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Anna Johnson - Heavenly Head
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annajohnson
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December 29, 2016 - 4:48 am
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Submitted notes Modules 1-3 directly to Shama via email.

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Shama
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December 29, 2016 - 9:00 pm
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Great – you figured the forum out! Congratulations! Smile

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January 13, 2017 - 6:12 am
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Heavenly Head Course 4

The wave technique looks really effective though since I work on a table exclusively, this may not be applicable for me.  I’d like to try and play around with modifying it slightly so perhaps I could use it. With the warm-up techniques, I’ve found that I either need to be standing above my client (who’s on a table) or I need to set my table much lower to be able to get my hands positioned in a such a way and angle that’s similar to the video.  One question I had was in the video, the first warm-up technique is done in the clock-wise manner, the second in a counter-clockwise direction.  Are the directions important?  Obviously you don’t want to be shoving the muscle tissue into the spine, it makes more sense to spread it out away from the spine but not sure that it matters which direction you’re doing that?  Thanks

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January 13, 2017 - 11:53 pm
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Actually the direction in those two moves is not so important as long as it feels right to you. Basically you answered the question already yourself. Smile

In my experience it works best to have the table at about knee height so that you most closely replicate the ergonomics on the floor mat. For sure the table needs to be a lot lower than for regular standing table massage work since you are sitting on a chair most of the time.

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January 18, 2017 - 2:54 am
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Heavenly Head Module 5

I appreciate your attention to the tiny details of a massage (i.e. not breathing in the client’s face – from the last module, and not pulling the hair or the skin too roughly in this module).  I have had many excellent massages slightly tainted by the therapist’s distracting breath on my face during neck work, or their shirt tails dragging over my back, and while I know they’re not aware of it or trying to do it – it does lessen my ability to really relax. So thanks for pointing out these small but important details.

I use a different technique to move the hair out of the way so I think blending this one in with my own will be nice.  The first neck technique of wrapping the hands around the neck and pulling upwards is really nice, though hard to do with my table at the height that I like it for other body work.  I’m pregnant right now so working at too low of a height is difficult right now but I’m considering experimenting with that more post-pregnancy.  When circling the hands on the skin without moving the skin, I like that I can incorporate a little bit of pressure from the base of my palms onto the suboccipital muscles.  I can’t do large circles that way as it pulls the hair too much, but slow subtle circles are nice and effective.

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January 19, 2017 - 2:09 am
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I am glad to get confirmation from you that those tiny little details matter. I think you are the first one who ever brought this up here in the forum. Smile

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January 19, 2017 - 11:47 pm
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Heavenly Head Module 6

Watching this module sure makes me want to receive some Heavenly Head neck work!  I’ll have to see if my colleague who is trained in this would like to do a trade so I can experience how these techniques feel.  Since most of these techniques involve a certain amount of trust from the clients – allowing their head to be really fully relaxed into your hands as you have the head elevated above the mat – how do you encourage clients who want to “help” by holding their heads up rather than just letting them drop into your hands?  Perhaps this is more of a Western issue, but I have a lot of clients that really want to hang on to the control of their heads….

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January 20, 2017 - 2:17 am
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It is true that many western clients try to “help” during the massage. However in my experience the Heavenly Head Massage is so relaxing, if done correctly, that most clients are in this trance-like state and they don’t try to help. 

That will happen once you are “in the flow” with the techniques. The “helping” is more of an issue in Thai Massage, but it is almost never an issue in Heavenly Head Massage in my experience. The “trick” is to work so gently, smoothly and slowly that there won’t be any resistance or helping.

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January 20, 2017 - 5:12 am
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Heavenly Head Module 7

I do wish that the these first four techniques (the range of motion and stretching techniques) were demonstrated on a table.  With many of the techniques, it’s easy to picture how I will do them on the table but with these, it’s harder for me to visualize how I will do them without compromising my own body.  Again, I have needed to play around with my table height/stool height.  I have seen some therapists climb up on the table to kneel behind their clients and I could see that being an effective way to do that but since I’m pregnant, my belly is kind of in the way of getting too close to the client’s head right now.

I often incorporate a neck twisting stretch into my sessions and I like the idea of using a slight amount of pressure on the client’s cheek/chin to increase the stretch just the slightest amount more.  I’m very aware of the brachial plexus at the front of the client’s neck and doing too much massage in this position is something I’m a little wary of.

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January 20, 2017 - 11:47 pm
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Heavenly Head Module 8

I like using the jiggling motion at the beginning of my neck work to see where a client is at as far as their relaxation level.  The first technique shown where you’re providing a little counter pressure on the head to the movement on the spine is a nice beginning technique as well and seems to signal to the client that I’m going to begin to start doing some more assertive neck stretches.  Perhaps it’s just because I get seasick easily so I’m projecting this onto my clients but the figure 8 technique does not look comfortable to me and so I probably won’t use it too much.  The alternative stretch that you showed is a nice one to add to the other neck traction stretches shown earlier and easy to do on the table as I can brace my elbows onto the table to hold the client’s head in that position for a few moments to allow the stretch to last a little longer.

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January 21, 2017 - 12:47 am
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I have done many Heavenly Head Massage sessions on a massage table. There is no need ever to climb up on the table. Most techniques can be done by sitting on a chair behind the head of the client. For some techniques you get better leverage by standing up momentarily.

The figure eight stretch is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is one of the very few moves, if not the only one, will can cause discomfort or nausea to some people. As with many moves in Thai Massage, they might be perfect for some clients, but not for others. The real art is to be able to discern what to do on which client.

The figure eight move works well for people who have quite a stiff neck and need greater range of motion. For these clients, the move won’t be so big since their head doesn’t move that far. On those people who have full range of motion in the neck, you could do the figure eight move fully, but such clients probably don’t need this technique anyway. I don’t use it in all my sessions either. It’s a case-by-case move.

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January 21, 2017 - 4:50 am
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Heavenly Head Module 9

I’ve been doing the first technique and the scissors technique on the ears for so long and could never really think of anything else to do with the ears so I’m excited to have learned all these new techniques!  They are all very easy to do on the table too which I appreciate.  While I think most people enjoy ear massage, I’ve had enough clients over the years actually specifically request that they don’t want their ears worked on – so I will probably ask clients before the session if they are ok with that during the sessions where I know I’ll have time to do some of that extended work.  Thanks for the new ideas!

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January 21, 2017 - 11:44 pm
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Heavenly Head Module 10

At my spa we do a “Crown Treatment” which is a 30-minute add-on scalp and face treatment so I’m looking forward to incorporating some fresh scalp and face techniques into this practice.  While the techniques presented in this particular module were not necessarily new to me, I did really appreciated the suggestion for using alternate pressure through the down and up-strokes.  I think I’ve probably been keeping an even pressure for all of my scalp work and I can see how using the alternating pressure would really be relaxing and trance-inducing!

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January 22, 2017 - 10:15 pm
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That’s interesting – I have never encountered anyone in my massage career who didn’t want their ears touched. I know only one person who doesn’t like ear massage, and that’s my wife. She has super sensitive ears which easily hurt.

In general I got a lot of very positive feedback from my clients about the ear massage, and many HHM course students reported similar results here in the forum. I hope you can turn your client’s apprehension about ear massage around! Smile

I imagine that you will find some nuggets in the head section of the course. Often it’s not necessarily the techniques themselves, but the combination and the implementation of them. If you use the head massage in the context of a full Heavenly Head Massage, most clients are somewhere in ‘trance-land’ by the time you get to the head massage part of the session. They won’t be so much aware of the techniques but of your touch and the flow and feeling of the session.

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January 25, 2017 - 1:41 am
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Heavenly Head Module 11

Certainly a great variety of different techniques in this module.  Since scalp massage is often something I don’t always “budget” time for during a session but like to add some in as time allows, I like that there are so many different options to use for either a shorter or longer amount of time.  I especially like the whole hand techniques which I haven’t used at all on the scalp – using the hair to rotate the skin along the skull is great and I like the slight friction move along the crown as well.  I appreciate how you described your hair pulling technique as this wasn’t something I ever felt that comfortable doing before.  Thanks for doing the full sequence at the end to see the flow of one technique to another.

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January 26, 2017 - 5:05 am
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Heavenly Head Module 12

I really like this facial massage sequence so far, and they’re all new techniques to me – which is great.  I especially like the nose techniques since that’s an area that I’ve mostly skipped in the past since I wasn’t sure what to do there. 

I am also an esthetician so I do a lot of facial massages but I typically incorporate a couple drops of argan oil and or an oil-free massage product for acneic skin – does using a lubricant change any of your techniques?  I don’t believe you mentioned this in the video.

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Shama
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January 26, 2017 - 4:04 pm
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Actually I am just now working on a major upgrade of the Heavenly Head Massage course. One of the new modules is all about face massage with oil. 

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January 27, 2017 - 1:20 am
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Cool, I would love to see the facial portion when you’re completed with that.

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January 27, 2017 - 1:24 am
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Heavenly Head Module 13

I’m excited about this facial massage sequence and looking forward to incorporating it into my facial massages both for skin care and massage. The only technique I probably won’t be using much will be the final technique with the large circles of the head since as I said, I often use a little oil with facial massage and this would be spreading the oil into the hairline.  Other than that, all great soothing techniques!  Thanks!

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January 27, 2017 - 1:36 am
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Heavenly Head Module 14

Lovely holds to finish off a session.  I will enjoy using these when I have enough time at the end of a session.  When time is short, I will likely just use one or two holds.  Perhaps a suboccipital hold and then the ear hold or third eye hold.  I often look at this as saying goodbye to the body and then slowly disengaging from their energy.  Thanks again for mentioning the necessity of being aware of where you’re breathing as a therapist!

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