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Amy Valdez - Complete Thai Massage Course
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Amy Valdez
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June 24, 2017 - 7:48 am
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Module 2

I had occasion to teach a private class when only one student showed up last week.  She is a long time student and is very comfortable with hands on work.  I asked her if it would be all right if we could do some Thai Massage.  I did a few simple adjustments that I use in yoga positions to help her with sciatica and migranes that I have picked up along the way on my own.  Before having her put her legs up the wall I did the Chi Machine move on her.  It went well.  I was able to get her hips moving right away as she is a petite woman.  She said it felt great. My husband will be my practice partner at home as soon as he gets some time!!  Thank you!

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Amy Valdez
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June 24, 2017 - 7:53 am
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Module 3

I have experienced portions of this massage from a yoga teacher who was also a thai massage therapist.  I currently use the press down not the tops of the feet technique while my students are in savanna.  I will post more when I practice the rest of the techniques on my husband.  One thing I learned from the above mentioned teacher is to pause with my hands over the client's feet before actually placing my hands on their feet.  I wait until I feel the temperature of their skin on my skin which I hope means they have felt the temperature of my skin on theirs'.  This gives them notice that I am about to touch them and feels like a nice way to enter someone's space.

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June 24, 2017 - 12:55 pm
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Hi Amy, welcome to our forum and the Complete Thai Massage course. As you might notice, I combined your disconnected posts into one thread, I changed your display name to your full name, and I added the correct module labels for your posts. So now it is all organized, and all you have to do is keep it going in this way. Just never click on "Add Topic" as this will lead to disconnected posts floating around in the forum! Laugh

I don't see a post for module 1, though.

Here is a shortened version of our certification tutorial, the certification check list. Please take a look at it to make sure that we are on the same wave length:

Certification Check List

I am glad to hear that you got the Chi Machine to work right away.
Regarding the pausing before you touch - at that point you have already done the Chi Machine, so the foot work would not be the first touch of the session, right? Or are you talking about only doing the foot press in your yoga sessions?

The thing to keep in mind is that this "entering their space" method will only work on people with a good degree of sensitivity. If you work on someone with less sensitivity, that person will only lie there, feeling nothing, and wondering why you don't get started. Laugh

Alternatively you could initially touch the feet in a slow and gentle way. My personal preference is to always keep contact with a client's body in order to avoid a feeling of disconnect. This method will work on everyone while the hovering over the feet method will only work on sensitive clients. Anyway, you can experiment with both methods and see what feedback you are getting.

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Amy Valdez
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June 25, 2017 - 11:00 pm
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Hello Shama,

Thank you for organizing my posts.  I have something to add to Module 3:

I practiced the sequence on my husband, Saul.  He is about 60 lbs heavier than me so I had to figure out how to move his body without overusing muscle and creating tension in my own body.  I need to practice that more to get the feeling of flow and ease.  It was more challenging when I had to lift his leg as his leg is heavy! I kept his thigh on my leg but I don't know it was enough of a stretch for him.  He was pretty good at giving me feed back actually asked for more pressure when I was twisting his foot out and in (the movement with the straight wrist and bringing my elbow in and out from my body) and it felt more muscular.  I will have to figure that out.

That is helpful to know that the client's level of sensitivity is to be taken in consideration. I agree with the idea of keeping in contact.  I have had one massage with someone who did that and it did feel really good on an emotional level. I will need to keep that in mind.  I use the hover method when I am doing final adjustments in savasana so it may be the first time I am touch a student during class if they did not receive hands on adjustments through the asana practice.  I started doing it because sometimes students would get startled and jump when they feel my hands on their feet without warning!  haha.

Thank you!

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Amy Valdez
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June 25, 2017 - 11:13 pm
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Module 1

The energy lines in Thai massage that you explained is very interesting to me mainly because I also use the idea in my yoga teaching.  It goes along with my studies of Anatomy Trains by Tom Myers from my Pilates training which traces the lines of connective tissue throughout the body.  This modality also sets aside seeing the body as a set of about 640 separate muscles to seeing the body as one big muscle with about 640 connected sections.  

I very much appreciate the organization of techniques, tools and client positions.  It is helpful to keep the information categorized for memorization as we go through the training.  I am thinking much more about ergonomics and trying to be more aware of my body as i perform assists in my yoga classes.  

The anatomy of a move is a helpful way to think about "techniques" so as to incorporate elements that make the experience a dance between the giver and receiver.  I very much appreciate the approach that the session must feel good for both parties.  I actually have a recovering shoulder right now and tried to keep that in mind when I was practicing the foot massage on my husband.  I tried to stay connected to how my shoulder was feeling through out and to move in such a way that made my shoulder feel good as well - gentle movements that don't create more strain in my shoulder and in some moments stretch it a little like when I lean back.  In this way the experience is not my imposing a move or feeling onto Saul but one in which we are both benefiting.  The difference is he is passive and I am active.  But we both benefit. 

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Shama
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June 26, 2017 - 1:14 am
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"This modality also sets aside seeing the body as a set of about 640 separate muscles to seeing the body as one big muscle with about 640 connected sections." 

I really like how you put that! I might have to plagiarize this one from you. Laugh

Actually things like working on a heavier person and having a shoulder issue can help you to become more aware of ergonomics, working only with body weight, not stressing your own body, etc. If someone is a perfectly healthy, strong and muscular therapist, the tendency is often to rely on muscling clients, because they can do it without too much trouble for themselves.

If someone is smaller and less strong, you are forced to work smart instead of hard, and you learn better. I have had issues in my massage career that forced me to learn certain skills quickly, like a thumb joint infection in the beginning of my career, for example, from overusing the thumbs. This forced me to develop alternative ways of working which has turned me into an expert when it comes to using many body parts creatively and working in a more therapist friendly way.

Another time I had a motorcycle accident right before I was teaching a major live Thai Massage training course. My hand was scraped up pretty good, but there was no way to cancel the course. The students had come from half way around the world for it. So I had to adjust, and I did.

You will learn a lot about these ways of working in this course. Smile

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June 27, 2017 - 3:37 am
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Haha!  You may use that quote - it is from Tom Myers work called "Anatomy Trains".  You can look him up and quote him.  He has done some amazing work dissecting cadavers to trace connective tissue lines throughout the body. 🙂

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Amy Valdez
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June 30, 2017 - 10:34 am
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Module 4

The idea of conceptual learning is conducive to doing from an intuitive place. Knowing the concepts is also a great way to remember without having to memorize although I still find the exercise of memorizing very helpful.  Concepts hold information together in groups which makes memorization easier.  This approach is conducive to creativity as well - I can see now that this will very useful as I discovered when giving my husband the foot massage and had to adjust to out difference in body weight.  If I know the set of directions the foot can move I can focus on how to accomplish those moves on his very heavy foot.

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Shama
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June 30, 2017 - 5:10 pm
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You will soon see some more conceptual learning in this course, when you get to the hip section. Concepts give the memorized information meaning. 

It is good that you are already discovering that adjustments are necessary in Thai Massage to accommodate different sizes and weights of clients.

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Amy Valdez
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July 3, 2017 - 12:26 am
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Module 5

I just practiced the foot and leg warm-ups on my husband trying to do it from memory and feel without looking at the notes or video.  It was a more fluid experience.  I didn't remember exactly some of the moves and made up a couple of new ones as we went along.  Again, my husband is thicker than myself so I had to put more vigor in the movements than what you show us on the video.  My ergonomics were not always precise but i did come up with a couple of positions to stabilize his leg just by moving together.  I added an IT band press by taking his bent leg across into a small twist and leaning my forearm down the outside of his thigh.  It is helpful that my husband is very verbal and gives me immediate feedback.  He really felt the press on his quads which I did not expect.  He enjoyed that and said it was nothing like he has experienced before but it seems so simple to me.  

He also said that this would intimate contact with people I don't know.  This is somewhat of an issue in the West.  I imagine that having Thai massage outside in full public view would help to take out the sexualization of touch and teach us to see each other in a more therapeutic/helpful way.  He suggested that if I were to offer Thai massage out of doors, for example, after a cycling event to ease leg muscles of cyclists.  it could be a wonderful thing.  

Thank you Shama! I am enjoying the training and really like the pace and timing of the videos.  I feel like I am absorbing the information in a pleasant way Cool

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July 3, 2017 - 1:14 am
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I honestly don't understand this concern. After all, in Swedish massage the clients are naked, and the therapist is working directly on their skin. In Thai Massage we are working on fully dressed people. 

You are not touching the genitals, and you are just working on a leg. How could this be possibly considered intimate? And massage therapists, by definition, are working on people whom they don't know, unless they are repeat clients.

Maybe your husband is a little overprotective of you here. Taking Thai Massage outdoors to avoid sexualization would invalidate a sizable section of the massage profession. Thai Massage is not a type of massage that is sexually suggestive. It is a professional therapeutic system. That's how you need to look at it.

If you allow yourself to be fearful of misinterpretation or consider that Thai Massage might be sexually suggestive, then you will subconsciously transfer this energy onto your clients, and you will get exactly those reactions that you are worried about.

I have been practicing Thai Massage for 18 years, including in the US, and I have NEVER had any issues with clients misinterpreting what I was doing. I am sure that this is because I myself have clean energy, confidence about my work, and my clients understand that this is how Thai Massage is done.

That's the attitude you need to cultivate in yourself, and you will find that you won't have any issues with this.

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July 4, 2017 - 4:34 am
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I think my husband is protective.  And it's possible that this makes me fearful when I don't need to be.  I am used to touching people in my yoga teaching and have learned how to do it with the pure energy as you say.  But my husband leads me to think that males will think otherwise.  I will have to put this idea aside for awhile and focus on learning the massage.  I didn't mean to indicate that I would only practice in the outdoors.  it was just a suggestion from my husband.  I just meant that I like that it is practiced outside in Thailand.

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July 4, 2017 - 12:59 pm
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I understand that spouses can be protective. However if they don't have the actual experience of working as a massage therapist or yoga teacher, then it is difficult for them to relate to how a 'touching profession' works. I think in this case the best strategy would be to appreciate his loving concern for you, and take it for what it is, a husband caring for his wife.

But you, as an experienced yoga teacher, need to base your actions and your attitude on your teaching experience. I mean, how many yoga students did you have who felt that you touched them intimately or inappropriately? Probably none, I would imagine.

Of course it is possible that there are males around who misinterpret something, but this is a very rare situation. If you are professional and have clean energy and self confidence, your chances of running into such males are very small. 

We can never exclude all risks in life. We ride in cars although many people die in accidents every day. We fly in airplanes although some of them crash. And we do massage knowing that once in a blue moon we might get a weird client.

One thing I am sure about is this: If we are fearful of weird clients, we lose our strong, confident energy. That is the quickest way to never develop our full potential in massage therapy.

Maybe I am rambling on here, but this is a very important issue for me. It can be the difference between success and failure in Thai Massage, between enjoying this wonderful healing art and blocking your own energy.

I have been married for a long time (to a massage therapist). I know that we do not always agree with everything our spouses do or think, and we can still have a wonderful relationship. This is one of those cases where you would be better off not taking your husband's concerns too seriously, otherwise you will do yourself a disservice in your Thai Massage career. Your own experience and common sense will be enough to guide you, along with my suggestions and experience.

But your husband is right about one thing - it would serve the male species well to balance their yang energy with a little more yin energy! Laugh

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July 5, 2017 - 10:59 pm
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Thank you for your words of wisdom.  I have had students misinterpret my kindness which were good learning lessons for me and has informed my approach to my teaching practice in a good way.  I learned to be very clear and grounded in my interactions.  As you talk about a Thai Massage Career I get the impression that success very much depends on how the therapists come across to potential clients.  I believe clients need to want to receive the massage.  it isn't something we can "sell".  To an extent we can market but it's really about the client feeling safe and trusting the therapist.  Again, thank you for your counsel.  I will think on those things.

I found the article about how yoga and thai massage was resurrected via Westerners very interesting.  I used to think most Indians practiced yoga as part of their daily lives.  I have been learning from Indian students that come to my class that this is not the case.  

I am a bit behind because of Fourth of July Holiday.  I have Module 6 and 7 yet to view and practice.

Thank you!

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July 5, 2017 - 11:29 pm
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This is absolutely correct. Success in Thai Massage very much depends on how you come across to clients. Safety, trust and chemistry do play an important role. In module 35 of this course you will see that I have an entire system on how to communicate with clients and create this trust, how to come across as confident and knowledgeable, how to make clients feel at ease, and how to set the tone for the session.

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Amy Valdez
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July 12, 2017 - 10:20 am
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Hello Shama,

I'm sorry I can't remember where the information is about stopping the modules while

on vacation.  I am behind already and have several weeks of high activity and vacations

coming.  Who do I email to stop and then resume the modules?

Thank you!
Amy

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July 12, 2017 - 10:30 am
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I just put the delivery on hold for you. Whenever you are ready to resume, either post it in here or send me an email and I will reactivate it.

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Amy Valdez
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July 28, 2017 - 5:17 am
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Hello Shama,

Thank you for the hold.  I am still not ready to resume my studies.  But I would like to look into

getting a mat.  Can you please send me recommendations?

Amy

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July 28, 2017 - 12:30 pm
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Please watch the video on this page which covers mats for Thai Massage.

What Is The Best Mat For Thai Massage?

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August 31, 2017 - 6:52 am
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Hello Shama,

I am ready to resume my training.  Please send me the next lesson.

Thank you!
Amy

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