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Dennis Stoika's Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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DennisStoika
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December 20, 2015 - 11:48 pm
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Module 1:

I now understand the benefits of performing Thai yoga massage on the floor vs table.  I also understand the course will concentrate on energy flow vs anatomy to feel our way around the body. Additionally, I understand and practiced the techniques, tools, positions of myself, and positions of my client.  Finally, I reviewed the first 3 steps/principles:  technique, ergonomics, and breath control.    

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Shama
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December 21, 2015 - 12:14 am
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Hi Dennis, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage course and our forum. I read your very impressive bio - you have accumulated a huge amount of skills. I also have a martial arts background. However I had to give that up after incurring a knee injury which prevented me from doing any hard martial arts. So I switched to softer modalities like yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi, and last but not least Thai Massage.

I still enjoy watching good martial arts. I cannot do it myself anymore, but I can help those who are stiff, injured, tight or contracted to improve and release those conditions.

I am almost amazed that you are adding another skill to your repertoire. Smile

It looks like you have the certification process figured out, but I always post a link to our Certification Check List at the beginning of each thread just to make sure we are on the same wave length. Please take a minute to familiarize yourself with it - just in case.

Certification Check List

I am looking forward to following your progress and reading about your experience with the material. I hope you have one or several good practice partners lined up.

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DennisStoika
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December 21, 2015 - 12:42 am
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Module 2:  

I understand performing Thai yoga massage is more than technique.  I understand it is about principles:  mindset, posture, attitude, and breath.  Ergonomics is extremely important for the body to do the work, and not to muscle it.  I also understand I must be patient, kind to myself, and watch the videos over and over, and consistently practice.  My practice should become enjoyable, not work. Additionally, I understand Thai yoga massage can be traditional, non-traditional, sequence based on the entire body, or therapeutic concentrating on an area or areas.  Finally, I practiced the Chi machine technique on my wife and daughter.  I was easily able to get their entire bodies rocking.  

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DennisStoika
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December 21, 2015 - 12:44 am
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Supplemental:  

I watched the stretching video for ways to assist in making my toes, ankles, and knees more flexible.  I need this practice and have been practicing sitting in this position at times, as this is an area I need to improve significantly. 

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Shama
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December 22, 2015 - 1:37 am
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So you get to practice on your wife and daughter - that's good. It is better to have more than one practice partner since some techniques can work well on one person, but not at all on another one.

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DennisStoika
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December 23, 2015 - 11:03 pm
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Module 3: 

The largest philosophy takeaway I learned in this lesson is understanding that working on the feet, hands, and head are trigger points or areas of the body to trigger energy flow to the entire body.  Starting at the feet is very typical in Thai Yoga Massage.  Additionally, from practicing I learned the importance of being in the proper position and using my body in the movement versus strength.  Being in the correct position is very important for delivery of the massage techniques for both the person giving and receiving the massage.  Finally, my wife, daughter, and I took a basic Thai Yoga Massage course previously and have practiced some of these techniques, so some of this was actually familiar and some very new to me.  What I love about this or what I am seeing and understanding thus far about this course is the emphasis on giving the massage, not specifically being very strict to a must follow sequence.              

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Shama
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December 24, 2015 - 1:48 am
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Yes -  I am not a fan of strictly following sequences because it kills the spirit of creativity. It is much better to think creatively and figure out what fits best for a particular client or particular condition.

The sequences are a useful learning tool and for some sessions it works fine to use them. But if all you ever do is follow sequences, you will never become a creative and intuitive healing artist.

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DennisStoika
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December 24, 2015 - 11:39 pm
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Supplemental:

I watched the Thai Yoga Massage mat video.   

I conduct my sessions at home on carpet or on martial arts/puzzle mats joined together to make a 9 x 9 space, 1 inch thick.  

In my dojo, I have conducted sessions on two 5 x 10 mats, 1.5 inches thick joined together to make one 10 x 10 mat.  

The place where my wife, daughter, and I took a an eight hour introduction course to Thai Yoga Massage for personal home use on friends and/or family used large memory foam mats near the size of a double or queen bed, 1.5 or 2 inches thick.  Very nice and soft on the knees.

Some day I want to purchase one of these mats that roll up, kind of like a very large thick yoga mat.    

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Shama
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December 25, 2015 - 12:02 am
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Looks like you have the perfect setup already. I just included this video for people who have no idea what would be a good setup for Thai Massage.

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DennisStoika
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December 26, 2015 - 8:34 pm
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Module 4:

This training session drives home the concept I mentioned in the previous module, that I believed the learning from you appears to be concept based versus sequence based which I love.  As you stated, I am not worried about getting it right, not worried about following the sequence, and do my best to use my entire body in the movements, flow, delivering energy.  After watching and practicing this session, I better understand the eight ways to move and work the foot:  Out, in, up, down, twist right, twist left, top side, and bottom side.  I also learned I need more practice in my transitions flowing from movement to movement.  This will improve with practice, or with more time giving massages.          

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Shama
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December 26, 2015 - 11:14 pm
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You got it! There is plenty more concept versus sequence material coming up, especially for hip work.

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DennisStoika
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December 27, 2015 - 3:36 am
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Supplemental:  Backups and certification reminders

I backup all my materials on a desktop, laptop, and pay for an online backup of my computers.  It is about $60 a year per computer.  

Additionally, I registered for the international certification.  

Enjoying the course.  The pdf documents that are new to the program are essential to have something by my side during my practice, but I do need to go back to watch some of the technique again and again.    

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Shama
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December 27, 2015 - 10:53 pm
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You got it together, Dennis! Smile I envision you as a really organized and efficient person.

Yes, watching the videos more than once is important. Many course students have commented that every time they watch the videos again, they pick up something which they had missed the first time around.

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DennisStoika
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December 29, 2015 - 4:59 am
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Module 5: 

I understand this material is about warming up the body as we move up our client's legs.  I am really starting to enjoy the course adding more material moving up the body.  This presentation of material compared to my previous 8 hour hands on Thai Yoga Massage course I took with my wife and daughter has much more kneading technique of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf versus palm pressing the clients legs in the prone and supine position.  I believe the kneading versus palming provides a more relaxing, comfortable, and gentle feel or touch for the client.     

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Shama
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December 29, 2015 - 1:47 pm
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Traditional Thai Massage relies more on direct, linear pressure. My style uses more motion techniques like rolling, rocking, kneading, circling etc. This is easier on the practitioner and more pleasant for the client.

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DennisStoika
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December 30, 2015 - 3:10 am
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Supplemental:

I watched the short video on the importance of loose wrists, identified some techniques loose wrists are needed, and a method to practice having loose wrists.

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Shama
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December 30, 2015 - 11:33 am
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Dennis, I enjoy reading your reports, and I just want to mention that for the certification you don't have to write about the supplemental modules. Of course if you like doing it anyway, that's great, and I love reading about it since those supplemental modules are all new additions to the course. I just want to make sure that you know the only requirement are the 35 main course modules. Smile

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DennisStoika
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December 31, 2015 - 9:52 pm
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Module 6:

This is a nice sequence.  This is the first class/lesson on sen lines on the legs for me.  I have experienced and practiced the sen lines on the back and head from another 8 hour hands on course I took.  The hardest thing for myself here is the body positions for myself and my partner, ensuring I am in the right place, my partner is in the right place, we are both comfortable, etc.  This is a challenge for myself to stay longer in these positions for comfort, but I know this will get better in time with more practice.  Additionally, I know I really need to work on the transitions from movement to movement or position to position.  I just performed a variety of all techniques learned thus far on my wife who just came back from a four mile run.  Nice relaxing stretch to finish her workout.  

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Shama
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January 1, 2016 - 9:45 pm
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There is some very specific material about transitions coming up later in the course, and a pdf in the support series about the sen lines.

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DennisStoika
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January 1, 2016 - 11:55 pm
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Supplemental:

Coming from a martial arts/self-defense and fitness background, I find the knee balance video and other stretching and joint mobility videos thus far are very helpful.  I hope students are taking advantage of watching and practicing.  I can do this, but it is a challenging movement to do lots of repetitions.          

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