February 22, 2014
I was so exciting to start the course and finally it came true! Here I will put my notes from each module that I will come through. It will be helpful for me to see my progress but I also hope it might be helpful for others who will read it.
Shama, I like your way of seeing Thai Massage and when you say that it is like a flow, symphony, I agree with you (well, I was once massaged by a healer but still remember that feeling).
I have many questions about quality of touch in Thai Massage but I know they will be answered during the course later on. As for now, I tried to touch my partner using muscle pressure and secondly body weight. And yes-he felt the difference between those two, saying that a touch with muscle pressure was not a pleasant experience.
Breathing comes easily for me and I think it is because I have been practising yoga for longer time.
Looking forward for Module Two!
Yoga is very helpful. After all Thai Massage came out of yoga - it's similar to yoga therapy.
You will definitely hear quite a bit about quality of touch in this course. And then there is one of the bonus modules, Magic Touch Secrets, which is all about quality of touch.
By the way a very high percentage, if not the majority of students of this course are either yoga practitioners or yoga teachers. Clearly yoga people are attracted to Thai Massage - that's how I fell in love with it as well - I saw the similarity to yoga and that was a big draw for me.
February 22, 2014
Dear Shama, thank you for your reply and here I put my notes and impressions from Module 2.
I spent a bit longer time for ergonomics, I mean to set my position to a technique that you were showing in the video (before introducing chi machine). I wanted me and my partner to be comfortable and at the same time bear in mind that my back should be straight, my body aligned to my partner etc. It was a bit challenging for me. I think it is because my partner is almost double size and weight than me. What do you think, can it be because of that?
Anyway, finally I managed to be comfortable and to keep ergonomics correct
Chi machine practice came to me quiet easily. I could do it in first attempt but I am aware that I need to practice it many more times to be really good in doing so. My partner told me that he felt relaxed during chi machine practice and after massage he was calm and he felt his head, belly and legs muscles relaxed. He said his shoulders were also relaxed but less that other parts of the body (why???)
I am going to practice chi machine again in the evening and the next days as well. I like it!
Working on someone who is twice your size and weight is always more difficult than working on someone closer to your size. You will find out throughout this course that you will need to learn what you can do and what you cannot do on large people. Some techniques are just too difficult for small therapists working on large persons. There is nothing wrong with skipping those in such cases.
Luckily Thai Massage has a huge amount of techniques available. During this course I give you several alternatives for many of the techniques which are more difficult to do on large persons. All the techniques in this course are not meant to be done on everyone, but they are options to choose from, as you will see.
I want to recommend that you not only practice on one partner but also on other persons who have less of a size and weight difference. The reason is that one technique may work just fine one body type, but not so well on another body type. It can feel totally different working on various body types, and this is an essential part of the learning process to experience this.
I am glad that the Chi Machine came to you easily. That's not exactly one of the easier techniques.
February 22, 2014
Hi Shama, thank you for your answer and recommendations. I find them very useful. As you suggested, I am going to practice the massage with more than one partner. My mother happily agreed to be my partner, so from now on I will also have some experience on a smaller body (not only on a large man).
I also want to ask you about doing Thai massage for children. Is that fine to give it to a four year old girl? I would not like to practice on her while I am learning Thai massage but asking about it for the future. I posted this question in another section of the forum as well.
MODULE 3-FIRST IMPRESSION:
I am going to put my first impression on module three now but within two next days I will add something more as I suppose to have more questions/impressions about the foot massage.
While practising today, I realized that I need to ask you some extra questions to do the massage in the right way.
Firstly, does it work effectively if I do a foot massage technique two slower than shown on the video? Definitely I need to practice much more to do it in the same speed like you do. I find it very useful that you explain (in technique two) to learn each movement step by step. If I had to learn the technique as one, without putting it into smaller parts, it could be too confusing!
There were techniques where we massage two feet at the same time but also some of them where we massage one foot at one time. Does it matter of which foot we start to massage? Do we need to do every technique with one foot and then continue to second foot? Or should we do one technique with right foot and the same technique with left one and then continue to the next technique?
Looking forward to seeing your advices!
February 22, 2014
Hi once more Shama
I just wanted to ask one more question about Thai massage for children. If it is suitable for children, will the course include some elements / special techniques to use while massaging the little ones? Or generally how to learn more about it? I am familiar with Shantala and Ayurvedic massage techniques and am eager to know more about the Thai approach!
And one more question, is there in Thailand a special system of massage for newborn babies?
Regarding working on children - there are several people here in the forum who have worked on their young children, and they enjoyed it. When you work on young children, there is not much point in doing stretching techniques though, since at that age they are still very flexible anyway. But the non-stretch techniques can work very well. It is really more about conscious and loving touch than about precise techniques with small kids.
Here in Thailand there is no official massage therapy for kids, however traditionally massage is practiced within the family frequently. Also in the rural areas there was always at least one healer or therapist in a village who knew various healing techniques.
Massage was never really formalized in the villages and families. The formalization came later when schools opened and set up a real curriculum and gave names to the courses. Previously massage was less formal and structured here than in the western world where everything has a name and a category. Now you have the structured courses here in Thailand as well, but no baby courses. This does not mean that it is not done, but not so much as part of a formal system.
Regarding the speed of the foot massage - you can always slow it down. Slower is almost always better than faster unless it is a rocking motion which requires that you follow the natural body rhythm of your client. More about that later in the course.
It does not matter with which foot you start. There are some people who say that it does matter, however in my experience it does not.
The main thing is to create a session which flows well. If you keep switching from one foot to the other back and forth, it will feel less flowing than if you work on one foot, and then, when you are done, you do it on the other foot.
Of course there are also several techniques which are done with both feet at the same time in which case this is not an issue. But in general you should avoid switching more than necessary.
Anyway, a little further into the course there will we a summary module where you will see me demonstrate how a real session could look like.
February 22, 2014
MODULE 3-FURTHER STEPS:
Thank you for all the information and advice you posted regarding my questions. I find them very interesting and useful.
First, I must say that I was on travelling last week and could not practice the massage frequently and I am aware I need to practice more intensive this week.
Regarding module 3 and my further work on it, I see progress and I feel much more comfortable in doing it now than it was a couple of days ago. My touch and techniques in foot massage became (almost) a flow and I feel convenient in doing it. I still see a bit of confusion in the order of steps when I am practising without looking at the video but I hope to make it better! And one day even perfect!
Don't worry too much about getting the sequence right in the beginning. You will remember more every time you do it and re-watch the videos. Many students told me that every time they watch the videos they learn something they had missed the first time around.
It is more important to develop a good quality of touch and a good flow than to remember the sequences. That will happen automatically with practice.
February 22, 2014
Yes Shama, I think you are right and I see that practice matters a lot and the sequence is getting better with every next practice.
I have been focusing on breath, whole body work and touch during massage since the beginning of my course but now I realize and feel that it is really important and helpful for the therapist. I like that you spoke and explained the conceptual approach to learning Thai Massage. It is very nice way of learning and it makes the practice more beneficial.
It looked scary for me to bend foot in as shown in the video. At the beginning I was focusing to do it gently in order to avoid any harm to my partner but, as explained, I used my whole body work, straight hands and proper breathing. Then I forgot about my fears. At the end my partner said it felt good, not painful. His words and feeling motivated me more and gave me satisfaction that I am doing it well. Following, the practice of the next steps went easier and more confident.
The technique of pressing and rolling out is my favorite one as for now and I started to practice it while making dough in the kitchen as well
My partner likes the most working on top of the foot. He says it gives him a good relax.
I just would like to ask how long foot massage usually last during the professional session in the studio of the therapist? Do you make such session according to the need of the client that you feel during the massage or there are some professional standards established?
It sounds like you are focusing on all the right things.
There are quite a few Thai Massage techniques which look scary if you have never done something like it. However if you do them correctly, there is nothing scary or dangerous about them.
If you do foot massage as part of a regular Thai Massage session, then you might spend around 5 or 10 minutes on the feet, depending on the length of your session. Personally I have never given sessions less than 2 hours long, so that leaves me some more time for foot work.
Then there are Thai foot massage sessions which are only foot massage and nothing else. Those you can get here in Thailand either as 1/2 hour or 1 hour sessions.
Later in the course you will get a summary video where you can see how I put it all together in a real session.
In general there are no hard and fast rules how long you do something. Definitely if I feel that a client needs more foot work, I will do more of it. I generally ask the clients if they prefer or if they would like me to spend more time on their feet, if it is obvious that they need it.
Naturally if you spend lots more time on the feet, you will have to cut something else in the session. That's why I let the client decide if that is ok with them. I don't always work on the entire body. If clients need specific work, I might just focus on these particular areas in one session, and in another session I focus on something else.
So if you have regular clients, you can work your way through the body according to their needs without doing everything in every session. Of course that takes a little experience. In the beginning you learn how to do a full body session, and later you can specialize and focus more on specific areas.
February 22, 2014
Thank you for very practical information Shama. I like it that you always give very useful advices.
I spent many days on foot massage practice (the last two videos) as I wanted to make myself confident that what I do is really good. I am satisfied of my progress.
This was very enjoyable session for both of us-me and my partner. Actually I liked the legs warm up so much that when I finished my practice, I asked my partner to do the same for me. And I must say I would like to get such massage after every sport activity I do. Really lovely!
The one thing that surprised me was that the massage of the leg goes from up of the leg to the lower part. In other styles of massages that I am familiar with, the moves go from lower part of the leg to the upper part (in the direction of heart).
I like rolling up technique. The one confusion for me in this session was a bit of problem how to synchronize the moves in push-pull technique.
Ps.I like very much the music that I could hear you played in this session
Again there are no hard and fast rules. Generally when I start with the feet I might work my way up the leg, but when I notice a severe hip issue, I might start working on the upper leg right away since that effects the hip joint. Also people tend to have more issues with their upper legs than with their lower legs, so that's why I spend more time on there.
February 22, 2014
The practice from the video was something very new for me. I had a strong focus on moves with a forearm. I was doing my practice very slowly to became use to this technique. But also I have a feeling that massage with a forearm is aimed to have slower moves than massage with thumbs and hands, isn't? The move with a forearm was surprising for my partner but he did not say anything negative on it.
In this session I again found it difficult to work on my partner's big body. His long legs were difficult to set. I am going to repeat the session on my mother who is my body size lady. Hopefully it will be less complicated with her.
Overall, this session required a lot of attention from me because it included a very new technique and I had to focus double on every move and every second and the technique did not come easily to me. And second thing that made it difficult was size of my partner legs...
Positive point is that I enjoyed a lot the beginning and the end of the session. My partner says he likes the rocking technique because it is very relaxing for him.
I am looking forward to discovering what new will bring the next session
It can be very new and a bit intimidating when you first start to work with body parts besides your hands, like forearms, elbows, knees and feet. The good thing is that if you keep doing it, after a while it will feel as natural as working with your hands. Actually you can work with your forearms slowly or quickly as in rocking motions for example.
February 22, 2014
The session contained very useful and practical information about connections between body parts and how to read the body. I was listening with a great attention. Thanks for it, Shama!
I find pillow to be supportive during the massage and I am going to use it in other sessions as well.
While practicing, I realized how much it is important to keep good ergonomics. I was massaging a leg of my partner and my hand slightly slide down from the line of massage. My partner said it gave him a bit of pain. Before moving forward with my practice, I did some relaxing rocking technique and it helped. Uuufff, I do not want to have such mistakes any more!
I like the technique of stretching with feet. It was enjoyable but after some minutes of practice I started to get tired. I take it as a prove that massage can be a hard work
I was impressed to see how professionally you did the last technique presented in the video. For me it was very difficult to coordinate the movement. At the same time I realized that my partner has some stiffines in hip area. And when I tried to do it on second leg, I was confused about the technique at all. I forgot every move! Need a lot of practice with it!
Don't worry about making "mistakes" - nobody gets it all exactly right in the very beginning. This training will take close to 4 months, and what seems to be difficult now, will become second nature by the end of the course.
Naturally you will forget some of what you learn. That's why it is so important to watch the videos several times. Every time you will pick up something which you had either forgotten or missed the first time around.
February 22, 2014
I was happy to hear at the beginning of the video that legs stretches are the hardest parts of the course It is because the last session was quiet difficult and I felt less confident for a while that it might be more and more difficult when the course progresses.So I got back my confidence with your words And I must say the session nr 8 seemed to be easier for me than the last one, even if it was still on legs stretches. I am sure it is also a matter of practice. I feel that I get better with every practice I do.
Every next time I was practising module 7, I skipped some parts. And now I heard from you (in the video) that it is actually good. I know I am still not perfect in choosing the right techniques but it will come with time and practice. I find hip pie a very useful method in this process and I am going to focus on it to remember the rules and to use an appropriate technique each time I do massage.
I was happy there was again a rocking technique during the session. That's my favorite one because my partner likes it a lot and when I see it works well on him, I am very glad.
The knee warm up reminded me my morning yoga warm up. I do this kind of warm up with my hands to stimulate energy.
I see that two partners that I have for massage practice are not stiff at all. I wondered it could be more challenging and good for me to have a partner who has really stiff body. I could then see how all the stretches work on such body. It could enrich me in the way that I try and think more about the best technique to use in such case.
Finally, I applied two last sessions on my partner to see how such long and different legs stretching works.As I supposed, my partner said it was too much leg stretches for him. This is what you said-we better choose the right technique instead of applying everything we know. I totally agree!
I can assure you, it will NOT get more difficult!
Regarding working on a more stiff practice partner - definitely a good idea. The more different body types you work on, the more you will learn what works on whom, and it can be very different.
I came to appreciate the rocking techniques more and more myself, and that's why I created a special course just about rocking moves (Thai Rocking Massage). Over the years I have been using this more motion based style more and more. It is easier on you and on the clients, and it can be more effective than more linear moves.
There are quite a few more rocking techniques coming up in the Complete Thai Massage course.
And you definitely don't have to use all the techniques in this course in every session.They are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences. There is nothing wrong with skipping techniques.
Actually I have done many sessions where I hardly did any leg stretches at all and instead focused more on the upper body. There are no hard and fast rules in how to do a Thai Massage session, except that you should not do strong stretches on cold muscles.
February 22, 2014
I am happy to hear there is a special course created by you that is focused on rocking moves. I think I would definitely enjoy it because the rocking moves are something that I really like.
Can you explain why Thai Massage therapists are focused on legs so much?
I started to practice the techniques separately. I mean sometimes I just do few techniques ( I try to adjust them to needs of my partner) and finish the session. This works well for me.
My partners say that techniques from this module stretch very well. However I had a problem to use many of them on my mum whose muscles are stiff. And those used by me, I had to do very gently to make her comfortable (for example technique of bouncing leg on side).
My second partner is very flexible and he enjoyed every stretch. I practice stronger stretches with him. I again had to modify some techniques while working on my tall partner because his legs are very long. Good there are alternatives for short therapists like me
During practice, I am a bit confused while changing my positions-if I put my leg in a good way, etc. It is best for me when I see myself in the mirror to assure myself I have the same position like you in the video