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Ivanna Khorramshahgol's Complete Thai Massage progress notes
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Ivanna Khorramshahgol
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September 27, 2018 - 8:37 pm
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Module 1

Given my Yoga and Reiki training I was overjoyed to see how this course complements with my line of work! The most fascinating part was to learn of the ‘Heavenly Touch’ concept which I think is a key component when working with others. The connection of the Breath is also an amazing and very important component to the practice. We all tend to overlook the importance of maintaining awareness of your breath! We take it for granted! Regarding the breath I have a question: is the exhalation through the mouse or the nose or is not relevant which one we use? As I practiced with my partner which happens to be my husband I tried exhaling through the mouth one time and switching to the nose the next time. Perhaps it was just me but I did feel more at ease exhaling through the mouth. 

Another question is: what are your thoughts on using essential oils during a session? I don’t necessarily mean on the clients body but in a diffuser in the room. 

I was very excited to be working with my husband and practicing with him because it was easier to get a feedback. He communicated at all times letting me how pressure was and what felt more comfortable for him for instance he preferred not to have a pillow under his head. I noticed that in Module 1 the client had a pillow but in Module 2 the client did not. Is there a reason for this? 

Thanks in advance for any feedback I may get! 🙏🏻

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Shama
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September 27, 2018 - 11:46 pm
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Hi Ivanna, welcome to our community and the Complete Thai Massage certification program. Before I answer your questions, let's first get your thread set up correctly. Please watch the video on our certification tutorial page:

Certification Tutorial

Your thread is not set up correctly, but I fixed it for you. Here are the items which need attention, as per our certification checklist:

Certification Checklist

Item #1 - biographical profile information is missing.
Item #3 - Your name and course name were not included in the topic title. I fixed that.
Item #4 - Module number in your post is missing - I fixed that.
Item #8 - Make sure to continue this thread by clicking on "Add Reply", NOT "Add Topic".

Now to your questions: It doesn't matter if you exhale through your nose or mouth - whatever you feel most comfortable with.

Personally I like to have the smell of essential oils in the room. I would make sure to keep it subtle since you never know how people react to smells.

I normally ask clients if they would like to have a pillow under the head. I can also determine this by looking at their posture in the standing position. If their back is straight and their shoulders are not rolled forward, and their head is not tilted forward, then a pillow is probably not necessary for the supine position. However a pillow is always required for the side and prone positions.

If I see someone lying face-up, and their chin is tilted up, then I know they need pillow support. So there are anatomical clues which are quite easy to tell. In general I let the client decide what makes them most comfortable.

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Ivanna Khorramshahgol
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September 29, 2018 - 12:11 am
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Module 2

I totally agree with the idea that mindset and/or intention is the main component when working with the body and energy! I also like what I’d call the four principles that you mentioned:

1) Right Mindset

2)Right Body Posture

3) Right Attitude 

4) Right Breathing

I'd also like to mention that I appreciate your innovative way of combining different techniques for a holistic healing. In the case of the Chi Machine I was surprised to learn that it comes from Qigong, something that I’ve been studying on my own lately! 

I can see how this technique will requiere practice with different partners so that I can get a better sense of how different body types feel in creating the ‘wave’ movement in the whole body. The first time I practiced it felt very mechanical, I was very ‘technical’ about it. That’s when I realized that I needed to make a connection from my body movement to my partner’s body movement. In other words, creating a continuum of movement as if our bodies were one.

Questions: 

1) You mentioned that the Chi Machine is your opening move. I believe it would be a great move for someone with low energy, depression or fatigue. But how about for someone with anxiety? 

2) I teach personal Yoga Classes (one on one) and I like to provide more than just a series of postures so sometimes I use sound healing or a short guided relaxation/meditation. How can I incorporate the ChiMachine?

Thanks for all of your help! 🙏🏻

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September 29, 2018 - 1:51 am
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"...as if our bodies were one."  That's the feeling you want to generate, and there will be quite a few lessons in this course which show you exactly how to do this.

The Chi Machine can be used for all those cases that you mentioned, including anxiety. The big advantage of it is that it's very hard for the client to resist it, as can be done with linear stretches. The Chi Machine falls into the category of 'rocking techniques', and you will see a lot more of those in this course.

The Chi Machine is not a cure in itself, of course, but along with other rocking techniques, is an excellent therapeutic tool. I think you will need to give it some time until you progress further into the course, and then you will see the 'bigger picture' of it all, and you will see how it all fits together. Smile 

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Ivanna Khorramshahgol
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October 2, 2018 - 6:07 pm
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Module #3

Foot Massage!!!!! What a treat was this video!!!!!! And the notes! Amazing job, well done! 👏🏻

I love this idea of moving the hands in a sequence it’s very thorough for the client and very meditative for the therapist! I feel that it’s exactly what you said the in the introduction video; Thai massage is a well coreopraghed dance!!! 

I practiced all the techniques on my husband first and he fell asleep!!!! He said it was so relaxing and soothing that he just slept! I later practiced the stretching the feet out technique after my yoga class which is with weights! I applied the technique right before Savasana and my clients were so relaxed it was hard to come back to seating after it!

What are your thoughts on using tools during a massage? I mean a foot roller?

Also what is the relationship if any between Thai foot massage and reflexology?

I’ve been watching the free videos as well as the  culture corner. So nice to see how massage is practiced  in Thailand! It’s like so much a part of people’s lifestyle! It’s a great service that should be available for everyone, not just financially but also in this hectic world we love in now! Nothing nicer than connecting with people at this nivel and providing a bit of relaxation and ease.

Thanks! 🙏🏻

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October 2, 2018 - 11:15 pm
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Regarding massage tools:
I am not a big fan of massage tools. I have always found that the human hand feels much better. There are occasions where I use massage tools - they do have their place - but I don't make a habit out of using them. There is one supplemental video in this course where I show how I use one particular massage tool - you might find that interesting.

Regarding the difference between Thai foot massage and Thai reflexology:
Thai foot massage is done as part of a Thai Massage session, with the client lying down, and without the use of oil or lotion. It is done in several positions, supine, prone and side-lying, and the therapist can use hands, forearms, elbows, knees, and feet.

Thai reflexology is done with the client sitting in a chair, and the therapist is sitting on a stool in front of the client. Thai reflexology is a separate modality and is not part of Thai Massage. The therapist uses oil or lotion, it is all done in the same position, and primarily hands and knuckles are used for the techniques.

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Ivanna Khorramshahgol
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October 11, 2018 - 4:01 pm
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Module #4

Absolutely agree with your statements, ‘ don’t get stuck with technique,’ and ‘conceptual learning is more effective than technical learning.’ This is particularly important for me because I’m very technical, by the book learner. Thai massage is teaching me how to let go of that. I figure out that as long as I can remember that there are eight ways to work with the feet, th Dordrecht in which the come doesn’t neccesaaffect the outcome. Is this correct? 

I feel that now that we have the two Foot Massage Modules we can play around with the different techniques so that we can get work on ‘developing the sense of feeling.’ 

The Free Mini Series are an excellent addition to the course material! I specially enjoyed th e description of the Benefits of Thai Massage. I feel that this is the part we I can get the knowledge part of the course, which I crave! 

Thanks! 🙏🏻

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October 11, 2018 - 8:31 pm
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You are absolutely correct. It is not so important to get the exact sequence right as long as you do the techniques and it feels like it is flowing, both to you and the client. With time and practice, your sense of feeling will improve, especially once you don't have to think about the techniques anymore. You will get to that point! Smile

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Ivanna Khorramshahgol
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October 16, 2018 - 6:11 pm
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Module #5

Warming up it’s such an important element and I feel that’s overlooked many times! Thank you for reminding us of the rhythm of the breath! I feel it when I’m teaching personal yoga classes. If I tune in with my clients breath I can get a better idea of what pace needs to be used in my sequences. I feel it’s the same in Thai massage in the sense that if I get in touch with my breath I can create ‘an artistic and following expression,’ as you mentioned in the video. 

All the techniques up to that point are so relevant to me as a yoga instructor and I’m incorporating them in my classes. I definitely feel more confident to have a hands on in adjustments as well as offering a Thai massage treat when I see it's needed. 

Thanks! 🙏🏻

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Ivanna Khorramshahgol
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October 16, 2018 - 6:28 pm
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Module#6

Hello Shama, I’m posting two modules back to back because I thought I had already posted for module #5 only to find out that I did not! My apologies! 

Regarding Module #6 it’s fantastic that you mentioned not to use the thumbs unnecessarily! Before registering for this course one of the things that held me back was the idea that my hands would get super tired and I’d end up getting more massages than giving them! So relieved to find out that Thai massage is done with my body weight! 

I’ve made a chart for myself to keep with me while I practice the techniques demonstrated in this video. It is as follows:

5 LINES 

1) Inside edge of quadriceps.

2) Groove between quadriceps and abductors.

3) Lower edge of abductors

4) Top of quadriceps 

5) IT band

I've also made a post as a reminder:

’Work with your entire body’

’Lean in with your body weight’ 

‘Think and feel softness’ 

‘Stay relaxed and breathe’

I particularly enjoyed the ‘Elephant walk’ technique as I can see how beneficial it is for people who work out a lot and/or are sitting/standing for long periods of time.

Thanks 🙏🏻

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October 16, 2018 - 6:54 pm
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The truth is that in traditional Thai Massage the thumbs are often overused, and I have seen quite a few Thai Massage therapists drop out of this profession because they blew out their thumbs. However in my style of Thai Massage this is different. I am very aware of this issue, having had problems with it myself in the beginning of my Thai Massage career. Therefore I make sure to teach a therapist-friendly way of doing Thai Massage.

I am glad to see that you relate to all the important Thai Massage principles!

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Ivanna Khorramshahgol
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October 17, 2018 - 7:43 pm
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Module #7

’The angle of the feet tells you a story about the condition of the hip.’ What a great statement!!!! With each module I feel that I’m not only learning Thai massage but going deeper in my yoga teaching/practice! Another element I found EXTREMELY helpful and valuable is to ‘observe the body for clues. It will tell you what area needs work.’ I particularly appreciate you mentioning this because we are not cookie cut, each person’s body tells a story! We may share some physical commonalities but life style, exercise, diet, genetics makes us unique in a way and so what works for me doesn’t necessarily have to work for someone else. So, finding the ‘clues the body tells’ is an essential element in this type of Thai Massage you teach! 

Just out of curiosity, did you come up with this clever techniques name? Elephant Walk and Butterfly Triangle Stretch? Really nice! 

Thanks 🙏🏻 

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October 17, 2018 - 9:22 pm
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No, I did not come up with those names. They are used by several western Thai Massage schools. However the method of observing the angle of the feet to determine the condition of the hips is not taught in traditional Thai Massage schools. There are several elements in this course which are unique and are not taught elsewhere, like the many rocking techniques for example, which you will find throughout this course.

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Ivanna Khorramshahgol
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October 22, 2018 - 2:55 pm
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Module #8

One of the the most important teachings (for me) in this Module is : 

‘In order to know what technique to use, you have to evaluate your client’s body and condition.’ This is a clear way to harmonize with the client and her needs because as you mentioned, ‘one size does not fit all.’ The variety of techniques offered in this module and previous one gives the therapist a range of options as how to work best! I’m glad you showed alternatives to work on someone who’s physically bigger than you! I’ll be practicing this technique on my friend who’s 6 feet tall and a well build girl! I’m only 5 something and petite! I’m also benefiting from the additional material you offered! That’s a clever way to break all the information we need to learn! 

My question is: how to apply any of this techniques on someone who is recovering from a knee injury. 

By the way, can’t wait until you get into the importance of energy between giver and receiver in a Thai massage! 

Thanks 🙏🏻 

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October 22, 2018 - 8:04 pm
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Regarding the knee techniques - we have a separate course only about knee therapy. Of course it depends on the nature and severity of the knee injury, so it's not really possible for me to give you a precise answer. However most likely it would be a good idea to stay away from intense stretches which can affect the knee joint and use more gentle techniques as outlined in our knee therapy course.

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Ivanna Khorramshahgol
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October 23, 2018 - 4:18 pm
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Module #9

I have found this module very helpful in regards to yoga. I’ve been able to assist my clients in their adjustments with a new perspective on stretches using ‘the 8 slices of the hip pie.’ More often than not when someone joins a yoga class they expect to be as flexible as some of the yogis they see in videos. That’s is not always the case as flexibility depends on so many factors. Using the hip pie I’ve been able to demostrare to each client the range of stretches they are able to perform. I’m planning on offering a Holistic Yoga class and I’d like to incorporate some of the techniques learnt so far. In a class of more than 5 people what techniques would you use? 

Thanks 🙏🏻 

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Ivanna Khorramshahgol
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October 23, 2018 - 4:40 pm
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Module #10

The Anatomy of Thai  Massage is a two way tool to provide the therapist and the client an optimum massage experience. I appreciate you mentioning that as therapist we should feel comfortable in our own bodies so we can make someone else feel comfortable. I’ve experienced it myself when giving or receiving Reiki. 

The ‘Blood Stop’ technique lead me to read more about the femoral artery so I found it very educational. Some questions arised though:

1) Does it improve circulation to the leg or circulation in general? 

2) What are some subtle health conditions that could prevent the use of this technique? 

Regarding the Hara, what do you mean exactly by ‘bring your awareness to the Hara.’?  Perhaps it was mentioned but I feel I didn’t get it. 

Thanks 🙏🏻 

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October 23, 2018 - 8:09 pm
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Regarding your yoga classes - I used to teach graduates of yoga teacher trainings. As you mentioned, they are not necessarily all super flexible. But anyway, I put together some of the more yoga-like stretches and eventually made a course out of it: 7 Ways To Move The Spine. That was my approach, but you could take a totally different approach depending on your students.

The 'blood stop' in Thai Medicine doesn't just relate to the body or the leg, but to a particular energy line. But for simplicity's sake I would tell people that it improves the circulation in the leg and also its energy flow.

Contraindications for the 'blood stop' would be blood clots or pronounced varicose veins, for example.

The hara is the main energy reservoir of the body and it is located behind the naval. This is where we replenish our energy in various ways (breathing, sunshine, healthy food, happy vibes, positive thoughts, etc.), and this is where we lose energy when we do the opposite (shallow breathing, negative thinking, no exposure to sunlight, eating junk food, etc.) 

In China they call it the 'Dantien'.

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October 26, 2018 - 10:18 pm
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Module # 11

I've to say that just by watching the full session made ME feel like I was getting the massage! I felt there is so much harmony in the way you moved from one technique to the other! I’m a visual learner but also someone who needs to know the reason behind everything! So, it was very interesting to feel that I was letting go of all knowledge and I was just following your steps in the session! I absolutely enjoyed this demonstration! It does flow gracefully and artistically! 

I recently had an interesting experience with a client who’s very flexible but was experiencing hip pain/discomfort. We tried the most common yoga stretches for a case like this which she can perform without any difficulty but It didn’t work.  So, I decided to try ‘Opening the hip joint by doing circles with the leg’ technique and within minutes she felt relieved and so relaxed that we de decided to end our yoga session right there! This is were I feel that Thai massage complements physical activity whether is yoga or something else! 

A very positive aspect of this course is that I feel I’m more in tune with my clients needs and I can read their body’s clue with a wider view! 

Thanks 🙏🏻 

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October 27, 2018 - 11:25 pm
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Thanks for sharing this story about your client. That is really fantastic that you got such a good result! SmileSmile

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