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Crystal Pavis' Complete Thai Massage course notes
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Shama Kern
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April 10, 2019 - 3:28 am
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I had probably previously told you the story how my own Thai Massage career almost ended before it began because of all this thumb pressing business. I never forgot this lesson, and to this day I am careful to limit the use of my thumbs.

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Crystal Pavis
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April 11, 2019 - 3:12 am
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Module 12

I like the Achilles tendon/ calf muscle stretch version 2. I found it easier to do since I can use both of my hands to hold the foot while I lean back. I have tried the calf muscle stretch version 4 with my partners’ feet on my abdomen. As you mentioned, this technique has some limitations. It may only work for me if the receiver is a female with small feet. The double knee to chest is a good hip stretch that’s easy to do. My partner enjoyed that stretch more when I moved his feet onto my upper legs.

The elephant walking on the knees technique for sacrum massage is unique since it brings some movement to the sacrum. My partner liked it. I like the hip and piriformis stretch - gentler circling version, since I really like to do rocking and circling techniques.

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April 11, 2019 - 6:07 pm
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There are at least four versions available for the achilles/calf muscle stretch. That's what so great about Thai Massage - so many options for getting it just right for your clients and for yourself.

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Crystal Pavis
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April 11, 2019 - 7:00 pm
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Module 13

The inclusion of articles and videos about the Thailand experience truly make this a complete Thai massage training. You’ve answered some of my questions in your article ‘What Makes Thai Massage Authentic’. I’ve heard that a massage therapist is not really serious about Thai massage unless they recite the Homage to Jivaka daily. I’m glad to learn your opinion on that.

I found it helpful that you have covered what to do if the client feels pain during a stretch. Instead of stopping and moving onto something else, I like your suggestion to let the client know we can work on the area they are feeling the pain. Checking in with them using the one to ten scale while working the area until their pain has reduced is a great approach. The more I study Thai massage, the more I want to know. Your hidden gems video is a good preview of how we can work areas that are often overlooked in a massage.

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Shama Kern
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April 12, 2019 - 2:20 pm
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Glad to hear that. The truth is that I never recite the homage prayer, and neither does my Thai wife. And I have obviously been quite serious about Thai Massage for the last 20 years. I just don't see the need to turn it into some kind of religion. Aside from that, the legend about Jivaka is just that - a legend. Nobody knows for sure if that's how it really happened.

So if someone wants to recite the homage - fine. But to use this to make a judgment about the people who do not recite it, that's really out of line. I know that some Thai Massage teachers/therapists do that, but I have always avoided introducing religious elements into my training because some people would love it, and most would hate it. Smile

If someone wants to recite the homage prayer, that's fine with me - nothing wrong with it. But I would not make it part of my training. And I would advise to never doing it in front of clients, because some would certainly feel quite uncomfortable about this.

Expressing respect, or appreciation, or gratitude is a matter of attitude. It's something in our hearts, and it doesn't have to be formalized into specific prayers. Just like one can be a spiritual person without belonging to any religion.

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Crystal Pavis
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April 17, 2019 - 9:58 am
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Module 14 - Hip Rocking

I’m glad you showed how to move to the opposite side of the client. Until now I only knew to stand up and walk around to the other side. It looked effortless for you to switch your kneeling knee and move to the opposite side. The steps became more clear after I read the transcript and rewatched the video. This is something I’m going to continue to practice since it wasn’t as easy for me to do while keeping both hands on my partner without pushing down somewhat onto my hands while shifting my body weight to the other side.   

My partner provided the feedback that he prefers the hip rocking on one side when the hands maintain their placements and don’t slide. I like the half back arch stretch. My partner provided feedback asking if I should have been resting the weight of my leg on one or both legs. I may have been resting the weight of my leg on the wrong leg. Now it looks obvious why you rest your leg onto the client’s leg that is on the same side of the lower back you are stretching to enhance the stretch.

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April 17, 2019 - 11:21 pm
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Switching sides takes a little extra time to learn, but it's a very useful skill, and once you really 'got it', it is quite easy to do.

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Crystal Pavis
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April 19, 2019 - 9:56 pm
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Module 15 - Abdomen & Chest

In your e-book The 11 Healing Arts Systems of Thailand, you mentioned other styles of natural healing from Thailand that I’m interested in learning more about such as Thai herbal ball treatment, Thai herbal medicine, Chi Nei Tsang and Gua Sha. I see you also have an abdominal massage therapy course that I’d like to take. I personally benefited from abdominal massage since it helped to resolve a chronic condition.

I like the concept of also using our hand as a listening instrument and plan to practice this more. I found it a little awkward to do the push rib cage left and right technique and will practice it more until I can do this technique as gently, slow and flowing as you demonstrated. Palm circling on the sternum seems like a very relaxing technique. Sternum rocking is a gentle way to bring movement to the ribs as well. I like the technique elephant walking on the shoulders since it allows us to easily apply deep pressure using our own body weight.    

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April 20, 2019 - 4:03 am
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I learned Chi Nei Tsang, and this is what inspired me to create my own version of it which can easily be incorporated into Thai Massage. That's why I came up with a separate course about it which goes a bit deeper than what I show in the Complete Thai Massage course. So yes, this would be a good addition if this is something that interests you.

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Crystal Pavis
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April 23, 2019 - 10:59 pm
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Module 16 - Shoulders

I've noticed that connecting the technique with my breath helps me to relax, focus better and slow down the movements. While focusing on my hara I'm more likely to remember to work with my entire body.

Since my partner was wearing multiple layers with a sweater on top, I'm wondering if sliding over a client's clothing reduces the effectiveness of the sliding techniques. I like the one side, two handed shoulder lift (circling) technique. I found it comfortable to do and it seems relaxing and therapeutic for the client. Is there a reason behind circling in that particular direction as opposed to circling in both directions?

I especially liked the shoulder rowboat. At first I was hesitant about leaning back with all my weight. So I checked in with my partner and he preferred it when I used all my body weight.

I had previously practiced this triceps stretch but didn't know to make sure my partner's fingers were pointed towards his feet. I had previously had trouble with my partner's hand slipping but when I followed the steps you described I didn't run into that issue. Stabilizing the client’s hand with my foot solves the issue of their hand sliding away. The feedback that I received from my partner was that he felt the strongest stretch in the sequence was the triceps stretch.

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Shama Kern
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April 24, 2019 - 3:47 am
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Regarding the direction of the shoulder rotation, I don't have any scientific reason for that, but I have tried it both ways, and I find that one direction feels better and more natural to me.

Regarding stabilizing the hand with your foot - often it is those little things that can make all the difference between a wobbly affair and a good, solid stretch.

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Crystal Pavis
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May 5, 2019 - 8:44 am
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Module 17 - Arms and Hands

I like the alternating circular arm elephant walking technique since I can easily apply palm presses one side at a time by shifting my weight in a circle. My partner appreciated the inclusion of the pectoralis muscles. The sliding off the hand technique is a good way to complete the elephant walking on the arm since it includes the hand. The squeeze pull technique not only warms up the hand but it also applies slight traction to the arm. This is one of my favorite techniques from this module since it does not require thumb pressing. I like the techniques that work the wrist including wrist circling. These techniques are comfortable to apply due to having your fingers interlaced.

I appreciate your video about whether a Thai massage therapist needs to know anatomy. I have seen training for what appears to be Thai massage converted to a western style and I’m glad to hear your opinion on it. I agree that this would be more of a mechanical massage without the spirit of Thai massage.

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Shama Kern
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May 7, 2019 - 2:19 am
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I am glad you liked my perspective on Thai Massage westernization. When push comes to shove, I always come down on the side of the spirit of Thai Massage. Smile

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Crystal Pavis
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May 11, 2019 - 6:50 am
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Module 18 - Transitions and Spinal Twists

I’d like to learn more about working with the sen lines and about the energetic healing aspects of Thai massage. I’m glad you also have a course on sen lines.   

I think it’s a really important point you made that as a massage therapist I should be physically and mentally relaxed during sessions to help the client relax. I’ve found that while giving a Thai massage coordinating my breath with the technique helps me to relax.

The transition you demonstrated in order to get from one side to the other around the clients’ head flows very nicely and it puts us in a good position to traction both arms and shoulders. My partner enjoyed the leg triangle spinal twist with alternating hand pull since he felt it was a gentle way to open up the area.

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May 12, 2019 - 3:43 pm
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Good to hear that you figured out the transition easily. 'Flowing' around a client feels so much better than getting up and walking around. Smile

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May 13, 2019 - 8:54 am
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Module 19 - Summary 2

It felt a little fast paced as I practiced the techniques along with the video. After I practice this sequence more I will get the pacing down. Some of the techniques we are learning now require good balance. I’m glad that you mentioned some balance exercises early on in the training. I had been practicing them and also started taking yoga classes to improve my balance. This summary video is a helpful refresher that I will practice along with many more times. I have been thinking softness and using my body weight during my practice sessions. I’d like to learn more about Quantum Touch since I’m also interested in energy healing.

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May 13, 2019 - 5:33 pm
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Did you know that you can slow the speed of the video down by clicking on the little wheel on the right side of the playbar? That may make it easier to follow it.

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Crystal Pavis
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May 15, 2019 - 9:31 am
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Module 20 - Prone Legs 1

I had been wondering about the client being uncomfortable in the prone position while laying on the floor mat and luckily you have provided a great answer to that in your Thai massage tips and tricks video.

I’ve been looking forward to learning some hands free Thai massage techniques. I can comfortably use my elbows on the soft area of the soles of the feet. This is going to be a useful technique for me since I can’t use my thumbs much. I like the traction and contraction of ankle, knee and hip joints technique. Techniques that rely on leaning in with body weight are some of the easiest to do. I included the gluteal muscles in the elephant walking and my partner provided feedback that he appreciated that work.

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Shama Kern
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May 16, 2019 - 3:19 am
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There are quite a few hands-free techniques in this course. If you want to focus more on that, we have an entire course only about hands-free techniques. You probably knew that already. Smile

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Crystal Pavis
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May 19, 2019 - 9:26 pm
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Module 21 - Prone Legs 2

I’m glad you are teaching an alternative to thumbing the sen lines. I was able to comfortably use my forearm to work the lines on the back and side of the legs. These techniques are very effortless to do. I tried to slowly drop my weight in and come from my hara. However, the pressure was still too much for my partner. When I dropped my weight in far enough on the side of his leg, he would tense up. My partner had an injury in the area of his IT Band over 10 years ago and has some chronic issues with it and feels tightness and spasms in that area. I will practice dropping my weight in even slower and use less weight if the muscle tenses up. When I practiced the same techniques on the other side he went to sleep.

I had practiced this module several times and I’m able to feel more with my elbow/forearm when a muscle tenses up. My partner provided feedback a week later that his leg had a reduction in muscle spasms and he was happy with the result and was looking forward to another session.

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