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Amber Sweaza: Thai Back Massage course notes
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Amber Sweaza
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March 5, 2021 - 11:20 pm
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Module 1: 

In this module we went over the difference between lordosis and kyphosis. Posture analysis is very helpful in identifying what my client will need in their treatment. It also tells me as a therapist where the restrictions in their body are.

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Amber Sweaza
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March 5, 2021 - 11:25 pm
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Module 2:

In this module we went over spinal disorders. The entire spine is important to assess before and in treatment. Contraindications with the spine and Thai massage would be serious injuries or any operations that the client has had recently. The compression and stretching would not be helpful for the clients who have these injuries but it would be helpful for those with chronic issues such as scoliosis.

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Amber Sweaza
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March 5, 2021 - 11:33 pm
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Module 3:

Thai massage helps with loosening tight pectorals muscles, collapsed posture and weak back muscles. It is important to ask the client questions about their lifestyle and habits so that we can better understand the cause behind the issues that they have. Listening to your client and their concerns is very important in working on them with Thai massage. Every body is different and requires an an adjusted protocol to treat their specific needs. 

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Amber Sweaza
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March 5, 2021 - 11:36 pm
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Module 4:
In this module we discussed rocking- a technique used in Thai massage. This is something I have practiced on several clients. It is wonderful to use on those who need to release stress in a relaxing way and perfect for ending a treatment. It is important to not end the rocking abruptly, but gently end that part of the massage by lightening the touch.

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Amber Sweaza
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March 5, 2021 - 11:42 pm
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Module 5:
In this module we discussed some types of traditional Thai massage techniques that are not beneficial to use as a therapist in western culture. They can bring stress and pain to the thumb and wrist joints for the therapist making the life span of their career limited. We also covered how to work on the sacrum properly and I have practiced this on my clients working on the wiggling technique and exploring the range of motion.

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Amber Sweaza
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March 6, 2021 - 12:17 am
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Module 6:
Near side of the sacrum using the pad of the hand making circles. You can also use this in the rocking technique.
When you rock the body you are gauging what the body restrictions and needs are and observing the natural body rhythm. I practiced using the sacrum rocking with my elbow on my clients this week. I also practiced moving to the other side of the client by practicing on my husband and ordered my first Thai massage mat.

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Shama Kern
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March 6, 2021 - 12:15 pm
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Hi Amber, welcome to our forum and the Thai Back Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

I noticed that one thing is missing. Could you please fill in your bio information in your forum profile so that I have an idea about your background and experience. This helps me to better relate to you.

I am looking forward to reading about your experience with the practice of the course material. Smile

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Amber Sweaza
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March 8, 2021 - 10:04 pm
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When I try and make my profile it says: 
Profile form could not be found: [Account Settings] You might try the forum - toolbox - housekeeping admin form and reset the profile tabs and menus and see if that helps

I am not sure where the "toolbox" is...

So here is my info: 

Massage therapist in Florida and Calgary, Alberta since 2006. Registered with Natural Health Practitioners of Canada and NCBTMB. (My renewal for both is in April) 

I have been running my own practice full-time since 2009. I have taken Thai Table Massage courses in the past and use some of the stretches regularly on my clients. 
My ultimate goal is to go to Thailand and work on full Thai certification on site. 

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Shama Kern
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March 8, 2021 - 11:54 pm
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Ahh...the tech gremlins are at work again. Let's see if I can figure out what the issue is. Don't worry about it at your end. Smile

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Amber Sweaza
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March 14, 2021 - 5:45 am
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Module 7: 

I now have my matt and I am enjoying the lessons even more. It has been easier to practice moving across the body with my legs/ position. This lesson was great for leaning more about rocking and the benefits of forearm/elbow use during rocking. 

QUESTION: How long would you do this rocking warm up? Would that time vary if they are larger? You said they do not feel it as much if they are larger in weight. I am 115lbs so I naturally use a lot of elbow during my work. 

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Amber Sweaza
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March 14, 2021 - 6:15 am
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MODULE 8: 

Practicing using my knees working the glutes. The pull of the hip while using the knee is a real work out! 
It was very helpful to see the quick routine without explanation. I ran through it with you while working on my husband. 
My husband said his low back hasn't felt this good in months! 

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Amber Sweaza
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March 14, 2021 - 6:45 am
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MODULE 9:

Thank you for the continual reminder that rocking comes from the whole body not just the arms. I needed that reminder. 
I practiced rhythm why rocking and moving up and down the back. I do find that my ankles and knees struggle a bit with soreness after a while. Probably because I do not ever sit in these positions. 

I am not sure how comfortable I would be to do the loud breathing with my clients. If I was coaching them to breathe with me that way it would not be as awkward but it seems a bit strange. 
My husband really liked the double arm low back massage. 

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Amber Sweaza
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March 14, 2021 - 7:15 am
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MODULE 10

The reminder to work with "softness" is great for me. I tend to have a heavy hand and go in deeper and more shocking to get right to the point. 
I will use the elbow in the groove techniques on a regular basis even on the table. 

The "knife edge" techniques using my thumbs is something I have been doing on a regular basis on my clients.  

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Shama Kern
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March 14, 2021 - 9:04 pm
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I saw your bio in the forum profile, so the tech gremlins must have beaten a retreat, it seems. Smile

Re: "How long would you do this rocking warm-up? Would that time vary if they are larger?" - There is no set time. It has less to do with the size of the client than with their degree of stiffness.. If you have a flexible yogi-type client, you don't need much warm-up and can proceed to stretching sooner. If the client is very stiff or has serious knots and painful spots in the back, then you would do the rocking/warm-up longer.

This doesn't just go for the rocking, but in general you can proceed to stretching moves sooner on flexible clients, and on very stiff clients you would do non-stretch techniques (rocking, circling, wiggling, pressure, percussion) longer and in some cases even exclusively. Not everyone can handle the stretching moves, but everyone can handle the non-stretch moves.

Regarding breathing - My breathing is never audible, and when the client is in the prone position, I never ask them to breathe with me. This would feel quite weird for them. My breathing is silent. I use it as a way to be more in flow and to feel in sync with the techniques, but at this point it has nothing to do with the client.

In the supine position I sometimes get the client to breathe into a very locked up spot, but not in prone. I just make sure to not work in such a way as to hinder their breathing with too much sustained pressure.

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Amber Sweaza
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March 16, 2021 - 8:37 pm
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MODULE 11:

It was great to dive into the shoulders in this module. That is my favourite area to work. It took a bit of practice to find the right pressure and rhythm for the percussion with fists as my husband said I was working too aggressive and beating him up. 

 "Not everyone can handle the stretching moves, but everyone can handle the non-stretch moves." 
That is a really great point. The techniques in this module can be for everyone. 

QUESTION: is there any way to unlock the modules faster? I blocked off the entire day today to work on Thai Massage training only to find that I had just one module to work through. 
I personally work 3 jobs and have limited time with a partner to practice (when we are both free to do it) My deadline to renew my registrations is in April. 

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Shama Kern
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March 16, 2021 - 11:53 pm
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I sent you an email about the accelerated module delivery.

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Amber Sweaza
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March 23, 2021 - 9:07 pm
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MODULE 12: 

I practised rocking with my heel and I am going to have to work on the transition from heel/hand rocking and changing sides. Using the knee to work the low back was interesting. I can see how someone with a large body mass would need this extra pressure. 

The recap of what we already have covered was very helpful and learning how to work with elbows and thumbs in the shoulders. Many of those techniques I am using on my clients regularly now. 

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Amber Sweaza
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March 23, 2021 - 9:35 pm
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MODULE 13: 

I practised the overview along with you on my husband. It was very helpful. 
Learning new techniques in sideline position is great! I often wish I had more tools to use in sideline for my pregnant clients. I still prefer prone position but I am working on it. 

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Amber Sweaza
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March 23, 2021 - 9:54 pm
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MODULE 14: 

My favourite part of the body to work on is the shoulder area. I enjoyed working and learning new techniques for the shoulders. 
Learning the basics for how to prepare the client and yourself for the stretching was very interesting. I am a small person and I know that I would struggle doing stretching on large clients. The low back stretch was different and something I had not done before. 

QUESTION: When booking in a client would it be appropriate to put on my website that there are limitations for booking a Thai massage? Such as: "you must be able to get up and down off the floor" "Your body weight needs to be under ____" .... I have never had to limit who can receive a massage but I am concerned about getting a client that I would not be able to do this on. 

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Amber Sweaza
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March 23, 2021 - 10:33 pm
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MODULE 15: 

I was not able to do the first technique. I am just too small to lift like that. 
It's starting to become more of a workout for me Laugh
We both liked the sideline hip stretch that added a shoulder stretch. I have been looking forward to learning cobra, it is my favourite Thai stretch. Thank you. In the 3rd version of cobra my knees were hurting putting my feet on the outside of the clients legs. I adjusted and put my feet on the inside and it took my pain away while I did the stretch. 

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