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Cassandra Pickard's Thai Rocking Massage Course Notes
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Cassandra Pickard
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March 22, 2018 - 9:05 pm
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Although I have been practicing Thai Massage for quite some time now, and am very excited to begin this course!  I have taken a few other of Shama’s courses over the years and find the courses to be easy to follow.

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Cassandra Pickard
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March 22, 2018 - 9:15 pm
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Module 1

I am looking forward to applying these techniques on fibromyalgia clients as I think this will be a very beneficial form of Thai Massage for them.  I found it interesting to find out that a small minority of people can become nauseous from the rocking …I will keep that in mind.  I like how the rocking affects your “chi” energy too.  I find myself “rocking” myself sometimes and I do find it quite soothing Smile.  Looking forward to Module 2 to start on the techniques!!

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Shama
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March 22, 2018 - 9:26 pm
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Welcome back to another course, Cassandra! You probably know how this all works, but I will post a link to our certification check list anyway for your reference:

Certification Check List

I am looking forward to hearing from you how the rocking works on your fibromyalgia clients.

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Cassandra Pickard
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March 25, 2018 - 9:59 am
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Module 2

I have been doing something similar to the Chi machine for a while now, however I don’t think I’ve ever done it for the 2-3 minutes as per the instructions…what a difference!  My client actually felt like his back was getting more in contact with the floor as time went on.  I found the tractioning at a 90 degree angle quite different, but effective.  I was better able to use my body as leverage.  After doing the tractioning on my clients right leg he felt like it was quite a bit longer.  It actually was a bit longer when I put it on the floor to move onto the other side so that was neat to see.  I was taught how to traction both legs at the same time, however, this doesn’t allow you to see the results as easily. Just curious what it means if both feet lay straight up, but also move easily both inwards and outwards?  I’ve always assumed that it means that the person is not fully relaxed (is holding) but are open and/or flexible.

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Shama
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March 26, 2018 - 12:16 am
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That’s probably a logical conclusion and holds true in most cases.

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Cassandra Pickard
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March 27, 2018 - 8:17 am
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Module 3

I found the instruction to use the one hand as a stabilizer very useful.  The stabilizing hand makes it much easier to facilitate the rocking movement and not move the entire leg.  My client has difficulty rotating inwards so I spent more time practicing the rocking towards the middle of the body.  Things did get much looser which was nice to see even though not much pressure was used.  What I found most interesting is that although my clients feet have the natural external rotation, his right one is slightly less rotated than the left so I did the rocking at the hip “groove”.  After doing this for a bit I stopped to evaluate and noticed that the right foot had dropped a little and was more in line with the other one.

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March 27, 2018 - 11:55 am
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Good, that’s the goal, and it is what normally happens. Of course it will take repeated sessions to get this to hold. It is a process of retraining the body to regain better structural alignment. Initially the force of bad habit will work against you, but after a while the client’s body will get used to new better habits. 

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Cassandra Pickard
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March 29, 2018 - 7:03 am
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Module 4

My client said he actually preferred the squeeze, lift and rock technique over the basic rocking technique on the legs (as did I for giving it)…even though he does not generally like a lot of pressure.  He also really enjoyed the slow rotations with the leg supported by my leg.  He commented that it felt really nice on his lower back & that he could feel his hips getting more space.  I had much difficulty with the bent leg rotation/rocks when I had my leg bent to block my clients ankle (I believe it just wasn’t working for me due to our height differences – he’s much taller than I), when I switched to lock his ankle between my thighs while sitting back on my heels I had a much easier and more fluid movement.  Ultimately my client also enjoyed it a lot more.  Sometimes you just have to adjust Laugh.  The hip rock while in tree position was very relaxing for my client & again he found it helped his lower back loosen up.  I had to support his right leg on a pillow as it was a bit too much stretch on its own.  

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March 29, 2018 - 10:43 am
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Definitely – adjusting techniques, depending on various body types, is an essential skill to develop. Luckily this is quite easy to do with rocking techniques.

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Cassandra Pickard
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March 30, 2018 - 7:22 am
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Module 5

I found the hip rotations with the slight pulling out of the foot to be quite interesting, as well as comfortable for me to do.  My client found it to be quite a smooth movement also.  Client really enjoyed it when I put his foot at my hip and let his knee drop down to do the hip rock in that position.  He liked the rocking movement, but also with the combined stretch. I found the sideways rock with my clients foot in my hip groove a little uncomfortable to execute at first, then I realized I did not have my body quite parallel with his.  Although my client did/does not experience the “pinching” in the hip when doing the stretches toward the shoulders, I did try the technique using finger circles.  Surprisingly that was one of his favourite parts (probably because it felt so good as he didn’t really need it).  I much preferred this technique of doing a spinal twist on a stiffer body as I found it a little easier on me…so thanks Shama.

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March 30, 2018 - 3:06 pm
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The rocking really is gentler on the client and easier on the therapist. Throughout this forum I have read hundreds of posts how therapists appreciate the rocking alternatives, including experienced Thai Massage therapists like yourself. Personally I find that using rocking techniques helps me to get more into a flow state.

In regards to working on “sensitive” areas (like the groin), I have always found that the therapists are much more worried about them than the clients. Smile

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Cassandra Pickard
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April 2, 2018 - 8:49 am
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Module 6

So the beginning of module 6 started with techniques that I have been using for a while now…the hip rocking, both in the hip/groin area & on the outer hips (and walking up and down the body).  I never formally “learned” this technique, I just started doing it one day & noticed it felt good to give & my clients commented on how good it felt to receive.  I tried the open finger method on the ribs with my practice client & he really enjoyed the intensity so I will definitely be adding that one to my repertoire a.s.a.p.!  My client commented that the hip/low back rock/twist was a really good stretch as well as being trance like for him.  When I got to the point of sitting right back with my arms straight he felt the stretch not only in his low back but also in his hamstrings a bit.  I did find my positioning a little uncomfortable for me due to our size differences so I had to try a few different ways to modify so that I was able to hold him down with my leg but also sit back.  I did manage to find a happy spot that felt comfortable though.  After practicing each technique on its own, I did all of them from start to finish without stopping & when I did finally stop my client noticed that he felt tingly!! Yea!!  

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Shama
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April 2, 2018 - 10:00 am
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With the inspiration of this course you might even come up with more ways to rock people. Nobody taught me these rocking techniques either. I just liked the concept and over the years developed more and more of them because that’s what worked well with my clients. I found out that linear Thai Massage techniques can be limiting for certain clients, but rocking is more universally applicable.

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Cassandra Pickard
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April 4, 2018 - 8:26 am
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Module 7

Although my practice client is quite a bit bigger than I, I did manage to do the technique with his bum on my thighs both rocking and using my forearms.  He commented that he really liked the massage he received in his glutes, I also found this technique to be fairly easy to execute even with our size difference.  I was unable to execute the move that required me to lift him off the mat with his feet in my groin (too long of legs :)).  I do use a similar technique in my practice but I am not sitting for it…I am anxious to try this one on someone who is smaller as I think it will be easier on my knees.  Although I have done the leg swing many times I haven’t done it on someone taller than myself so it was nice to have the pointer of raising my heel off the mat (although in this particular match I was still barely able to get his hips up enough to get a good swing).  The push/pull abdominal technique I refer to as my abdominal wave motion…because I envision my hands like a wave.  I did like the option of doing it with the thumb and fingers as opposed to just the heel of the hand and fingers.  Is there a certain circumstance where you would choose to use the thumb/finger combo over the palm/finger combo?

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April 4, 2018 - 10:56 am
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My philosophy is that in order to get good results, it is not one specific technique that will do the trick, but it is the sum total of many techniques. Therefore the more techniques we know the easier it is to be effective. Not all techniques work well on everyone. I also feel that it is better to vary techniques in a session to make it more interesting and flow better. No matter how good the technique, if you keep on doing the same thing for a long time, it will feel a bit strange. It feels more interesting, more flowing, and more effective if you change up your techniques.

There are of course differences even between similar techniques. For example if you use the thumbs, the feeling will be different from using the heel of your hands on the abdomen. Also you can go a bit deeper into some spots with the thumbs compared to the heel of your hand, and you can also feel trouble spots more easily with your thumbs. But even if there is no obvious difference between the two techniques, they will feel different to the client and they will widen the potential effectiveness of your work. It’s also more fun for the therapist to work with a larger range of techniques. It feels more interesting, more artistic and more flowing.

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Cassandra Pickard
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April 6, 2018 - 9:35 am
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Module 8

I totally agree with you Shama.  I have always felt that the torso is a commonly neglected area.  I have used a couple of the techniques that you have shown in this module, however, the rib cage rock is new to me.  Just curious, is it best to keep the hands in the same spot or move them slightly up and down (as in closer to & farther away from the mat) if someone has a larger (thicker) ribcage? I have had many people comment on how much they like the circling on the sternum, but I am excited to incorporate the up & down movement as that is also quite comfortable to do.  My client preferred the up and down motion of the shoulder rock as opposed to the side to side rock although he couldn’t explain why.  I did like the figure 8 technique, however I think it would be much easier to do with someone smaller than my practice client (I don’t think I would do this on any other client his size as I was pretty much on top of him Embarassed.  Putting the clients arm between my knee and his ribs was a smart thing for doing the shoulder circles, I could see how not doing this could cause some discomfort for the client otherwise (nice tip!).  Both my client & I really liked the shoulder rock spinal twist move, I think it looked delicious and he said it felt great!

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Shama
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April 6, 2018 - 1:57 pm
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You don’t need to keep the hands in the same spot. Especially if someone has a large rib cage, it lends itself to varying the hand placement to achieve a better effect. On small rib cages you would most likely be better off with keeping your hands in the same spot.

Yes, the figure 8 is much harder to do on large and heavy clients, especially if you have a much smaller body than your client. That’s why it is important to understand that the techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences.

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Cassandra Pickard
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April 8, 2018 - 9:07 am
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Module 9

My client much preferred the outstretched arm swing as he said it felt a little more natural for him.  He is able to fully relax and let go so his arms swung quite freely, however, I have had many clients that “hold” and I have used the same methods you suggested to get them to let go.  Generally just bringing their attention to the area is all it takes.  My client REALLY enjoyed the arm technique that involved rolling the shoulder and arm slowly up.  He felt that it was releasing a lot.  I liked that technique as well as it was a very pleasant to execute and even though it’s not a true rocking technique, it seems to be very effective without putting strain on me so thank you.  Shama when I was watching you do the flow you almost put ME in a trance…I was actually rocking along with you both Laugh!!  When I did a little flow on my client also…he still said his favourite rocking technique is the hip one although he did enjoy it in its entirety.

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Shama
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April 8, 2018 - 11:35 am
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You will be a rocking queen, I can tell. Watch out, rocking can become addictive. Laugh

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Cassandra Pickard
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April 10, 2018 - 10:13 am
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Module 10

I too have always tried to pay some attention to the sacrum as it is a highly ignored area.  My client very much enjoyed the circle rocking on the glutes as it was helping to loosen up his tight back from driving.  This technique really gets you into a rhythm I think.  The sacrum circling, both slow & fast were a big hit with my client (I generally do this, but while straddling the client so it was interesting to do it from the side).  I feel that I was able to be a bit more thorough as I was able to cover more of the sacrum.  The knee rock on the glutes was very tricky and it took me a few tries to get the movement down so it was not a weird feeling wiggle Laugh.  That one is definitely going to take some practice.  I do a technique that is very similar to the back rock with the hand moving up & down the spine…I generally rock from one hand to the other leaving the one stationary on the glute & the other moving up and down the back.  I did a comparison with my client & he commented that the rocking method indeed was a little less intense as the pressure wasn’t held for very long.  

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