I love that there are a variety of positions for both the therapist and the client. My back is always sore after a massage because I have to lean over my client. The concept of using my body weight while being over a client is intriguing. Also being able to place the client in the side lying or sitting position is exciting as well. I use the side lying position a lot when working with my pregnant clients, but I never incorporate it into regular massage sessions. I am looking forward to learning more about these positions and becoming more comfortable with them.
I am also excited to learn more about the "feeling approach" of Thai Massage and developing a higher quality of touch. Great video!
Hi Amber, welcome to our forum community and the Complete Thai Massage certification program.
Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure that it is all in order:
Thai Massage is easier on your body because you have much better ergonomics on a floor mat. It is also much more therapist friendly because you can use many body parts. In this way you don't stress your hands so much.
And there is an amazing variety of positions and techniques. They do take some time to learn, but in the end you will be a real "Thai Massage artist"!
I have found that my clients (and my practice person!) love the rocking technique. I always incorporate rocking into my sessions. It's very soothing and a great way to relax clients.
I have a question about the video. First, you had mentioned that there are full body sequences, as well as therapeutic work done to specific areas of the body (like if someone had knee problems). So if someone has specific complaints, such as knee pain, is this an energy problem? Since Thai Massage is an energy and "feeling" approach and less of a clinical approach, are these specified areas of pain a result of energy not flowing properly? And would you then still follow a specific sequence and then just spend a little extra time on the areas of complaint? Also, if i'm getting too far ahead of myself please let me know!
Yes, you are getting way ahead of yourself here! But I will tell you anyway, like a preview of coming attractions.
Sequences are the basic structure to learn all the techniques. They are also useful for a general Thai Massage session. However in the end they are options to choose from and not mandatory sequences.
The idea is NOT that you deal with all issues by doing those sequences. Later, when you know all the techniques, you can apply them creatively, selectively and intuitively to suit specific applications or needs.
So let's say if someone has shoulder problems, then you could just work on the shoulder, arm and hands, because that's the affected area. Or you could limit what else you do on the body and spend a good percentage of the session of the shoulder. I have done sessions where I worked for one hour just on the shoulder/arm/hand area.
There is always an underlying energetic component of any dis-ease condition in the body. The main purpose of Thai Massage is to remove blockages in order to free up energy flow. You work on the energy via the physical body which is different from systems like Reiki, for example.
This will all become much clearer as you progress through the course.
Module 3: Foot Massage
These techniques will definitely take some practice. I don't quite have the flow right, but I will keep working on it. Also, I assume we just work with our clients current range of motion and not try to force a stretch. I only bring it up because my partner had tight adductor muscles, so their feet naturally turned outward. The stretch that brings the feet inward together was difficult to do because their legs were so tight. I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. Also, can clients wear socks or should I ask them to remove their socks? Or what if a clients says they do not want their feet worked on at all? Should I still try a stretch or two and then move on? Or maybe just some of the rocking that was shown in the last video?
All good questions.
- We never force a stretch. We only do what the client can handle, and then gradually build up from there.
- You should ask clients to remove their socks, just as is done in all western table massage work as well. However if a client for some reason does not want to remove them (let's say they are embarrassed about fungal infections in toe nails, for example), then just work with socks on.
- If someone does not want to have their feet worked on, then just skip it - no problem. However both this and the previous issue are very rare.
Throughout this course you will learn a lot about all the flexible options you have in Thai Massage. This is not a rigid sequential system, but a creative, flexible and adaptable system.
Module 4: Foot Massage 2
I'm really glad this was a review and continuation of the last video because I didn't quite feel ready to move on past the feet. With more practice I finally feel pretty good about the techniques you taught for the feet. I found a good rhythm with that one that requires me to move my body in a circle while pressing and twisting the feet. My partner said everything felt really great. Her favorites are the technique I just mentioned as well as the new one this video showed where we bend the clients leg slightly and knead the bottom on the feet. I think the most difficult one for me is the simple move of pressing down on the tops of the feet, with our fingers facing inwards and we lean forward. I'm not sure why but it is uncomfortable on my wrists. I feel like maybe i'm doing it wrong. Or perhaps i'm just not use to it yet. My feet started to go numb too! But that's just because my body isn't yet use to sitting in these positions.
Quick questions: Is it okay to let the client use a pillow while they're supine? Or should they be laying completely flat on the mat? And once we are doing working the lower body, is it okay to give the client a bolster under their knees? My partners low back was starting to hurt her today while I was working on her feet.
Your numb feet are a temporary issue. This will go away once you get used to it. Your wrist issue is definitely a matter of not having the right position. First make sure that your wrists are not bent too much, as in a 90 degree angle. They should only be bent at about a 45 degree angle.
Second, play with this position until you feel that your wrist is not uncomfortably twisted. Keep repositioning your hand until it doesn't feel uncomfortable anymore. Also rewatch the video and look at my hand and body position.
Make sure that you are using your entire body for this move, and not just your arms. If you are working only with your arms and without body weight, this move will feel terrible! If you do it right, this should be very easy.
A pillow under the head is fine, and a bolster under the knees is fine too. Anything that makes the client more comfortable is a good thing, as long as it doesn't get in the way when you work.
Module 5: Leg Warm Up
I really enjoyed this video segment. There is so much you can do with the legs! My partner liked the squeeze and roll up of the calf and adductor muscles. She wasn't a fan of the technique where I pull up with one hand on her thigh and push and roll up with the other. She said it wasn't uncomfortable or anything, but it didn't feel good either. It was an awkward movement for me, so I think I just need more practice with it.
I think it's also going to take me quite some time to remember all the different ways to stabilize the clients body with parts of my body. Like that trick with the foot to keep their leg from moving. Or putting my knee on their calf muscle when their leg is bent, to help keep it still. I can already tell I am going to have to hash out more time in my schedule to practice. But it's going to be worth it!
Thanks for another great video 🙂
Mod 6: Leg Warm Up w/ Forearms
I already did this once, but it looks like the site deleted my post for some reason. So ill post again. Sorry if this ends up posting twice for this module video.
I really liked the work with forearms. I enjoy learning techniques that help save my thumbs! But I did have trouble with one of the techniques because I could't figure out the transition. It was almost exactly halfway through the video. I believe right after you showed how to work on the leg groove (near the large tendon). You then moved your body in a way that allowed you to work your forearm down the inner/underneath side of the thigh, and I couldn't seem to figure it out. I must have watched it over a dozen times and I just cant grasp it. I think it's just one of those things that I need to be shown in person. I suppose it's a technique that Ill be striking off my list! Oh well.
Quick question: You have mentioned the sen lines a few times. And I am wondering if we will be going over what/where these are later in the course material? Or if I should be taking notes now whenever you mention them? Thank you Shama!
I am sure I can help you figure this transition out. It works like this: Your buttocks almost remains in the same place, and you pivot on it so that instead of sitting in a perpendicular way to the client (at a right angle), you now move around as if you wanted to face in the direction of the client's head.
At the same time you move your buttocks up a little (towards the client's head) so that the client's thigh gets pushed up to a 90 degree angle to their body. If possible, you stabilize this position by placing the client's foot in your groin.
I am saying "if possible", because if you are very small and your client's leg is very long, then you might have to modify this a little. You will get a second chance to watch this in a more cohesive way since soon there will be a summary module coming up where you see the entire sequence as in a real session.
I will be talking about the location of the sen lines wherever applicable throughout the course, i.e. when we work on the arms and on the back. There is no complete sen line review later on, so it is a good idea to take notes for the individual modules.
Mod 7: Leg Stretches
Thank you for explaining that transition from the last video I was having trouble with. I will have to spend some time working on that one.
My partner really enjoyed these leg/hip stretches. Especially the one at the end where I pulled her hip up towards my opposite shoulder. And then the circular rocking was really nice for her as well. I feel like this may be difficult for me to to on my larger clients. I'm a little nervous about getting traction to move the hip off the mat if the client is heavyset. Have you ever found that to be an issue?
Another question about the technique where you use your feet to massage the hamstrings: You said in the video that the clients leg should be about at a 90 degree angle to start. And that when I straighten my leg the angle will increase as we push the clients leg up, then pull it down slightly with our hand that is on their ankle. What if that 90 degree angle is uncomfortable for the client? Do you simply not perform that technique? Or is it okay to modify it by bringing the leg down a little?
The heavier someone is, the more challenging it becomes to move people around. That's why we have to use our discretion which techniques we use on whom. There is nothing wrong with skipping a technique if it is too difficult due to size and weight differences.
The techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences. And yes, of course I have found it more difficult to do some techniques on very heavy clients. That happens to all Thai Massage therapists. The solution is to have a large enough repertoire of techniques so that you can always replace one technique with another one which has a similar effect.
Regarding the 90 degree angle technique - in general it is always okay to modify the techniques to get a better fit. However in this case the tendency is that if the thigh is at less than a 90 degree angle, your foot will slide towards the groin. In this case it would be better to use another similar technique. You will learn those in future modules.
Mod 8: Leg Stretches
I love that this video showed multiple ways to modify a stretch to accommodate your client. My partner did say that she felt a pinch/pull in her inner thigh area with the hamstring stretch. So I tried to rocking and loosening techniques to help loosen up her hip. She said after those techniques, the hamstring stretch felt much better.
I also really liked the "hip pie" comparison. It is much easier to have the conceptual thinking when you can first think of all the ways a particular body part moves. It's easy to get into just following a sequence when I am first learning a modality. The conceptual thinking will come when I get more comfortable with Thai Massage.
This is the natural progression: First you learn the sequence, then, once you are comfortable with it, you learn to modify techniques, and then you learn to make it your own by working WITH the client, not just ON the client. This is the goal, to be able to creatively and intuitively work with clients according to their needs.
Mod 9: Leg Stretches 3
I liked how this touched more on the "hip pie". It would have never occurred to me to stretch the leg in so many different angles with the clients foot in my hip pocket. I like the idea of bouncing their leg to help the relax their leg. I have had clients in Thai sessions before that were always very stiff and wanted to "help" move their limbs. Rocking has always been helpful.
My partner is fairly flexible so I tried the elephant walking on her thigh adductors. She enjoyed this technique, although it felt kind of weird to me. I'll work on that one some more. She was also a big fan of the spinal twisting. This technique looks like it feels amazing and I would love someone to do it to me! haha
Mod 10: Leg Stretches 4
I found the information about the Hara to be interesting. You mentioned that we as therapists have to put our intention on the hara. Do you mean we should try and connect with our own hara during a session? Or connect to the clients hara?
I enjoyed doing these stretches on my partner. I had a little trouble getting into the 270 degree hip stretch. Just trying to balance myself while holding her foot and moving to the other side of her body haha It'll just take a bit of practice. But that along with the adductor stretch and calf stretch were all great techniques I have never seen before.
I have been shown the blood stop technique in the past, but I feel it is more effective the way you showed it (I learned a slightly different variation). I've had this done to me and it is definitely a unique feeling!