Your Collie is giving you great feedback!
It sounds like you are developing the ability to sense what is going on in the body, that's great!
When you say "hot hands", do you mean uncomfortably hot and sweaty or just warm and comfortable?
Putting people to sleep is always a good sign, it's excellent feedback.
Using unequal pressure with the feet or with any other technique can feel quite irritating. Try working on equalizing the pressure when working with two feet or two hands or two elbows or whatever.
When I come across someone who does not have the flexibility for a particular stretch, I switch techniques and use rocking style movements. That's something you will learn more about later in the course.
There are two possibilities, one is that something is not quite right with your technique, and the other is that the stretch just doesn't work well for a particular person. Try to find another person to do this particular stretch on. If it also does not feel right or good to that person, then the problem is your technique. If the other person likes it, however, then you might just have found one person on whom a particular techniques does not work well. This is something that will happen.
September 5, 2013
Thank you for your response Shama.
About my 'hot hands' I can only say that it only happened during one single session and my hands just felt hotter than usual, but not sweaty at all. I believe that the temperature within my body isn't the same every day.
I am trying to use an equal pressure while working with the techniques and when I focus on breathing, pay close attention everything is fine. Will try the stretch in question on another person and also experiment with it to see how I can make an improvement. Personally I found the stretches, where I had to use additional my own legs/ feet more challenging and not very comfortable compared with the other stretches. Might also have something to do with my own stiffness in the legs - despite my daily and comprehensive Yoga practice involving various stretches for the legs. I am also walking my dog 'Noche' up to 2,5 - 3 hours every day, which doesn't help to loosen the muscles in my legs. Is there anything what I could do?
Certainly a difficult task to make my partner feel comfortable with a massage technique if my legs are a bit "on a strike".
Module 8: Leg Stretches 2
The practices concerning the massage of the calf muscle/ knee worked well for me and my partner enjoyed it very much. I only had to find the right rhythm and to become one with the movement.
Especially good the rocking movement with the fingertips and also the massage at the side of the knee.
My adjustment for the leg stretches take a little bit longer ...- so many variations to learn and to remember. The art lies in the detail.
However with each practice I feel some difference to before (watch in between the video again and again to find out, what I might have missed before). My partner is not as flexible as the woman in the video, but I try to find the point where the stretch is still comfortable for my partner (ask, observe) and to be content with that. Everybody's body is different. We have to acknowledge that. On the other hand there are movements, which go obviously well for the body of my partner and I hear the deep, loud breathing and it makes me smile. Occasionally my partner relaxes so well that she is soon asleep.
We enjoy especially the rocking movements with the knee and circles with the knee. I can sense how all of that is loosening the tension in the body (hips etc.).
As expected is the rocking movement for the leg stretch more suitable and also the softer version, where my arm is supporting my partner's leg while doing the stretch.
I am always looking forward to practice the Thai Massage and to learn more, get better. So grateful that I discovered your Academy.
Body temperatures can change, or at least our perception of it and it can manifest in our hands. I would not worry about it. The only problem is if someone is straining and muscling and sweating - that obviously does not feel good for the client - but this does not seem to be the case with you.
What you are experiencing is simply that you are now in the middle of the most difficult section of the entire course: all the leg stretches. This takes some time to absorb and get comfortable with. I don't think that the issue is your legs. It will just take a little while for your body to adjust to new ways of moving. The "leg strike syndrome" will subside with a little more practice, I am sure.
Otherwise it sounds to me like you are going about your practice the right way. It is perfectly normal that some things don't feel quite right initially. Many of my students report that once they get into the second half or the last third of the course, it all starts to flow and it feels much more integrated and connected and natural.
Just keep on doing what you are doing and some of those issues like with your legs will most likely resolve themselves on their own. The only other thing I can say is just watch your ergonomics, always try to adjust your positions for maximum comfort for yourself, make sure you are using your body weight as much as possible to avoid any strain, and be aware of your breath.
September 5, 2013
One note to my previous "leg-issue" while doing the particular leg stretch (walking with my feet on my partners thigh).
A few days ago I decided to try this practice once more (was very self-conscious) and suddenly I heard my partner commenting that it feels very good. Imagine my surprise. Since then I include this technique into my daily practice (do everything or at least 95% from the start anyway). The only change I know of was this feeling of "letting go", just doing it, not thinking about this unusual position in a massage. A simple recipe.
Module 9 - Leg Stretches 3
Every practice session is special, but the last time I was amazed how everything was falling into place. I did all the techniques from the beginning and remembered it until the resent session effortlessly. My partner didn't say a word, but was looking very relaxed, breathing deeply and I wondered a bit at which point she would complain about her lower back (due to resent emotional stress, challenges), but there was nothing...until the end. So I kept doing what I was doing and felt this flow/ dance, rush of energy, how connected everything was...and how confident I had become with the movements I was struggling with some days ago.
Afterwards my partner said that I helped the energy in her body to move more freely and she was able to relax so much that the constant pain in the back almost disappeared and she could enjoy the entire practice even better. She is still looking forward to the special practices for the back, but working on her feet and legs would support her too and be more intensive than she thought. I would definitely improve with each session and act like I know what I am doing and integrate everything.
After this comprehensive Thai Massage Training I want to study the Thai Back Massage in depth, but for the moment all is good.
On the Scale for pressure I reached 5-6 with her and she seemed fine in general.
The first practice: rocking of the leg was as expected one of our favourite movements. It is really tempting to learn your rocking massage later:-)
Once I had figured out how to position myself, the leg stretches were not too difficult.
I did the elephant walking with less pressure as her leg didn't go down fully. Rotating of the leg worked well, but to put her leg in an angle higher than about 60-70 degree was not possible, because of her restriction in the leg. The spinal twist at the end was okay through.
You truly sound like a Thai Massage success story in progress! Easily remembering the moves, letting go, experiencing the "flow", and a satisfied massage partner who likes what you are doing are all signs that you are doing things the right way. I think that by now it is obvious to you that this is very different from just learning a sequence and mechanically implementing it. Great job!
September 5, 2013
Module 10 + 11
I couldn't post earlier as my time and energy was quite consumed by my intensive search for a new job, but it finally paid off: I found work:-).
The positions in the Module 10 were not too complicated, but not easy to apply to the two people I was working with. Both of them are flexible in some ways, but not for the required positions as the stretch across to rest on my leg was too strong and the angle for that too high and out of reach.
Moving my foot up while my partner's leg is stretched to the side provided with some challenges as well. I could only do it very subtle and in a very low angle. My conclusion is that these positions are not made for the average person from the street.
The rocking movement in the beginning was much more suitable and enjoyable for both.
On the other hand was the last stretch better too. You mention it in your videos that you always pick and choose from all your techniques, movements and in case my future client likes rocking movements a lot, I will focus more on that.
I enjoyed to do the complete session like in Module 11. Every day some movements are flowing even better. I know that you won't be an expert after a few sessions, weeks, but gradually.
For the leg warm-up I personally prefer to use the techniques for the hands and have to be very relaxed-careful when using my forearms especially on sensitive clients and/or areas of the body like the groove. The foot massage is one of my favorite techniques until now.
My partner told me afterwards that she experienced more peace, clarity, a lightness in her body and the pain in the lower back got much better - especially after the rocking techniques. Apparently I helped that the energy could flow freely...and my partner was able to move much better afterwards . It reminded of the effect after a completed Yoga Session.
"My conclusion is that these positions are not made for the average person from the street."
This is certainly correct in regards to the techniques that you are referring to. Not everyone can handle them and you don't have to do them on everyone either. Using all techniques on everyone would be a guaranteed recipe for disaster - or at least for some uncomfortable and painful sessions.
That's the whole art of Thai Massage - to know what to do on which client. You are getting good results, so your are doing things right. What you are learning, as you say, are options to choose from. I don't use those two stretches with the legs to the side of the client very often, since, as you noticed, not everyone can handle them. But it is important to know them, because sometimes you will get a client who needs exactly those types of stretches.
I remember one client I had who went by the name of "Stretch". He was not even particularly flexible, but somehow he totally enjoyed being stretched out in the most extreme ways.
September 5, 2013
Module 12 + 13
I found the hip-stretches quite interesting and while watching it for the first time I instinctively started to select the movements, which would work best on my partner.
Also I introduced not all of them in the very first session, but over the period of 2-3 days.
The first three stretches with the leg up were very suitable and I liked especially the one, which is more comfortable for the therapist (sitting position). It was good to play with the variations.
My pulling back and pushing-movement against my belly was fine too. My partner really liked it.
For the remaining positions I used the softer version and made always sure not to overdue any stretch/ checked in with my partner. One day she felt some sharp pain (on the scale: 4-5) in her right (more sensitive) leg. Your Module 13 was very informative for such a case (thanks for that) and I worked with the hands on the particular point on the leg until the pain subsided.
The method of elephant walking is always excellent and also the rocking method with the knees.
When my calf is pushing her thigh back in order to straighten out the leg my partner showed surprise. Her comment was:" This is really a good work-out for me without doing anything".
Later on she noticed more lightness in her body and a general relaxation - becoming very sleepy.
Thank you for your introduction on how to handle a client, who complains about discomfort and how to deal with it. I agree that you have to be careful with the words you use like discomfort instead of pain etc.
It sounds like you have a good approach when applying the material. If it is done in this way, you will never have the problem that I have heard so often: "Thai Massage is painful!" It is only painful if you don't do it right, if you do it without any sensitivity, if you just push and pull and yank and shove. But it seems like you have this one figured out!
September 5, 2013
Module 14: hip rocking
The hip rocking worked fine and without any bigger problems after having figured out my own position - sitting beside the client or one leg up/ one knee down...
My favourite method is the first one: rocking on both sides of the hips. Second would be the technique, where you slide slightly with one hand over the belly of the client. It felt quite effective - releasing energy, which got stuck.
Thank you for all your detailed explanations what to do depending on who you are working on.
The transition from one side to the other took me a while to master, but I definitely improved. I still stop for a second with the rocking of the hips while transitioning, but will continue to practice.
Module 15: abdomen and chest
This was a very interesting session as I have never given any massage in this specific area and it was also completely new for my partner, who has a lot of experiences with massages in general.
What you said, about the belly being the place where emotions are stored, is so true. I always considered the belly as the sacred centre...
I decided to do the wave-movement more gentle, to listen with my hands and to go perhaps deeper over several sessions. This was obviously the right approach as my partner confirmed that I was very gentle there and it was just the appropriate pressure. It moved some things within.
I was wondering whether there is a special reason for having the left hand on top of the right and vice versa? Do we change this order to be more comfortable in each direction or is there an additional reason?
The movement sideways below the ribs seems to be very effective too. My partner was able to let go of a lot of tension here.
Obviously is the area between the breasts (at least for women) also a place, where many emotions can be stored. I worked with caution and something moved within again.
The circling at the sides - close to the ribcage - proved to relax even more.
My partner was falling asleep at some point.
And I saw my dog retreating, relaxing and sleeping too. Very calm atmosphere.
Abdominal massage is often neglected in massage in general, and definitely in Thai Massage. I have had excellent results with abdominal work, and I sometimes do sessions with only abdominal work. Actually as you have probably seen, I have a separate course about Abdominal massage which goes much further than the material in the Complete Thai Massage course. That's something for those who want to be able to do real abdominal stand alone sessions.
For those moves where you go straight across it does not matter which hand is on top. However if you do the X moves (cross wise), then it does matter which hand is on top since changing hands won't feel right in terms of ergonomics. But there is no special esoteric reason, it is just a matter of working in the most comfortable way.
September 5, 2013
I would like to learn more about abdominal massage and your separate course is definitely on my list. It is quite unique to find tools for abdominal massage, which are effective and gentle at the same time. Thank you for that.
Module 16 - Shoulder
The movements for the shoulder were challenging for me (somehow unusual) and I had to do it a few times to feel more comfortable with it. My partner didn't care a lot about shoulder work and I worked in the past on someone's shoulder while the person is sitting or laying on the belly.
I liked the first technique best, but was surprised how far I had to reach down along the shoulder of my partner...You emphasized this in your video also and it looks easy on you. Working on someone, who is heavier than you doesn't help here and I would prefer it probably with lighter people.
The stretch of my partner's arm while using the edge of my foot was okay.
I had to let go of the stretch, where the client's elbow is up and the fingers are pointing towards the body. My partner has some issues with the hands and was not flexible enough to put the hand like that.
Module 17 - Hands and Arms
This is one of my favourite sessions so far (liked the foot massage also).
My partner was very agitated before I started the massage session, but once I reached the hands, arms she relaxed and fell asleep. I was surprised how fast !!! Afterwards she mentioned a peaceful feeling in her whole body.
Some movements for the hands reminded me very much of the foot massage.
I tried to flow with the movements and this way even the circular motions combined with other movements were fine. First I couldn't remember the order of everything, but once I started on one arm and hand everything was falling into place. I only thing was that I spent a bit more time on one side than on the other, but that happened more intuitive.
My partner liked the shaking of the wrist very much and the warm-up for the arm, the tracing of imaginary lines to each finger and rolling-squeezing of the fingers.
There is lots more shoulder work coming, especially in the side position, so you will have lots of choices.
Regarding the stretch with the client's elbow up and the fingers pointing towards the shoulders, try to place your partner's hand closer to the shoulder. This will take the stress off the wrist. If your partner can't handle it at all, just skip it since there will be similar stretches coming up that can replace this one.
Yes, Arm and Hand massage feels great. I love it myself so much that I created a separate course about it that goes even much further. All my therapy courses expand on specific areas and take you even further if you want to go deeper. However you can be an excellent Thai Massage therapist with only the material in the Complete Thai Massage course, and it seems that you are well on the way to that.
September 5, 2013
Module 18 + 19
The transition worked in Module 18 worked for me even better than the previous one. I find it easier to flow with it. I preferred the pulling of the arm/s of my partner while sitting behind the head compared to the version where I am standing (weight issue - couldn't really lift my partner up). For myself a bit challenging was that I personally don't like when someone is pulling my arms/ wrists. Tried to put that aside and obviously my partner had no complains.
I always love your summaries and the small additions you make.
In general I felt comfortable going through the movements of the previous sessions, but noticed afterwards that I forgot two or three movements. I will repeat it more often, which should help. Focused more on the flow, my breathing, posture etc. I am always surprised how much more I can discover/ improve in watching your video repeatedly and doing it again.
One thing came to my attention: if I have one leg on each side of my partner and have to hold this position for a while I tend to tremble sometimes slightly while applying the technique.
Maybe I have to adjust myself in a different way or is it just getting used to that like sitting with the legs crossed for longer periods of time? Have to experiment with it.
I have heard that from many students - every time they watch a video again, they pick up new things. Actually, I would be shocked if someone could watch each video one time and remember it all. That had to be something like a Mozart who was born (or re-born) with his amazing talent.
"One thing came to my attention: if I have one leg on each side of my partner and have to hold this position for a while I tend to tremble sometimes slightly while applying the technique. Maybe I have to adjust myself in a different way or is it just getting used to that like sitting with the legs crossed for longer periods of time? Have to experiment with it."
Clearly you gave yourself the correct answer!
September 5, 2013
September 5, 2013
Very interesting techniques in these modules. I felt comfortable to apply the massage with my elbow on the feet, but was just surprised how small a foot can appear in comparison. The next movement of the traction/contraction took me a little bit longer to master, because of the changing hand position. I liked however the ankle and calf muscle stretch and to work on the calf muscle tendon. The elephant walking on the back of the legs was very appreciated by my partner, who was in general relaxing so much that she was drifting in and out of sleep. She didn't have any problems to lay down on the belly (no straining of the neck etc.). So I could proceed without any hesitation. The only difficulty was that I have only a thin mat and the room temperature is quite chilly (more or less the same as outside) as there is no central heating in the whole house. Andalucía is for the most months very warm. I used a thick blanket to cover my partner, but it wasn't really enough.
The challenge in the first movement was mainly in my own adjustments (to place myself without taking so long) and to transfer my partner's leg as smoothly as possible. After that the leaning in is easy. I concentrate on my breath and the move and go with the flow. But I couldn't place my partner's leg in 90 degree (to stiff) and skipped this part. The squeezing of the calf muscle came just in time and also the rocking of the legs (one of my favourites). To place my partner's foot on the opposite leg was difficult and I wanted almost to leave it, but placed the foot under guidance of my partner (where does it start to hurt) - it ended up in the middle of the calf muscle. I was especially careful here not to strain the leg. The massage with the knee made me aware of finding my own balance while doing it.
Seems like you have the same issue as I have. We just went through the longest cold spell here in northern Thailand in over 10 years, and not one single house has a heating system. So it is just as cold inside as outside. Normally it is always warm or hot in Thailand, so nobody bothers with heat. But this year we were hit with a broadside.
The drifting in and out of sleep is a wonderful feeling when you receive massage. I love this feeling when I get a session, and I love it when my clients experience this effect. That's a good sign that your partner is experiencing this. You must be doing something right!
It seems that you have a good teamwork going with your partner with good feedback.
September 5, 2013
Yes, it is very similar here in Andalucía as in northern Thailand. The houses don't have a heating system, because usually it is very warm or hot and therefore no need for that. After very warm weather in November we encountered a long cold spell in December and I was wearing as many layers (up to 4) as possible to keep warm. Spaniards love to have a small portable heater under their dinning tables, which are covered by a table cloth, but it takes a lot of electricity and does not give much heat and I like to move around.
I liked the leg stretches immediately, but also guessed that my partner would have some restrictions in the legs. I moved the legs in the beginning very gentle and changed the leaning down to a rocking movement as I could only "place the legs somewhere in the air". I did this with each leg and later both legs. I sixth sense said this was the best approach and my partner was obviously content with it. Sitting down (facing my partners feet) and lifting the leg worked surprisingly well. I just had to watch my own balance in the first seconds. Lifting her foot into my armpit and leaning onto the glutes was fine as well. I moved slowly and listened to the body. Leaning back and forward with my knee into the soft spot was at first something I had to get used too and the challenge was again to maintain my balance, but after a while I felt more stable and confident.
Working on the sacrum was new for me, but it had the effect that soon I heard sleeping sounds from my partner. Her whole body seems to take a break and to spread the relaxation in the sacrum. I especially liked the percussion technique with the loose fist(s), but also the rocking movement and wriggling...and the rocking forward with my knees in the end.
My partner was very pleased with the session.