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Crystal Pavis' Thai Foot Massage course notes
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Crystal Pavis
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September 7, 2018 - 2:46 am
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Module 1

Shama, as I had already discussed with you, my thumbs so far haven't responded well to applying pressure. My thumb joints get pain that can last weeks from that type of use. I saw that module 1 requires a lot of thumb presses. I like the technique where you wrap your hand around the foot to support the thumb joint and have given it a try. I applied the pressure by leaning into it with my body weight as demonstrated. I'm glad I tried this technique but it's not one I intend to use too often as it resulted in some thumb soreness for me. I was comfortable squatting on my toes and leaning into the client with my body weight. I'm not really getting discouraged since you say in the video that there are a lot of techniques I will learn, so I'm looking forward to learning them all so I can choose the ones that work best for me. 

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Shama
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September 7, 2018 - 10:46 am
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Hi Crystal, welcome to the Thai Foot 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

This first module is definitely very thumb intensive. In your case, you need to use this course selectively by not using the thumbing techniques and instead focusing on the non-thumb techniques. Unlike most foot massage training, which relies heavily on the thumbs, the Thai Massage version does offer alternatives. There is no other system out there which allows you to work on the feet (and on the entire body) with as many body parts as are available in Thai Massage. 

Or, in other words, if you want to do foot work, the Thai Massage system is your best chance to do so. You may still be a little limited by the fact that you can't use your thumbs much, but at least you can do some good work without your thumbs. It is definitely possible. Smile

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Crystal Pavis
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September 24, 2018 - 9:49 pm
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Module 2

Since my fingers are long, I wasn’t able to wrap my hand around my partners foot enough to comfortably support my thumbs, while practicing the first technique. I found it much easier to use my knuckles. I found this technique easy to do by leaning in and applying pressure with my knuckles. I prefer to use two or three knuckles instead of using just the middle knuckle. When using my forearm, it took a couple tries to find the correct positioning, but then I was able to comfortably roll my forearm on the foot. I found it most comfortable cross-legged. So far this is my favorite technique since I would like to learn ones that don’t use my thumbs. 

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Shama
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September 24, 2018 - 10:08 pm
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There are plenty more non-thumb techniques in this course, and lots of knuckle techniques are coming up as well. Just pick and choose what works best for you and forget about what doesn't. Try to modify it so that you feel most comfortable and use least effort.

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Crystal Pavis
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September 25, 2018 - 8:47 am
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Module 3


Since the length of my thumbs are about equal to the width of my clients foot, I was not yet able to comfortably do this first technique. However, I can easily use the outer edge of my hand to roll the clients foot out. I like the foot stretch that is done by leaning forward and pulling the feet with the fingers. I was able to do that technique comfortably. I won’t use the thumb circles or pulling the thumbs up with good pressure techniques too often due to thumb joint pain. I will be able to work the lateral edge of the feet with my finger as that is comfortable to do. My favorite technique from this module is the stretch where I lean forward. I found that very easy to use my body to stretch the feet.

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Crystal Pavis
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September 26, 2018 - 9:05 am
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Module 4

Once in the correct position, the first technique was easy for me to do. I like the forearm techniques. I also was able to use my elbow with ease. I prefer the ankle stretch in the squatting position since there is more room for the ankle to move. I like the techniques using the knees but my favorite from this module is the foot to foot techniques since I found them even easier to do! Techniques like this are what has drawn me to Thai massage so I can save my hands from overuse. I feel comfortable applying pressure with my feet. I tried the rolling fists in the last technique and I realize I cannot do this. I injured a ligament in my wrist 2 years ago and when I tried this rolling fist movement, my wrist didn’t feel too stable and got painful. Applying pressure straight ahead with my fist hasn’t been a problem though.

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Shama
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September 26, 2018 - 4:25 pm
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I am glad to hear that you are finding techniques which are working well for you. I am convinced that the Thai techniques are as close as you can get to reducing the use of your hands, and extending your career!

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Crystal Pavis
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September 27, 2018 - 8:49 am
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Module 5

I appreciate that you explain things so well and include details like number of repetitions as well as how long to hold the stretch. I like that we perform the stretch in a wave motion instead of holding it. I found all of these techniques easy to do since we use our body weight. I think it is great to synchronize your breath with the movement. The foot twist technique was very easy to do as well if I keep my wrist locked it’s comfortable and seems effective. I really like all of these stretching techniques and plan to include them in my sessions. At times I am not sure how far I can comfortably push the stretch for the client and I am checking in with my partner as you described. Thanks!

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Shama
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September 27, 2018 - 9:26 pm
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And I am happy to notice that you are finding elements in this course which work well for you, in spite of your challenge with your hands! That's what I had hoped would happen when we had initially talked about this course.

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Crystal Pavis
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September 28, 2018 - 10:20 am
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Module 6

I like the foot rotation technique. At first I thought the speed of the ankle wiggle looked too fast to be comfortable for the client. So I tried it on myself rapidly as you have shown and it was comfortable. Afterwards I can still feel it so it does have a strong effect. I personally get the cracking in one ankle whenever I rotate it.  I also tried the foot-against-ankle rotation on my ankle and I find it to be a more comfortable technique due to the support of the wrapped hand and also due to the slower pace. It does feel more effective than just rotating an ankle with one hand. I really like the push-pull ankle rotation because it uses body weight by leaning forward and back. I agree with you about the toe snapping. I would not want someone snapping or cracking my toes. I like the gentle toe pull wiggle technique you demonstrated. I also really like the foot-lifting relaxation move since it is so easy to do since it’s done by leaning back. The lift and shake foot sideways technique does look relaxing.  

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September 28, 2018 - 4:20 pm
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There are several elements in Thai Massage which I have eliminated in my style of Thai Massage, because I don't see any benefit in them, or they even feel just plain bad. The toe snapping thing is one of those.

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Crystal Pavis
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September 30, 2018 - 5:11 am
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Module 7

The finger saver technique to wrap the index finger around the thumb does seem to provide support for the knuckle stroking movements. Both my partner and I like the J-hook stroke. I’m glad you mentioned to start a session gently since the soles of the feet may be sensitive during the first few minutes of a session. My partner did tell me after the session that a couple strokes were briefly painful. My partner went to sleep while I was practicing this module, so I think the techniques you taught are great! Another feedback I received is that the lengthwise long stroke feels best when it starts just above the metatarsal pad and ends below the heel, basically including all of the center of the sole.  

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Shama
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September 30, 2018 - 11:39 am
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Now you are in the reflexology section of the course. Here you can't use other body parts like forearms, elbows, and knees, but you can still manage to use your hands in a way which reduces stress on them greatly.

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Crystal Pavis
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October 3, 2018 - 4:41 am
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Module 8

I really like the power technique where I brace my forearm against the inside of my thigh. This takes little effort to generate the pressure. Also, I’m glad you’ve shown how to do some of the reflexology techniques on the floor mat. This will be useful for adding some Thai reflexology to a Thai massage session. I found it very helpful to place a bolster under the clients foot and knee since it is more ergonomic to work this way. The tips about different oils is very interesting. I didn’t realize it is better to use heavier oils when working on the feet for a longer session. I plan to use the one-to-ten question to get feedback from the client since I now realize the feet can be quite sensitive. I like the techniques that use the heel of the hand since these don’t put any pressure on my fingers. I can also comfortably use my knuckles while having them in a straight line with the forearm.

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October 3, 2018 - 7:19 am
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Module 9

I found the first several techniques easy to do. The technique where you hold the toe between your bent index and middle finger, squeeze a little and pull up towards the tip of the toe took a couple of tries to grab each of the small toes individually. I have a slight limitation when doing the technique where you use the four fingertips of one hand to work the grooves between the metatarsal bones since my pinky finger on one hand wouldn’t be able to apply any meaningful pressure due to a prior tendon injury. I would easily be able to adapt by adding a few extra strokes while shifting my fingers over one to cover all 4 grooves without using my pinky finger to apply the pressure. My partner liked the technique where we work in between the toes by stroking back and forth with the index finger. I like the heel-of-hand squeezing technique since it reduces the use of the thumbs.

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October 3, 2018 - 8:46 am
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Module 10

I like the slapping technique and the fist method. Those feel pretty good to receive as well. I did not like the tapping method as much. It didn’t feel as good to receive and it wasn’t as easy for me to use that technique on the more bony dorsal half of the foot. Are these tapotement techniques usually done at the end of the foot massage portion of the session? They seem like they could work well just before or after cleaning off the oil with the towel, to help wake the client up toward the end of the session. Would you normally massage one foot and leg and then move onto the other foot and leg and at the end use tapotement and the towel techniques?  

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Shama
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October 3, 2018 - 9:15 am
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Yes, that's exactly how it is done, as you suggested. The tapotement techniques are something that you can either use or not. They are not essential for the foot massage like the knuckle work.

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Crystal Pavis
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October 6, 2018 - 2:24 am
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Module 11

My partner for this module has a bunion on one foot and was very receptive to the toe spreading self-help exercise. I practiced the technique to abduct the big toe and work between the first and second metatarsals with my finger tip, thumb and knuckle. I prefer to use my knuckle to reduce strain on my fingers and thumbs. The third technique, using the little and ring fingers to abduct the big toe, was a little tricky at first for me to hold the toe abducted while at the same time massaging on the top and bottom of the foot. With a little practice, I was able to repeat this several times comfortably. My partner went to sleep during the session and gave feedback that the session was very relaxing and that I could use deeper pressure. Based on the material in this module, I could explain the cause and the recommended treatment protocol for bunions to future clients.

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October 6, 2018 - 8:33 am
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Module 12

These are the techniques for hammertoes. I like the stretching technique where we press the toes down with the heels of both hands and lift our fingers from below the foot. It seems like an effective stretch for the toe extensor tendons. The toe traction is very easy to do and I'm glad you demonstrate it in a variety of ways. My favorite is pulling and rotating the toes. When using this technique I could rotate the toes both clockwise and counterclockwise. The final technique is stretching the extensor tendons but by pushing up on the sole of the foot with knuckles. I didn't find this one as comfortable to do as pressing the toes down with the heels of both hands and lifting on the sole with the fingers. I tried it with a wooden massage tool and as you mentioned that is easier on the hands.

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Shama
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October 6, 2018 - 11:33 am
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It sounds like this material will come in handy for your practice. Especially the explanations of the causes should help with the therapy process, since foot problems are mostly related to lifestyle issues and ignorance of foot health.

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