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Christi Nixon's Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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Christi Nixon
Anderson, SC
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January 30, 2016 - 6:15 am
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Module 1

I will start by saying that I really enjoyed the first module. I love the way you present the information and explain things using analogies, it is very helpful. I am primarily a kinesthetic learner, visual being a close second, which is probably why I found myself to be in this field of study. 

I am really looking forward to learning how to work with the energy flow of the body as opposed to the western focus of anatomy and physiology which is what I am used to. I remember one experience I had in massage school when our teacher made us relax to the point of almost "leaving our body" feeling. I will never forget that and have been searching for that feeling ever since and I think Thai Massage is a step in the right direction.

You are definitely right when you said Thai Massage is the art of combining it all together, being the techniques, tools, positions and moves. Just like musical notes in a symphony. 

Another thing I really liked that you said was that your breath is your entry world to your energy. I have never thought about it like that before and I think that is really going to help me connect it with my work.

Several of the techniques and tools are in line with massage therapy. The therapists positions, after seeing them, I realized that I do several of them already, when playing with my dogs. lol.

Looking forward to the next Module.Smile

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January 31, 2016 - 1:28 am
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Hi Christi, welcome to our forum and the Complete Thai Massage course. 

From reading your first impressions I think this course is a good match for you! Smile

First a little housekeeping - please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list:

Certification Check List

I am looking forward to following your progress and helping you whenever you need assistance.

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Christi Nixon
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February 1, 2016 - 10:47 pm
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Module 2

I wish I could practice the Chi Machine on myself. LOL Laugh

I'm glad you started off talking about ergonomics. To me that is a very important thing since I am small and don't have as much muscle strength as other massage therapists. I've watched several LMTs have to have surgery on the wrists or shoulders bc their body mechanics weren't done properly. You explained and illustrated the correct way position yourself for proper ergonomic in great detail, which is going to help me tremendously. Using body weight as opposed to muscle strength in thai massage is going to be very beneficial in helping me stick with it and succeeding. 

As far as the move, I can't wait to try it. You are a great teacher. You explain all the little things well, like where to lift the ankles, how to hold the heels and where to place them on your legs to get best results. Also, where to focus the action to get movement in the whole body. I'm glad you said that you use this move to start your sessions bc that is exactly what I am going to do. I had been wondering how it starts.

To be continued after hands on practice...

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Shama
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February 1, 2016 - 11:07 pm
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I have often wished that someone could do on me what I teach others. That's often not so easy.

I am big on good body mechanics and preserving the health of the therapist, and throughout the course I list many alternatives for smaller therapists.

You should never work with muscle power in Thai Massage - that's the best way to cut your career short. Luckily there are lots of excellent options in Thai Massage to avoid stressing your body unnecessarily.

Also keep in mind that practically all female Thai Massage therapists in Thailand are very small compared to their western counterparts, and they are all very effective even on much larger clients. It's all in the correct application of body posture and body weight.

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Christi Nixon
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February 3, 2016 - 10:28 pm
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Module 3

Again, phenomenal instruction.

The first move in the foot massage I think I will be able to grasp pretty easily but the second move with the squeezing, bending and circular body movement, will definitely take some practice like you said. Breaking the practice down into one part of the move at a time is a great suggestion that I will be using for my practice. The third move almost looks like it might would hurt but I'm sure it doesn't. For the fourth, I think I'm gonna practice that one with alternating. I feel like with all the pressing down of the foot prior, it would feel good to press the foot the forward and then back. I also like the push, pull & rotate technique. Do you only go in one direction with this move and the second move? I think I will be able to handle the twisting of just the foot in both directions, but we shall see. And the last move looks very relaxing. I will need to have the video playing while I practice in order for me to remember all the different little moves that make up the entire foot massage. That's why I tried to write about each one to help me start remembering.

I can't wait to practice these moves and the chi machine tonight for my first real practice. I feel like I look silly until then bc I "practice" these moves in the air while I'm at work. lol.Laugh 

To be continued after hands on practice...

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Shama
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February 4, 2016 - 10:41 am
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I am looking forward to your actual practice results and feedback. Smile

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Christi Nixon
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February 4, 2016 - 11:09 pm
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Module 2 continued...

Well there is not much to say about this move other than I absolutely LOVE it! It is definitely my favorite. It felt so natural to me, like it was second nature, and my practice partner said it felt really good. I made sure to focus on getting her hips to move but it wasn't hard for me. I guess I'm just an expert, HAHAHA Laugh just kidding. I really look forward to practicing this move again and every time.

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Christi Nixon
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February 4, 2016 - 11:37 pm
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Module 3 continued...

As for these moves, more practice will definitely be needed. Unfortunately I wasn't able to have the video playing like I wanted to, so I did my best from memory. (I did watch the video twice before though)

My practice of the moves were mostly in position one. I didn't change btwn the three very much since I was primarily focusing on getting the basic move correct. The second move with the body going in a circle felt really awkward. I did feel like I got the movements pretty good. Although the move was not fluid at all, my practice partner said it felt really good. I'll have to work on my flow with that one for sure. The next couple of moves my partner said they felt like her old ballet stretched she used to do.  The moves felt good for me doing them. I could feel a difference when I wasn't using my body weight and when I was so I tried to focus and make sure I was using it.

The move with pushing her feet forward, in order for me to get my hands where they are supposed to be placed on her feet, I felt like I had to lean back and my knees would come off the floor. I guess that will just take practice.

The push, pull & rotate move, and the next couple,  I didn't quite get right off. I think having the video available for these would have been very helpful. She did say that they felt good even though I'm sure I wasn't doing them completely right. I do know that I will really need to work on getting my hamstrings more flexible bc they prevented me from being able to sit straight up. As I'm watching the video again now, I do see they way I was trying to hold the foot for the twist move wasn't right and that was probably why that part felt so awkward.

I did like the last two moves with the thumbs on top and shaking (bouncing) the foot. Those felt pretty good.

Overall I think it went well. My partner seemed to enjoy it. After I get the moves down, I will work on my flow and focusing my breath and energy with the moves and the client. Smile

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February 5, 2016 - 1:13 am
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Well - there isn't much to say about the Chi Machine except that you are an expert in it already! Laugh

When it comes to the next module, you are not quite an expert yet, as I can tell, but that will come soon. Smile

The circular technique usually does take some time to figure out. If you did all the techniques from memory, then I am pretty sure that you missed some details which would have made all the difference. If you can play the video along with your practice sessions, that would be very helpful. Or at least you could print our the transcript and use that as a cheat sheet.

Anyway, you are not expected to do everything perfectly right in the very beginning of the course. A couple of months down the line you will think back and ask yourself how you could have ever found those moves difficult! Smile

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Christi Nixon
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February 9, 2016 - 9:47 pm
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Module 4

The stick shift analogy is perfect. I have gone through learning how to drive a stick shift so having that thought in my mind gives me focus for practice and learning.

Changing the focus of the moves will be very helpful and also thinking about the concept of how the foot moves will help me remember what moves to do. I am also glad you said that when you only use part of your body you cut off the energy bc that is so true. When I was practicing before I actually tried this and I could tell a difference. And I think focusing on the feeling of the moves as opposed to the technique will be helpful as well.

I can't wait to practice these last few moves and then put them all together.

TBC...

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Christi Nixon
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February 9, 2016 - 10:20 pm
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Module 5

These techniques remind me a lot of the massage I learned in school. I agree, warming the muscles before stretching is a must.

When doing these moves, do you typically do a line from the calf all the way through the thigh and back down before you change moves? Or do you work the calf completely first with the different moves and then the thigh, or does it really matter? Also, do you work the inside and outside of one leg before switching to the next? I'm sure I'll have more questions like these when we get into the stretching.

I like the locking of the feet in order to stabilize the leg when doing these moves. I'm sure that's gonna take some practice to get right and be comfortable. I'm glad you explained how to breathe with the moves. This is like the breath in yoga, which I love to do also, but I always seem to forget about breathing with the moves so this will definitely take some focus and practice for me. 

TBC...

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February 9, 2016 - 10:40 pm
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Some therapists do the calves first, and then continue to the thighs, and some do the entire length of the leg. I have done both, and I think that it doesn't really matter so much. I am sure there are some pundits who would strenuously argue for one way or the other, but you can do a great massage using either method.

Regarding working the inside and the outside - this is mostly a matter of being practical. You want to avoid moving around unnecessarily. That's why it is a good strategy to do as much as you can from one position, and then move on to another position. There is no hard and fast rule here.

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Christi Nixon
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February 26, 2016 - 9:08 pm
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Module 4 continued...

When doing these moves I tried doing them by technique and my feeling and I can tell a huge difference when I do them by feeling. It feels so much more natural and I feel more connected to the client.

My partner loved the press and roll on the bottom of the foot. And they were surprised that the circles on the ankle felt as good as it did. Wiggling the ankle helped loosen his ankle bc he was pretty stiff in it.

Overall I like these moves for the feet and ankles and even more when combining all the foot moves together and the transitioning tips were helpful for moving from one foot to the other.

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Christi Nixon
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February 26, 2016 - 9:32 pm
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Module 5 continued...

I was surprised how much power I had in these moves. I'm used to having to use quite a bit of muscle pressure with traditional massage so this was a nice change.

The quad moves felt good to my partner but I had to be careful with the calf moves on one of his calves bc he has a bad varicose vein but other than that he said if felt great. I really had to work on keeping his leg stable. He is a big boy with tight legs so it took some effort, but I'm sure I'll get better with practice. I did however enjoy doing the push pull move on his thigh, once I got a rhythm going. 

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February 27, 2016 - 1:09 am
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That's one of the biggest advantages of Thai Massage that you can generate a lot of power without having to use much muscle effort. This will be the recurring theme throughout this course - how to work with least effort.

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Christi Nixon
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April 7, 2016 - 10:57 pm
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Module 6

I loved learning different techniques to use other than having to use my thumbs all the time and I found that the rocking helps my partner to relax more without realizing. 

The little things, like turning your palm up when using my forearm, makes a big difference to my partner. He said it is more comfortable that way. I had to be careful not to get my elbow into the move especially in the inner thigh area. Although some of the positions for the thigh area were a little difficult to perform with my current partner, I was able to at least try them. The calf moves were great and using the 45 degree angle definitely helped with the outside calf move.

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April 8, 2016 - 2:15 pm
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Good to see you back - I thought you had dropped out. Smile

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Christi Nixon
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April 21, 2016 - 10:05 pm
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Glad to be back. Just got behind and life happened lol

Module 7

I really enjoyed the hip evaluation even though there is a lot to remember. It reminded me of when I was in massage school our teacher taught us how to determine if someone had true sciatica or if it was pseudo sciatica caused by the piriformis muscle. I thought it was kinda fun to do the walking with my feet on the thigh. It was a little harder to do the grasp and squeezing of the thigh without slipping but like everything else, it will take practice. 🙂

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Christi Nixon
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April 21, 2016 - 10:39 pm
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Module 8

The pie visual I think will help me remember the ways to move the thigh and in turn help me remember all the techniques better. Thank you for constantly reminding us to move with out body in each move.

I was surprised that my partner enjoyed the knee moves, both the back and forth and the circular. I didn't think I was doing much of anything. I wish I could get someone to do the 180 degree moves on me. I tried them on my partner and I had to do the loosening moves before being able to do the stretches for it to feel good for him. And changing my positioning helped me to do it better.

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April 22, 2016 - 12:14 am
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Regarding the "real" and "pseudo" sciatica - I want to clarify this. Sciatica can be caused by a compression of the sciatic nerve either where it exits the spinal canal in the lower sacral vertebrae or by being compressed by the piriformis muscle which is called piriformis syndrome. The latter is by no means a "pseudo" sensation and it can cause the same searing pain all the way down the leg. Both causes are equally valid pathologies.

Both can be treated with Thai Massage. Actually I have an entire course about Thai Massage For Sciatica.

I just want to make sure that nobody reading this thread is left with the impression that piriformis syndrome is not a real cause for sciatica. Actually I am not sure what your teacher meant to say. I have never heard piriformis syndrome described as "pseudo" sciatica. There is certainly nothing "pseudo" about the pain which it causes. Frown

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