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Casandra Barker Thai Heavenly Head Massage video course notes
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Casandra Barker
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April 1, 2016 - 2:05 am
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 Module 1

(bare with me please I am backtracking my experience with this online course)

I choose this course to broaden my therapies and experiences with massage therapy. I have found it difficult to relate to other courses for they did not have some of my same techniques that my clients love already. As we all know there is always room for improvement, and that is where I hope this course can lead me. 

I am totally new to thai massage and was very anxious to try a floor mat, I was relieved that I could incorporate these new techniques on a standard massage table. I did however have to try a few different levels until I felt comfortable to not be shaking and have my body weigh distributed correctly. My course partner, my husband, is always so willing and patient with me when I am learning a new course. 

I was also relieved that Shama is well spoken, with a slower dialogue I can follow along easier. 

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Casandra Barker
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April 1, 2016 - 8:42 am
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Module 2

I found myself overly confident while when I was watching this module. I seem to work on chests and ribs quite frequently in my everyday practice. I was taught a lot during this video, I found it to be even more specific on the individual intercostal muscles. It did take me 6 different sessions to be sure that I was working on the muscle and not the ribs, all while doing this bilaterally as well.

I do have to say I am anxious to work on a larger chested woman since my partner right now is my husband. I feel that I may wait until I have the technique down consistently with confidence that my energy flow and hands will be positive and steady.

Chris, my husband and partner for this course, sits at a desk all day (12 hr shifts) and he has repetitively said that he can notice his posture changing the more we practice this portion of the course. 

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Casandra Barker
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April 1, 2016 - 9:07 am
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Module 3

During this lesson I learned new body mechanics that no other course has taught me, particularity the pecs push and pull like the kneading movements while rolling the wrist, and using the new different parts of our thumbs.

Being my first Thai massage experience, I am learning to move my body with the client and that less is more with pressure. I am incorporating this in my everyday practice as well and can see and feel a difference in my own energy flow and well-being with more flexibility in my hands and arms, this give me the confidence that I can in fact continue massage for many more years.  

As for my partner with practice, Chris, has now started watching the modules with me to ensure I am doing the correct moves as I started to get overwhelmed learning a a totally different style of massage. This proved to be helpful and I can suggest it if your partner is willing. Chris enjoyed that Shama describes the right and wrong moves and why. 

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Casandra Barker
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April 1, 2016 - 9:37 am
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Module 4

DIFFICULT.

I am still working on my floor mat posture to succeed in the wave movement, it simply is not easy. I have indeed given up for weeks at a time on these techniques.  

All other movements are not difficult for me besides relearning to do therapy bilaterally instead of one side at a time.  My strongest weakness is the floor mat, I just do not feel comfortable there or confident in my posture.

My partner is much larger than I so I will be looking for smaller frame person to practice with. 

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Shama
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April 1, 2016 - 11:20 am
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Hi Casandra, welcome to our forum! It looks like you got a real jump start here with your posts. It seems that you have the forum process well figured out. However as a matter of standard procedure I am always listing a link to our certification check list here to make sure that we are on the same wave length. Please take a few minutes to read it:

Certification Check List

Yes, the “wave” technique is one of the most difficult ones and can only be done on a floor mat. However you can easily do Heavenly Head Massage while skipping this technique. I have done lots of Heavenly Head Massage sessions in a spa setting where I worked on a table, and of course I could never use this technique. So don’t worry too much about this one. 

When I work on a table, I sit on a chair with a pillow stuffed behind my back to be as comfortable as possible. I have found that if the table is a little bit above knee height, it works best for my ergonomics.

By the way, Heavenly Head Massage is not exactly Thai Massage. It really is my own creation. Most of these techniques are not part of traditional Thai Massage, however they integrate beautifully with it.

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Casandra Barker
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April 4, 2016 - 7:36 pm
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Module 5

WOW, a great lesson, this seemed such a simple technique that I have immediately incorporated into my practice everyday.  This may seem silly, but this module seems one of the best that describes your heavenly head massage.

It includes all the important aspects of a balanced flowing massage with great transitions. All while “getting the hair out of the way” this worked most wonderfully as I try to explain to my clients that I would like to incorporate my new techniques from this course with them. Sometimes they are just not sure to try something new, but starting with these techniques  first to give them a glimpse of how perfectly flowing heavenly head massage is they are ready to sign up immediately. 

On a personal note, this is a great way to get inflammation out of the spine without using pressure for those who maybe older and can not tolerate much. 

I for got to mention before but this is also my first time not using any oil or lotion on a client, so far so good, overhead costs are going down! Yay! * tip I increased the over all temperature in my therapy room and all clients love it and are much more relaxed faster, we pretend were in Thailand 🙂

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Casandra Barker
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April 4, 2016 - 7:53 pm
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Module 6

My fingers were a little sore from this move, (getting better each time after practice) I am building strength in my wrists. I also had difficulty with not dropping the head and also not lifting too much , still using a table in my practice. I find myself pulling back (with body weight) to regulate the consistency of the fluid moves of massage instead of all hands and forearms. 

I have a lot of neck fusion clients that I can not fully do these lifts comfortably on them because they are so stiff, my clients are not as comfortable with these new techniques yet to trust every move, I am working on my confidence in explanations and comfort levels on the topic. 

Shama Kern, any great ideas on marketing this new skill base?

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April 4, 2016 - 10:50 pm
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When you work on clients with really stiff necks, it can help to use a little oil or lotion and loosen the neck up without doing much stretching. This will be covered in the last (bonus) module of the course.

Regarding marketing this skill: The name Heavenly Head Massage tends to sell itself. I used to work in a fancy destination spa offering Heavenly Head Massage and other types of massage. However my bookings were 95 percent for Heavenly Head Massage – it was all in the name.

Then I would collect some testimonials and create a flyer with a description and the testimonials. If you use social media you can promote it there of course. Here is a super simple way of getting testimonials:

How To Get Testimonials The Easy Way

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Casandra Barker
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April 4, 2016 - 11:39 pm
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Great thanks for the feed back! I will be pushing the name a little more, working for almost 9 years I have a lot of the same consistent clients, and being in Kentucky, some – not all don’t like to try new things. 

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Casandra Barker
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April 5, 2016 - 12:02 am
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Module 7

As mentioned before, my partner until I am comfortable with all aspects of these techniques is my husband. Which makes doing this head roll easy to be this close to his head with my body, however, his feedback is that my chest (being a woman) is very much in his face while this move is being preformed.

To make matters worse I am a smaller framed (short) woman, with small hands and shorter arms ( I am proportionate) lolSmile. I felt as my husband was right, as my chest doesn’t touch his face while I an in transition to body support myself on the floor arm, it is very close.  Just a concern with my comfort I will need to figure out the best way to apply. Any suggestions are welcome. Also on a personal note, I need to do more squats because my forearm and elbow supporting myself on the thigh didn’t feel comfortable either. 

On the plus side, all the other streches in this lesson were fantastic to add to practice!

How can I research others in Kentucky that have taken this course so they can do this to me because I’m sure it does feel fantastic?

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April 5, 2016 - 12:36 am
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Module 8

Unfortunately I think this video opened up to a technique difficult to comprehend by just watching.

Maybe if you ever have the chance to redo these adding in more landmarks to the descriptions like my fingers are on C-3 when pushing or just using a skeleton as the body preformed on. Also if I were the instructor I might add in a final clip of the moves put all together to this point, some the videos you did do this, and I understand that the last video would be about an hour long but I would totally watch that!

The other moves showed were like many needed to be practiced but eventually I got them down, just was a fluid motion comprehension issue. CANT STOP WATCHING!

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April 5, 2016 - 12:49 am
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I am curious, is your actual body in his face, or do any loose fitting clothes touch his face? Or in other words, if you would wear tight fitting clothes, would you still be very much in his face?

Here are my thoughts: in my experience most HHM clients zone out rather quickly during a session. Their eyes are closed and they have no awareness of how close or how far your body is from them. When working on your husband he is probably wide awake, analyzing your performance.

However this is generally not the case in a real session, actually it is generally just the opposite. In most of my sessions the clients have been so zoned out that they cannot even remember most of the session. They are only aware of this incredibly blissful feeling. So  what I am saying is that your practice experience with your husband does not necessarily reflect the experience of working on a real client.

It is definitely not a good thing if your clothes are actually touching their faces as that will take them right out of this blissful zoned out state. So loose fitting tops are not good for HHM. If you have a tight top you have a good idea how far you are from someone’s face, with loose tops you don’t have this awareness.

Here is another question: are you planning to do HHM on a floor mat or on a massage table? You might want to experiment with both and see if you can get better ergonomics on a table or on the floor in regards to this issue. 

Our course students rarely post where exactly they live, so I don’t have a database for specific locations. Many people from all over the world have taken this course, but I only get to know them from forum posts. And if they don’t enroll in the certification program, then I have no information about them except their name and email.

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Casandra Barker
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April 5, 2016 - 12:57 am
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Module 9

LOVE <3

I have a passion with helping people to remove headaches from their lives. One way I have done this so far is by working through a TMJD massage techniques. Looking forward to incorporating these ear techniques with some of my other personal ones even more.

At this time I am practicing the HHM sequence as much as possible, and I finally have had more bodies to work on which are all shapes and sizes. These set of ear sequences are some of my favorites so far because they are new to me, and focus on a subject I love anyways! 

Some feedback I was not expecting is the level of sinus relief clients have had after laying face down and then I started these moves. The clients started saying that their ears were popping and that they could feel their sinuses draining. An added bonus I guess!

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Casandra Barker
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April 5, 2016 - 1:12 am
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You are correct about my previous topic, he is indeed wide awake, and I am not touching but just rather close just a few inches away if that. I have been trying some of the techniques on a floor mat  (yoga) so it just is not comfortable for me, I am so used to using a massage table. I only have friends and family with me when I am trying a new practice out.

I do have a exercise ball that makes moving in a rolling motion easier though, and I have him and others bare with me at different lengths away from me ( moving towards their feet) and adjusting the table height itself as well.

Please excuse the excess of posts so close together, I started this course in January and I am posting from my actual notes with adding in my recent experiences as well since I have practiced more then most while they normally post. 

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Shama
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April 5, 2016 - 1:51 am
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No problem with your many posts. Smile

HHM works just fine on a table. You can sit behind the client, but for a few techniques you have to stand up, mainly when working on the chest. You could also try to do those close-to-the-body neck techniques while standing which would remove you from close proximity. However I have to say that I just never had a problem with the closeness issue.

Of course I can just imagine your husband with open eyes staring at your torso a few inches away and feeling somewhat claustrophobic, but try doing the same techniques on him while he has his eyes closed and see if that changes the feeling.

HHM clients rarely manage to be wide awake during a sessions. I even have had problems teaching HHM in live classes because even the person whom I demonstrate the techniques on cannot manage to stay awake and consequently doesn’t remember what I was demonstrating.

Your husband being wide awake exacerbates the issue. In actual massage practice the issue might become a non-issue. And if you feel uncomfortable with someone and a particular technique, just skip the move on this person.

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Casandra Barker
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April 12, 2016 - 12:13 am
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Module 10

In this segment, very first thing is announcing you cant just rub for 15 minutes. Understanding that aspect but in general about how long should you spend on each area for a hour long HHM?

With 8 different techniques to choose from as mentioned in the segment I can see how you would very well be able to spend that time just on the head, and your client not get bored. I was very comfortable with this segment because you teach to work on one side at a time through the invigorating parts/ techniques which is how I currently work. 

It did take practice just as you mention many times, to not have my clients head unstable while applying body pressure and using these faster moves. I have been adding these moves by themselves as apart of my cranial sacral energy work, I tend to do things differently for high stressed and high blood pressure clients. They do better if I meet their current state and gradually bring their energy levels down, same as you describe with breathing techniques. 

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Casandra Barker
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April 12, 2016 - 12:28 am
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Module 11

My hair stylist ans I trade services and she commented that she wants me to give her your website so she can take this course, they do add on head massage for clients as well. She is already in love with HHM. She also just loved all of her volume when she was finished with her session!

This segment answered my above question, one time for each technique in a hour session. 

You mentioned to play around with our own patterns with the techniques, mine is not set in stone but my sequence is:

  • 1. Hold
  • 2. Rub circles
  • 3. Lean press
  • 4. Stroke
  • 5. Friction
  • 6. Jumping
  • 7. Shampoo
  • 8. Rapid Rub
  • 9. Grab & pull
  • 10. Stroke with nails
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Shama
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April 12, 2016 - 9:22 pm
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Although you found your answer, about 15 minutes for each section of the HHM, you can of course vary this. For example I practically always use some head and face techniques at the end of all massage sessions for 5 or 10 minutes. And if someone has neck problems, I might do half an hour on the neck and totally skip the chest, for example. For most regular one hour HHM sessions I do spend about 15 minutes on each section, but this can be adjusted according to circumstances.

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