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Brenda Cockburn - Complete Thai Massage Course
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Brenda Cockburn
Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK
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March 3, 2016 - 11:38 pm
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Module 1

Watched this yesterday. Provides a good basic introduction and something to practice.  I have already started sitting on the floor as much as possible, and yes my ankles really hurt.  I am just not used to it but I know this will get easier if I keep at it.  I think techniques, ergonomics and breath are essential building blocks and the start of my incredible journey.  It makes me realise how wrongly we are taught in the west and that this is probably why I have had back problems.  Weight and breathing when used together would have really helped make a job alot easier and more enjoyable.

Module 2

Legs still hurt! Really enjoyed this quick introduction into chi.  I was never really sure what it was, but you explained it so easily.  I am even more sure that this is what I have missed and not been able to offer to clients.  I always had good feedback from clients but at college we always had to work to time.  With these techniques I will be able to 'connect' at a different level.  Wow! just thinking about combining breath and weight shifts in posture brings in a whole new dimension.  I hope this makes sense, but I feel that I have finally found the therapy for me.  I tried some hip rock shuffles - interesting feeling.  When my ankles start hurting less I should be able to do it for longer.  I am also breathing deeper and becoming more aware of in and out breaths.  Watched both videos twice more this afternoon. Grabbed my father to practice on.

3 March 2016

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Shama
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March 4, 2016 - 12:20 am
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Hi Brenda, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage course.

It makes total sense to me when you say that you have finally found the therapy for you. The same thing happened to me when I first came across Thai Massage in 1999. I instantly knew that I had found something which was exactly what I liked doing, which incorporated many  elements of my yoga and healing arts background, and which was very effective.

It was love at first feel! Smile

Also please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list here:

Certification Check List

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Brenda Cockburn
Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK
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March 9, 2016 - 4:23 am
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Module 3

Its good to have a mini routine to practice on my model. My poor father doesn't realise what he's let himself in for. At first I felt a bit self conscious grounding myself and deep breathing but it comes quite easily being on the floor! It just feels so natural holding onto someone's feet while sitting on a mat.  My model said afterwards that he did feel very relaxed while i was pressing his feet into the mat and being gently rocked.  That special hands on touch can be so healing. I can't explain it but being on the floor has a different sensation from sitting at the end of a therapy couch or a reflexology chair. Perhaps it is something to do with the shift in my weight! ie downwards.

I still have to work on the hip shuffles/leg rocking part.  I have the action but i speed up too much. More earthquake than wave machine! I really need to slow everything right down slightly.  The other problem is sitting on bent legs for so long, so start to stiffen up quite quickly, but I am getting better. So at the moment I can only do it for a very short time.  I can also feel my shoulders creeping up, so I constantly have to remind myself to keep them relaxed.  Enjoying your videos and starting to get into a proper routine.  Great fun.

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Shama
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March 9, 2016 - 11:17 pm
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"More earthquake than wave machine" - that's a funny one! The good thing is that you are aware of what you need to do in order to refine it.

It's true, working on a floor mat allows for a better connection between therapist and client. Exactly my feeling as well. There is nothing separating the therapist from the client, and working on the floor mat facilitates better ergonomics and provides better leverage.

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Brenda Cockburn
Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK
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March 10, 2016 - 5:56 pm
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Module 4

Went through the whole warm up and foot routine with a different model this morning and its going really well.  Linking up all the movements together really does lend to a flowing feeling generally, and I really enjoyed it.  My model is in his fifties and not used to having his ankles flexed but even the short time on the mat he did show slight improvements in his joint flexibility. It shows how this can really help increase someones range of motion with gradual and gentle manipulations.

I have finally got the hang of the rocking and wave like motion up the hips and back.  Looks good, and the feedback was surprisingly good. He said the sensation was very pleasant.  Later on, he commented on the very relaxed state of his whole body, not just the feet.  My timing is nearly there with the circular movement while doing the foot presses, much better.  Feels better also. My breathing is more regular and I feel more relaxed.  The only problem so far is the state of my ankles.  They are killing me!!  I have to keep sitting up in between each part.  I 'm trying not to think about the discomfort and focus on the feelings beneath my hands. During the final part of the session when we have to use thumb pressure on the sole, I found these parts easy.  Thumb circles and sliding, dorsal work along the lymphatic points are very similar to reflexology.  Its interesting to see the links in pathways between sen lines and the western approach (nerve pathways, lymph drainage etc).  So all in all I am very happy so far with my own progress.  Thankyou Shama.

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Shama
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March 10, 2016 - 10:32 pm
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Many students initially have this ankle problem since in the western world we are not used to this position. But so far everyone got used to it after a while, and I am sure you won't be an exception! Surprised

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Brenda Cockburn
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March 15, 2016 - 1:01 am
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Module 5

My sessions are going very well and your teaching material is second to none.  I found this session easy as it uses techniques similar to sports massage on the legs, so it comes quite naturally to me.  I have to say that even my position feels slightly less stressful and I am able to sit for increasingly longer periods at one time.  The ligaments around my ankles are gradually stretching bit by bit.  I look forward to your email and video attachments now and find them easy to watch while eating breakfast or doing my stretching in the morning.  My two guinea pig models are chomping at the bit for full length thai massage!! Patience, patience!  Your videos are an ideal length to learn without too much pressure.  
A lot of learning materials give too much information at one go, and this is just right.  Even though I have previous massage experience, I am learning so many new techniques, its just wonderful.  Watching you is amazing, as you explain so much in detail which you just do not get from a book.  I am so pleased I decided to buy your on-line course.  It really complements the other thai course I have just started. 

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Shama
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March 15, 2016 - 11:40 pm
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I am happy to hear that you appreciate my teaching material and the style of presentation. Comments like this one always make my day - thanks! Smile

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Brenda Cockburn
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March 18, 2016 - 5:51 pm
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Module 6

Nice to see the use of forearms along the thigh muscles.  I did wonder if it was ok to use our arms in this manner and not just to use thumb and palm presses.  These extra tools will be great to incorporate into the leg routine.  I really like your rocking techniques used in this way, and its good to know that thai massage can be used in a variety of styles whilst still keeping the traditional concept.  As I am quite small and my clients tend to be rather large, forearm use will save my hands and allow me to get more depth.

I also liked being able to place the leg over yours to gain better access to all areas of the thigh and calf. Again it gives a better connection between client and therapist, which is why I love massage, with its sense of touch.  Male clients feel more secure and less worried with their clothes on. While I practice these new techniques on my models I am still a bit sticky with regard to the flowing sense of the movements, but I am sure that will come later. Working on the floor is becoming more natural for me now, with the aches and pains reducing in intensity.  I can even see me doing my other work on the floor without using the couch at all in the future!  Its alot easier on my own body and so adaptable.

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Shama
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March 19, 2016 - 12:22 am
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I am glad that you like the floor work. Many new Thai Massage therapists are so attached to their tables that they have a hard time adjusting to floor work. But the fact is that floor work is better for your ergonomics and gives you better leverage.

Here in Thailand the vast majority of therapists are small females. And you bet they are using their forearms a lot. If you try to do everything with hands and thumbs, you run the risk of wearing those body parts out. We want to get the best results with the least effort - and for that forearms, elbows, knees and feet are very useful.

The rocking is something which I have added to traditional Thai Massage and which is an essential element of my style.

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Brenda Cockburn
Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK
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March 19, 2016 - 8:35 pm
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Module 7

Hi, just watched the extra shortie video connected with this one, aimed at therapists with tiny hands working with large clients.  As a small handed lady I was wondering about my technique, as I was having problems holding a heavy large foot up off the ground!! Ah ha, rescue was not far away with little tricks of the trade from Shama.  I will incorporate it later during my next session.  I found the paddling easy but getting the timing with the stretch backwards, together with the breathing is not. Although I seem to be relaxed I hold in my breath when I should be breathing out. Now that could be connected with the heavy foot issue, so I will try out the other techniques while being aware of my breath.  

The hip stretches look wonderful for the client, so gentle but strong also.  I wish I could find someone to practice all this on me!! My two models are both very tight in their hips and I need to use support pillows, but I'm sure we will see improvements over the next coming weeks in their flexibility.  Once you pass 50 your body has to work harder to stay supple, and even I have to do 15/20 minutes stretching every morning now to stay flexible. Doing thai massage working on the floor has really helped my own health too!  Incidentally, one of the reasons why I started to study sports massage etc  was to learn more to help myself.  I had several serious accidents involving horses (dangerous sport). The NHS physio route in the UK was useless.They don't think of the whole picture, or indeed work hands on with manual bodywork these days.  You get given exercises to do, and thats it.  Anyway that another story. Thankyou for this session, see you soon.

Brenda

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Shama
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March 19, 2016 - 9:41 pm
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All those little extra videos are a new feature of the the latest version of the course. I will keep adding more of these over time.

I can relate to the stiffness issue when over 50. I have to work at it as well, especially since I left 50 behind over a decade ago. However I find that with regular practice it is not too difficult to stay in good flexible shape. Thai Massage itself helps with that, even for the practitioner.

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Brenda Cockburn
Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK
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March 21, 2016 - 10:40 pm
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Module 8

This is all starting to come together very nicely, together with the hip stretching techniques in the latest two videos.  You explain the hip actions so easily in terms of stretching, its a great pleasure to watch these videos now.  Compared to reading books or being in a class, I can honestly say I've learned more from your style of teaching.  It's more like having someone in the sitting-room with you in person! I play the videos all the time and find them easy to fit into quiet times throughout the day.  My models have already commented on the improvements they feel and how I am growing in 'giving' during the session.  Not just in terms of how they feel from the benefits but also from the quality during my performance.  I feel totally relaxed and therefore can flow more into the movements while linking each one together more naturally.  Its a journey that I am really enjoying. I notice it and my guinea pigs notice it, they see a difference in me too, which is just fantastic.  I'm so pleased!  Two other people have even come forward as models, so I will have two ladies to join the gents this week to practice on. Yippee!

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Shama
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March 22, 2016 - 1:33 pm
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What can I say - this all sounds great! I am happy for you and proud of you that you are making such good progress! Smile

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Brenda Cockburn
Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK
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March 27, 2016 - 9:42 pm
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Module 9

Had two really good sessions on my new ladies.  The feedback I received was very promising and I was able to practice all the new techniques learned so far, including all the hip stretches.  Both girls were alot more flexible than the men and so I could really try out all these new ideas.  I found that shifting my weight and body around I was able to find the most comfortable and most effective method for me.  So all these tools that are available to adapt each technique is so useful, and I have certainly learned some new ones.  I love the hip pie idea of working each area in turn, and it allows total flexibility for each client.  Nice to know that these ideas are there to use if you need/or want to, and not something you have to do as part of a "routine".  This is why I love these videos.  I am also well under way with my other course, which is taught rather differently.  After learning an 1.5 hr basic routine we then broke it down into each body part, and then practice. This integrated way of learning really seems to be helping me.  I have already started logging treatments and thinking towards my case studies.  My previous experience from the sports therapy side of things just adds to this, which is why I probably find alot of this quite easy.

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Shama
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March 27, 2016 - 11:45 pm
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After having many 100s of students work with the online material, I have found that almost anyone with previous massage experience can learn Thai Massage from the videos. We also have a lot of yoga teachers without massage training who are successfully learning this. There are even quite a few course students who have no prior massage or yoga experience, and still they are able to learn it well. 

The argument I often hear from my colleagues is that in online training you don't get live feedback from an instructor. That's of course true, but to compensate for that the online videos can be watched over and over again, whereas after a live training class there is no more access to the material and no ongoing support.

I really feel that good therapists can use experience, intuition and creativity to effectively learn from videos. I know I can. In your case you seem to combine live training with the online material which can be a great combination as well.

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Brenda Cockburn
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April 1, 2016 - 2:11 am
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Module 10

Everything is going well.  My last practice was rather limited due to the lack of joint mobility but I was able to incorporate gentle palm presses and rocking to the hips, which went down well.  Good feedback from that particular client, who felt able to relax once they knew they were in good hands.  Thai massage still seems to have a reputation as being a lot of extremely strong and sometimes agonising stretches, which I, of course know is wrong, but some people still seem to expect it!!

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Brenda Cockburn
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April 1, 2016 - 2:24 am
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Module 11

Summary module of lower body.  Well mine doesn't quite look like this yet, but we are getting there slowly. Lots of shuffling around trying to get comfortable, but seeing it all in one like this does make for pleasant viewing.  Its looks so effortless.  My performance is interlaced with the odd grunt when I can't move my leg or position due to it stiffening up.  But at least I 'm not as bad I was was, so there's definite improvement.  I'm sitting cross-legged or on my knees on the floor as often as I can.  A good warm-up before practicing in future.  One thing I've noticed about myself, is my breathing.  I tend to hold it in at times, so I must try and relax even more.  I feel calm and I don't rush, but I seem to do it quite often and just forget to breath!!!  Any tips?? Look forward to the next section of videos.  See you soon.

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Shama
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April 1, 2016 - 11:04 am
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It's unfortunately true that Thai Massage often suffers from an erroneous image of being just a series of heavy-duty stretches. Well, you and all the students of this course will change that! Smile

Regarding the breathing, for me this is second nature since I have always used proper breathing in both my yoga and my Qigong practice. I also often go on exercise walks and I incorporate deep and regular breathing into this. As a result I have become more aware of breathing. As far as Thai Massage goes, you just have to remind yourself regularly to relax and synchronize your breathing. I keep repeating this many times throughout this course, so you will probably just naturally get used to it.

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Brenda Cockburn
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April 4, 2016 - 7:07 pm
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Module 12

Thank you for your suggestions. I am trying really hard, so perhaps that part of the problem. Try a bit less!!!  I've been watching your last support video and the one with examples of changing over sides, and yes, its not as easy as it looks.  Practice makes perfect.  I find things are effortless when the client is the same size as me (small), but it is really hard to try it when they are wider!  One guy has quite a large frame and found this technique painful! One of my hips is not great, so I have to be careful not to put stain on it. I'll keep you posted.

Having so many different hip stretches is fantastic and akin to picking what you want from a menu.  Look forward to putting everything into action over the next week or so on my various guinea pigs. I didn't realise there were so many different ways to do a calf stretch!  Watching the previous video again and again also really helps retention, and I find I am remembering techniques without thinking too much about it.  Seeing the lower body routine in one module puts the icing on the cake, and I play it while I practice.  The summary together like that is so watchable that no one minds, but I do turn the sound down.  Just waiting for a friend to turn up now.  She is so flexible (yoga teacher) and I just love being able to try out just about everything, and she doesn't mind at all.  Oh just realised that I have already written about Saturdays module 12, doesn't really matter does it.  I'm obviously enjoying it!!

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