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Brandon Paulk's Complete Tai Massage Course Notes
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Brandon Paulk
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August 23, 2022 - 10:52 pm
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Module 13 

When working on my wife I found that one side went really well and the opposite had a tight spot. So I did some of the scooping and such which got it to the point she didn't feel pain. When you come off a stretch knowing it was causing discomfort and you use the different techniques to open that area do you ever go back and try the stretch again if the discomfort had faded? The psychological stuff is really helpful because it's easier to get information more clearly without making you client focus on the pain or discomfort too much. I used this in my last couple of sessions and had great feedback that led to different stretches being used or focusing more on a specific part of the body. Switching techniques is coming easier after rewatching some of the videos and is helping a lot more when I'm working on a particularly tight area.

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Brandon Paulk
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August 23, 2022 - 11:34 pm
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Module 14

The hip rocking went really well. I got positive feedback especially on the slow deep hip and back stretches. I worked the extra stretch that incorporated the leg and she really enjoyed how deep the stretch was and felt like her hip was gonna pop in a good way. Unfortunately, it didn't pop during that stretch, but I did get a couple during the warm up. The transition work really helps, I'm still a little clumsy so I'll have to practice more for sure. A little heavy on the way down so I'll have to practice more of the exercises from thai massage essentials a couple modules back. Also, the pointers about working on other genders is a great reminder since I've only had the ability to practice on women so it's not I've thought about.

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August 24, 2022 - 4:46 am
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"When you come off a stretch knowing it was causing discomfort and you use the different techniques to open that area do you ever go back and try the stretch again if the discomfort had faded?"  -  Definitely, this is a great way to show the client that progress has been made with this issue. It's also a great way for you to know that what you are doing is working. It's psychologically beneficial for both you and your client to go back to the stretch.

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Brandon Paulk
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August 31, 2022 - 10:12 am
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Module 15

My partner actually started falling asleep on this one. The abdomen area felt weird to her, but not in a bad way she just didn't know what to think of the sensation. Working up to the ribs she started dosing off a little and by the time I was working the the sternum she was out. The elephant walking in the shoulders was really intense and she has a sore spot in her arm pit that didn't feel great with the amount of pressure on that side. So I did a deeper press on the opposite side and didn't put as much on the side that was sore and she seemed to like that. There wasn't too much feedback from her since she fell asleep, but I'm gonna assume that means she liked it. At the end she did say it was really good and she liked it. Working on the touch and focusing on the breath did make it easier to work with her body and stay connected. All in all I felt pretty good about it and look forward to practicing these techniques again and hope the results stay positive.

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Brandon Paulk
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August 31, 2022 - 10:59 am
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Module 16

Similar to shoulder work from the last module she didn't much care for the one that put a good amount of pressure on the soft spot next to the the shoulders. I do think I might have been a bit off from the right spot so, like you mentioned at the end of the video it's gonna take a bit of practice before getting really good and feeling really good. Transitioning between some of these went really well and she started falling asleep during the section were you pull between the shoulder blade and spine. She seemed to really like that part and fell asleep. I was curious,  when pulling that area sometimes my hand would slide well and sometimes it would skip. Am I applying too much pressure making it skip across the skin. Sometimes I do the same with bare skin. What good way to work on people with short sleeves and lots of exposed skin without pulling the skin too much? When starting to kneed she woke up and didn't like it so I adjusted to the next piece. I may have again just had a bad spot or pulled the skin a bit much. So I'm gonna practice a bit more and try again later to see how it goes.

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September 1, 2022 - 7:59 am
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Certainly it is a good sign if someone falls asleep. For the other situations which caused discomfort, try to not focus on using much pressure, but on making it feel soft and good.

Skin pulling is something that should definitely be avoided. This is something that will come with more experience. You will get clients with covered arms and with uncovered arms, so you will need to have a strategy to work on both. There is no 'technique for not pulling skin'. It is just a matter of being aware of it and working in such a way as to avoid it.

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Brandon Paulk
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September 8, 2022 - 3:08 am
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Module 17

I love hand and wrist work. I've been a martial arts practitioner for years and wrist health has always been important to me. My wife has had a couple fractures in her hands from when she was young so I had to be very vigilant and make sure my touch was soothing and gentle. She didn't have any issues with the hand massage and seemed to enjoy it. She enjoyed the wrist work very well and said that she could feel better circulation after. Her wrist are usually tight and was able to loosen them up really well. Working the arm was interesting since she can a bit ticklish. Afterwards, she had mentioned it felt really especially after do the shoulder work. It definitely paired well connecting the two like you had said. As a practitioner that has always used my hands for every job and hobby I've had in the past 15+ years I look forward to getting one of these done on myself and will enjoy sharing it with others as well.

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September 8, 2022 - 4:23 am
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I also have a martial arts and kickboxing background, and I know all about stressing wrists...

At some point you may want to consider our Thai Massage For Arms And Hands course which goes even much deeper into arm and hand work. This would probably be a really good fit for you.

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Brandon Paulk
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September 9, 2022 - 10:23 pm
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Module 18

I love how well the transition piece flows with everything. It's really great that you have ones for the lower and upper body to make sure the flow or the connection isn't interrupted. The stretches in-between flow so well. I was a bit clumsy at first when trying the transition. It still need some work, but it was getting better. I have a question, is the arm stretches in-between the transition good for side stretches or are there better stretches for that? I've run into a couple people that have had really tight muscle under the arm and side. They would seem to have a hard time stretching that area by themselves. This stretch looked like it would stretch that pretty well, but I wasn't sure if there was a better one. The shoulder stretch was a little much for the person I was working on. They really like the location of the stretch, it was just a little much. They put the number at an 8ish, I eased off which made it better, it was just a tight area for them. The lower back was a better for them on the other side. 

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Brandon Paulk
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September 11, 2022 - 2:27 am
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Module 19

 

I really needed this summary. I had to space out watching some of these last videos due to travel. Taking some time to watch everything get tied together in flow was a nice refresh for when I was able to get back and practice with someone. While watching it I remembered some questions I forgot from the first times I saw some of the techniques. I'm not really sure how to ask this question. On the sacrum work and elephant walking it, do you ever feel the knee cap shifting or moving under your hands while you stabilize the legs? I usually try to make sure to keep it as stable as possible, but I guess I was just trying to make sure it wasn't a bad thing and with experience you find a way to do the move without it moving around. On the main hip stretch with both knees in front. The person I was doing it on could take the stretch down to the chest, but had said it put pressure on her ribs. I opened the legs to bypass them coming into contact with the chest, but was just putting too much pressure on that stretch. The review work did go well, and I think I'm getting a better flow and reading of the client and how the stretch is working for them. As a reiki practitioner I had planned on the use of reiki while doing Tai bodywork and since you had mentioned another energy technique I thought I'd grab your opinion. Do you think reiki will go well with tai bodywork? I am gonna try using the quantum touch, I love looking at different kinds of energy work and how well they do with me and with whatever work I'm doing at the time.

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September 11, 2022 - 6:21 am
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"Are the arm stretches in-between the transition good for side stretches or are there better stretches for that?"  -  There are good alternatives once you get to the side position section in the course.

"Do you ever feel the knee cap shifting or moving under your hands while you stabilize the legs?"  -  Actually no, I never feel the knee cap shifting. The trick is to make sure that the lower legs are folded tight against the upper legs and that you block them in tight with your legs from the sides. Also the angle of the upper leg has to be exactly 90 degrees. That translates to total stability.

"On the main hip stretch with both knees in front. The person I was doing it on could take the stretch down to the chest, but had said it put pressure on her ribs."  -  You found the correct solution by opening out the legs a bit, and of course you can always simply reduce the pressure.

"Do you think reiki will go well with tai bodywork?"  -  We have many reiki practitioners among our students, and many have told me that they apply it in their Thai Massage sessions. I would say that you cannot apply it exactly as in reiki, meaning you put your hands on someone and don't move them for a while. That would be strange in a Thai Massage session.

But what you can do is apply reiki principles and awareness of energy and energy flow. Or you can speed up the reiki process and do in an instant what you would normally do in a minute, for example. So with some modification you can definitely use reiki in Thai Massage.

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Brandon Paulk
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September 13, 2022 - 11:30 pm
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Module 20

I know this isn't specifically in the module, but a question about propping the ankles in the prone position. In the section 2 video you use two separate pillows, one for each leg. Can you use one long pillow like a Pranayama bolster that's used in yoga? Or would that affect the rocking as well? This section went really smooth. The only issue that came up was during the push pull of the foot. So during this section the ankle had popped and then popped again on the next pull, i think it popped three times in total in the same spot. I wasn't sure if it was a good pop or not and I know sometimes ankles can be sensitive. I didn't get any complaints from the person I was working on, I may have just psyched myself out because of the location. During this sequence it's a little hard to see the full leg. Is it okay for the knee to come back to the ground during the push or do you try to keep it straighter? This section went well and I look forward to working more of the prone stuff.

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September 13, 2022 - 11:45 pm
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Module 21

I had some trouble with some of these. I have a high waist, so long legs and a shorter abdomen, and a stockier build. I was working on my wife though not overweight she has some bigger glutes. I was having a hard time putting my body into the elbow work. I didn't push, but I put my opposite hand into the hand that I was using for more weight on the counterbalance. I just felt like I couldn't put much into these. So I was trying to figure out what to do with a client that was much larger that me. Would I skip this elbow work or is there a variation I could use. It did work well for my wife, in fact she almost fell asleep a few time, but her own snoring woke her back up. In fact this whole session went great. Worrying about having enough power and the body types was passing thoughts during the session. The only issue I had during the session was one of the last stretches that's on the stronger side was a little much. It was taking me a bit to get used to manipulating legs so much and moving smoothly to set them down and such. My wife enjoyed it and didn't have any complaints other that the deeper stretch was at a 7 or 8.

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September 14, 2022 - 12:58 am
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"Can you use one long pillow like a Pranayama bolster that's used in yoga?"  -  Yes, a long pillow should work just fine as well. I just used the smaller ones because that's what I had on hand.

Regarding the ankle popping - if there is lots of ankle popping repeatedly, then you might get feedback from clients about discomfort and should avoid this technique on them. Some people's ankles pop like there are marbles rolling around in their ankles, and they can be very sensitive there.

"Is it okay for the knee to come back to the ground during the push or do you try to keep it straighter?"  -  Yes, the knee stays on the ground.

"I just felt like I couldn't put much into these. So I was trying to figure out what to do with a client that was much larger that me. Would I skip this elbow work or is there a variation I could use."  -  I think with a little more practice you will be able to use your body to get more weight into these moves. 

However there are alternatives. You could kneel on the outside of the leg (perpendicular to the leg) which would elevate your body quite a bit and give you more power. In this position you don't have as convenient access to all the lines as when sitting between the legs, but you could still do a good hamstring workout.

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Brandon Paulk
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September 15, 2022 - 11:46 pm
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Module 22

I was having some difficulty with the first stretch, one leg had the stretch and the other didn't so I used the power stretch, but she didn't seem to be feeling the stretch. There seemed to be some stiffness, but she was saying she wasn't feeling the stretch. I did notice that her calf and thigh were completely against eachother and thought that may have been a factor, but I wasn't sure. It was difficult to get input on some of these techniques since she wasn't feeling the stretches, but I felt resistance too like the muscle was tight at the same time. On all of these stretches your holding the actual foot right, just in the foot massage modules? I was just worried about putting too much stress on the ankles. I didn't have any complaints during the stretches, just some difficulty keep the stretches consistent between the sides. I had some trouble lifting the legs during one of the later stretch with the hand on the glutes, but after relating the video I think I spotted where I went wrong. Working on the glutes with the knee went pretty good. She seemed to like the stretch pretty well. After I had some extra time so I rolled her over and reworked some earlier stuff to balance and she really liked that.

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September 17, 2022 - 12:10 am
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Yes, I am holding the foot. There are some people who are so flexible that they really don't feel a certain stretch. In this case just skip it on them. Don't overthink the reaction of one particular person. Instead try the same stretch on some other people. You will find persons where you cannot even get their heel close to their buttocks. You need to expect that you will get reactions along the entire spectrum from 'I can't handle this stretch' to 'I don't feel anything'.

The thing is to not get too hung up with what happens with one particular person, but to work on many and then get a feeling for the 'typical' scenario and the 'extreme' scenarios. You need a wide range of experience in order to deal with clients effectively and with confidence. If you let someone's unusual reaction throw you off, you will lose confidence in what you are doing. That's why it is so important to work on several persons.

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Brandon Paulk
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September 20, 2022 - 4:01 am
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Module 23

I took a little bit, but I finally found my way around the sacrum. I know it'll be be a little different with everyone so I know I'll need to practice on several people before really getting the hang of it. The practice went really well and she liked the sacrum work. I took some extra time to continue to smooth out the transition to the opposite side of the body. By the end of the session it was getting really smooth. At this point I'm just trying to make sure whatever rocking technique I'm doing during the transition stays smooth all the way through as well. I like how this also works into the lower back I've practiced on a couple of people now and both of them had a lot of tension in the lower back/ sacrum area and I feel like the rocking really helped open some of that up. I definitely agree this is a neglected area in western massage. I believe a lot of people around me tend to keep a lot of tension in this area and regular work would definitely help with lower back and hip problems. I did have some issue with doing the up and down with the side to side on the knees and glutes. Like you said it'll take some practice. The person I was working on said they felt like I was using them like a buggie board, I check to see if it hurt and they said no, but that's what came to mind when I was doing it.

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Brandon Paulk
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September 20, 2022 - 4:59 am
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Module 24

I know I've mentioned this before, but I really appreciate how you take the time to show alternative methods to just using fingers and wrists. This has helped me significantly already. The hardest part I had with this one is making sure everything stayed synced. Keeping everything consistent was a little on the tricky side for me. It was really relaxing for my client though, they were falling asleep by the second technique. I find that a lot of these rocking techniques seem to have that effect. While I was working I did notice what you were saying about not moving the skin to far. I could feel how much give I was able to use without stretching the skin so I stayed within that space and didn't have any issues. Since you have mentioned a little bit about skin sensitivity, I was curious if you had ever worked on anyone that was hyper sensitive. I've been trying to work on more people to get some more experience and I came across someone that was hyper sensitive to touch. I used mostly stretches and rocking to work around it, but I was just curious if you had come across someone like that. This session went well and I didn't have any issues other that than keeping the rocking, breathing, etc together.

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September 20, 2022 - 5:17 am
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Sure I have worked on very sensitive clients. That's when you have to be creative and improvise, find out what works for them and what doesn't. We need to be able to apply techniques on anyone ranging from a child to a wrestler and having it work for them. On some we need to modify the technique, on some we have to adjust the pressure, and on some we have to skip certain techniques.

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Brandon Paulk
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September 29, 2022 - 5:58 pm
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Module 25

I did a session that I had started with some hip work and it flowed very nicely into the prone back work here. I wasn't quite sure enough of myself to perform the 2nd and 3rd knee technique. So I used the first one as a way to get comfortable with the control and will work into the others as I progress. The person I was working on had a tight lower back so working with the elbows helped a lot. I worked really slow just to make sure I was cognizant of the spine since I'm not as intuitive with my elbows yet. The person I was working on must have eaten not long before our session because some of the earlier material in the module was hurting their stomach. I figured I was using too much weight for them and eased off to accommodate. They didn't have any other issues during the session and reported that their hip and lower back pain was gone. I was very happy to see they felt better after the session. On the video it's a little difficult to tell. When you're placing your hands down to stabilize your knee. Is you weight going straight down or at an angle?

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