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Angie Berthelsen's Complete Thai Massage Notes
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Angie Berthelsen
Cary, Illinois
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August 13, 2019 - 3:22 am
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Module 1

 

I did a little reading before starting Module 1. I really like learning about energy lines and how many different techniques there are within Thai massage. I am also very excited to explore rocking thai massage!

I am most nervous about using my feet on clients. I have been practicing on family and it feels so uncomfortable! I know Shama mentioned that is normal in the video so I am hopeful it will become more comfortable. Thank you for the reassurance that my body will be sore and hurting initially. In my practice, I have experienced that.

Loved the reference to the breath! I am a yoga teacher and this is a wonderful reminder. When practicing on family members, I am mindful of their  breath but not my own and I think this is going to be key in giving a good thai massage. I actually watched this section of the video twice. 

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Angie Berthelsen
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August 13, 2019 - 3:39 am
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Module 2

Thank you for clarifying that there is no difference between the various names given to Thai Massage. There are some practitioners that I know in my area that will not cal it Thai massage but Thai bodywork. I assume that is the same thing as well. I like that Shama mentioned 

I have given a Thai massage when I am tense and I absolutely agree that this is not a good thing. I can tell that I have not done my best work and I see a difference in the person I am practicing on. 

I appreciate Shama mentions modifying and not necessarily following the tradition. This is true in my yoga practice and sometimes I get flack for it. I like that there is freedom in doing your "own thing."

Positioning is something that will take work for me and knowing that I don't need to use more muscles than necessary is a good way to pay attention to how I am positioning myself. 

Curious about the Achilles tendon stretches. While practicing, many adults seem to be very uncomfortable with this stretch. I watched the video about the various ways to perform this stretch. does there seem to be one that is better than others for people that are sensitive to this stretch? 

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Shama Kern
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August 14, 2019 - 12:52 am
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Hi Angie, welcome to the Complete Thai 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 am glad you figured out the forum process. There is just one thing - your post about module 2 has nothing to do with what's in module 2. Frown

Module 2 is about the Chi Machine technique. Still, you wrote a nice post and made good points. So...if from now on you focus on actually writing about your practice experience with each module, then your thread will be in good shape! Smile

I am looking forward to following your progress and assisting you whenever necessary.

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Angie Berthelsen
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August 16, 2019 - 9:52 pm
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Module 4

 

I really appreciate the reminder to not focus on memorizing techniques. This is important for me because when practicing on my students, I tend to focus too much on that. I gave a friend of mine a Thai Massage yesterday after watching the video and I made a pint to pay attention to her energy and her body language and also my own. It made a big difference! I keep hearing "Engage the whole body" in my head. 

Unlocking the elbows is also a good reminder because I tend to do this a lot! I get nervous about bending feet up. I've tried this on students and they seem to tense up when I do it. In the video Shama uses his whole body, is this the key to making sure people aren't uncomfortable when using this technique? 

I look forward to trying all the different foot techniques!

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Angie Berthelsen
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August 16, 2019 - 9:55 pm
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Shama Kern said
Hi Angie, welcome to the Complete Thai 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 am glad you figured out the forum process. There is just one thing - your post about module 2 has nothing to do with what's in module 2. Frown

Module 2 is about the Chi Machine technique. Still, you wrote a nice post and made good points. So...if from now on you focus on actually writing about your practice experience with each module, then your thread will be in good shape! Smile

I am looking forward to following your progress and assisting you whenever necessary.

  

I did watch the Chi Machine video and practiced it on a friend and she loved it!  I think the video I am referencing a video that may have been titled number 2. It was an additional video sent out.  

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Shama Kern
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August 17, 2019 - 1:02 am
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There are several keys to making people feel comfortable:

  • Being relaxed ourselves
  • Working with body weight instead of with muscle power
  • Breathing with the movements whenever possible
  • Working with our entire body instead of with just our hands
  • Focusing on our energy center instead of only on our hands

All this will be discussed and explained in great detail throughout this course. After a while it will feel like a dance, like a graceful art, instead of an effort to move body parts around. Smile

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Angie Berthelsen
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August 23, 2019 - 9:39 pm
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Module 5

Thank you for the reminder that I do not need to follow the same sequence and use the same techniques every time! When I teach yoga, I use my intuition and I need to remember to do the same when I am giving a thai massage.

My neck is bad and I struggle when I am practicing on students because my neck gets sore. The visuals Shama gives us while reminding us to use our body weight, is helpful. I know for me, it is hard to use my body weight, I naturally want to just use my hands which strains my neck. I appreciate the detailed explanations of body positioning and hand placement .

The push pull thigh method has been a bot challenging for me as I struggle to use my body weight when I am doing this technique and most of the others. I assume this gets easier as I practice. I have a couple students with IT band issues and I look forward to trying the thumb roll up technique. How do you know which technique works best for each client? Meaning if someone comes in for a thai massage and says they have IT band issues. Is there a better technique for that specific issue? 

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Shama Kern
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August 24, 2019 - 12:19 am
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Working just with your hands without making full use of your body weight will wreak havoc on your body. That's one of the strong points of Thai Massage that you can accomplish a lot with minimal effort. This is so worth learning! Your body will thank you and your neck will relax! Smile

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Angie Berthelsen
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August 28, 2019 - 9:20 pm
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Module 6

 

Really working on using my body weight and paying attention to my breath when working on my practice clients. I used the forearm technique on a client this morning with very tight hamstrings and quads. She is pretty much tight all over but her legs bother her. She loved it!! This is a great technique that I know I can use on many different body types. 

I used the elephant walk technique on her back and she fell asleep! This is definitely a technique that I will be using a lot. 

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Shama Kern
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August 28, 2019 - 11:02 pm
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Great - sometimes there is a technique that just 'clicks' for you. Over time even some of those techniques that were difficult initially will start to 'click'. Smile

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Angie Berthelsen
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August 29, 2019 - 12:31 am
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Module 7

Love, love the tip on looking at how the feet are positioned to figure out which hip is locked up versus the other one! What a great tip. I never would have thought to look at feet to tell me the shape of the hips. I am used to observing the body for cues as an instructor, and I need to remember to use that same "eye" when giving a thai massage.  

When practicing, I keep repeating arms straight, back straight! This is still a struggle for me but I am working on it. Good news is I have been working on breathing and it's made a big difference in how I feel and how my client feels. 

I have a few clients that can't handle certain stretches, using the gentle rocking motion is a great alternative. 

Still working on the Right angle foot stretch; it's a good one to practice for me. 

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Shama Kern
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August 29, 2019 - 1:05 pm
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It's amazing what we can tell about the body if we just know where to look! Smile

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Angie Berthelsen
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September 10, 2019 - 12:29 am
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Module 8

While practicing thai massage, I am really trying to focus on each individual. Thank you for the reminder that each client is different. I know this is common sense, but it is a good reminder. I am loving the flexibility of Thai massage and the reassurance from Shama, that you can mix it up. 

The 8 slices of hip pie is extremely helpful for me for many reasons. I really like the visual it gives me when I am with a client. The calf muscle technique was perfect for a client of mine with really tight and sore calves. The compressing and rotating was her fav!

I do have a question about the knee rubbing. Would this be an acceptable/comfortable technique to use on someone with bad knees? 

Alos, I've been working with my breath more and I can tell a difference in how I feel and how my client feels 😉

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Angie Berthelsen
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September 10, 2019 - 1:33 am
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Module 9

 

The bouncing tip is a good one to help relax clients. I have 1 client that is tense at all times and struggles to relax and let me move/position her. Should I use this bouncing technique on other parts of the body or is there another technique I should use? 

The tip about rotating leg is great because many of my clients are not flexible! I'm excited about the flexibility within each stretch. It's exciting to know there is so many modifications for all different types of people. 

Combining power and softness is such a great way to describe the way to stretch someone. It's definitely something that has stood out in my mind when practicing on clients. 

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Shama Kern
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September 10, 2019 - 12:28 pm
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The knee rubbing should be fine on people with knee problems. Actually that is what it is designed for, to create warmth, stimulate energy flow, and create a feeling of well-being in this area.

That's general advice. You still need to look at individual situations, find out what exactly the knee problem is, and then work accordingly.

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Angie Berthelsen
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September 23, 2019 - 11:50 pm
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Module 10

I've been reading about energy lines and it's a bit overwhelming! You mentioned the aura and focusing energy there. I like that idea. It's all the other lines that get a little confusing. 

Thank you for  showing the spinal twist variation! This has been a struggle for me with a client that is much bigger and taller than me. Little things like this really make a difference. 

The blood stop technique is very intriguing! I look forward to testing this out on clients. The calf muscle stretch will also be great for my client with extremely tight and sore calves.  

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Angie Berthelsen
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September 23, 2019 - 11:58 pm
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Module 11

 

Great module that really helped me get a better sense of structuring and sequencing my thai massages. I love how you teach us to work and move around our client. This takes so much practice!! I've gotten much better (and less clumsy) at it but watching you definitely gave me more ideas. Moving slowly as become easier for me and occasionally looking at the clock and my timing also helps keep me at a steady but slow pace. 

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Angie Berthelsen
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September 24, 2019 - 12:09 am
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Module 12

The hip stretches are perfect for my client with tight hips. Loved learning the standing stretches where the feet are on my stomach. 

I tried the leg swinging on two clients and they loved it!

Piriformis stretches are a must for 99% of my clients. This is a constant problem in most people that come to my studio. Not only are these stretches beneficial for thai massage clients but I can also use them in yoga class. 

Still working on the elephant walking and transitioning from that to the other stretches. I am not very smooth yet, but I am working on it!

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Shama Kern
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September 24, 2019 - 3:42 am
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Don't worry too much about the energy lines. I's enough for now to keep in mind that the purpose of the Thai Massage work is to stimulate energy flow. It's not that you have to get super scientific and precise about this. You will learn more about it as you go along in the course. The further you progress with the course, the more it will all fall into place and get smoother. Smile

By the way, I had mentioned to focus on the 'hara', not the 'aura'. There is a difference. The hara is one specific point behind the navel, and the aura is the overall energy field of the body.

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Angie Berthelsen
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September 26, 2019 - 8:49 pm
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Thank you for explaining hara. I thought you were saying aura and I was confused. Git it now 🙂

Module 13

I am glad you mentioned the client being a participant. I talk to my clients throughout their massage, making sure they are comfortable. Knowing there is two kinds of pain will be very helpful in figuring out what the client is feeling. I like the idea of differentiating between the two and the reminder that I am not doing "something wrong." I never thought to use the 1-10 method. Not sure why but I'm glad I can now use that tool going forward. It seems like it would be much more effective then asking "are you ok or how does that feel"

I am so excited about the scooping technique! I have a client with tightness in her groin area and I am looking forward to trying this on her. 

Loving the overall simplicity of thai massage. For example, wiggling or rocking into a stretch when someone is uncomfortable. Simple but effective. I am learning that I may be overthinking techniques etc.. when I am giving a client a massage. 

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