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Angie Berthelsen's Complete Thai Massage Notes
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Angie Berthelsen
Cary, Illinois
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October 28, 2019 - 11:26 pm
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Module 27

The techniques you used on the traps are a nice change to what I’ve been doing which mostly resembles a regular massage. The wiggling of the fingertips is something I wouldn’t have thought about but was very effective on the client I experimented on. 

I learned the hooking under the shoulder blades technique in another video and have used it regularly. I did have a client that I literally could not get my fingers under her shoulder blade. It was a great way to assess how tight she was and we worked on it for quite some time. 

I love the different options for cobra. Most of my clients like to go very deep into this stretch but I have a few that I know would benefit from me sitting lower.

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Angie Berthelsen
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October 28, 2019 - 11:27 pm
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Module 28

I watched this video twice. It was really nice to see the entire sequence with no interruptions. I know I will continue to use this video as a reference. The rocking of the butt was a nice bonus technique I hadn’t seen before. I also appreciate the reminder to use my fingertips to explore. I notice knots much quicker now than I did when I first started.

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Angie Berthelsen
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October 28, 2019 - 11:27 pm
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Module 29 

I have done very little side work on my clients. This video was extremely informative and helpful to me as I have felt a little lost doing side stretches with my clients. 

Sitting on the thigh makes me a little nervous but I am willing to give it a shot. Your instructions on how to position yourself and what part of the body should be touching your client etc… was very helpful. 

There are actually a few restorative yoga side poses where I can use the circling and forearm techniques on my students.

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Shama Kern
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October 29, 2019 - 12:19 am
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Then you will be happy with the next couple of modules which present some fascinating ways to do shoulder and upper body work in the side position! I am sure your yoga students swill love that.

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Angie Berthelsen
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November 5, 2019 - 6:57 pm
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Module 30 

I've been experimenting a lot with pillows and bolsters while my clients are on their side and on back and stomach. Every client is different but it's been nice to see what works and what makes them more comfortable. Thank you for the reminder to not press with your thumbs but your body weight. I fall into the habit of using my thumbs and it causes me pain. 

Love the spinal twist stretch while pushing down on the shoulder. I can use this not only in thai massage but also in yoga. Adding the rocking motion is a nice touch. 

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Shama Kern
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November 5, 2019 - 8:25 pm
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I imagine that there will be a few techniques which you can use with massage and in yoga as well. If you discover more of those, I would be very interested to find out what techniques yoga teachers find most applicable for their yoga work.

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Angie Berthelsen
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November 8, 2019 - 3:07 am
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Module 31

 

I've tried the circling of the traps on a few clients with really tight shoulders and they love it. It really does loosen up the shoulder and make it easy to continue working on the shoulders when they're on their back. Rotating the shoulder takes some work especially with my tighter clients. I like the challenge of trying to loosen the shoulders though. 

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Angie Berthelsen
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November 11, 2019 - 10:46 pm
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Module 32 

 

I'm so glad you went over this in more detail! The side shoulder stretches are intimidating to me. I am always checking with my client while doing them but I know that for most of my tight shouldered clients, they are uncomfortable. I will continue to work on this. 

Thank you for explaining the pocket that is created when releasing the scapula. I was a little lost as to how to tell if I am in fact releasing it. Hooking the fingers helps me a lot. The lift and pull technique is also a good one to practice. 

I've also been playing around with shoulder and arm traction on the side as well as on the back. My clients have been loving it! 

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Angie Berthelsen
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November 11, 2019 - 11:00 pm
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Module 33

 

Sitting is my favorite position so I was surprised to hear you say you don't use it often. I do appreciate that you mention most aren't comfortable this way. I typically only keep people in this position for 10 minutes tops using my leg to support their back. I almost always end my sessions this way but I am going to take your advice and end in the supine position instead. 

The traps rocking technique is definitely something I can add along with squeezing the neck. I like the idea of supporting my client with my body, not just my knee or leg. 

I've done the back bend stretch but never with rocking. I love the addition of new techniques to something I already do. 

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Angie Berthelsen
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November 11, 2019 - 11:10 pm
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Module 34

 

I appreciate you saying that no one has ever said anything is too intimate. I worry about that a lot so your reminder is helpful and you're right, it's only a problem if I make it one. I'm looking forward to try more of the traction stretches on the back and I like the different options you offer for supporting the back. 

The forearm therapy you did looks relaxing but how do I get more comfortable using my forearm on clients? It always feels a little awkward for me. 

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Angie Berthelsen
Cary, Illinois
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November 11, 2019 - 11:28 pm
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Module 35

 

This was a great module. I think there are a lot of things I forget or don't think to ask my clients. Can I ask how you feel about using oil or lotion during thai massage? Would you ever do that? 

How long do you typically spend talking to a first time client before you start the massage? 

I like the communication you have with her, definitely don't do enough of that with my first time clients and I need to work on that. I tend to also ask if they are ok versus asking them to rate their discomfort on a scale. Another thing to work on! People do process things differently and that is something else to keep in mind during the massage. Great video with wonderful reminders, thank you!

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Shama Kern
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November 11, 2019 - 11:42 pm
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How do you get comfortable with forearm work on clients? Start out very gently. Focus on feeling with your forearms instead of pressing with it. Try to think of softness when leaning in. Work slowly and get plenty of feedback. Practice as much as possible. You will develop more feeling, more confidence, and more sensitivity with every session.

I never use oil in my Thai Massage sessions. I do use oil when working on the neck for a good while, but that gets more into the territory of the Heavenly Head Massage system. 

I also sometimes use oil when working on hands for a longer time, but again that is generally not part of a normal Thai Massage session, but a more specialized session.

How long do I talk to a client before a session? It depends. If the client clearly likes to chat a bit, and if my schedule is not too tight, and if the client doesn't have to rush off right after the session (I ask them about that), then I might spend 5 or 10 minutes talking. I make it clear that they don't get charged for the talking time (that's how I always did it, anyway). If that's not clear, then the client may think that they are losing massage time by talking, so I put their mind at ease.

If I am under time pressure, or the client is on a tight schedule, or is not so interested in learning about all this, or is a repeat client who already knows what's going on, they I talk very little or nothing.

There are cases where I determine that talking needs to be part of the therapy for whatever reasons, and then I might spend a long time talking, let's say to find out what the origin of the issue is, what the client's attitude is, what trauma in the past might have triggered it, etc. That will then be part of the paid session, not just an introductory chat.

However I might do this type of communication while I am working on the client.

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