I am so excited to begin this coursework. I come from a massage background but my school (The Cayce/Reilly School) focused heavily on uniting Body, Mind and Spirit. Using the breath and moving the body in a sacred dance is always the best practice. I have been interested in this modality for a long time. In biodynamic craniosacral we were taught to move around the body only on the exhale, as if moving through water without making a ripple. In this sense, our work is done in stillness and is least disturbing to the client. I enjoy how Thai massage uses the breath to move, actively with the client. I have found that these modalities that allow the client to be fully clothed, allow them to open their body on a deeper level. And with bodywork, is that not the goal??
I used to watch Thai massage videos online and thought, "I bet that feels absolutely amazing!!" I finally connected with another therapist in my community trained in this modality received a session from her. Afterward I thought, "Why would anyone get a Western massage?!?!"
I love the Chi machine move! What fun! When I get clients comfortable on the table for a Reiki or craniosacral session, I often do lots of jostling and shaking of the limbs as well as compression. This one is certainly different and I wonder how it must be opening pathways for the Kundalini to rise. As well as show a client where they feel restriction in their body.
I also appreciated the tips on making these practitioner positions more comfortable. I am naturally, fairly flexible but even in my first practice session could feel the pressure in the ankles. I'll be practicing with the pillow tips while I play on the floor with my children to get my body accustomed to these positions more.
I practiced the Chi machine and foot massage 1 on my partner today. She is another bodyworker so she was able to give great feedback as I tried the new techniques. It can feel so disjointed to practice in the beginning but I downloaded the video and brought my laptop to my office so I could watch while practicing. She attested to how delightful the techniques felt and how she could feel so many of the foot stretches all the way up to the hips. She experiences sacral tightness and really enjoyed the footwork affecting that. The Chi machine made her arms tingle (in a great way). Now she is interested in this work, it was her first experience with Thai massage.
Hi Brittany, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program. It looks like you got it all figured out, but I still post a link to our Certification Checklist at the beginning of all forum threads to make sure that it is all correctly organized:
With your background and your enthusiasm, I have no doubt that you will do very well with this course. The beginning sounds very promising from what you write!
It is very helpful to start thinking about these techniques in a conceptual way rather than a routine. The 8 ways to work the foot are great to remember what can be incorporated into footwork. After watching each video a few times, I have been taking notes on the techniques so that when practicing I can refer to the notes rather than fast forwarding video and that is helpful to me as well because writing this out by hand helps me remember and gives me some kind of ordered flow to my practice. Since I've seen the first 3 technique videos several times, I practice those techniques mostly from my notes and refer to videos on things I'm practicing for the first time through.
I am still practicing all techniques in sequence so far as I become more familiar with the moves. Right now I'm still feeling clunky and mechanical in the movements but it's fun and I know each time becomes easier and more fluid. I will have to practice the switching from the inner to outer leg body mechanics more as I was watching the video very closely and taking time to orient my body properly to the client and feel in my body what feels correct and good. I had two practice friends today and everyone enjoyed the leg work thoroughly and were even surprised to find hip tightness where they thought they wouldn't have restriction.
If you get such results even while still feeling clunky and mechanical, can you imagine what results you will get when you have mastered the techniques, don't have to think about them anymore, when you are in flow and are able to sense exactly what is happening with a client!
Yes!!! I very much look forward to the flow! I remember what it was like to learn traditional western massage at first and how pleasant and beneficial my practice people found the work even when I was new. I am grateful for the feedback from my people now. My friend who experiences much low back tightness gave me additional feedback late last night to say she felt a big difference in her hips after my Module 5 leg warm up practice. She is getting more interested in this work for her next CEUs (and for the benefit of her clients), although she is going through an intense Craniosacral program currently, (for which I am her teaching assistant) I hope she will commit to being my practice partner in this course so that I can feel the same techniques on my own body as I study. We stress the importance of exchanging sessions in our circle so that we know how the touch feels to our own body. It is important with any bodywork... I also appreciate that Thai is such a compliment to Craniosacral in my practice because craniosacral is very Yin and non-doing, no manipulations-- many people need this while Thai feels Yang-- doing, manipulating and the body's need to move. What a joy to embody both!
I have 2 Thai practitioners who I will be exchanging with as I progress in the course and I am looking forward to that very much too.
Thank you Shama!!
I really liked the forearm techniques. It feels very nice to use all the body weight and sink in slowly. The more I practice, the more I am feeling fluid, although I know I am still very mechanical right now. When I watch the video and practice at the same time, I have started to practice the technique, pause and switch to the other leg and practice the same on the other side. I think this will be helpful in keeping me focused and present.
Also, my 5 year old really loves the footage from the Yoga Mala Festival in Module 4. Every time I open the laptop to do the course, she asks if we can watch, "The one with the laughing yoga". hahah
I was able to practice these techniques today with a partner and I had a difficult time-- but that's ok! She gave great feedback and helped me when I was having trouble getting into the correct positions. We enjoyed laughing a lot during this session and her hips and sacrum definitely benefited from this. I think I will practice these stretches a few more times before moving into module 8.
"Also, my 5 year old really loves the footage from the Yoga Mala Festival in Module 4. Every time I open the laptop to do the course, she asks if we can watch, "The one with the laughing yoga". hahah" - That's great, I love to hear that a 5-year old loves this video. How cool! This would have never occurred to me that a kid would have such a reaction.
I took a great bit of time off of this course due to many responsibilites I have been shouldering. It has been hovering over me like a pink elephant in the room, but I'm finally back and feeling more space in my body to process this and all other things that I am responsible for.
I practiced the hip pie stretches a few weeks ago and was happy to hear that these are some of the most difficult techniques, haha. I appreciate the reminder about thinking of it conceptually instead of needing to memorize or master each technique all at once. Looking at the stretches as a pie is very helpful. In my office space, I have needed a fan blowing on me as I'm moving so much and have taken to draping a blanket over my practice partner's upper body. With Thailand being a warm climate, how do therapists cope with doing the movement combined with heat? I live in a hot/humid climate but even with the air conditioning running, I still feel the heat getting to me as my body moves more.
I loved the adductor work. So many people are so tight through there and in Western-style massage can get quite neglected due to the proximity to the crotch unless a therapist is comfortable with lots of table stretches. This is one of the things that attracted me to Thai bodywork-- that people with their clothes on can feel much more open to allow the practitioner to get into muscles that are usually just glossed over.
My practice partner bouncing and rocking techniques and felt her hips were much more open afterward. It's such a great enhancement to work the adductors in addition to the hamstrings/quads with the depth that the client can tolerate without over stretching.
At this stage of my practice sessions, I have been focusing on warming up my partner's legs first with any/all techniques that I can remember and then proceeding into new material. I really liked the spinal twist technique and will need to practice switching positions more gracefully over time and feeling more fluid when it comes to the calf stretches. So far, I have practiced on other women, either around a similar height or slightly shorter.
So happy to have made it to the first summary session last week. Was looking forward to it to help my brain better envision a good flow of techniques in sequence. It also was helpful to pick out stretches my body enjoys doing most and focus there for a bit while still practicing the others. It is starting to feel less awkard, though I still feel like I've had a workout by the end of the session.
After having had my second child a year ago, I've had less time for exercise and self-care, and thus feeling like my core is very weak and not in shape that I once was. I know this practice will help me begin to feel stronger through practice and the focus on the Hara and the breath.
The good news is that my practice partner fell asleep by the end, hahah. So that was great feedback for today.
My practice body for today was a great fit for the work I am practicing (Although, I believe this work to be a great fit for everyone). She suffers from a few autoimmune conditions that give her pain as well as having experienced a spinal fusion in the lumbar spine. It was a great person to practice the range of the stretches with the leg warm ups and stretches before moving into the new material.
With her spinal fusion, the elephant walking technique for the sacrum was amazing. She loved it so much as well as the rotation of the hips. During the last stretch in the module, I had a difficult time maneuvering her feet together. I watched a few times and tried again but didn't manage to get there. Not sure if I need to try again with a different body or if it had to do with her mobility. Either way, my next practice partner will meet me on Friday and I will try again. He is much larger than me and so I am excited to try these techniques on a different body size.
The only thing that bothered me today was getting a foot cramp on one side while sitting on my knees, hahah. During the stretch where you hold the feet to your abdomen, I had to keep standing up for a moment to put weight on it to ease it. It eventually let up. I probably need more hydration and potassium. And someone to do these stretches for me
"With Thailand being a warm climate, how do therapists cope with doing the movement combined with heat?" - Well, they cope. In some places they have airconditioning, in some places they only have fans, and sometimes they just sweat. But they are used to it. I got used to it.
"The good news is that my practice partner fell asleep by the end, hahah. So that was great feedback for today." - Congratulations! Good news indeed.
I really appreciate the Hip Pie strategy. It's very helpful for conceptualizing all the hip and leg stretches. Everyone has really enjoyed the elephant walking on for the sacrum. It has been a serious favorite. I also really loved the perspective on Authentic Thai massage vs Reality. I have an aquaintence that practices Thai massage and her studies have stressed a lot about tradition and she has certain beliefs about this that is see may limit her. The massage school I went to practices and teaches a specific type of massage and also stresses the point of tradition for preservation of that culture. However in my years of practice, I've always taken the basics or bones of that tradition and made it my own and do different things for different clients. I love that Thai practice is similar in that thought. I enjoy giving treatments from my hearts center and applying what a client needs rather than a routine all the time. The routines can be wonderful and every movement has a purpose but I enjoy being flexible. Thank you for all your input in this regard!
The rocking techniques are very fun to practice and was the perfect way to beging practicing the transitions from one side of the body to the other. It definitely showed me where I am weak in my own body right now but I know I will get stronger. I used to do Olympic style weightlifting for years before my second child but now gaining the strength and stability have been slow going. I know I will get stronger again in time but I always love when I can get that information from my own body. I may even take up Muay Thai to get back into a good fitness routine!
The conversation with Deon was wonderful and informative. You cannot teach passion for a subject, so listenting to this conversation was great. I liked the information about both of your experiences in Thailand and the differences in culture in different regions. And again, with the reassurance that studying in Thailand is not the only way. I was told in the past by a few people that I should only go to Thailand for my education and that felt very limiting since my children are young. When they are a little bit older we'll plan a vacation to come visit. The Thailand Experience portions of the module give me great inspiraton of where I would like to go and things I'd like to do.