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Brittany Dunnavant's Complete Thai Massage Progress Notes
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Brittany Dunnavant
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February 22, 2018 - 7:14 am
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Module 1

Wow! So many thoughts. First of all, I'm excited to be shifting my focus towards an energy focused modality. My background is highly focused on the anatomy and clinical applications of massage, so this should be an interesting (and exciting) exploration for me. 

I started laughing at myself a bit right as you were going over the therapist positions because I knew from my new yoga practice that the kneeling and half kneeling positions were going to make my toes burn. I practiced each position along with the video and have committed myself to practicing them daily. I have pretty decent balance though, so the squatting and standing positions shouldn't be much of an issue for me. 

I have a significant amount of experience working with clients in side lying positions due to my background in prenatal massage, but I'm looking forward to expanding my capabilities in this position. 

I loved the music analogy. I have always felt that a massage should flow even when doing intensive therapeutic work. My training in massage school encouraged us to always maintain contact with the client and to move slowly. I think both of those things have contributed to my clients telling me that I have a magical touch. I'm sure this course will give me the tools to deepen that feeling. 

As you talked about using breath during the moves, I did have a question pop up. I do have some clients that tend to be very chatty. Do you find that this happens often in a Thai massage setting? Are clients less inclined to talk or do you discourage conversation in order to facilitate the focus on breath? I'd love your thoughts around this. 

Great introductory module! I look forward to the next one!

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Shama
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February 22, 2018 - 10:59 am
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Hi Brittany, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program. I can already tell that I will enjoy the interaction! Smile

It seems that you have it all figured out, but for the sake of completeness I always post a reference to our certification check list in the beginning of all threads to make sure that it is all organized correctly:

Certification Check List

Regarding chatty clients - I think that I included this somewhere in the supplemental modules of the course, but I will give it to you right now. This article addresses this in depth:

How Much Should You Talk To Your Clients?

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Brittany Dunnavant
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March 1, 2018 - 10:55 am
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Module 2

Thanks for that article you shared with me on how much we should talk to clients. It was really helpful thinking about the different ways people process information and will likely change the way that I interact with all of my clients as I look for specific cues as to how they process. 

I highly appreciate your emphasis on not just following traditions, but instead doing things in the best way possible. I've always thought it was strange that sometimes people seem to think that because something has been done a certain way for a long time, that it is the BEST way. That way of thinking ignores new information which does a disservice to our clients. We should always be learning and exploring better ways of doing things. It makes me more excited to delve into this course! So, thank you. 

Tonight was the first opportunity I had to practice chi machine. I had watched the video twice, but went ahead and watched it while I practiced to make sure I was positioning myself and my practice partner properly. I had a pretty easy time getting her whole body to move, however I felt like my movements were aggressive than yours looked in the video. I was also a little surprised at how quickly sustaining that side to side movement became challenging (maybe because I was moving to aggressively?). I'm sure with continued practice it will become easier.

I had also thought that I would have no problems in that kneeling position, but did notice that with the additional weight of someone else's feet and legs that there was a little discomfort there as well. 

My practice partner did comment that she felt like she was getting a little back massage as I performed this technique which made me feel a little more confident about it. 

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Brittany Dunnavant
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March 1, 2018 - 11:12 am
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Module 3

I feel like for my first attempt at this, it mostly went well. The move I most struggled with (probably not surprisingly) was the move that included that circular motion. There were a couple moments where I was like, "I got it!" and then I'd drop the rhythm of it and it would feel awkward again. It was perhaps easier when I wasn't overthinking it and was moving a little bit faster, but I didn't want to move too quickly and not pay attention to the details. 

My favorite move was the one where you twist the foot and push/pull into the hip. My practice partner said that felt really good and it felt fun on my end. 

I'm going to have an opportunity tomorrow evening to practice these moves and chi machine again while adding in the elements from Module 4. My initial thought was to try to memorize the sequence, before practicing again, but I realized in rewatching the video as I practiced a couple times tonight, that there were details I missed the first couple times I watched. So, instead, I think I'll go along with the videos again because the verbal cues on positioning are really important and I think I'd rather make sure I was learning the moves properly instead of focusing on the sequencing at this point. 

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March 2, 2018 - 12:01 am
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Typically most people first make the sideways movement of the Chi Machine too big and too aggressive. Especially if it tires you quickly, you are using too much effort for it. Try making the sideways movement smaller and faster, and concentrate on making it effortless.

Module 4 will make it much easier to remember the foot sequence of module 3. It is a fact that both the Chi Machine and the circular move are a bit more involved and take some extra practice. I put them in the course because when you "get it", they are great moves that feel really good. Plus they are unique since only very few Thai Massage therapists know these two techniques.

You will always miss some details when you watch the videos the first time. This is typical and normal, and it is the reason why it is important to re-watch the videos several times. This is the big advantage of an online program - you can go back to the material as often as you like! Smile

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Brittany Dunnavant
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March 9, 2018 - 12:48 am
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Module 4

I actually practiced Module 4 last week, I've just been slow getting back to the computer to report on my progress. 

I am already so incredibly grateful that I am doing this as an online course where I have access to the videos to return to over and over again.

I'm noticing that I am having to make some real effort to stay aware and use my entire body instead of muscling the moves. 

I appreciate the emphasis you put on the conceptual way of learning things. I tend to go into things with a little bit of a perfectionist attitude where I feel I have to learn all the things and do all the things and I really benefit from someone reminding me, that no, I don't have to do ALL of it. Realistically I know within a massage session, I won't have the time to do all of the techniques I'm learning. On the other side of that, I don't want to start avoiding techniques I view as more challenging, so it's a bit of a balancing act. 

Some of the foot techniques translate really easily to my massage table, so I've added a couple moves in here and there with my current clients for some extra practice. It has been refreshing just to have some new techniques to use for feet.

***Edit: I just wanted to add that I continued to practice chi machine and felt I did it successfully in a way that wasn't aggressive and felt a lot more effortless. 

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Brittany Dunnavant
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March 9, 2018 - 1:31 am
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Module 5

This is the first module that I felt came pretty naturally to me as a lot of the moves felt more similar to what I might do on a table massage aside from the positioning being different. Again, I had to make an conscious effort to use my whole body even with smaller movements. 

I had some difficulty positioning myself to block the leg from moving like you do during the IT band part of the sequence. I couldn't tell if it was just a balance thing or if I was lacking the flexibility needed, but I felt pretty wonky. 

With the lean in and roll up technique, I felt like I was having a difficult time finding a good rhythm. How much pressure should be applied on the roll up? I ultimately ended up kind of leaning my body back for the roll up portion to apply more pressure on that side of the leg, but I'm not sure that, that's what I was supposed to be doing. 

My partner was super grateful for the leg work since she had just gone to the gym and worked legs. She did say that it all felt really good although initially I started with a little too much pressure at the beginning with the butterfly move, but that was an easy adjustment. 

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Brittany Dunnavant
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March 9, 2018 - 1:44 am
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Module 6

This was fun! Although this was actually the first time I really thought about how much we as the therapists get into the client's space. Have you ever worked with clients who decided that it was too much for them to have someone working that close to them? I feel like it is a significantly different experience. 

The moves actually came to me a lot more naturally here than I had anticipated and I absolutely loved having the opportunity to work more with forearms. The move for the IT band was probably the most challenging in the sense that I wanted to put muscle power into it, but I adjusted and made sure that I was making it a whole body movement. Even the rocking in the beginning of the sequence felt more natural to me. I've generally struggled with finding a good rhythm, but your explanation of letting the leg rock naturally, but just using the opposing hand to help it snap back was extremely helpful. 

I'm looking forward to getting into the stretches. I'll keep practicing these moves this week! 

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March 9, 2018 - 7:15 pm
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"With the lean in and roll up technique, I felt like I was having a difficult time finding a good rhythm. How much pressure should be applied on the roll up?"
The thing to watch out for is not so much the pressure, but the fluidity. If you do it too slowly, it will feel like uncomfortable pressure. If you hold your wrist stiff, it will feel wrong as well. Try to focus on the fluidity and start with fairly light pressure. Once you get more comfortable with the move, gradually add more pressure and ask for feedback how it feels. It should feel kind of like a wave that's rolling in and out. It will come, just like the Chi Machine fell into place for you.

I have never had a client who indicated that I was getting too much into their space. Although in Thai Massage you may be physically close, clients are fully dressed. In western massage there is less physical contact, but clients are naked. I always felt that the physical closeness is offset by the fact that nobody has to take their clothes off.

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