I practice the Chi machine technique on two different people a few times. It took me a few times to actually get the hips moving and not just the legs. As a Reiki Master I am used to moving energy and not as comfortable with actually moving and manipulating the physical body. I felt awkward at first, but it became easier with practice. 😀
I practiced the different positions demonstrated in the video. Thanks to all the years of yoga my ankles and knees felt very comfortable in the kneeling, squatting, half squatting positions, and other positions. I am intrigued with the idea of moving energy vs anatomy in Thai massage. This is one of the reasons I was drawn to this course. I am a Reiki Master already and am looking forward to expanding this knowledge in different ways. I can see from the video why ergonomics is going to be so important. It will be something I will have to be mindful of, but I am grateful it is not based on brute strength either. Thank you for easy to understand videos.
First of all welcome to our forum and the Complete Thai Massage course. We have many Reiki practitioners here in the forum who felt drawn to Thai Massage. The energy elements in Thai Massage make it something much more compatible than western massage which is primarily anatomy and science based.
Brute force is something you will never need in my style of Thai Massage. Actually Thai Massage is very therapist friendly since you primarily work with body weight and you get to use many body parts without having to overwork your hands. Your reiki experience will be an asset for this course for sure.
Although it looks like you figured the forum posting out, I always post a reference to our certification check list in the beginning of each thread to make sure we are on the same wave length:
I love the idea of starting with the feet. It is very grounding and calming energetically speaking. The first two times I attempted the first technique of squeezing, rotating the foot, and my body it didn't go as planned. Happily, my practice partner is patient and I finally was able to get a rhythm started. The other techniques felt more natural to me and I received positive feedback from my practice partner. I can see how valuable the hands on practice time will be in this course.
The technique you are referring to is one of the more challenging ones. This one is normally never taught in your typical Thai Massage schools. I learned it way back when from one of the most famous Thai Massage "wizards" here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. His name is Chayuth and he has since passed away. He was a tiny fellow and had amazing skills with his body. He used and taught techniques which nobody else had ever seen. Well, now you know where this particular technique came from!
This module really made things click for me and took some of the pressure off that I was putting on myself. Thinking of how the foot moves versus memorizing techniques is a much easier way of working on the foot. It dramatically changed my energy when I sat down to practice again. I am still working on mastering the correct rhythm for one of the moves, but I am certain that will come with practice. The circles on the inner heel and then pulling out felt very natural and received positive reviews. One thing I am noticing is since I have 3 different practice partners is I really need to take the time to feel their energy before I start in order to know how much pressure to use during the massage. I am hoping the more I do this, the more this skill increases.
Having three practice partners is really great. If you only work on one person, it is very difficult to get a feeling for the techniques. There are techniques that work great on one particular person, but on another person they feel all wrong. It all depends on the size, weight, degree of flexibility, and even age of a person. Thai Massage is definitely not a one-size-fits-all program, although this is unfortunately how it is often taught.
I continued to practice the foot work and incorporated the new techniques in module 5. One thing I struggle with is knowing how much weight or pressure to use. I can feel the energy, but that doesn't really tell me how much pressure to use. One partner said it was really relaxing when I used my thumb and went up the sen line 2 on the IT band (she is a personal trainer/yoga instructor) another person said my touch felt tentative. So, finding that balance is going to take practice. Moving bodies with grace and ease is another area of focus for me. This is truly a dance. 🙂 The butterfly move and rolling the calf muscle seemed to flow fairly easily though. I look forward to learning more.
Don't put pressure on yourself about this. To really develop the sensitivity to know what exactly to do and how much pressure is right takes months and years to develop. I takes working on many different bodies and getting to know the differences between them. The good news is that later on this course there are some very specific ways to determine how much pressure is right. You will get to this and this will be very helpful for this issue.
I am happy to hear that there is more information coming about knowing how much pressure to use!
The elephant walking seems very natural to me. However, the first time I used my foot to massage someone it was beautifully awkward. It did get easier as I practiced more. I can see the benefits of using my forearm and entire body already. My hands would be exhausted by the end of a couple of these if I relied on simply my hands. I have started to incorporate a couple of the foot massage moves at the end of my Reiki treatments to help move energy and to help ground my clients. They are loving it. I am thrilled to see how my Reiki and yoga training is starting to overlap with these new skills.
It became obvious when practicing this module I need to make some small pillows. I know Samantha and you had both said "you need pillows" but I didn't really cue in on it. I did use support but to do these exercises and stretches it takes a very specific pillow. This is why we practice! I appreciate that many of the techniques repeat this makes things easier for me pick up on. The two people I practiced on this week really enjoyed the rocking hip opening move and the butterfly leg stretch. With feed back from each person I was able to figure out how much to pull back on the leg stretch. I am slowly starting to get more of a feel for working with the physical body as well as energy.
It's happening exactly as it should. In the beginning many things feel awkward and strange, like using your feet. And then after a while it slowly starts falling into place. The same will probably happen when the course gets into working with knees and elbows. Something to look forward to.
Thai Massage is definitely not a little quickie learning experience, at least not if you want to learn it well.
I really love the concept of meeting their needs. That falls into alignment with my thinking and how I approach the world, no wonder I was so drawn to this program! My best friend is a group fitness instructor with very sore calves. I practiced the different calf massages on him several times, combining the chi machine and some of the foot massages elements from the previous modules. He is not very limber so I had to be very mindful when stretching his hamstrings. I did more rocking than stretching with him, mostly because that is what felt right.
There are so many strong stretches in this module I found a yogi friend of mine to practice with! Her two favorites were the spinal twist with the rocking motion and the hamstring stretch. Her knee went almost to the ground with ease. I find it interesting that I am only 9 modules in and I already have some "favorite" foot techniques and have to remind myself to practice others. I like that there are so many options you can really mix them up to make each experience unique. The phrase that really stuck with me was combine power with softness. I like that.
I adore that we are talking about the Hara line! We are now talking my language! I really appreciate all of the adaptations for the shorter people too, at 5 feet tall these are especially helpful with some of my practice partners. I had to practice the adductor stretch a few times to get it right but eventually I did. The person I practiced on is training for a half marathon and that muscle was really tight. This stretch combined with some calf work really felt good to her. The blood stop is a bit nerve wracking to practice. I am not certain this is one I will be using too often. Slowly things are starting to come together.
This was super helpful to watch you put it all together. I have had a few thai massages, but have never actually watched one being done. Seeing how everything can flow together gave me more ideas. It also reinforces the idea of flowing instead of each individual move. Transitions are still a bit rough for me so this was a part I keyed in on during this video. Thank you.
So if leg work also works the hips how do you know when you are doing too much? Is there an approximate number of stretches that are appropriate for a massage? Some of the techniques in this video are not available to me or would not be professional for me to do. However, there are so many to choose from that is not a problem. I did get to practice putting a leg on my shoulder and stretching the calf and the hamstring. I also did the elephant walking on the knees to massage the sacrum. It is fascinating to see how differently different bodies move. I am grateful to have different practice partners.
In order to know when you are doing too much, you just have to develop sensitivity and intuition and observe your client. This will naturally come with practice. There are also other ways to determine this - it's called the one-to-ten method which is covered somewhere in the course.
I am curious - which techniques do you consider non-professional?