Hi Shama - Thanks for you reply and will try your idea and give you more feedback on that tip for that stretch.
We just finished watching and practicing video 9 - I feel doing the hamstring stretches I am pretty confident in what I am doing and I like doing these. I also like receiving these stretched even though I am not that flexible. My only question today is that I have bulged disks in my L4 and L5 and I still like having these stretched performed on my, even the spinal twists I like. But should I be doing these type of stretches on clients with similar injuries even though (as in my case) I still like the stretch?
After I complete this course we might want to add the course where you just work on the lower back and sacrum area - Is that covered in your back course?
There is one massive back massage course, Thai Back Massage, which covers the back from the upper back down to the sacrum and buttocks in great detail. So yes, the lower back and the sacrum are covered very extensively.
The second course which covers this area is the Thai Massage for Sciatica course, but that's more specialized for sciatica problems. Of course a bulging disk in L4 and L5 is one of the typical causes of sciatica since that's precisely where the sciatic nerve exits the spinal canal and, in the case of a bulging disk, can compress the sciatic nerve.
I would say that the Thai Back Massage course is the best way to go since it gives you a huge amount of material to work with. If you want to specialize in sciatic issues, then the sciatica course would be the next choice.
Regarding your question, this depends a bit on the situation. If someone has a bulging or ruptured disk, then you definitely don't want to go in there with full blown stretches. Instead you want to work on the muscles in that area, warm them up with pressure application, rocking movements, or even with herbal compresses or with a massage hammer with an infrared heat lamp. There are lots of ways to do that. Then you can follow up with gentle spinal twists unless they cause serious pain in which case you don't do them.
If someone has spinal stenosis, i.e. the opening where the sciatic nerve leaves the spinal canal has shrunk due to a bone spur for example, then you are dealing with a condition which cannot easily be reversed with massage. The same goes for degenerative disk disease in which case the disk is not necessarily bulging but it has deteriorated and thinned out.
A ruptured or bulging disk can heal much better than the two previous conditions. The problem is that you won't know exactly what the issue of your client is unless he or she shows up with an MRI or CT scan.
Regardless of what the condition is, you can either contribute to or accelerate the healing process or you can alleviate the symptom and prevent it from getting worse in most cases.
Actually I am delving into the sciatica course material here. My point is that the issue is a bit more complex than can be explained in a few sentences. In a nutshell, first work on someone's lower back to relax and warm the muscles, and then feel your way into spinal manipulations without causing any distress while letting the client's reaction guide you.
I guess you did not quite expect such a long answer, but there is even much more to it than I explained here.
Hi Shama - there is never too long of an answer to me. I appreciate all the detailed information, seriously. Very helpful.
Tonight we worked on Video 10 and practiced. I practiced the techniques with Joleen and we were both comfortable with them as both therapist and client. My only problem was finding the blood stop "perfect spot". Joleen found it on me easily, but I was having a hard time finding a pulse (maybe she's dead?) - lol!
We are going to try it again tomorrow.
I liked the stretches in this video and they were comfortable to perform so I plan on using these for sure.
I think Joleen was resurrected since I see she is in the forum right now.
On some people the pulsing of the femoral artery is felt easier than on others. Experiment with moving the leg into different positions. Try it with a straight leg and move it closer and farther away from the midline. Then angle the leg to 90 degrees at the knee and move the thigh out at a 45 degree angle. Place your index, middle and ring fingers on the area where the femoral artery runs and just feel around until you notice the pulse. It might work better in one position than in another.
Hi Shama! Tonight we worked on the summary video and practice. I feel like a pretty good flow going on. I enjoy these summaries because I get to see how all the moves are put together. I was surprised at how easily I was able to go through the entire routine without having to check my notes. I got good feedback from my partner. She was honest with a few that were not that interesting or did not feel that good to her, they were just mehhhh, and then she felt there were several that were really nice and felt wonderful.
Now that we have been doing this for awhile we are naturally seeing the techniques that we like on ourselves emerge to be the ones we perform the best too. For instance, luckily we both really love all of the foot work and I think we are both getting really good at doing it.
Still didn't get the bloodstop found tonight either, but I will try your suggestions and hopefully give you a positive update next time.
Until next time
The summary sessions seem to be everyone's favorites according to lots of feedback here in the forum. You two appear to be really serious and consistent about this training, and it seems that the results are showing. The proof of that is when you can do it without constantly looking at your notes. Then you can start focusing more on the right feeling and a good flow. Good news!
Hi Shama -
Tonight was video 12 starting on hip stretches. It is so good to reflect on sessions multiple times because I have forgotten I loved all of these stretches. I enjoyed performing them equally as well mainly because I feel I'm performing them pretty good. (so Joleen says......).
I don't know if they do this in other massage skills, but having the techniques performed on you so that you can know how it feels helps you gauge the power (or lack of it) on particular stretches that you may want to do. Like the calf stretches we did tonight, the one with the leg up on the shoulder was a really strong stretch being done to me. So now, I can be careful as I perform it to others.
The other things I found out tonight is that I am a little bit more flexible that I thought.
Thanks so much Shama
Even if you would not be very flexible at all, by getting regular Thai Massage you would certainly become more flexible.
One thing I can say with certainty. Nobody will learn Thai Massage well by watching the videos only once. Sometimes I watch one of my own videos from one of my many courses, and I realize that I had forgotten something - and I am the one who made the videos!
Hi Shama -
Tonight we worked video 13. One thing I want to comment on is about something you said early on about keeping it simple, but for my own personal gain I did buy an anatomy book so that I could understand this process better and I am not caught off guard by a client talking about some injury or something on a muscle and me being clueless about. It's alot to learn, but I try to add about an hour of anatomy study every week too.
Glad to get through the "hip pie" - can't wait to get to the back massages (for my personal use) - I'm having a rough week
Since there was not alot of new technique this week, we just practices on the one missing hip pic stretch and some of our other favorites from our summary session last time.
That's a good idea. I also have a bunch of anatomy books which I can refer to at any time. I kept the anatomy out of this course for the most part, however in some of my specific therapy courses I do include quite a bit of anatomy.
Traditionally Thai Massage was never taught with western anatomy principles, however western students and maybe even clients are interested in it. So in my later courses I accommodate this a lot more. It is easy to figure the anatomy out yourself with a good book or some online material.
However it is important to understand that we are not just moving anatomical parts around, but that we are moving energy. That has always been the underlying principle of Asian therapy.
Hi Shama -
We just got done watching and practicing Video 14. This was a easier session than some of the others for me. The only area where I need more practice would be the transitioning from side to side. I have a technique that I use which flows and is smooth, but I keep one hand on the floor for balance, just to be safe. I like practicing it though and with time I hope to be as good as you at it.
I'm always amazed at how some techniques, such as the hip rocking, very little if any pressure is needed to feel good compared to the pulling part of these techniques, the stronger the better (at least from my partners feedback). With more practice I will figure out the areas which need less touch (pressure) and the areas that can have stronger stretching/pulling or sinking,
Thank you for the response from last time. Tonight I really tried to remember to utilize the energy flow as I practiced. As I practice my techniques you have been teaching I noticed how well I have been doing with my breathing - it begin to become natural and not so much mechanical.
Until next time - Greg
Hi Shama -
We practice session 15 the abdominal work tonight. Tonight my partner started on me first and by the time she got to my shoulders I fell asleep.............
Either I'm really tired or tonight was a great massage session. I also got to practice on my granddaughter. I did about 20 minutes of some of my favorite techniques. She is a dancer so she is quite flexible. I got good feedback, which I feel is complimentary to me (considering she's 14).
The only issue I had with her is she is quite ticklish. So I had to modify some of my techniques in order to make them less sensitive to her. But in the end, it was all good.
I got good feedback from Joleen on the abdominal massage - I started off very lightly, which turned out for her to be too light. She enjoyed it much more with more pressure or a stronger touch.
Until next time - Greg
Hi Shama - we have been looking forward to completing the shoulder exercises because one of my friends needs some help in the shoulders and is waiting for me to finish. It will be exciting challenge for me because he is 6'2" and weighs 250 lbs. I'll let you know how it goes.
I liked the "please dislocate my shoulder move" (our name for it - the one with the fingers bent backwards) - when watching it performed on the video it looks like something should snap, crackle and pop. But when it is performed I actually liked it.
Overall, good session - several of these shoulder techniques are ones that we will add to our favorites lists.
Until next time. Greg
6'2" and 250 pounds is always a challenge, no doubt. Your name for the shoulder move really cracked me up, by the way!
If you ever want to get deeper into shoulder work, especially on large clients who have problems, I would recommend the Ultimate Shoulder Massage course which goes even much deeper into shoulder work. This comes all from my personal therapy work on lots of clients with shoulder issues.
Learning in Thai Massage never really stops, we can always get better. And as you know, there is lots more shoulder work in the later modules of this course, in the side position.
Hi Shama - We watched and practiced video 17 and 18 (arm and hands and some twists).
The hand massages are quickly becoming my favorite technique to perform. In the beginning I was concerned how I could fill the hour or so with a good massage and I feel now that I could spend well over 30 minutes doing a hand massage alone (at least that would be OK if someone did it for me).
Always enjoy shoulder work too, as most people I would image always have some tightness in the shoulders. I got really good feedback from partner on all of the hand and arm techniques and Joleen always loves anything that has contraction in it, so she loves the arm pulling (I have been pulling her leg for years........).
I have several new practice patients, my granddaughter and daughter seem to be coming back regularly and now my dogs too (although they mostly only like the ab massages....).
Still need some work on the transitions and felt the twist was pretty tough to do too.
I got a good chuckle out of your statement that you had been concerned over how to fill one hour with Thai Massage. I think your problem will most likely be how to keep the session within 2 hours and still fit everything in that you want to!
Personally I have never done a Thai Massage session less than 2 hours.
Hi Shama -
We did session 19 and 20 over the last two days and as always the summary sessions are nice to reflect on and great practice too. I got a good 40 minute massage out of deal - NICE!!
In session 20 as far as performing the techniques, feedback was positive and I was quite comfortable doing all of them, except for the heel compression/contraction. Need to re-watch the video and practice again. I did not feel comfortable that I was doing it right - it was awkward - but we will review again. One other note, when practicing tonight, I noticed how my body was flowing comfortably with each move and I was conscious of my breath and it was usually in time. It's become a lot more natural for me now.Thanks for the reminders! Other than that - life is good!