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Imogen Houldsworth - Heavenly Head Massage Course Notes
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Imogen Houldsworth
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May 3, 2021 - 5:52 pm
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Module 1

After watching Module 1, I had a practice session with my sister and realised I was quite unsure of what to do and what to look out for, so I had a conversation with Shama who guided me through it and improved my understanding greatly! 

I learnt not to push down into the ground and to apply to pressure to the body in more of a 'traction' / 'stretch' effect with a forwards & backwards approach to the shoulders, working soft tissues and not pushing into ribs or shoulder bone.  I realised the approach to Thai massage was about mobility and movement r a structure opposed to just simply kneading or pushing onto one area.  

I applied my new learning and understand again practicing on my sister who said it felt much better and was relaxing.   This second time I was a bit more nervous so I applied a lot less pressure, she said I could apply much more pressure, so I followed this instruction and it went well.  I felt more confident after that I have improved rhythm and touch.  I have watched the Module video instruction again two more times since and have practiced the technique on a client during Savasana at the end of a yoga session.  The look on her face told me that she was enjoying this massage and she looked very relaxed!

I intend to continue to use this technique during heavenly head massage and during Savassana as it is a simple and enjoyable, non invasive technique.

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Shama Kern
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May 3, 2021 - 8:53 pm
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Hi Imogen, welcome to the Heavenly Head Massage certification program. I am actually looking forward to this one because you have no massage background, and it will be quite interesting to see you applying all these techniques and skills.

I intentionally say 'techniques and skills', because it is not just about techniques. There are many other elements like breath, body mechanics, focus, subtlety, and meditative mindset. All this should go very well with your yoga background.

By the way, please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

There were a few lines at the end of your post which looked like notes to yourself, as if you had inadvertently copied them into your post. Since they were kind of out of place, I deleted them. 

I am looking forward to assisting you with this course and getting you to the point where you can do really heavenly work! Smile

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Imogen Houldsworth
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May 8, 2021 - 11:25 pm
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Module 2

 

Chest & Shoulders, Sternum Techniques

 

I found the sternum massage really difficult to feel where was between the ribs and how far up and down on the sternum I was and I found it difficult to match with the breathing.  My client said it felt ok.

 

 I tried all the different tapping and wiggling methods too and I didn't feel very connected to them and my model didn't love them either.  Neither of us could feel the point of them.

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Imogen Houldsworth
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May 8, 2021 - 11:38 pm
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Module 3

Chest Techniques

1.  Rolling thumbs away from centre

I found this technique really difficult to perform as I struggled to feel the right place to massage.  But my client enjoyed it.

2.  Pec massage

I found this difficult to do as I couldn't feel really what I should be working on and my model has big breasts so it was difficult to avoid the chest and also fit the fingers around the body. I felt I was massaging the armpits.  This move didn't feel good for my model.

3.  One hand on the other and creating circles on pec.

Pretty simple to perform and enjoyed by client.

4. Fingers in centre of chest with heels on hands outwards and elephant walking.

Felt ok to client but she said it felt it was performed without confidence.  I felt a bit confused about the movement and when to move my hands and when to match with the breath etcetera and when to lift the hands, I just felt like I didn't understand it at all.

5.  Massing collarbone to shoulders to neck and back

Again felt unconfident to client.  I felt like when I got past the collarbone part I felt very confused on where and what I should be feeling.  I couldn't feel any knots in muscles or understand what I should be feeling and where.

6.  Elephant walk on shoulders

Pretty simple to perform and enjoyed by client.

7.  Twist

This hurt my elbows a bit when lifting the body as I have weakness a bit, I found it difficult to get the heel of my hand in the right position on the shoulder that is on the ground.  I found it a bit difficult to feel how far to stretch the person.  But other than that, much easier than I thought it would be although a little complex.  Again my client just felt I was doing it without confidence.

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May 8, 2021 - 11:39 pm
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The rib and sternum work is quite subtle and requires a lot of tuning into the client. Done right, it feels really nice. I have put clients to sleep with just the chest work. However don't get hung up on it too much for now. If you have a hard time with it, just move on and come back to it later when you feel more in flow with the entire system. Even if you skip some techniques, you would be okay. 

Just go through the course and get a feeling for what most resonates with you. That's what you should focus on. Later you will find that suddenly these techniques that felt quite difficult in the beginning will feel much easier. 

Look at it like this: The techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences.

As an example, not everyone is totally comfortable with each yoga pose. There are some which I like and some which I like less. So I structure my own yoga routine in that way. I don't force myself to do everything in the book. Later I can come back to what I didn't like so much, and maybe I like it better then - or not - and that's okay.

This is a creative and intuitive art, not a technical routine. Smile

By the way, don't double-click for paragraphs, otherwise it all gets spaced out too much. I will take out all the spaces in your post.

Obviously you won't have much confidence in the beginning. This happens over time. Don't expect too much from yourself. You are learning a pretty sophisticated program, and it will take quite some time before you get really good at it. Nobody is good at it right away and full of confidence. That would be close to a miracle! Laugh

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Imogen Houldsworth
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May 9, 2021 - 12:59 am
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Module 4

Neck 1

The wave - completely wrong, I didn't know what I was doing and obviously client didn't love it either.  Mostly the feet part felt weird to her, I found it difficult to get my feet in place. 

I need to watch it again and try again but I feel like this move isn't going to be one I will use.  I'm wondering if this is s part of learning this system? Taking elements that I enjoy performing and leaving out ones I don't understand or enjoy doing?

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Imogen Houldsworth
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May 9, 2021 - 1:02 am
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Module 5

Neck techniques 2

I did the move of sliding hair out of the way and turning head to the side and massaging the neck.  My model enjoyed this part of the massage, she liked it!

I found massaging the side of the neck ok but also like I wanted to slide fingers around over skin and not move the fingers to different places... Feels a bit clunky.

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Shama Kern
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May 9, 2021 - 1:20 am
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"I'm wondering if this is s part of learning this system? Taking elements that I enjoy performing and leaving out ones I don't understand or enjoy doing?"

As I explained in my last post, yes, that's how you can do it. Focus on what you enjoy doing, and gradually build up your skills. Don't rush through the course. You will need to watch the videos several times, and you will find that every time you pick up on something that you had missed previously. Practice the material in the modules repeatedly. Practicing it one time doesn't do much for you. 

Experiment with different intensities, different amounts of pressure, different speeds, and see what feels best for you and for your client. 

Try to focus on feeling with your hands, not just doing something with them. It shouldn't feel mechanical, but intuitive and pleasant. 

Ideally when you practice the material in one module, you should practice all the material from the previous modules as well. So your practice sessions will get longer until it feels like you are doing an entire session towards the end of the course.

And yes, the wave technique is one of the more complex ones. That's one that will take you more time to learn.

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Imogen Houldsworth
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May 9, 2021 - 1:59 am
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Module 4

 

I tried the four neck massage techniques and I couldn't feel what I should be looking for and how to do the moves right.  I think I'm used to feeling around for knots and working them, so to use a particular move feels a bit strange to me.

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Imogen Houldsworth
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May 12, 2021 - 8:51 pm
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Hi Shama,

 

I'm wondering if heavenly head massage can be used when lying on the side?  Pregnant women may need to lie on the side so I'm wondering which techniques I can use or how to integrate the massage for clients in this condition.

 

Thanks,

 

Imogen

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Imogen Houldsworth
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May 13, 2021 - 1:49 am
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Module 7. 

 

Neck techniques 4.

 

Today I tried the neck stretch techniques.  I enjoyed practicing the more gentle techniques and neck stretches with the head to the side and manipulating the twist of the neck.  The big rolling movement with the arm under the head didn't work so well for me today.  

 

I'm finding myself more more comfortable with movements where the head remains supported by the ground or with smaller more gentle movements where I can feel with my hands.  The larger manipulation techniques are more difficult and I feel less connected to them... For the time being anyway.  It will be interesting to see if this is just confidence or a personal preference.

 

I felt more confident today and my model agreed my technique has improved!  I think practice has helped, and also as I'm understanding better what I like and want to incorporate into the massage at the moment.

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Imogen Houldsworth
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May 13, 2021 - 1:59 am
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Module 6

 

Neck technique 3.

 

I find these movements really difficult in the moment, when I watch the video it make sense (and I've watched it a few times!) But when I'm in the moment the technique on how to manipulate the neck whilst holding the head up at the same time just completely leaves me!  I that when I have to hold the body up to manipulate an area, the pressure is too much for me!  Hopefully these things will come to me later, or perhaps I would be better suited to a different style of massage like Swedish?  I feel more comfortable feeling areas when I can knead out knots but this might just be because it is more familiar to me!

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Shama Kern
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May 13, 2021 - 2:23 am
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"I'm wondering if heavenly head massage can be used when lying on the side?" - You can use a few of the techniques, but not all of them. You had to get a bit creative with it. My wife sometimes gives me a neck and head massage when I am lying in the side position. So it can be done to some degree, but it is definitely much more limiting than in the supine position. Especially head massage is quite easy in the side position.

Swedish massage is much more limiting compared to what you can do with the Heavenly Head Massage work. There are no manipulations or stretches or traction moves in Swedish massage. Plus it is a big advantage to be able to work without oil. In the context of a yoga session, for example, oil can be a bit of a messy affair.

However in an upcoming video you will learn how to do many of the neck techniques with oil which is more similar to Swedish massage. So in essence you will learn both systems in this course.

For now just go through the course and focus on what you like best and what feels fairly easy to you. This will build your skill level and your confidence.

Then go through the entire course again and add some techniques that had felt a bit difficult in the first round. You will most likely find that they feel easier now. Every time you go through the course again you will pick up things that you had missed previously or just weren't ready to learn at that point.

This is a long-term project. It takes months to learn such a system well. It is not a race to the finish, but a gradual process of constant improvement. You have to be patient with yourself. Maybe in the beginning, you will only be able to use 30 percent of the course with some degree of ease. Then you build on that, and in the next round you might be able to use 50 percent. And then you increase and improve from there.

Nobody learns this perfectly the first time around. That's just not how it works. You also don't learn yoga perfectly in a two-week course. So be easy on yourself and accept the fact that you won't be able to do all the techniques correctly in the beginning. The longer you practice this, the better you will get, and you will end up with some wonderful, amazing, heavenly skills which people will love! Smile

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