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Catharina Kiaha's Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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CKiaha
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September 9, 2014 - 10:08 am
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Module 1

As I viewed the instructions, I was reminded of how I myself view bodywork as an intuitive flow, a dance, a melody, a rhythmic wave, a composition, rather than mechanical steps.  However, just like in dance or Tai Chi, or any other art or even language, one has to learn the steps, the grammar, the mechanics.  That is a process, not a quick fast gratification,  but an appreciation of the intricacies of the process, and the art of bodywork.  So basically, slow down and breathe and learn. The art of this process evolves over time with much thorough introspection and practice, blending the steps together skillfully.

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CKiaha
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September 9, 2014 - 10:23 am
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Module 2

What can I say, this technique rocks.  ( that's how we talk here in Texas, especially near Austin with all that good music)  I have a Chi Machine and as much as I love it, I do not appreciate the abruptness at the end of the machine cycle.  So, as much as machines are helpful, there is nothing like a truly "Hi-Touch"  in this "Hi-Tech World" - Ain't no App for that! I tried the Chi Machine "Body technique" and loved how with a little practice it can totally calm and prepare someone in such a short time, for really good bodywork.  However, it does take a little adjusting and such, as you suggested to practice over time,  for the Western Folks, since we are not used to all that kneeling and squatting.  Good Yoga practice, so no worries, just do it.   

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September 14, 2014 - 1:31 pm
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Module 3

In an effort to get more practice and refresh my thai foot massage skills, I have incorporated the steps into the table massage.  As Shama said, client's never get tired of this. It is a powerful way to set the tone of the session, to gently calm the client's frazzled mind and to center oneself.  On the mat, I have found the rocking swaying of my body and rhythmically rolling into the client's feet very meditative and perfect to settle into the bodywork session. Smile

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Shama
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September 15, 2014 - 2:35 am
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You seem to be taking to the course material quite well right from the get-go! Smile I really like what you mentioned in your post about module 1. We are very much on the same wave length about this!

When I lived in Austin, I also used a Chi Machine, but the hands on version is definitely a better experience.

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September 19, 2014 - 10:09 am
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Module 4

I like the idea of conceptual learning versus mechanical learning.  It takes practice though, lots of practice to achieve a smooth flow with smooth transitions, and give good bodywork by focusing and sensing what the client and therapist feel.  On the other hand, to someone that does not know better, no matter how simple and how few variations of techniques, Thai massage just feels good.  It is indeed like learning how to drive a stick shift car.  In time and with practice, the intuitive flow evolves into a fine work of art. The flow is finally just like shifting gears effortlessly while driving. 

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Shama
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September 19, 2014 - 12:19 pm
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Great assessment here! It is true that someone who doesn't know much about Thai Massage won't be able to pick out your more subtle skills. However in my experience clients can tell the overall quality of Thai Massage. The more you develop it into an art form, the more you will attract and keep clients just by word of mouth. Also the more refined skills in Thai Massage will greatly add to your sensitivity and ultimately your therapeutic skills.

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September 23, 2014 - 7:05 am
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Module 5

The butterfly move as demonstrated in this module has to be one of my favorites.  The consistent rhythmical broad compression is so relaxing yet purposeful.  Although this might sound overly technical, but I got a kick out of using the therapists foot in this hook like manner to stabilize the leg.  

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September 24, 2014 - 9:52 am
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Module 6

I am so glad that Shama takes time to explain all the steps thoroughly with each module.  There are a few details in this module that are especially dear to me such as explaining the "elephant walk" and the IT-band/abductor Technique, using the opposite hand to steady and guide the working arm.  I also find the incorporation of the various rocking sequences especially helpful.  Need to practice a little more to get it down as smooth as you Shama, but love it. Cool

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September 24, 2014 - 10:00 am
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Module 7

This module taught me what the purpose of the final leg stretch is all about.  In the past I had learned a similar stretch where both hands grasp the upper thigh with the client knee bent and client foot stabilized.  The pull was towards the therapist and I never could quite figure out what the benefit of this move was.  Now I know, it was incorrect, the pull of the leg in a diagonal with the hip getting raised and stretched makes total sense.  I am so glad I decided to take this course to fine tune my Thai Massage skills that had become a little rusty and that were not clear to me on some parts. Wink

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Shama
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September 24, 2014 - 12:34 pm
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I am happy to hear that you find the course useful to you! Smile

You know, the funny thing is that this particular move where you pull the leg towards you is generally taught in the not very effective "straight back towards you" manner. I had originally learned it that way here in Thailand.

Just like you I realized that there was something amiss with this technique. Then I started playing around with it and figured out that just changing the pull angle, you suddenly had an effective move. Sometimes it takes just a little adjustment, a little refinement, and all of a sudden a technique works much better.

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September 26, 2014 - 11:47 am
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Module 8

I have come to appreciate the geometry applications in this course.  Although Thai Massage is an ancient art, Shama has captured the Biomechanics of this art, and packaged it into very simple language.  The hip pie concept is a perfect example.  Whether you love or hate mathematics, it permeates the universe, including bodywork. Again, Shama, thank you for being meticulous in such an easy going way, must be that Austin vibe.Cool

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Shama
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September 26, 2014 - 9:12 pm
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Yeah, Austin does have a cool vibe and I have fond memories of my years there!

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October 2, 2014 - 5:08 am
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Module 9

With these powerful stretches, the ability to combine "power and softness" is essential to providing the best possible experience for the client.  Knowing that there are many options for so many different types of clients with all the variations for each stretch makes Thai Massage such a powerful tool in the therapists tool box.  I have been doing the assisted stretch where the client's foot is placed over her knee and her waist is pushed up by me, on my massage table.  Doing this move on the floor on the mat and pulling from the opposite side instead of pushing up and into the client is sooooo much easier.   Laugh

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Shama
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October 2, 2014 - 3:18 pm
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That goes for many Thai Massage stretches! Floor work is definitely easier to do and easier on your body. Smile

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October 10, 2014 - 10:27 am
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Module 10

I have not focused on energy work in the past, other than just intuitively knowing and sensing as a bodyworker.  This is the first time I heard of the term Hara.  I was intrigued and did a little further reading.  Turns out I was sucked into a "wormhole" into another galaxy :-) SurprisedThere is so much more to learn.  I guess I will start with focusing on tan tien breathing and make that part of my habit as I practice Thai Massage. Keeping my ears wide open for more on the subject. Smile

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Shama
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October 10, 2014 - 1:42 pm
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I don't get too much "sucked into" the precise definitions of hara etc. I just use it as a useful concept. Once you start arguing with the pundits what exactly it is, where exactly it is, what exactly it does, you can get a headache! Laugh

Once you get to the end of the course, you will get a bonus module called "Magic Touch Secrets" which goes much deeper into all this energy stuff, but in a way which is easy to understand and implement.

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October 11, 2014 - 3:51 am
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Module 11

I have a thai massage mat, which is available in massage supply catalogs, that I purchased about 9 years ago.  Having watched you perform the whole leg routine with such a smooth flow, and having watched your tip about the best choice of mat, I dug deep into my pockets and invested in a King Size latex mattress topper.  I can not wait to try the routine out in my new office space at the end of the month on my brand new mat.  Practicing with limited space on my old "small mat" suddenly is just not as good anymore.  I think I am going to be spoiled with my new mat, and my clients will love thai massage even more.  Thank you for your insights. Laugh

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Shama
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October 11, 2014 - 10:15 am
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That sounds like a great investment. There is just something about having an ideal work space...Smile

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October 13, 2014 - 10:11 pm
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Module 12

This module has some really powerful hip and leg stretches, but my favorites are the techniques for the sacrum and SI joint, especially the elephant walk on the knees followed by the side stretches and circles.  Great way to un-kink that "hitch in your giddy-up", as we say in Texas.

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October 14, 2014 - 8:22 am
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Module 13

Your idea to become a massage artist versus a massage mechanic resonates with me.  Again, as in a dance, once you know the steps, the mechanics, then you let the client's body tell you what it needs. After some practice, the moves become smoother and the whole session flows, that's the art of bodywork.Laugh

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