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Christina Duncan: Complete Thai Massage
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Christina Duncan
Wichita, KS. USA
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August 9, 2020 - 2:00 am
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Module 1

I was very comforted to learn this healing technique is focused on energy vs anatomy adjustment. I feel attracted to feeling and intuition more than logic and reason though I do recognize there is a balance. I feel very confident in the positions as I have been practicing yoga for two decades now and that is what lead me to interest in this modality. I am excited to practice the ergonomics and have been practicing acroyoga which also feel will be a big benefit to this practice. I feel confident in my own alignment and understanding of joint stacking. I am slightly nervous about the energy transfer between myself and client as I do struggle with anxiety regularly and want to offer a most peaceful experience to my clients. My struggle with anxiety is what led me practicing yoga regularly. I do grasp the concept of moving with the breath well as that also comes with yoga practice. I am excited to experience what seems like a meditative practice for the practioner (myself) to connect with my breath more intentionally, more often, while also being of service. I believe this journey will offer as much healing to myself as is intended for clients. 

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Shama Kern
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August 9, 2020 - 1:43 pm
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Hi Christina, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

After seeing your video I think the positions, the balancing, the breathing, and the body mechanics of Thai Massage will all be easy for you. You are correct in saying that Thai Massage will bring healing to you as well as to clients. This has been the case with myself and many of our students.

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Christina Duncan
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August 12, 2020 - 1:58 pm
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Module 2

I was excited to learn the first move! I met up with friends at a local outdoor park and tried it outside on the ground. We did not have a pillow. I had my legs too close together first and was knocking the feet and remembered the note to spread my knees a little wider than my hips. I was able to get her whole body moving pretty easily with the gentle rocking on my feet. We watched the technique video together after and I asked if she had experienced each benefit and she said yes. I will continue to practice this technique on friends throughout my training. 

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August 12, 2020 - 2:17 pm
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Pretty good for your first try! Smile

You will naturally come back to this technique regularly since it is a great opening technique for a session.

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Christina Duncan
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August 20, 2020 - 6:06 am
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Module 3

I watched the video multiple times first but was also able to watch the video while practicing on my friend, which I enjoyed and rewound and paused several times to practice or repeat movements on the other side. I did have a tricky time with the rhythm of moving my hands from positions 1, 2 and 3, at times lifting my thumb too early when it could remain in contact with the body rather than hanging out in the air.

I did find the circular motion comfortable and intuitive although adding the hand position movements made my brain think a lot. I was on carpet on hardwood floors and would like to get a mat pretty quickly as that would be more comfortable for my knees. I did have some couch pillows but the square was an awkward shape. Rectangle or larger would have been better.

I did notice the ankle cracking at times and was slightly alarmed and asked if it was ok. She said it was very good so I suppose I'll get used to the joints releasing. I do question how much pressure is too much on the inner and outer bending and I imagine I will get more comfortable with that with time and practice. I feel comfortable with the proper ergonomics of my body. I was most comfortable sitting with her leg resting on mine for the compression and pulling move, perhaps because of the wood floor under the carpet.

The twisting outward was very comfortable with my right hand but more awkward with my left. I found myself having to focus more on not twisting my wrist on my left side (I'm right handed). She said the shaking at the end may have been her favorite part. 

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August 20, 2020 - 11:21 pm
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Definitely get yourself a decent mat. It's not much fun doing Thai Massage if your knees hurt.

Regarding the ankle cracking - some of that is quite common. However there are people where the ankle cracking is so extreme that it sounds and feels like marbles rolling around in the ankle. If that's the case, you have to make sure that they don't experience any pain from what you are doing. None of these techniques should be painful. If they do report pain, then skip the technique that's causing it or at least lighten up quite a bit in your intensity.

There actually are therapeutic techniques to deal with such ankles which are taught in our Thai Foot Massage course which goes into much more detail with foot issues.

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Christina Duncan
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December 4, 2020 - 12:55 am
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Module 4

I have admittedly taken a long break from my studying and practicing as some other business things came up but I am ready to focus and prioritize again. 

I was able to practice on a friend today. The session lasted about an hour and I went ahead and repeated all things learned in previous modules 1,2 and 3, following along to the videos. I mostly appreciate the philosophical aspects of this module and that its not expected to memorize a sequence or series but rather understanding opposing mechanics. I do have a tricky time feeling into the top lines of the feet but got good feedback from my practice partner. We practiced for about an hour and my knees did get sore/stiff. I was on carpet but it felt more like a matter of just getting used to kneeling for longer periods. I do feel comfortable transitioning from under one leg to the other and it felt smooth. I was nervous before practicing as it was my first time practicing on a friend of the opposite sex. I realize it shouldn't matter but I did have some nervousness about it however I was surprised how comfortable it became even when I needed to scoot closer and work near the groin area. I'm sorry if this seems silly but I was genuinely nervous and glad it truly wasn't an issue during the massage. I do like to follow along to the videos while practicing. I felt comfortable practicing each new move introduced in this module.  

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December 4, 2020 - 1:35 am
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Welcome back, Christina. It would be better to have something a bit softer than a carpet under your knees. The stiff feeling will go away with more practice.

Thai Massage does have more body contact between client and therapist than table massage. Without this body contact many techniques would be very bad for your ergonomics and you would lose the easy application of body weight instead of muscle pressure. That's just how Thai Massage is done. Typically the clients have no issues with it but the therapists are worried about it. Laugh

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Christina Duncan
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December 4, 2020 - 12:59 pm
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Module 5

I enjoyed getting deeper into technique and moving into working the lower body. I did use the video to follow along and felt a bit more mechanical than I'd like but it was the first time practicing these techniques. The push pull swinging technique is fun to practice, I definitely felt myself catch and lose the rhythm at times but can see how this can become very natural with regular practice. I would have forgotten to consciously work with the breath had I not been following the video. I am actually surprised how comfortable I felt practicing on the legs, it felt very natural. It is exciting learning more about anatomy in a hands on way, actually feeling the proper lines to work on. I feel more natural working with the heel of the hands vs thumbs because the pressure feels more controlled and dispersed. I do feel comfortable moving my partners legs in the proper position. He did mention once instead of cradling the heel I was squeezing it so I will be more conscious of that in the future. He also mentioned having very tight quads and did express some light groaning while I was using the forearm technique. 

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Christina Duncan
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December 4, 2020 - 6:09 pm
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Module 6

I practiced this module for the first time after repeating the previous modules on my partner first. I feel most comfortable working with my forearms and heels of the hands as its a more blunt surface area and I worry about putting too much pressure with my thumbs, but will continue to ask for feedback from my practice partners. I do feel comfortable in the proper positions kneeling and sitting, and felt I was able to use body weight vs muscle for the forearm and squeezing between the arm and torso technique. I could've had my torso closer to him for deeper pressure. Elephant walking felt very natural. I will keep practicing and referring to my notes on the 5 lines of the thigh until I have it memorized. Blocking the foot felt comfortable and is a neat technique to keep the leg positioned the way one needs to work. I was able to give a one hour practice massage using just what I'm learning in the warm ups so far. 

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December 5, 2020 - 11:39 pm
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A one hour massage with only the material you have learned so far! If I do the math right, at the end of this course you will be able to give a 5 hour massage! Laugh

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Christina Duncan
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December 7, 2020 - 8:13 pm
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Ha, I'm sure I am spending much more time in all he techniques than I would typically, as you said we could pick and choose based on what feels right and needed by reviewing the clients body which would lead me into Module 7. 

I was able to practice Module 7 on two friends. I did repeat all of what I'm learning in the previous modules as I really want to be familiar with all techniques available even recognizing I don't need to incorporate them all in the future. The more I practice the more I am remembering what's available to use without referring to my notes or the videos constantly during the session. I was able to use the knowledge of reviewing the hips before working on the legs and both of my partners seems to have very open hips with feet laying out naturally sideways. I am still feeling most comfortable with forearms and heels of hands vs thumbs as I am questioning my pressure in sensitive areas like inner thighs. I need to feel more comfortable having an open dialogue with my partners in regards to their sensations rather than me focusing on techniques, but truly tune into their sensations also. Both partners were of very different body types, and one practice partner is obese but with very open hips, his feet nearly laid completely out sideways. I was nervous working on a larger person but I was able to do the chi machine with ease. I was surprised I was also able to lift his hip easily with the cross pull pull stretch. He was absolutely blissed out by the end of our session and gave me a lot of hugs and appreciation. As he is someone with little stretching capability on his own due to his body shape. I'm really excited to be able to offer therapeutic help to these types of people, not just a blissful experience that's nice, but something that will truly help their bodies. I felt very comfortable using my feet in the inner thighs and feel less worried about the pressure with wider surface area. 

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December 7, 2020 - 11:06 pm
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That's great feedback about your second practice partner. "Absolutely blissed out.Smile

By the way, if the feet are completely laid out sideways, then you will often find that they won't fold in in the other direction (inwards). The natural position is an angle of about 45-60 degrees folded out. If they fold out to 90 degrees, watch this person walk and check if his toes are pointing straight forward (parallel feet) or if the feet are pointing out in a V-shape. If they are pointing out, then the hip is not in balance.

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Christina Duncan
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February 19, 2021 - 3:57 am
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Module 8

I felt like my most recent practice was the most comprehensive, being able to add stretches for the hips. I also used mats which made my experience much more comfortable. My partner was taller than me and also had very open hips, I did use the technique the foot/leg on my shoulder in the 180 degree stretch. I used both techniques and could feel the difference in leverage, and also changed my knee position, moving backward for more leverage. The stretch never got to a point where my partner told me to stop. His knee could also reach the floor easily in the 90 degree stretch. I will practice this on another body type to feel the difference in techniques available. I continue to practice along with the video as I find it very helpful for remembering proper body positions for myself. My partner was very grateful for the massage and said he felt amazing afterward. 

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February 19, 2021 - 10:06 pm
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Your partner must be pretty flexible, it seems.

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Christina Duncan
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February 21, 2021 - 1:51 am
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I practiced Module 9 on my acro yoga partner today after our practice. We already use mats so that was nice for me. I did not have my laptop with me so I tried to remember as much of this hip pie lesson as I could. I did struggle a bit remembering which arm (outside or inside) supports the knee versus pressing the muscle.

After the practice I reviewed the video again to see what I may have missed. I found I was more focused on the hip stretches and forgot to press his adductor muscles. I am now using the 1-10 intensity response and asking my partners to let me know if we get to an 8. I did feel a pop in his hip that alerted me during the spinal twist. I asked if it was ok and he said it was fine.

I assume we get more used to the noises, pops and movement as we practice and put people in proper alignment but because I'm not yet fully confident in my skills it does alert me a bit still. I am feeling more confident in applying pressure with softness and working with the breath comes naturally.

I did also forget to lift his hip in the spinal twist and instead did the deeper stretch while I held his opposite shoulder down. He is an active yogi so he has quite a range of motion in his hips, while he is not taller than me, I found myself lifting my back knee to get a bit more leverage. It is interesting to notice the difference range of motion from one side of someones body to the other. I'm finding myself feeling less awkward "crawling all over" someone and am enjoying sharing the love language of touch platonically. 

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February 21, 2021 - 2:36 am
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There is actually a video about the cracking and popping that often happens during Thai Massage stretches coming up later in the course.

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Christina Duncan
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February 26, 2021 - 3:52 am
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Module 10

I am feeling more confident remembering my body positioning and movements to offer. I always start with chi machine and leg warm ups, as if I was doing a real massage with what I know so far. I set the intention to focus on my breath and work from the hara in addition to practice the new stretches.

I am still working to find my confidence in pressure and need to communicate outloud with my partners more. I went by his breathing and/or noise feedback this time. I've practiced the spinal twist on 2 friends and I actually forgot to put the foot on the floor with the first friend. I was supporting/holding the foot with my hand, but it was in the air as I pressed the knee down. Would this be "wrong"?

All partners seemed to very much enjoy the twist. I did have one that was taller than me and I practiced using the knee and 90 degree on the shoulder. It gets a bit intimate but I am getting over feeling awkward. I have worked on just men with this module so I have not moved anyones foot to my knee in the 270 degree stretch.

I feel comfortable with all versions of the spinal twist. My second time around I was less confused as to which of my knees (inside or outside) was on the floor and which hand supporting the knees versus pressing the hamstring. It's feeling more intuitive. Both partners felt benefit from the adductor stretch though I was cautious to be very slow.

I felt the artery on my first partner, the pulsing, but not my second and his pants were a bit awkward so I didn't dig around much. I look forward to practicing this more. For the calf stretch I was a bit concerned about hyperextending the knee which pressing on the quad both no partners complained about it. 

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February 26, 2021 - 11:52 pm
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Re: twist - If you hold the foot in place with your hand, then you cannot do this technique correctly since you need both hands for it. One hand lifts under the lower back, and the other hand pushes the leg over. If the client's foot is in the air, it feels wobbly and you lose leverage.

Re: calf stretch - You won't hyperextend the knee unless someone is actually hypermobile, or if you press down really hard on the quad which you are not supposed to do. The pressure on the quad is not meant to be deep. It is mostly meant to prevent the knee from buckling and to stabilize the technique.

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Christina Duncan
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February 28, 2021 - 2:20 am
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Module 11

Ah, yes I was blocking their leg with my leg but pressing the knee towards the floor while holding the foot. I can see why the body just travels with the twist instead of stretching. 

I followed along the whole video and repeated for both sides on my acro partner. I find myself shuffling my brain less and feeling more natural on what comes next and what moves and stretches are available. It was nice to flow along to the video. My partner had very tight quads on one side and I felt I only used half the pressure of my forearm as the other side before he groaned. I had better results finding the blood stop. My partner did not comment whether he noticed the sensation but I will inquire next time. This is a great practice for us at the end of acro because he uses his legs and lower back quite a bit. I am excited to be knowledgeable in offering a healing and therapeutic touch. I would like to continue to work on different body types and not get stuck with the same few practice partners. I will start using a mantra "breath, hara" to remember the proper focus and not get stuck on "moves" and sequence in my head. I never experience any discomfort in my body when using a soft mat for my knees. 

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