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Amber Curry Complete Thai Massage Progress report
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Amber Curry
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November 9, 2017 - 9:30 am
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MODULE 1

Well I just typed out a whole overview and for some reason it caused an error and I lost the content so I will try again. Fist I am excited to finally be starting this course. I have been contemplating learning Thai for a long time as I already stretch my client on the table regularly. They always love it and usually say they have never been stretched like that before on a table. I already utilize the squatting and standing on one leg positions while massing my clients. I do them if its been a long day and i need to stretch or just change positions. Squatting feels good on my knees and feet. I am excited to learn to work on the floor because I feel like it gives much more freedom for movement and posture. I often feel like I am at a disadvantage because there is a whole half of my body I am not utilizing when working on a table.

I love the analogy of massage being like a song. I can feel in my body when I have not been present during a massage and I can usually observe a difference in my client if I have connected properly. 

A funny side note: I fell asleep last night in the full kneeling position bent forward with my head on the bed. I woke up and my legs were completely asleep! I can feel a little tension in my ankles so I will continue to stretch them out. 

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Shama
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November 9, 2017 - 11:19 pm
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Hi Amber, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Check List

You can lose a post if you don't click the "Submit Reply" button or sometimes even if your browser acts up on you. Here is the trick to make sure that this never happens.

After you are done typing a post, hit the "Control" and the "A" keys together to highlight the entire post, then hit Control and C to copy it into memory. If for some reason the post disappears on you, you can re-post it from memory by hitting Control and V. If you are on a Mac machine, then you have to replace the Control key with the Command key to get the same result.

I like how you put that: "When you are working on a table, there is a whole half of your body which is not being utilized". It's true, you have better ergonomics and better use of your entire body on a floor mat, for sure.

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Amber Curry
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November 18, 2017 - 1:14 pm
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MODULE 2

Hello, It has been a little over a week since my last post. I have been practicing the chi machine on the table with my clients but I did not want to post until I was able to practice on the floor, as part of the point for me is to transition off of the table. 

My partner really really enjoyed the chi machine. He said it felt awesome on his back. There was a complete difference for me trying it on the floor vs on the table. Doing it on the table is more work while on the floor it is easy because the legs on resting on our body and you are just rocking back and forth. On the table you have to hold the legs up and shifting your weight like that just does not feel as smooth. My partners legs are heavy so I tried but preferred not to do that while we were on the floor. He said he did not feel any tingling but afterward he felt the urge to move and shake his body so I took that as a sign that energy was moving around. I did feel a little discomfort in my ankles and my heels massaged my glutes as I was rocking but I know in time I will get used to this. The problem I ran into is that my partner has long legs and his knees hurt a little because they hyperextended with his bum on the ground and his feet in my lap. Do I just need to put a pillow under his knees? 

Thanks!

Amber

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Shama
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November 18, 2017 - 1:33 pm
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Definitely you have much better ergonomics on the floor with the Chi Machine compared to a table.

Regarding hyperextension (knees hanging through) - this is somewhat of a contraindication for the Chi Machine. However you can try it with a pillow under the knees and see if that works for you and if it takes the discomfort of your partner away. There have been other students who have had success with this method.

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Amber Curry
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November 23, 2017 - 9:55 pm
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MODULE 3

This video I had a little bit of a hard time with. My partner loved everything especially the foot twist and stretch. It is difficult to get a rhythm of the squeeze and twisting out so I will just have to keep practicing that. My partners long legs made me have to really adjust my position. My legs were barely long enough to support his knee without his foot being too close to my body where I could not do the moves. I think this would be another case where I need pillows to accommodate our different bodies. Im glad I get to meet these challenges while practicing.

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Shama
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November 24, 2017 - 12:07 am
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This module is a little bit challenging, I know. The good news is that the very next module will make it a lot easier to understand it all by providing a logical framework for the foot massage.

Throughout this entire course you will find ways to deal with differences in size between you and your partners or clients. There is no one way to do the techniques. Modifying and adapting is an essential element of Thai Massage. That's what makes it an art instead of a mechanical sequence of moves.

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Amber Curry
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November 24, 2017 - 7:06 am
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MODULE 4

You were right. This module helped me understand module 3. I felt a lot more confident this time. I also worked on someone that had shorter legs to feel the difference. I still need to work on fluidity and quality of touch. I think the more I practice and get used to moving around on the floor the better it will feel. I am having a hard time with stretching the feet into flexion. It does not feel like I am using my body weight when I bend down or when I do use my body weight it does not seem to be enough. Ive tried adjusting my position between the legs but I cant seem to find the sweet spot. 

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Shama
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November 24, 2017 - 10:02 am
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You are right - the more you work on the floor, the better it will feel. This is just a matter of time.

Regarding the foot flexion stretch - if you are small and you work on someone with large feet, this can be a little challenging. Try it on a person with smaller feet and see if you can find the sweet spot there. Also try to slide up towards the client's head a little and see if that feels better. There definitely is a sweet spot.

If you have trouble finding it, don't worry. Just set it aside and go on with the material. After a few modules you will feel more comfortable with the Thai Massage techniques and the floor work, and you might find that suddenly things will fall into place which had first seemed difficult.

Also later on in the course you will learn several other techniques which accomplish the same thing, just in a different way. So you will have options to choose from.

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Amber Curry
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December 16, 2017 - 6:06 pm
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MODULE 5

Hello! It has been a few weeks since my last post. I just finished finals for college so it has been quite hectic. Ive only been able to complete one module but I have a whole month break to focus on thai massage! yay! So for this module I did Mod 4 to get a recap and then immediately did 5 and I definitely noticed it in my knees. I cannot quite figure out if it is best to sit directly on my heals or if I should be sitting between my heals with my feet turned inward. I feel like it is better in the long term to sit directly on my heels but I naturally want to sit between them because it is more comfortable. My partner this time did have smaller feet but they were also very flexible so I still did not feel like I was accomplishing the  stretch so I will have to keep working on it. Im excited to get a chance to dive back into the course and hopefully catch up a little bit!

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Shama
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December 16, 2017 - 11:48 pm
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Life gets in the way with our timing sometimes! Smile

It is quite typical that in the early stages of Thai Massage training some of the Thai Massage positions will cause you some discomfort until your body gets used to it, especially toes, ankles and knees. It is also very common that course students report that after a while they feel quite at ease in those positions. 

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Amber Curry
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January 16, 2018 - 7:56 am
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MODULE 6

Unfortunately I did not get to dive in as I had hoped during my break from school due to holidays and family visits bu I am still moving forward as well as I can! I really appreciate being able to learn online. 

I felt pretty good about this module except for one thing. I did not feel like I was able to apply enough pressure to the areas of the thigh in the position I was in. I felt like I was only using a small portion of my upper body weight and being 115 pounds on a good day, did not feel like enough pressure. My partner did say body weight felt better than when I tested using muscle force. She said it felt more even but muscling it felt deeper. Id be concerned with that technique on someone who liked more firm or deeper pressure. 

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Amber Curry
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January 16, 2018 - 8:04 am
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MODULE 7

I went ahead and did module 7 as well because I had already practiced module 6 a couple times before I was able to write a response to module 6. This module is the one I have felt most comfortable with so far. I already use a couple of the techniques on my clients on the table. I use the rocking technique with one knee bent to stretch the hips and pulling back and in on the thigh to stretch the hip and low back. I also felt like i was in a much better position to apply adequate pressure during the beginning warm up and stretch compared to module 6. I am glad I did these back to back to find that comparison in my body. I also forgot to mention that I have been bringing more awareness to m breath and how relates to applying and releasing pressure. I have found that it has created a greater connection with my clients. 

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Shama
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January 16, 2018 - 10:46 am
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Your lack of power on the thigh can be adjusted with better positioning. 115 pounds of pressure on a thigh is plenty enough for anyone - even half that will be plenty! Laugh Try to play around with your position - sit a little closer or farther, a little lower or higher, and see if it makes a difference. Make sure to really lean in, and over, with your entire body. 115 pounds is a pretty typical weight for most massage therapists here in Thailand.

If you can't get it to work, there are alternatives. You can work with your knee or your foot and easily get more power that way. I used to have a large, stiff client who needed a lot of leg work. I used my knees and feet on his thigh a lot in order not to tire out my hands and get more power with less effort. This kind of work will be covered later in the course.

Good that you feel the connection stemming from more breath awareness.

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Amber Curry
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February 5, 2018 - 4:04 pm
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MODULE 8

I think typical weight here is a bit more. I've gotten a lot of "you're too little to be a massage therapist!" I like to work with my knees. I have to develop that senes of touch with my knees and feet though. 

I felt pretty comfortable with this module because I have done some of the techniques before. I use the compressing and squeezing the gastroc technique and the lateral/medial rubbing a lot on clients on the table but it feels a lot better when do it on the ground. On the table I have to be in a somewhat twisted and awkward position. On the ground I can be directly in line with the leg which makes it easier to use my whole body. Sometimes when I work on clients on the table I don't do everything the same on both sides if one side is tighter in an area or needs something different. Would you say that approach can be taken with thai massage also or is it best to do everything the same on both sides?

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Shama
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February 5, 2018 - 6:45 pm
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Many times I work a lot longer on one side if this is where the issue is. It is good to work both sides for balance, but this does not mean that you have to do exactly the same thing on both sides, or spend exactly the same time on both sides.

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March 3, 2018 - 7:41 pm
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MODULE 9

I do a lot of these techniques on the today and it continues to amaze me how much better it feels to do on the floor. I love to do spinal twists for clients (and myself) because it is not something a lot of people do regularly. It feels really good for my clients. I have to regularly remind myself to lean instead of press. I have lowered my massage table to be able to do this easier. How long on average should I be holding each stretch?

=================

Hi Amber, I found your forum post in my email messages, but it didn't show up in the forum - don't know what happened. So I reposted it which is why it shows up under my name. Regarding your question - you should not really hold stretches, but rather go in and out like a wave. You can hold for a a couple of seconds, but not long at all. There are exceptions like when you do elephant walking in the 90 degree hip stretch, but in general it is better to keep moving than holding.

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Amber Curry
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May 8, 2018 - 6:09 am
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MODULE 10

I really like the blood stop except I had a therapist do something that that on me the other day on my neck. It reduced the blood flow to my head. I felt my neck and arms relax but it was really intense and I felt like she held it too long. Ive been having headaches since but they could be completely unrelated. Does the not holding stretches also apply if I am stretching my own body? 

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Shama
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May 8, 2018 - 1:41 pm
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To do a blood stop on the neck is a pretty dangerous technique in my opinion. I advise to never do it - too risky for sure.

If you are holding stretches on your own body, like in yoga, that's fine since you can feel much better when it is time to release. But when working on clients you should play it safe and be more fluid, i.e. not hold the stretches.

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