July 4, 2012
thanks a lot for the new course, which promises to be very comprehensive judging by the first Module, for it shows a very professional approach to the back massage. Before starting a back massage session it is really very important to try to find out causes of back disalignment by means of a visual test. I have not done that before, but now it is quite obvious that one should do it before treating a client. I applied the tests offered in the Module. It was rather easy to check lordosis, scoliosis and kyphosis, although when I tested spinal rotation in the way you suggested my own body position was not very comfortable and I changed it many times in order to test the level of hips.
This module also made me aware of the fact that neck problems occur not only because of some troubles with the neck vertebrae, because of their specific structure, which makes them more vulnarable, but also because of the kyphosis. I came aware that practically all people who have kyphosis are most likely to have neck troubles.
July 4, 2012
Dear Shama, thanks for Module 2, it was very informative. What I liked very much is the realistic approach which a therapist should have in order to avoid dissapointment in his work, espesially working with coach potatoes and obese people, you are quite right that we should suggest that such people should resort to physical exercises, yoga, etc. besides massage. In the section where you described the anatomy of back, it was interesting for me to learn that men and women have different types of sacrum, and women seem to benefit more from massage on the area. From my own experience I can say that really women do like sacrum massage, one of them told me that she experienced great emotional relief after it. I think that a therapist should work on the sacrum bone and the area around it very profoundly. You are absolutely right to say that problems with sacrum effect our balance. As a yoga teacher I can say that those students who have sacrum problems have difficulties in keeping balance postures while sacrum can benefit from balance postures. I also appreciated the summary of the Module how a therapist can help, including change of cell memory and improving and normalizing energy flow.
Welcome to the forum and to the Thai Back Massage course, Lidia. It looks like you are having a good first experience and you like my presentation of the “bigger picture” of massage.
You are right, spinal misalignment can cause all kinds of problems in the body, and neck pain is often caused by bad posture rather than something within the actual neck.
Regarding the spinal rotation test, you will quickly develop an eye for this if you get used to looking for it. All those tests are quite easy – the problem is that hardly anyone looks for those symptoms, so they just slip by most people, including most (not all) massage therapists. This will put you in a unique category as a therapist, since now you can see beyond localized symptoms and structure your massage sessions accordingly.
You are correct, good balance is transferred to the legs via the sacrum/SI joints. This little sacrum bone can cause quite some trouble if it is out of alignment. In my experience everyone loves to have the sacrum worked on. I always wonder why so few therapists do it. Later in the course you will learn lots of techniques for doing the actual sacrum massage.
July 4, 2012
Once again I got a confirmation that Thai massage and yoga exercises should be combined for Thai massage is most effective in stretching and yoga exercises are more effective in strengthening weak muscles, therefore I think in case of collapsed back Thai massage can be successfully combined with such yoga posture as Shalabhasana.
Thank you for the tips in using different pillows in order to make the client’s position most comfortable. Although I propped a pillow under the client’s head, especially if the client had neck problems or limitations in moving the head, but never used a pillow under the upper chest before, which makes the position with the forehead on the pillow much more comfortable.
Also thanks a lot for the reminder that a therapist should take care of his fingers and wrists to avoid traumas. Being a small therapist with fragile wrists I often harm my wrists, hopefully your tip about the angle of 45 degrees instead of 90 degrees might be very handy to me.
July 4, 2012
Text: Dear Shama,
I think that this Module is of great importance, for without mastering basic techniques given in the Module you can’t move forward successfully. I found it rather difficult to combine rhythm, breathing and movements in such a way that you can do it automatically like when you drive a car, when you do various things without thinking about them. I feel that I need to practise these techniques more and more. Besides it was hard for me to find the best position for myself, so I kept on fidgeting all the time, and still after practicing on my husband my back didn’t feel good. Doing massage on other parts of the body is not so stressful for my back. So back massage has turned out to be not so easy for my back, although rocking movements seemed to be easier to perform. Hopefully with practice I will get the sense how to move properly without straining my back too much.
July 4, 2012
Text: Dear Shama, thanks for the instructions, although I was familiar with most of them in other courses of yours, anyway it was useful to repeat them. What I found most important for me in the module is how to work with your knuckles, it is so usefel when you work on big clients, it is also useful when you want to focus on the area and need more time to spend on it to reach a bette result.
Module 4: It might take you a little while to get into the flow with these techniques, but when you “get it”, it will feel like the easiest thing in the world. I know, initially this is not as easy as a simple straight stretch, but it is worth practicing. It will give your body a whole new “flow experience” and you will be able to transmit this to your clients.
Module 5: Since you are a “power user” of my courses, you will be familiar with some of the material, but you will come across lots of new material also.
I have been using knuckle work a lot more in my own work recently. It really helps my hands and I found out that it feels just fine to clients, especially the big ones.
July 4, 2012
I found rocking techniques with the thumbs and the heels of the hands much more easier than other techniques and according to the client they were much more pleasant, although when I did rocking at first it was not gentle enough, so the client (my husband) asked me why I was kicking him. After that I started doing it in a lighter mode which felt much better. When I practiced thumb technique without rocking the touch of the thumbs was felt by the client as a little bit poky. What can be done to avode this disturbing feeling? The most difficult technique was rolling and circling simultaneously with your forearm. Indeed that should be practiced a lot to feel smooth and coordinated. In general it was difficult for me to do massage with a natural flow and smooth rhythm, especially when changing sides.
Rocking, rolling and circling beats straight pressure most of the time, especially when it comes to the thumbs. Thumbs can feel very poky which is the reason why I practically never use linear straight thumb pressure.
Getting feedback is the best method to adjust your work. You found out that you had to go lighter on your husband. There is only one way to success: Keep practicing and get feedback until you find out what feels good to other people. The interesting thing is that if it feels good to your clients, it will feel good for you too. And if it feels good to you, it will feel good to your clients as well.
It’s all a matter of being in flow and getting away from mechanical application of techniques. Focus on feeling with your hands, on softness, on working with your entire body, on sending gentle energy instead of doing a technique. Techniques by themselves don’t necessarily feel good, but the skilled and sensitive human touch does!
July 4, 2012
Dear Shama, thanks for your response to Module 6, it sounds very encouraging.
The technigue which moves the SI joint is great for it increasing its mobility. It is not quite clear about the pressure exerted on the sacrum edges. As far as understood we can put a big amount of pressure on any person. Am I right?
I found the technique – circles with the forearm on the far part of the back rather uncomfortable, for in order to reach the precise part of the back I had to lean very low over the client, nearly touching him with the chest. When I practiced forearm rolling on the near part of the back, I realized that you should be very careful if you keep the other hand on the back of the client, at some moments it was too hard and unpleasant to the client, so it might be better to keep the hand on your thigh rather than on the back no to exert too much pressure.
I liked rocking with one hand and circles with the other hand and then rocking with the other hand and moving down aside and back up again. I managed to do it with a right flow and rhythm, it was very pleasant to do, and really it is very good as an opening technique. Of course it should be applied to small clients, although my husband (rather bulky) found it very relaxing.
The sacrum can handle a good amount of pressure, that is correct. The test again is the feedback, how does it feel to your partner.
I am curious, what is your issue with leaning low over the client’s back?
Regarding one hand putting too much pressure inadvertantly, this is something which you will have to practice not to do. It is a matter of developing such an awareness of your own body that you immediately feel if you put too much pressure with one hand which is supposed to be just resting on the body. I suggest you don’t avoid this but use it as a challenge to practice and perfect your own body awareness. This is an issue which you will come across in many techniques, so you might as well get good at it!
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