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Crystal Pavis' Complete Thai Massage course notes
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Shama Kern
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May 19, 2019 - 11:59 pm
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Sounds like a good result.
Definitely, I am not a fan of thumbing the sen lines, and I rarely do that myself - at least not on the legs. I sometimes do it on the arms, if someone has small arms, but on larger arms I prefer forearms and knees.

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Crystal Pavis
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May 25, 2019 - 5:00 pm
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Module 22 - Prone Legs 3

In the prone single leg and double leg heel to outside of the hips I was wondering how this stretch is accomplished without twisting at the knee. Since the knee is a hinge joint, is the twisting coming from the hip?   

I felt a little out of breath at times while practicing these techniques. It can be a little challenging for me to be in a squatting position for an extended period of time and at the same time lifting my partners leg. With practice I’m sure these techniques will get easier for me to do.  

I found the opposite hip lift in prone position very comfortable to do and I was able to feel the glutes with my knee and avoid the sacrum and hip joint.

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Shama Kern
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May 25, 2019 - 11:31 pm
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I tried to explain that in the video. If someone is rather stiff, then you would definitely not try to push the heel down lateral to the hip since this would definitely twist the knee. This power version only works on very flexible people, and as long as you stabilize the client's leg with your leg and provide some counter-pressure with your palm on the thigh, a flexible person will normally not feel any knee twisting.

It is true that the knee is a hinge joint, but between the hip and the knee there is enough wiggle room in flexible persons to do this stretch without twisting the knee.

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Crystal Pavis
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May 26, 2019 - 6:32 pm
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Thanks for the clarification!

Module 23 - Sacrum and Glutes

I’m able to cross over to the other side of my partner using the technique you showed. However, I need to practice continuing the rocking movement while crossing to the other side so that the transition isn’t noticeable.

After practicing several times, I was comfortable with putting my knees on the glutes and dropping my weight in. Also, I got the flow of knee rocking on the glutes technique. My partner prefers slower rocking.

I was able to locate the groves on the sacrum. I spent extra time tracing the sacrum and got more comfortable with the sacrum rocking.

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Crystal Pavis
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May 26, 2019 - 9:06 pm
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Module 24 - Prone Back 1

I look forward to the Thai massage essentials and the Thailand experience sections of the training. In this Thai massage essentials video you discussed more about physical contact in Thai massage and answered some questions I also had on the topic. Thanks for including these additional sections in the training!

I’ve practiced the 5 different techniques in this sequence for quite a while and got familiar with coordinating my breath with the pressure and hand adjustments. Recently some techniques that require bending my wrists and putting my weight on them has been a little painful for one wrist so I appreciate that these techniques for working on the back don’t stress my wrists or thumbs.  

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May 26, 2019 - 9:58 pm
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Thanks for letting me know that you like the Thai Massage Essentials and the Thailand Experience sections. These are fairly new features and I have rarely received any feedback on them. Good to know that these features are appreciated! Smile

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Crystal Pavis
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June 4, 2019 - 12:27 am
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Module 25 - Prone Back 2

The first technique, lean on the erector muscles on the far side of the back and push away from you, is helping to spread the muscles. I coordinated this movement with my breath which helped me to slow the pace. I explored the erector muscles with my fingertips and found the tight areas. My partner felt that the second technique, leaning into the trapezius muscle, felt awkward while his head was facing the opposite direction putting the muscle on stretch. He said the technique felt better after he turned his head to face the side I was working on. While practicing the technique, working with the elbows in the groove of the far side of the spine, the pressure was good for my partner.

Working with the knees on the back are useful techniques I’ve been looking forward to learning. The first technique, gently rock sideways from one knee to the other is a good opening technique with the knee that’s comfortable to do. I checked in with my partner while practicing the second technique, rocking forward with the knee on the near side of the spine, to make sure the pressure was ok and to see how much weight I could put into my knee. My partner confirmed that the power version, rocking forward with the knee while you extend the other leg, applied much more pressure as expected.  

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Shama Kern
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June 4, 2019 - 1:44 am
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Good that you are into using the knees. This can be so helpful, especially on big male backs, and it takes so much pressure off the hands. Anything that relieves our hands is a good thing. Doing power work on a big back with our hands only is definitely not good practice.

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Crystal Pavis
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June 13, 2019 - 1:38 am
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Module 26 - Prone Back 3

I wasn’t aware that over time the butterfly technique could cause problems with the wrists. At first that technique was really bothering one of my wrists and it still bothers it a little bit. I like the technique that works the sen lines on the back with the forearm since it is comfortable for me to lean in with my forearm. My partner commented that he didn’t know that I was using my forearms. I also prefer the elephant walking on both sides of the back since it is easier on the wrists compared to the butterfly technique.

My partner liked the neck and shoulder squeezing and circling technique and he felt comfortable laying with the simulated face cradle using pillows.

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June 13, 2019 - 7:44 pm
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You must have done a good job with your forearm work apparently!

The butterfly technique is potentially risky. It depends on a few factors. Some people have very flexible wrists, and they don't have a problem with it. If someone has less flexible wrists that don't easily bend in a 90 degree angle, then this technique should be avoided or modified so that the wrists are only bent at a lesser angle.

If the butterfly is done on the leg, it is easy to keep the wrists bent at only 45 degrees. On the back the wrist angle is much closer to 90 degrees, simply because the back is much wider than the leg.

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Crystal Pavis
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June 14, 2019 - 4:05 am
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Module 27 - Prone Upper Back

I practiced these techniques multiples times until I got comfortable with them. I’m not used to squatting so much so squatting while working on the trapezius muscles was a bit tiring for me. After a few sessions it got easier. I found cobra harder to do when sitting on the sacrum since I had trouble lifting up my partner. I found cobra #2 and #3 easier to do. I had previously learned cobra #3 but I wasn’t aware that it’s only meant for flexible people. I had also been taught to use this technique in a Thai for the table class. I’m comfortable working on a floor mat now and I don’t plan to use a massage table unless I have to. In those cases, I’m not sure if it would be a good idea to include the cobra technique during a Thai massage on a massage table.

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June 14, 2019 - 10:30 am
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I can't quite imagine how one would do the cobra on a table. I guess you had to climb up on the table and somehow straddle the client? I have never tried this. It's definitely much easier on the floor.

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Crystal Pavis
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June 16, 2019 - 5:48 pm
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Module 28 - Prone Summary

I like the technique, working on the soles of the feet with your elbow, since it saves my thumbs. While doing the hip flexor and quadriceps stretch, if I have a tall client, I may not be able to hold onto their foot while their knee is tucked under my arm. Since the sequence you demonstrate in this summary video may not be efficient because you go from near side to the far side, back to the near side, I would need to design my own session, as you mentioned, to group all the far side techniques together and then switch to the other side and perform all the near side techniques together. I need to continue to practice the transition from one side to the other while at the same time rocking the client at the hips in order to do this smoothly enough that the client wouldn’t even notice I was switching sides. Diagnostic probing with the fingertips is such an important technique. It takes time and practice to learn to feel and determine differences in muscle tone and find areas that need more attention.

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Crystal Pavis
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June 23, 2019 - 6:34 pm
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Module 29 - Side Position 1

I hadn’t learned any side position techniques in my Thai Massage Level 1 training so I’ve been looking forward to this section. I see some benefits to using the side position but it sounds like we would only use it if a client wouldn’t be comfortable in the prone position or if they need some extra shoulder work.

I had learned a blood stop technique called flossing. With flossing a band is wrapped tightly around the clients’ limb multiple times. When it was done on my arm I found it uncomfortable since my arm went completely numb and pale. I prefer the way the blood stop is done in Thai massage since it seems like it would not restrict the blood flow or compress the nerves as much as flossing does. I have heard from health care professionals that they have had really good results with blood stop techniques. That they use them on chronic or hard to treat issues in the limbs and often see some improvement afterwards.

I like the inner thigh and hip stretch. While I was practicing this technique, it was loosening up my partners adductor muscles and I was able to lift his leg a little higher each time.

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June 23, 2019 - 7:36 pm
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This 'flossing' sounds kind of scary to me. I would never do that. I imagine it must feel like you have your blood pressure taken. With the Thai Massage blood stop you can get a powerful effect and good results, if done right and long enough.

Just wait until you see all the shoulder work you can do in the side position, and you might fall in love with it! Smile

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Crystal Pavis
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June 27, 2019 - 3:46 am
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Module 30 - Side Position 2

In your article, The 8 Styles of Massage Therapists in Thailand, you mentioned the hopeless massage mechanic and how one would be unlucky to be under his/her thumb. Your description of this style of massage is hilarious and shows the importance of customizing each session based on the needs of the client.

The first spinal twist shown in this module is very easy to apply since we just lean in with our body weight. I’m glad you are re-emphasizing the importance of getting into a stretch slowly. My partner recommended that I consider first placing and holding my hand on any new area I’m working on briefly, so the receiver knows this is where my hand is, before starting a stretch. I had also been instructed to place my hands like a cat very gently at first.  

I’m starting to get used to rocking techniques and they are becoming some of my favorite techniques. The spinal twist in rocking motion is great since it’s a more gentle way to loosen up the spine.

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June 27, 2019 - 6:13 am
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Module 31 - Side Position 3

My partner found the shoulder circling with trapezius massage a bit uncomfortable at times due to tight muscles in his shoulder since his job involves lifting and carrying boxes. This is an area I’m wondering if I should be using the one to ten scale question with since I wasn’t aware the pressure was too deep. I noticed his arm had reduced lateral rotation due to tight pectoralis major.

My legs were getting tired from squatting for so long since I had practiced this module on both of my partners shoulders. Now I see why you let us know early on in the training to practice being in the squatting position. I need to remind myself to support the receivers arm gently with a soft hand since for some reason I end up squeezing too hard while my focus is on the technique.

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June 30, 2019 - 5:31 am
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Module 32 - Side Position 4

For the releasing the scapula technique, it’s more comfortable for me to use my fingertips since my thumbs get painful if used to apply pressure. I was able to get my fingertips underneath the scapula quite easily and my practice partner went to sleep while I was thumbing underneath the scapula. I like that we can lean back to use our body weight to pull the shoulder back. 

I like both the shoulder and arm traction technique and stretch since these are easily applied by gently rocking forward or shifting my body weight. My partner didn’t tell me some techniques were painful until after the session was finished and I asked for feedback. He felt I leaned back too far on the pulling the shoulder back technique causing it to be painful for him. I learned I’m going to need to check in with the receiver more often during sessions. It’s helpful that you pointed out that we shouldn’t get discouraged if we can’t do the techniques perfect right away.

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June 30, 2019 - 10:45 pm
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Regarding the shoulder techniques - I always tell my clients before the massage that they should always tell me if the intensity goes to an 8 or higher. And I remind them of this during the sessions, especially when doing more intense techniques.

As you mentioned, checking in with the receiver should be a frequent and automatic part of our work.

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Crystal Pavis
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July 1, 2019 - 11:37 pm
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That’s a great tip on what to say to the client at the start of the session. Also, I’m looking forward to the module on client communication.  

Module 33 - Sitting Position 1

I had previously learned seated position techniques and I agree that it is not a comfortable position to stay in as a receiver. Initially when I was pressing my knee into my practice partners back, he felt my knee was too pointy. When I put a pillow in between it felt fine for him. My partner enjoyed the kneading the trapezius area and the trapezius area offset rocking techniques. I prefer to do the squeeze neck with palms technique while kneeling behind the client while supporting the client with my leg. My partner preferred the more gentle back bend and shoulder stretch with foot rocking but it is nice to know the power version for more flexible clients. The spinal twist you demonstrated is much simpler than the one I had previously learned. In the future I’d like to learn more spinal twist techniques. It looks like your Thai back massage course might go into more detail on spinal twists.

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