in other Thai Massage schools.
Regarding blankets, I always keep one around, but I use a small and light one which doesn't get in the way too much. There are only two ways to deal with cold clients - either you adjust the temperature in the room, or you cover them up, or both.
I just finished Module 6 notes and they disappeared .....
Here I go again. I will make it briefer this time so you win
I now can stop ignoring people with stiff or cracking ankles. If that is all I learned in the is module I would be very happy! I tried the moves on my husband and he didn't scream like last time. I also don't like toe cracking and think the wiggle is perfect.
A few questions:
On the push pull ankle rotation I see the body move all the way up to the shoulder, is this correct. It feels similar to when I do it with the foot against my abdomen but this way is much more comfortable for me, especially with big feet.
Foot against ankle rotation - if I remember correctly your index finger and thumb are on marma points, is that correct?
LOVE the foot lifting relaxation move, but the one where you shake the foot is harder for me with a big leg.
I start my clients seated, (my western approach) - would it be appropriate to start the foot routine once I lie them back, before I start the legs or should I wait until after the legs?
I was glad you showed the moves put together at the end. I have been using the PDF's (thank you) but it's not the same as watching you.
And I will definitely take the heavenly head massage course next.
There I think I remembered what I lost.
Thanks again for your great feedback Shama
I suggest you watch this video which will eliminate this issue of 'disappearing' forum posts:
Yes, with the push-pull ankle rotation, the entire body moves.
The Thai system doesn't use marma points specifically, or at least not this terminology. However there is nothing wrong with using marma points for pressure. We don't have to stick with one system religiously, and we can cross over into other system's energy methodology, no problem.
Beginning with the next module, it will all be in the seated position. You might want to watch this next section, and then decide how you want to put it all together. I am not a fan of rigid rules, and I always encourage people to make it their own, even if this differs from the way I teach it.
I have so many compliments for you that I hope your don't develop an ego. I think in 15 years I have never used my knuckles so much, safely and I liked it! I have actually avoided learning foot massage because of tired thumbs and the fact that I don't like tools very much. I need a lot of practice with both hands as this shows clearly how right hand dominant I am.
I think I worked about 30 minutes and could have gone on for an hour with what you taught and that really surprised me. Is there a certain oil you like better than others? We use mainly lotions and some oils are just too slippery however it looked like you seldom needed to reapply or is that just video magic?
The J stroke is my favorite. I don't have too many more questions on this one but it will take a while to find the right chair for my clients and clients with nice feet.
PS - my friend was uncomfortable at first but as you said after 15 minutes she fell asleeo!
So my biggest issue is I miss having someone to work on me so I can feel it. There is a Thai place in Virginia that I am going to visit. I used a yoga blanket covered with a towel for mat work and it worked really well and it seems everyone's legs laterally rotate so using my leg to support it is a must. The knuckle work is getting easier (but I still keep wanting to use my poor thumb.) I have been trying to use knuckles a bit in regular massage too but not with much success.
I see this module gave you lots of cream/oil advice. Sorry I jumped the gun on the last posting.
I like the chair better but for a few small movements on the mat I think it's great. Your right a long time on your knees is tough. A couple of people I worked on got foot cramps. I have had this happen in Thai also. Sometimes it is dehydration but not always. Any thoughts on why that happens?
My husband asked if I could work on the adult children instead of him today because his feet hurt. Seriously, I married this man? Well at least his 25 year old was thrilled!
I can't lie I always hated working on toes but I think now that I have several ways to do it I kind of like it. My favorite is using the bent index finger and the middle finger. I even tried to do it to myself...it didn't work When you stroke down on the foot it is really good for lymphatic drainage to, I forgot about that!
I find that using my body weight makes it much easier and it also makes me realize that I really have been bad about using it! I have received many reflexology treatments and this seems so much better and so different. I love it!
Whenever I have done just a regular foot massage or even table massage I never get enough work done on the lower leg. Your strokes and moving the leg left to right make a lot of sense. I also tend to do gentle work right on the knee cap (like gently opening a bottle) but working above with the circles is awesome.
I don't really have any questions just compliments. I told my employees this is the most comprehensive online class that I have ever taken. I really didn't take this thinking I would be giving hour long treatments but I really think I will like doing it. I have a client that spent many many years in Thailand and every time I see him he says. "Did you finish the class yet" he LOVES Thai foot massage. I told him the first few are free until I get better!
Thanks again Shama. I already watched 10 and completed the test. I will practice tomorrow and get my notes in by the end of the day. Good thing because my license is due this month
Be well my mentor!
I know how it feels when you are missing someone who can work on you with these techniques. The issue with getting Thai Massage is always that you don't know if the therapist is any good. As you know, both good and bad ones exist - and everything in between.
Luckily here in Thailand we have many choices. If we don't like one therapist we can easily go to another one. In the western world that's not so easy since many times you are lucky if you find just ONE Thai Massage therapist near you. And then you don't know if that person has had serious training or only taken a couple of weekend courses.
And then, even if you go to a Thai place which is run by Thai therapists from Thailand, you might still get a one-size-fits-all mechanical version. For your sake I hope that the Thai place in Virginia is a good one.
What we teach at Thai Healing Massage Academy is quite advanced and high-quality training which you don't find elsewhere easily. For example, the third section in the foot massage course, starting with module 11, is not known or taught in any Thai Massage school which I have ever heard of. So don't hold your breath trying to experience this in a Thai Massage place.
I have had this problem my entire career - that I could not easily receive myself what I teach. It's something which I had to learn to live with.
Thai Foot Massage is a wonderful art which feels fantastic if done right. However there are therapists who don't know how to use their knuckles, and they resort to using a wooden stick which doesn't feel nearly as good. (I think we agree on this one since you had previously mentioned that you don't like tools to much.)
Thai Foot Massage also has a tremendous potential to deal with lots of foot problems. However unfortunately Thai Foot Massage is typically done in a mechanical way which does not take the holistic picture of foot health into account. You will see exactly what I mean when you get into the next section of the course.
I saw you got 100% of the questions right in the test, which is not surprising since with your NCBTMB background you probably know more about these things than anyone out there.
So I can send you the CE certificate as soon as you post for module 10. I will send you the 'International' display certificate when you post for the remaining 7 modules. The reason for the difference between the two is that I wrote the test questions before I added the last 7 modules to the course. So the CE certificate is really only based on the first 10 modules. One of these days I will have the CE count bumped up with NCBTMB to reflect the new modules (I just have to write all the additional test questions first, and do the required paperwork).
Ok that's it...I am ready for another visit to Thailand. You are right, it is very hard to find anything here like you teach. I think you said it best when you said that "it is an art that feels fantastic if done right." Most of my foot massages were done in China and although perhaps the outcome was often good, I felt the massage was very painful and not enjoyable at all. If your body and brain are always on alert to what could happen next then I really think you never get the full benefit.
I love slapping and tapotement it feel so good and the ending with the towel with movements such as toe cracking and traction is great. There is nothing worse than slipping out of your sandals after a massage. I always keep homemade foot spray around to clean the cream off and it feels refreshing.
The final video was great. I understand that there are many moves and may ways to approach the massage to tailor it to the client but I did try to follow you. It was funny but helpful. I played it for a few moves then tried to mimic you and I plan on doing that a bunch more times. It helped to get a little more confidence although I have a long way to go! The moral of my moves are.....Alexa keep working with your knuckles It is definitely not second nature yet.
I didn't think I would take this class and expect this could be a whole new sector to my practice but now I really do and I think a lot of my employees would love this work. Maybe I will make one of my new rooms an all Thai Foot massage room. That would be amazing!
Thank you again for all of your help and I am going to move right on to the other modules while I am in the groove. Do you only teach online or do you also have live classes in Thailand?