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Heavenly Head Massage Certification
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Patricia Crossley
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October 21, 2021 - 9:25 pm
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Module 12 The face 1

I practised on a female client who had half an hour for me on my massage table, so I decided to do the ears, the head and the three face modules.

I was better this time at integrating breathing and movement into the head massage, but I battle a bit to make the head massage last. I resorted to going through all the various techniques, then going through them all a second time, and then a third time, on either side. She said she enjoyed it, and it was her first head massage so nothing to compare it with.

I started with me standing, then realised standing was a mistake (my back!) so I drew up a chair to do the three face modules, which got me out of my zen space in my head. In future I shall sit throughout.

The transition to the face is nice. I did all the moves with more pressure on my exhale rather than on hers, because her breathing was faster.

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Patricia Crossley
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October 21, 2021 - 9:25 pm
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Module 13 The face 2

This went well, except I kept raising my knees, so I had to remind myself a few times to relax my legs.

I forgot to roll the skin along the jaw – realising I was missing something, I improvised with some moonwalking with my fingers along the edge of the chin with my fingers. The circling was fine, then I forgot to do the downstrokes with the heels of the hands down the cheeks towards the table.

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Patricia Crossley
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October 21, 2021 - 9:28 pm
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Module 14 – Energy Techniques

This went smoothly. I’m a Reiki Master so transited easily to sending energy down my arms to my client. I did a couple of workshops with the shaman and healer  Rosalyn Bruyere. To avoid using your own energy, she got us to practice drawing in external energy either down through the crown, or up through the feet. I found I did best drawing it up through my feet, which goes well here with then sending it up through the hara to the crown and down the arms. I didn’t say anything about the energy part to my client, I just pitched this as a very pleasant, highly relaxing protocol, and she commented at the end on the heat coming from my hands, so that part is working as it should.

My client was very relaxed and sleepy at the end. She said she enjoyed it and thought it would be ideal to pitch at people who are teleworking. She is going away for three weeks, but wants a full Heavenly Head Massage when she returns.

In conclusion to these three face modules, I must say I’m delighted with them Shama. I was concerned about overlap with Japanese face massage, and this is quite different. The one is geared to face lifting, toning, lymphatic drainage and meridian acupuncture, the other focuses on delivering pleasure and relaxation, so I now have two very distinct products I can offer. I like the way the moves all flow in a logical order, first down then back up again, which makes it easy to remember without having to consult a protocol, and pleasanter for the client than if you’re jumping about. I need more practice to make integrate it all into a heavenly experience, but I enjoy it all and find it very valuable. Thank you!

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Patricia Crossley
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October 21, 2021 - 9:32 pm
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Just wanted to make it clear, the heavenly Face modules also active meridians and go over acupoints, obviously, but the focus in the delivery is different.

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Shama Kern
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October 22, 2021 - 11:48 pm
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I am glad to hear that your initial concerns about overlap or duplication have been alleviated and that you are finding an entire new style that you can offer! Smile

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Patricia Crossley
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October 23, 2021 - 9:25 am
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Hi Shama - I posted comments on Modules 12, 13 and 14 and I see you replied 9 hours ago, but my comments (and yours) have disappeared! 

I have mine on my computer, so let me know if I should post them again?

All the best

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Patricia Crossley
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October 23, 2021 - 9:28 am
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This is weird, as soon as I hit submit reply, the missing posts reappeared! Take careSmile

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Patricia Crossley
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October 23, 2021 - 9:47 am
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Ok, I've just discovered why students posting have a 1 2 or 3 indication i.e. a second or third page of posts. My apologies. I couldn't understand why some students seemed not to finish their course! Now I have some reading to catch up with... Laugh

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Shama Kern
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October 23, 2021 - 7:16 pm
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You are not the first one who got tripped up by the tiny page numbers. I wish there was a way to make them bigger and more obvious... Laugh

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Patricia Crossley
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October 23, 2021 - 9:48 pm
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Another thing I haven't understood Shama is what the replies number is: whose replies (yours, other students?) and where are they? Okay, more posting...

Module 15 Neck Problems

I had a client who came in today for a Japanese foot massage. She complained of feeling tight in the rhomboids and neck after cutting creepers on the facade of her house with her head up and back. I normally use the Bowen technique on her for therapeutic work, so I asked if she would try a gentle Thai approach instead.

I tested her restriction to both sides first, the left side was the problem side.

She enjoyed the wiggling moving the head forward, and enjoyed the countermove even more, saying she could feel it was giving her a good stretch. She has a long neck which makes it easier to work with, it was better/smoother than when I first did it in the previous neck modules.

Since the left side was the restricted side, I started the sideways rocking to the good side, the right side. Then I changed hands to do the restricted side, and then I repeated both sides before doing the next rocking move with the head up. I then asked her to slowly turn her head to the good side then the bad side, and she was able to turn further on the restricted side and felt it was already releasing nicely.

She has long loose hair and it was pleasant for her and useful for me to sweep it up the neck into a receiving hand to clear the neck for deeper work. I added a drop of jojoba oil (it’s also my favourite oil for bodywork, but for the face I prefer a drop of camellia oil) to work the SCM and the upper trap.

Sweeping medially down with the heel of the hand was new for me. Pulling up the side of the neck with an open palm alternating hands (I call that dog pawing) she said felt good.

I often work the trigger point on the upper trap, but the deeper work sliding up from the rhomboids to the occiput, and then circling below the occiput, was more appropriate here.

I was used to elephant walking the back of the legs, and I’m delighted you introduced me to doing it on the shoulders, though it’s not easy on narrow shoulders. It wasn’t in this module, but whenever I can I now include elephant walking the shoulders, it feels so good for both the client and me.

Happy Sunday... 

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Shama Kern
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October 24, 2021 - 5:04 am
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When I look at the forum page, I don't see a number for replies. I only see a number for forum posts. Maybe something displays differently for you since you are a user and I am the admin - I am not sure.

It sounds like you are getting pretty good with this material and are applying it intuitively. But then again, this is nothing totally new to you with your background and experience.

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Patricia Crossley
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October 31, 2021 - 3:16 pm
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Module 16 – Towel Techniques

I had used towel techniques in the past and stopped using them as I thought it didn’t add much. I realise why now: I was doing it just as a pleasurable, relaxation move rocking the head and neck on any client, using a thin silky scarf that slipped and that I placed under the neck with no precision.

This time my recalcitrant husband with his thick short neck was the perfect person to practice on.

It isn’t easy to find the right cotton scarf for this work, here they tend to be very long wide men’s scarves called chech (used by men in the desert usually). I tried out the techniques first with a cotton chech, then with a thinner scarf that was 70% cotton. My husband preferred the thinner one, he said it felt like it gave a better stretch, probably because the chech is so wide that when you fold it it’s a bit thick.

I had no problem with slippage and gave good traction. I can’t say the side to side roll nor the gentle rocking gave him the same pleasure it does on women with a normal neck – maybe it’s a man thing? But he enjoyed the traction and I tried and failed to give the same traction with my hands, so the scarf is a good solution for this type of neck (thankfully it has been rare in my work).

I didn’t try the moves where you straddle the client from the front, simply because I wouldn’t be able to do them on the floor, nor would I ever climb onto the massage table. But for younger, fitter folk it looks like a good technique.

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Shama Kern
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November 1, 2021 - 7:22 am
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Regarding the pleasurable experience - often it really is a man thing. I have always found that women allow themselves to be nurtured much more so than men.

And the towel techniques are not really feel-good moves but rather techniques that enable you to move those short thick necks when you can't do so with your hands.

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Patricia Crossley
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November 2, 2021 - 9:23 pm
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Module 17 – Face therapy

I tried these techniques out on two clients and all went well. I’m used to working the face with a little oil and variable pressure with different techniques, so my questions are more on the ‘why’ than on the ‘how’ Shama.

My first question is this: why not do this, or some of this, for every heavenly Head Massage client, mixed in with relaxation moves? It’s all enjoyable and beneficial.

My second question concerns finding tight spots. Do people know they have them? I’ve never noticed tight spots when doing a face massage, but maybe it’s because if the client complains of sinus or TMJ problems, I switch to Bowen rather than do a massage. Anyway during my two practice sessions here I didn’t find any tight or sore spots, and they didn’t report any sore points either. So I guess the answer is to say at the beginning of a face massage if any spot seems a little sore or uncomfortable during the massage, please let me know so I can focus on it?

My third question concerns neck safety on a massage table. Some massage therapists take the face cradle away once the neck has been warmed and stretched, and let the neck hang back down towards the floor (obviously not if the client has cervical issues) to massage the neck while in a good lateral stretch, then they prop the back of the head level against their tummy to get a good grip below the neck sliding up to the occiput with alternate hands. What’s your take on letting the head drop back? Is it part of Thai massage? Is it safe if done gently?

As regards lifting the skin and squeezing and sliding off, another method I like is to lift the skin between the flat intermediate phalanges of the bent index and middle fingers. It sort of spreads the squeeze and feels nice.

At the beginning of the face massage, I’ve added an extra move to ‘chill’ out the client. It’s something I often end a massage with. I’d like to share it - try it on yourself and let me know what you think? At the end of the head massage, I move to the client’s side to glide my middle finger slowly up the nose. When level with the eyebrows, I add the index and ring fingers to glide the three fingers very slowly up the forehead into the hair with medium pressure. As the heel of the hand nears eyebrow level, I land the heel just below the eyebrow level and pull slightly upward, pressing the palm onto the third eye. I wait a few client’s breaths, then for a few breaths my hand does a very narrow slow elliptical circle in friction mode, pressing upward on the inbreath with the heel and releasing pressure coming back on the exhale. It’s very subtle and very calming. Then I lift the hand off very very slowly and place myself behind the client’s head to continue. I think it blends in well here.

Hey, I’m sad, only one module left! Namaste.

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Shama Kern
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November 3, 2021 - 3:57 am
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"My first question is this: why not do this, or some of this, for every heavenly Head Massage client, mixed in with relaxation moves? It’s all enjoyable and beneficial." - You could theoretically do that. The only thing is that the oil version of the face massage is meant to be more intense and more geared towards face issues. The non-oil version is meant more for pure bliss and relaxation and is supposed to put people into a trance state.

But you can certainly modify this to your preference. I just presented it as two distinct versions of face massage, but there is nothing wrong with changing things around a bit.

"My second question concerns finding tight spots. Do people know they have them? - I have had clients with severe face issues, and they either knew that they had tight spots, or they found out very quickly during the face massage. Granted, there are not many clients with such issues, but when you do get one, it is very helpful to have these oil techniques at your disposal.

"My third question concerns neck safety on a massage table." - I would never let the head hang down from the massage table (and I would hate having it done to me). That's what I call an uncontrolled stretch. I only do backward neck tilts with my hands so that I can precisely control the amount of stretch.

Regarding your own techniques - I always encourage new techniques, either ones you know already or ones that you create or invent yourself. That's how I came up with a lot of the techniques in my courses. There are quite a few that I never learned from someone but just came up with by letting things flow and allowing my creativity to take over versus just following a set routine.

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Patricia Crossley
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November 3, 2021 - 7:27 pm
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Thank you for the feedback Shama. You confirmed my suspicion re letting the head hang down, but I did wonder if in some massages it was taught, and whether it might be part of sitting Thai positions. 

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Shama Kern
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November 3, 2021 - 11:39 pm
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Well, all kinds of people teach all kinds of different things. I have my own style based on what I feel or know is right, does not cause discomfort, and is not dangerous. I have been taught things in courses I took that I would never do to anyone.

Basically what I did is this: I took all the things I liked from courses, discarded the things I didn't like, modified techniques, and invented or created other techniques until I came up with a system that I was happy with.

Just because a school or teacher is teaching something doesn't mean it is right or beneficial for clients. There are several Thai Massage techniques that I do not teach because I consider them unsafe, unstable, or even dangerous.

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Patricia Crossley
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November 9, 2021 - 5:49 pm
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Module 18

An important module and such a constructive finish to this course!

Whatever massage or treatment you deliver, you need to cue in to the clients’ posture, how they walk and sit, how they hold their head and where they look when talking, what energy they emit, how and where they breathe, etc.

In the section where you talk about getting the client to stand against the wall: the tip about not tilting the hips forward is important, as you point out. But while it’s true the correct posture is with the back of the head against the wall, if the client has a bad forward head posture, placing the back of the head against the wall will bring the chin up when it should be level, so if they walk away like that, they don’t get a propioceptive message of a level chin. I have seen many women with forward head posture and raised chin in my work. They all have recurring tight traps, tense rhomboids and middle back muscles, their anterior scalenes and SCMs have shortened, moving into an almost upright position instead of a posterior 45° angle, and the semispinalis capitis is stretched forward from its normally posterior position, causing it to be weak. The bad cases also show a sunken area of the spine at rhomboid level where the skin shows no pores, it’s different from the surrounding area. Posture is mind-body work and you can’t correct posture if your mind isn’t aware of the feedback your body sends you. These women mostly aren’t even aware that they slump, or that their chin is up, or that their posture stops them from breathing from their diaphragm, or that their weight is probably on the back of the foot instead of on the tripod ball of foot/sides. We need to make them aware.

In these cases, I’ve resorted to delivering the proprioceptive message in two phases: in the first phase they just get to feel what it is like to have the shoulders back but relaxed, and the pelvis not tilted forward. With their head back against the wall, I use a ruler to show them how up their chin is, and ask them to drop the chin till the ruler is level. This brings the head forward a bit (but further back than their normal head forward position), and I then fill the gap behind the head with a folded towel or a rolled pair of socks and ask them to just relax and feel the position their body is in, then to take a step forward keeping that position and internalise it. They can then practice at home keeping that posture for a while every day. Once that is integrated, they can work on getting the head further back while keeping the chin level and shoulders relaxed, till they are finally able to have their shoulders and the back of the head against the wall with chin level and pelvis not tilted.

Another clue of head misalignment is asking them to look down at the floor: does the whole neck glide forward and down (wrong) or does the head just nod? Sitting at the computer for hours leaning on the left elbow or on the left buttock (in right handers) can cause the neck to lean left eventually. Women who always sweep their long hair over to the same side often tilt their head to that side and are usually unaware of tilting, and come in with tight traps and a stiff neck. Consulting our smartphones with the head down instead of bringing it to eye or chin level is another cause and effect link you mention.

I love giving massages and providing solutions to neuromuscular problems, but the whole cause and effect scenario is at the preventive end of wellbeing and I’m glad you finish this course putting emphasis on how we as wellbeing therapists should take an interest in cause and effect links to help our clients avoid pain and discomfort (I’m busy writing a book on the role of our feet and shoes in our daily wellbeing).  

Thank you Kiss

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Shama Kern
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November 10, 2021 - 5:46 am
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Wow, that was a very insightful and helpful comment, by far the best comment I have ever read on this module!

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Patricia Crossley
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November 10, 2021 - 12:01 pm
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Thank you Shama. I'm looking forward to starting the shoulder course. You're a great teacher.Smile

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