I am a yoga teacher in Portugal, looking for expanding my tools in order to bring more smiles to peoples lives 🙂
I enrolled the Complete Thai Massage course, am currently in Module 2 but I still didn´t have the opportunity to try the Chi Machine technique.
I am hopping to practice first with my husband and then with my students to help them rest during savasana ^^.
Regarding the flexibility exercises, I am just suspicious that my toes do need to have some preparation if we are staying long time pressing on them. This is one thing that I always struggled with.. so better start training 🙂
I am super excited to start this and I want to keep the updates regarding my progress here. However I am not sure if I will be able to keep up with the pace, as life is so busy at the moment. I´ll do my best!
Hi Elisabeth, welcome to our forum. I am glad that you joined the Complete Thai Massage training program. With your yoga teacher background, this course should be a perfect fit for you and add a lot of useful skills. We have many yoga teachers in our community who have gone through our training.
Also please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:
You don't have to 'keep up' with the course. You own it for life and you can go at your own pace, as slow or as fast as it fits into your life.
thank you Shama for your welcoming and for your response 🙂
today I had the opportunity to try the Chi Machine to two of my students.
I didn’t mencion the name of the technique or anything. I simply asked if they were ok if I would try a thai massage technique on them, explaining that I enrolled this course.
I was very surprised with the first person’s feedback. First thing she mencioned was she felt the energy running though her body! This is when I mentioned that this was indeed the purpose of the Chi Machine technique! And that I was glad she could feel it!
She really loved it but also said that she felt like her lower back was getting warmed up and she felt like wanting a stretch in her legs right after the Chi Machine.
The other person however said that she couldn’t really appreciate it because she couldn’t relax. Somehow there was a point in her right foot that I was touching and it was hurting her somehow. She even asked if I am wearing any ring, which I wasn’t. Not sure what this was, I had her ankle scooped in the palm of my hand and it’s true that I felt her slightly moving/adjusting her foot while I was doing the technique for her.
This can happen that one person reacts quite differently to a technique than another. Sometimes it can be the way how you do the technique, and sometimes it can be just the client's reaction. The only way how you will be able to tell the difference is with experience. Once you get comfortable enough with a technique and have done it enough times, and know that you are doing it correctly, you will be able to tell if someone's reaction is something unusual that has something to do with them.
This tends to happen with rather complex techniques like the Chi Machine. There are some people who let go and let the technique happen to them, and then there are some people who are seriously locked up and just refuse (unconsciously) to relax. Sometimes we can get them to relax, and some people simply won't.
You have to remember that we are not just dealing with locked up bodies, but also with locked up minds, which is even more difficult.
So today I finally had the chance to try thai massage on my husband. To be honest it was a bit disappointing when he told me (in the end) that it was nothing special and everything was too soft 🙁
I use my body weigh to assist in my techniques and I also try to coordinate with my breath the best I can. Maybe I need to press more and use my muscles more ? Maybe I am relying too much on my body weight to do the job?
The circular motion (coordinated with rotation, twist and pressing) however felt quite natural to do and I felt confortable about it quite fast.
When asked what part did he enjoy the most (despite his general opinion), he mentioned that he finds the extension/traction of the legs a good feeling.
I know this is only the beginning and that more experience will get me better at it - but still a bit sad to hear those words. I will however practice the massage in other people and see what they say.
For example, the Chi machine, I had another person telling me it was great and she felt like the energy was flowing up. She really enjoyed it. In contrast, my husband´s opinion was "yeah, was ok". (maybe he is just too used to the western techniques)
Nonetheless, I feel happy that I can see my chi machine technique getting better. This is the one I practiced the most so far. In the beggining I felt tension in my trapezius as I was trying too hard to get the movement correctly. Today I got the movement without any effort! <3
continuing the massage session with husband, I explained that this is not suppose to be that concept of western massage.
These techniques were easy to apply, and the concept of the movement of the foot felt obvious. It is like when preparing a Yoga class - also need to think about moving the spine in all directions.
Yet, final opinion from him, he doesn´t really feel any good/bad things in the feet when compared when he has a back massage where the effects feel more evident for him (This is the answer to when I asked him if his feet felt like they were in the clouds).
He rated this (feet massage) hour something like a 6/7 out of 10 and that in general he likes more pressure overall. (yes it took about one hour as I was exploring my movements)
Another thing that might be (or not?) relevant, he has an athletic body and strong muscles. That could be part of the reason why he doesnt feel that much of a big deal? i need to apply more pressure/strenght to be able to pass through those strong muscles?
First, in my experience of doing Thai Massage for two decades, I have often found that men do not react as positively to massage as women do. Women generally allow themselves to be nurtured which many men have a hard time with.
Second, the fact that your husband is strong and well-muscled means that he is the type who might need different techniques. For example, for him, it would be better to work on the feet with your forearms, knees, elbows, and feet. That would give him the power that he is looking for.
You should definitely NOT try to muscle the moves as this can strain your hands and lead to injury if done for an extended period of time.
The foot techniques presented in these two modules work very well for the majority of people. However I can see how they would not work as well for a strong, muscular man with large feet, especially when done by a woman with small hands.
You will find that if you work on smaller clients that you will get a very different reaction. Not every technique works equally well on everyone. The motto is that 'the techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences'.
In the beginning, you need to learn the techniques sequentially so that you remember them. But later you will work in a more creative, intuitive way and choose the best techniques for a particular person. That takes time, no question about it.
DO NOT try to force something that doesn't work well. It will not feel right either for him or for you. Try the foot techniques on someone smaller, and see what happens. Later in the course, you will learn some more powerful foot techniques in the face-down position.
In Thai Massage, force is never the correct solution. It's all about applying the right techniques for the right situation. But before you can do that, you first have to learn many, many techniques so that you have something to choose from.
Another thing to remember is that these foot techniques are not meant to be a powerful foot therapy. They are meant to be a rather gentle introduction to the Thai Massage session.
Serious foot therapy is a totally different matter, and we have a separate (and quite large) course for that.
(back to) Module 3
So today I revised Module 2 techniques with 2 students of mine (female). I applied different techniques to each student and they both loved them.
Both shared the same opinion: that they enjoyed the most those where there were pressure points applied on their feet (the circular motion technique and the one where we lean to the side pressuring into 3 different points along the feet).
Both felt really good and said it was a blessing to have this in the end of the yoga class 🙂
I find that I still struggle a bit in that twisting of the foot technique (the one where we keep our wrist straight). It´s all good and easy on the two first points (close to the toes and middle). However the third point (closer to the ankle) is just too far to reach without bending my wrist. Maybe I have too tiny hands? As it didn´t work with my wrists bent I adjusted the other 2 points and converted them to 3.
Thank you Shama for your feedback!
There will always be some adjustments to make with the techniques, depending on your size and your client's size. This is not a precise science, but a creative art that involves modifications to make it work. You will see that throughout this course I offer suggestions on how to modify techniques to adjust to different scenarios.
Yes, if you have small hands and are working on someone with large feet, you will have to adjust it differently than if you have large hands and are working on someone with small feet. This will happen with many techniques, and there are solutions for all of them.
In the beginning it takes up most of your energy to just learn the techniques, but after a while you won't have to think about 'what comes next' anymore, and you will be able to refine and modify the way you are doing things. This is a natural progression, and the beginning is always the hardest. The good news is that it gets easier the longer you do it.
(and one more update reagarding) Module 4
again a different person, she mentioned (during the pressure points and twist) that she was feeling it all along her leg and even in the cervical area!
Yes definitely, the more I do, the more natural it feels and I can see how it can quickly become an artistic dance/moves 🙂
Just had the opportunity to try out the techniques from module 5.
it was a bit tricky. My husband is taller than me so I had a bit of trouble to lock his foot while being able to reach the top of the leg and lean forward. I needed to adjust my position and yet i might need to still explore this situation for cases like this.
for the first technique (when we work on the central area of the thigh), it happened twice that he felt pain when I was leaning forward. I wasnt sure if this was because maybe I was not locking his foot enough towards the center? or... maybe I placed my hands in the wrong spot? but the hands are suppose to be right in the center of the thigh, right?
Same thing when bending his leg 90º, I had a bit of trouble to reach all the way up his leg.
He said that squeezing and rolling with my fingers (technique) felt about the same as when I was doing the other (similar) technique, with the lower part of the hands.
the two movements on the thigh (rolling and pull-up) and the calf rolls were pretty easy to do. although his calf was so big I couldnt properly grab it all the way.
Overall, to me, this session tired my wrists a bit. it was a total of 40mn practicing all the techniques. should be fine if I am doing just a few for warm-up.
His feedback was that it was rlalxing and almost fell asleep. 🙂
This is something that you will find a lot in Thai Massage - that you have to adjust your position due to differences in size between you and your client (as I had mentioned in a previous post). You will find many examples and pertinent modifications throughout this course.
Regarding the leaning into the quadriceps, there can be several scenarios. One is that your partner or client has a tight and very pain-sensitive quadriceps. In such a case a possible solution would be to soften it up first with some gentle rocking and circling moves (which you will learn later in the course). Another option is to put less weight into the technique.
Another possibility is that you press with muscle power and tight hands instead of sinking in with body weight. This almost always causes pain.
And the third possibility is that you are not right in the center of the quadriceps muscle group and are partially pressing on the bone.
I can't tell which one of these is the case, but if you are aware of all these options, you will be able to figure it out eventually.
back from my holidays. Was able to try the techniques in a different person. She was surprised because she wasn´t expecting this kind of massage as she only knew the western concept. She has a westerned massage course so it was good to hear her feedback:
I need to get to know better the human body sometimes it didn´t feel like I wasnt doing much, but other times she could feel the effect when I hit the right spot. The forearm techniques were a bit towards this feedback as she didn´t feel anything that great. The squeeze of the tight however she found it pleasant.
I believe this is something that practice will take me there, as I don´t have any massaging experience. She mentioned however that the second time I did the techniques (on the other leg) was better than the first time around.
Another thing she pointed was that her lower back wasn't resting on the matt while she was laying down. Today, she prefered to try the session without a pillow for support on her lower back, I wonder however, should this be something I should insist for the person to do, under this circumstance?
Even though this was a module 6 feedback I try to go through the things behind everytime I ask someone to help me out. So I gave her foot massage before the leg warm up and she enjoyed this first part.
I also explained that this was just leg warm-up, a preparation for the leg stretches which we weren´t yet doing today and in the end she said she felt enough warmed up and ready to start exercising.
Yes, if you are not used to forearm massage work, it will take you a while to develop the feeling and sensitivity to make it feel good. It will come with practice.
It is definitely ideal to practice all the previous modules before starting on the latest module each time. In this way you are working your way up to complete sessions and you cement the memory of all previous techniques in your brain.
You need to watch the client's position. If you notice that (lying on their back) their chin tilts up and their neck is not in perfect alignment with the spine, then it is better to elevate the client's head a little with a pillow. Otherwise it will be uncomfortable. You can often see this even before they are lying down. If someone has rounded shoulders or a rounded upper back, i.e. they are a bit hunched over, then they won't be able to lie comfortably without a pillow under their head.
sometimes I feel like I have absolutely no aptitude, skill or touch for this, *sigh*...
regarding module 7, this time I had yet another friend coming over for her first massage with me. This girl has a much smaller body (compared to the other people whom I tried to massage before) and it was so much easier for me to practice the techniques. it truly made a difference.
On her end however, she didn´t feel much. I was expecting her to feel deep stretch with the module 7 techniques but clearly I was doing something (or a lot of things) wrong. And she isn't flexible at all. I noticed this when she came for a yoga class with me and also today by seeing her hips, her feet would not turn towards the ground much, and her knee was sooo high up in the air when her leg was bent at 90 degree.
To say... that the reason is not that she was too flexible but probably I was doing something wrong and that is why she didn´t feel much of a stretch?
butterfly hands and lean into her knee was good, she could feel the stretch in the inner side of her leg.
after that I did some alternative hip and knee rocking.
when I arrived to the walking techniques (either 1 foot or both feet massaging her) she didn´t feel any deep stretch. she mentioned she could only feel the pressure of my foot into her leg.
I tried to sit a bit more up (towards her) and a bit more away from her to see if there was any difference in what she could feel, but never a stretch.
And the last technique, clasping my hands and pulling her knee and leg.. similar thing. I would pull her right knee towards up and left and her body would slide towards me -.- no feelings of stretching either... When I asked her "does it feels nice, even without having a stretch feeling?" she replied that it kind of felt nice when she was sliding...
I understand that legs are the most difficult part os the course and I don't have any massage experience. But this is proven to be more challenging than I initially thought.
Regarding my previous comment, yes she had a pillow under her neck, however her lower back was still not fully resting on the ground.
It is perfectly normal that you feel inadequate and overwhelmed in the beginning of the training, especially with little previous experience, and considering that the leg stretches are not so easy.
Here is my suggestion: Don't focus so much on getting a deep stretch, but focus on making it feel good. The objective of the session is not to do the deepest stretch possible, but to get the client to feel good and relaxed. The intensity of the techniques can improve later on with time.
Here is my question: Do you always practice on the same person? Sometimes it is difficult to get a good reaction from one particular person, but another person reacts quite differently. So, if possible, try to practice on someone else as well.
For example, a very flexible person might not feel much of a stretch, whereas a rather stiff person might feel that the very same stretch is way too strong. Some people are able to relax and feel good quite easily whereas others have a hard time letting go and their mind makes it very difficult for them to relax and enjoy.
So don't always blame yourself. Sure, part of it is that you are new at this, but there might also be other factors related to the people you work on.
Here is another suggestion: Don't force yourself to do every technique perfectly. If you have a really hard time with a technique, just skip it for now and move on to something that you have more success with. You can always come back to a technique later on when you are more experienced and confident.
I am convinced that if you can do yoga well, you can learn to do Thai Massage well. I know that often, when people start to learn yoga, they feel stiff, inept, and clumsy about it. But give them a few months, and it all looks and feels much better. It is the same with Thai Massage.