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Claudia Thomas Heavenly Head Massage Course Notes
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Claudia Thomas
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July 11, 2021 - 7:18 am
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Module 1

I was fortunate to receive a perfect floor mat to use when I considered taking Thai massage courses, which allows plenty of room for me on the mat to move around my client.  For now, I am practicing on my son who is a larger frame 6'2 and solid. 

I had success in the flow of the chest/shoulder presses, but the 90* angle positioning required for the chest press hurt my hands extremely.  Not so much with the shoulder press. After years of working with my hands (not just massage therapy),  this position is quite painful. Like push-ups ..ouch. 

So I tried a flat fist option, which sounds terrible, but I was able to stay in the soft spot as described in your video. The drawback was my fingers were not molded around the area nicely as shown but I could still do the motion with correct posture, etc.  Going into the shoulder press was no problem, no pain.

The feedback was "it felt ok". (?!)

I conclude, until I can get multiple feedback on this technique, I may need to forego this part of the session 🙁 

Thank you

Claudia

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Shama Kern
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July 11, 2021 - 10:55 pm
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Hi Claudia, welcome to the Heavenly Head Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

No technique should ever hurt you. I am well aware of the issue with a 90-degree wrist angle, and you probably remember it from your Complete Thai Massage course. If you cannot adjust the angle to less than 90 degrees, then either modify the technique (as you have done) or skip it. 

I guess your wrists are not 100 percent anymore. Massage and other sports can do that to you. Whenever I see break dancers, I wonder how their wrists will be like after a few years.

There are very few techniques in the Heavenly Head Massage course that could strain your wrists like in the chest work. Working on a solid 6'2 male of course exacerbates this. You probably wouldn't have this issue with a smaller female client.

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Claudia Thomas
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July 16, 2021 - 7:19 pm
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Module 2

I am happy to report I now have my daughter added as a practice partner to work with. This gives me two very different body types to work on. The availability for either of them is challenging, but I am happy for the time I can corner one of them and throw them down on the mat. (gently)

I first worked the sternum techniques on my male client. He stated that it was sensitive when I worked this area. The only step out of the sternum technique that he was not uncomfortable with was the ending movement of my hands doing the circular, rocking, tapping etc. 

Now, when I worked with my female client, starting with Module 1 going into Module 2, I had no pain with the chest press/shoulder press move. You were so right stating pain may not be an issue with a female body. yay! So it is great to have the opportunity to practice on more than one body type and gender too. 

Back to the sternum work on my daughter.(she is full breasted) The feedback was less than positive. She stated it felt bruised in this area. She did not like the ending movements of my hands working circular, rocking and tapping. 

Feeling somewhat disappointed with the outcome, I went back to read the transcript of mod 2 to study more by reading the steps. I caught a very important point of information as to one reason why this area could be uncomfortable to some people, is because of emotional trauma. wow! I missed that and it is good to know. 

I am so encouraged to continue on, with the knowledge that this is not just moving around a body, it is the mindful "intention of the heart" through the hands which offers healing through love.

 

Thank you

 

 
 

 

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Shama Kern
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July 16, 2021 - 8:45 pm
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"I am so encouraged to continue on, with the knowledge that this is not just moving around a body, it is the mindful "intention of the heart" through the hands which offers healing through love."

You expressed it beautifully!

I am glad to hear that you now have a second practice partner. This is so important because people will react very differently to the techniques. Try the chest circling and tapping in a super soft and sensitive way, and experiment with different speeds.

Emotional or physical trauma can be held in various parts of the body and manifest itself as pain sensitivity and an unconscious rejection of healing touch. Typically the way to break through this is by being very gentle, like you would massage a kitten or puppy dog or a baby.

In such cases, try focusing on projecting loving, healing energy instead of technical aspects of the massage. Sometimes just placing your hand on an area and holding it there while projecting healing energy can soften up resistance and encourage the person to let go and let you in, so to say.

However this very process can also scare people who hold trauma because they are not willing or ready to let go, so you have to be careful. On the chest area, try to be gentle and slow with your daughter, and see how she reacts.

Another thing to work on is using your hands in an artistic way instead of in a mechanical way. Try to use your hands to sense what is happening under them in your client's body instead of just doing something with your hands. In other words, use your hands as listening devices instead of a working tool. This will sensitize them and change the quality of your touch for the better.

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Claudia Thomas
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July 25, 2021 - 8:16 am
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Module 3

Thank you for all your suggestions on how I can better approach the work in module 2 (like projection vs. technical) for my daughter.  I will revisit this area, as the flow allows, when learning the next areas of HHM.  I look forward to practicing the neck, head, and face with her because during a table session, she absolutely loves the face and head work.  

Now for module 3, I worked with my son. His favorite was the collarbone technique and the shoulder elephant walk, which he seemed the most relaxed as I noticed by his breath. The pectoralis and the elephant walk down the torso was a sore area for him because he had an extreme workout at the gym. But with that being temporary, we will see his feedback next time for this area. 

For the last part of this practice session was the spine twist. It was so difficult for me due to the fact that he is still 6'2 solid. But we got to laugh at me, because he knew he wasn't that cute petite girl in the video....and I'm certainly not Shama Kern. 

I'm really enjoying all of this.

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July 25, 2021 - 6:04 pm
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Your daughter is in for a treat!

The spinal twist will undoubtedly be challenging for you to do on your son. This technique is something you would simply skip on a large and heavy client. You don't have to do every single technique on every single client. There are so many techniques in the course that you wouldn't have time to use them all in one session, if you would do one-hour Heavenly Head Massage sessions.

I am glad to read that you are enjoying all of this! Smile

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Claudia Thomas
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July 25, 2021 - 10:04 pm
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Module 4

I am excited to practice the neck portion of this course, as I agree with the fact that many people suffer with neck issues and complaints. This had successful feedback from my son. The wave was the only part that he stated felt odd, most likely I need to relax the foot(toes) so not to feel the tension when lifting up. 

What I liked the most from this module was being able to palpate/assess the neck while going into the techniques, to really feel the muscles that hug the cervical spine. It was very relaxing for my client. And this module being less difficult to perform than some of the other modules, I was really aware of my posture. Which of course you cover completely in all you modules, but the more challenging ones definitely make me focus more on the proper movement, client comfort, etc. So practice, practice, practice also includes therapist breath and posture. 

Thank you for the reminder that this course teaches many techniques which gives us therapist choices on how to customize our sessions.  So in short,..."omit" some and master others.  

I already have favorites!

Thank you

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Shama Kern
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July 26, 2021 - 5:11 am
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Here is my motto: "The techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences". You don't want to try to drive a square peg into a round hole. If something doesn't work for someone, or it is obvious to you that it won't work (like in cases of a large size difference or weight issues), then skip it. 

For example, the wave is obviously not the ideal technique for someone who is twice your weight, but might be perfect for a lighter person.

Another factor is that you might love some techniques, but are not so hot about others. There is nothing wrong with setting a technique aside for the time being and focusing more on those you feel really comfortable with. Then later, you can come back to these techniques, and chances are that they will feel much easier then, because you are much more used to the entire system.

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Claudia Thomas
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July 27, 2021 - 9:15 pm
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Module 5

I worked this module on my daughter. She is really ready and waiting for the head and face portion, but was willing to let me practice with the neck techniques.  She has concerns about any neck practices due to the fact that she has cervical herniations. I am very slow and cautious with this area of work, as you made very clear to do so. Do you have any other advice as we move forward through the next few modules dealing with the neck? Would you omit any? (like figure 8 technique in mod 8) I have watched all of the neck modules. I know to move with much awareness and feedback. I feel that doing some work, like traction and massage for circulation would be beneficial for healing. 

As we worked through these movements, hair out of the way "slide", lifting up neck with head remaining on the mat, and the massaging steps, she liked it more and more as we moved along. The feedback went from, "it doesn't hurt'' to "it feels relaxing".

So I assess that at first she was feeling fear, unsafe due to her injury, then safe because everything was done very slowly and gently.

Thank you

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July 27, 2021 - 11:40 pm
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It seems to me that you are doing it exactly right. If any techniques seem too strong, then either do it with less intensity or just skip it. You don't have to do all techniques on everyone. 

Even the figure-eight can be done with much less intensity by simply turning the head less.

And remember, it is possible to do a great neck massage with hardly any stretches or even without any stretching techniques. I don't know if you watched the module already where I show how to work on the neck with oil. You can do all that without stretching, or at least you can start out like that and then add gentle stretching later in the session, or in a later session. 

If you start out with stretching too early and with too much intensity, it can freak out clients who have neck injuries or some stress/trauma in the neck area, and then they will resist the stretches and tighten up.

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Claudia Thomas
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August 1, 2021 - 2:43 am
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Module 6

Working this module on my male client, to this point, was his favorite neck technique. I found the big and small neck rolls to be fairly smooth and my client stated he was relaxed. The exception of the three technique group, the 2nd step was awkward and not as smooth. It felt a bit clunky when I rested on the occiput to pull the palm down to repeat the move. But with due time I know this will not be a problem. Technique 1 and 3 were the best- performed and received.  "Very relaxing".

Overall, I felt comfortable and confident with this module. 

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Claudia Thomas
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August 1, 2021 - 3:04 am
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Module 7

We went right into this module from module 6. The first segment of this module was well received. He commented that he like how I moved slowly with the stretches. He liked the traction much. Going next to the 90* neck stretch #1, he did not like at all, but #2 was better at a 45* and blocking the head with my knee. He doesn't feel he is stiff in his neck, and with the first half of this module he did not feel stiff to me.

I did use a little oil to make the slide good.

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August 1, 2021 - 10:43 am
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There is an entire module coming up on how to do neck work with oil, although for regular, non-extensive neck sessions you can work without oil. But the more intense work you do, the better it works with some oil.

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August 3, 2021 - 9:43 pm
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Module 8

Working with my daughter with this module, keeping in mind of her previous injuries, I moved gently and very slowly to let her feel secure with these techniques. Positive feedback. the first move she stated felt ok and not completely relaxing. However the second move ( figure 8), she loved, saying she was totally relaxed and enjoyed the full stretch. This surprised me, because I thought out of the three steps, this one would be a little frightening by the full ROM. I am happy for this module to work on her because I believe it will help with the healing process of her disc.

We moved right into module 9, ear technique.

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Claudia Thomas
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August 3, 2021 - 10:09 pm
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Module 9

Amazing how much my client loved the work of the ear massage. Her favorite techniques were the scissor and the cupping pull down. She was surprised just how relaxing and great it all made her feel. One wish, as I move through all of these modules, is that I could experience what each of these techniques feel like too! It would connect all of this work even more. Just like in school or at work when you do "trades", you learn by experiencing other therapists hands. 

I am very happy to have both my daughter and my son to practice this course with. They give me good feedback. 

Thank you

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Shama Kern
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August 4, 2021 - 5:10 am
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Regarding your daughter's reaction to the figure 8 move - yes, it seems surprising, but it just shows that we have to be careful about imposing our projections on our clients. They can and do surprise us. I had a client once who seemed to be your average stiff male, but he insisted on the most extreme stretches that I had thought would break him in half. But he totally enjoyed them all. I could hardly believe it.

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Claudia Thomas
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August 6, 2021 - 6:55 am
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Module 10 

The next two modules were the most enjoyable for me to practice.  I worked on my son and he was totally relaxed and with every technique he commented how much he liked it. 

I do like the variable pressure technique during the circular moves vs. constant pressure. Feedback agreed.

The midline move was another favorite.

We blended mod 10 and 11.

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Claudia Thomas
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August 6, 2021 - 7:11 am
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Module 11

Moving into this module was a great transition. I believe the important point I learned was to vary the moves as I work the head. 

Feedback was that he preferred friction over rubbing and firm pressure over light, but enjoyed the variation. There are so many techniques in this section, who could not enjoy it completely. As I stated in an earlier post, I sure wish I could experience this too... (Heavenly)

Short post, but 10 & 11 were my best practices, I had no troubles and absolutely no complaints.

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August 6, 2021 - 7:49 am
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I can relate to that. I have never received a full Heavenly Head Massage session myself. I created this system and have taught it to countless students. But finding someone who is good at it and who can give me a session is another story. So I have to be content with providing the experience to others.

This applies to me especially since I lived in Thailand for 20 years, and all my students were from the western world. But I have to say that I can get myself into pretty much the same state of trance that I can get my clients into while working on them. Smile

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Claudia Thomas
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August 11, 2021 - 6:49 am
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Module 12

I have found that doing facial techniques has always been well received. I am happy to be able to add to my repertoire, since I was very limited as far as variety (creativity) goes. Both for face and head massage. 

So far the favorite is fan, elliptical, and double thumb stroke. But really... all of it is good.

We continued into module 13.

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