Module 1: I took lots of notes in this module about body mechanics and ergonomics and breathing techniques. I made sure I could comfortably perform all of the positions required without much trouble and had good balance. I think that I am going to start doing some yoga every morning to further get my body in the shape it needs to be in to comfortably perform the techniques and haI ve better breathing and energy flow overall. I like the fact that Thai is more energy based rather than anatomy. I have always worked better just feeling what the client needs rather than getting caught up in technical terms. I feel that this course is going to be a great fit for what I need for myself and my clients.
Hi Jacqueline, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:
Doing a little yoga is always a good idea and will definitely help with your Thai Massage. I am glad to hear that we are on the same wavelength about energy-based vs anatomy-based training in this course. I am convinced that you can find out more by 'listening with your hands' rather than trying to analyze the anatomy. Anyway, you can use both approaches, but developing listening skills with your hands is the more important one.
The Chi Machine. Love it! I first tried it on my daughter who is pretty small, less than 100 pounds. I got her entire body moving pretty easily and she said after I stopped it still felt like I was doing it for a couple of minutes after. Then I tried it on my husband, who is a bigger man and is very stiff. I got him moving fairly easily, but my knees started to cramp up and hurt pretty quickly. I definitely need to do some daily work on my flexibility and strength. Here is the funny part. My dog was lying there, so I decided to try it on her. She laid there and just let me do it for a couple of minutes. When I finished she looked up at me like she was wondering why I stopped. I could definitely see how this would be a great way to start a session and get people loosened up and relaxed.
There are a couple of supplemental videos in this course which will help you to get your body in shape for some of the Thai Massage positions.
I liked your dog experience. You might like to read a dog experience which I had here:
That is awesome. Animals definitely love massage!
Module 3: Foot massage.
I practiced this on my husband, and went through the entire video twice. He said it felt great. He has diabetes and he said he felt like it helped with his circulation. I also asked him to try doing some of the foot stretching moves on me so I could see what it feels like, which he did. I thought it felt awesome. I experimented and did the moves with just my muscle strength and then using my body weight and leaning into it. He said he could most definitely feel the difference, and that it felt 100 times better to use the body weight instead of muscle power. It felt very natural to me to do, and actually felt more natural than even Swedish massage.
Module 4: More foot techniques. I practiced the new techniques along with the video. As you said in the video, it's more about the feeling than trying to concentrate on learning a mechanical technique. So then I turned the videos off and just tried to do as much of the foot techniques as I could remember on my own and tried to not overthink things. I asked my husband if he thought I had forgotten any of the moves we learned in the video and he said I have no idea but it felt really good. So I do see it is important to know techniques but more important to go with the flow instead of trying to do every exact move in order like a robot. I did try to do some of the techniques during a regular Swedish massage on the table. Some of them work, but some of them feel too awkward to do on the table. Definitely more comfortable on the floor mat.
Module 5: Leg Warm-ups.
I can tell the main thing I am going to have to practice the most is my body mechanics and getting into the position that is the most comfortable for both me and the client. I tried doing all of the moves and positioned my body a bit differently and it made a huge difference for both me and my client. I've been practicing more on making sure I use my body weight instead of muscles. I did all of these warm-ups on my husband, who is very tight and has restricted range of motion. By the time I got to the end of the video on the 2nd side, he had fallen asleep. He woke up 20 minutes later and said that the warm up relaxed his body so much that he just fell right asleep. I guess that is not a bad thing.
Module 6: More leg stretches
More than half of my current clients are larger people (including my husband) so these warm ups using more of the forearms and body weight are really going to be great for them and great for me because it will save my fingers and hands. I did all of these on my husband and he said it was the perfect amount of pressure and really got in there to warm the muscles. I did notice that a couple of times his thigh started to spasm a little bit. I don't know if I worked too quickly or too deeply or if maybe its just that he was that tight to begin with that his muscles were resisting. He said it felt good and didn't hurt so I just slowed down a bit and it seemed to stop. This weekend I am planning to repeat all of the videos we have learned so far to keep everything fresh in my mind.
Module 7: Leg stretches. I did these again on my husband. He is a much bigger person than me and his legs are stiff and heavy. At first I was hesitant to use a lot of my body weight because I was afraid I might hurt him. But, he said the more weight I used the better it felt and that it didn't feel nearly as good when I just used a slight bit of body weight. I'm glad to hear that the spasming was probably not because of anything I was doing wrong. The main thing I am learning is to work slowly and deeply and it feels better. I did really like that you sent a video showing ways to modify to work on clients who are bigger than I am. I do get a lot of those. I also need to do some practicing though on people that are smaller so that I can be comfortable with working on all body types.
Module 8: Some more leg stretches. I actually went back and did module 6 and 7 before this so my client would be nice and warmed up for this set of stretches. I was glad that you explained that looking at how the feet naturally fall can give you clues about how the hips are sitting and which might be tighter than the other. My client particularly loved the calf work we went over in this module. As soon as I started he said oh wow that feels so great, much better than a Swedish leg massage. And to be honest, it felt a lot better to my body as well to do this work rather than just doing gliding strokes up the legs. So far this work is feeling very natural to me. For more of the upper leg work, I did use the modifiers you showed because the person I was working on is a lot larger than I am. I tried it both ways, and the modification felt a lot better for both of us. It's good to know that you aren't just stuck doing a series of specific moves and can change them as needed to fit the situation.
I have pretty much been working on the same person with all of my videos so far, a little bit each day. The amazing thing is the first day when we did any stretches with the leg bent at different angles, his leg was way up in the air and could not bend very far. By the time I finished today's work, we both noticed that he was loosened up enough that he really didn't even need the pillow under his knee anymore and the compression work was much more comfortable for both of us really. My only real issue still is trying to be conscious of my own body mechanics, keeping my arms and back straight and using compression with my body weight. Sometimes I start to feel uncomfortable, and I notice if I just adjust my body a little bit it is a lot more comfortable for both me and my client.
This is a good sign, that you notice when your body mechanics are a bit off, and you can adjust them to get it right.
I also want to suggest that you do not only work on one practice partner, if possible. It can feel totally different on other body types, weights, and sizes.
I agree I need to work on more people. I asked for some volunteers, so hopefully I can get a mix of people to work on coming up.
Module 10: With the leg work here, I again had the same partner who is much bigger than I am. I did have to modify a little bit so the body mechanics would work well for both of us. It is helping me realize, though, that it's okay to slightly change a move to make it work better and you don't have to do everything 100% the same on every person. I have a person my size coming to practice this weekend, so I am looking forward to that. The calf stretches here felt a bit awkward to me and uncomfortable, again probably because my partner was a lot bigger than me. I would probably forego that stretch on larger people. The blood stopping technique I didn't quite understand or wasn't able to make it work like it should. I think I was a bit nervous about doing it because it seems so different than what we normally do in Western massage. I think that will take me lots of practice and building my confidence before I am comfortable with that. I'm always extra cautious for fear I might hurt someone.
As a matter of fact, you should definitely not do things in the exact same way on everyone. Maybe this is fine for starting out your practice and getting to know a sequence, but in real life, on real clients, you will find that you will need to adjust and modify and even skip techniques. This is the art of it. This won't happen in the early stages of practice, but you might as well get used to the concept!
Towards the final part of this course, you will feel a flow happening, and you will have learned and intuitively grasped that Thai Massage is not a static thing, not just a sequence of techniques, but a graceful, flowing, artistic healing art.
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