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Jacqueline Shipp's Heavenly Head Massage course notes
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Jacqueline Shipp
Murfreesboro, TN
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March 29, 2018 - 7:26 am
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Heavenly Head Massage Module 1

Due to a stroke, I’m unable to get up and down from the floor, so I sit in a chair when I practice the Thai massage techniques I’m studying, and my volunteer lies on a bed.  I don't have a massage bed and don't plan on getting one unless I decide to go pro.

On my first practice session, I forgot about offering a blanket. Fortunately, the heat was on higher than normal in the house. And the placement of my hands on the shoulder for the first technique I tried was wrong, so I really started out making mistakes! On subsequent sessions, however, I got it right Embarassed 

The video said not to work on the ribs because it didn’t feel good, but I goofed and leaned on the rib bones. I immediately apologized, but the volunteer said it felt good. (? Confused)

The volunteers really liked the shoulder technique – leaning in to press the shoulders down and stretch that area.

I found 2 professionals in my town who offer Thai massage, so I’m going to have sessions with them so I can experience what my volunteers experience. It’s hard for me to understand and imagine how certain techniques can feel good, because I’m thinking working that on the sternum and between the ribs—how can that feel good?! But as soon as I begin, they say it does feel good.

It was difficult for me to synchronize the leaning in to the techniques with the volunteer’s breathing because they were talking to me, and I couldn’t see the rise and fall of their breathing. But I’m sure it will get better.

I didn’t wear loose clothing but still found that my forearm brushed the volunteers’ noses. I’m working on seeing why I do that and how to change so I don’t do it again.

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Shama
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March 29, 2018 - 11:23 am
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Hi Jacqueline, welcome to the Heavenly Head Massage certification program. Please read our certification check list to learn how to do the forum posting correctly:

Certification Tutorial

Your post was in the wrong forum and was not set up correctly. I fixed all this for you. Make sure that you only click on "Add Reply" and not on "Add Topic" for your next post. Also please fill in the bio section of your forum profile. Aside from this the content of your post is fine. Smile

I know, unless you experience it yourself, it is hard to imagine how the chest work can feel good. Getting a regular Thai Massage will not help you with this since these chest techniques are not part of Thai Massage. They are only part of the Heavenly Head Massage system. Anyway, it seems that your partner feedback is confirming that it feels good. 

Done right, you can put a client into a 'trance', just by doing the chest work. However when working on a 'guinea pig', it will be harder to get good feedback because your partner will be talking, thinking about what you are doing, formulating feedback in their minds, and breathing irregularly because of all that. After learning the basic techniques for a while, try asking your practice partner to just totally relax and experience it without thinking and talking.

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Jacqueline Shipp
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March 30, 2018 - 6:18 am
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Thank you, Shama.  I've watched the video on how to work within the forum again and filled in the biography section as well.

Thanks also for your advice on asking my practice partner to relax and experience the massage without thinking and talking.  It will be interested to see if I'm successful in putting them into a 'trance'.

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Jacqueline Shipp
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April 13, 2018 - 9:39 am
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Module 2 Forum

In my mind, the sternum is a weird “bone” to be working on. I was using the tapping technique when the practice partner said, “You can do it harder.” I wasn’t brave enough to do it the first time, but I will try to accommodate him next time. I like the explanation of what this technique helps the body to do.

I was afraid to do sternum work on women but when I did it she said it felt really good, so I was happy.

I accidentally pressed on the rib bone of a practice partner. It was hard for me to find the area between the ribs. My male practice partner said that, even though it was a mistake, my pressing on the rib bones felt good.

I’m learning the different parts of the body through this course.

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April 13, 2018 - 1:35 pm
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I have often seen this - therapists think that a particular technique wouldn't really do much, but when used on a client, they enjoy it. There are several such 'weird' areas besides the sternum. One that comes to my mind is the sacrum which is touched by few therapists, but it feels amazingly good to the clients.

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Jacqueline Shipp
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April 14, 2018 - 9:11 am
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Module 3 Forum

Shama, I’ve targeted the sacrum many times when I’ve done pressure point therapy on myself and when I’ve gone to get professional massages. This helped immensely since my jobs have always been sedentary.

In Module 3, I’ve found that working on the collar/clavicle bones is even weirder than working on the sternum. It is difficult for me to find the “soft area.” In addition, on the pectoralis technique, even when I open client’s arms, it’s hard for me to find the pec muscles. My practice partners haven’t been able to work with me regularly for the past couple of weeks, so I haven’t had a chance to practice these techniques very much but am planning on concentrating on those once my partners get back with me.

I’ve had difficulty doing the elephant walk on the chest. I feel like I didn’t get that right. I’ll be working on that technique some more as well. However, the practice partners expressed that they knew why it was called the ‘elephant walk’ even though I did it poorly.

The upper body twist was very difficult for me to do on muscular or heavy men and on heavy women because of my issue with muscle loss. I’m working on adjusting the way I do this technique, but I haven’t found the right mix yet. If I can’t get to the point where I can do that technique smoothly, I’ve been thinking of just skipping it, unless of course I’m working on someone who isn’t big or muscular. I feel it would be a shame to skip it because this seems to be a very beneficial and enjoyable technique.

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Shama
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April 14, 2018 - 12:51 pm
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It is true that the upper body twist is a beneficial technique, but at the same time we all have to work within our limitations. If you have muscle loss issues AND you are working on a large and heavy client, then it is probably a good idea to skip this technique on such clients. Instead reserve it for lighter clients. The techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences.

The chest elephant walk is a delightful technique and well worth learning. I suggest you rewatch the video and play with this technique some more until you feel better about it.

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Jacqueline Shipp
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May 2, 2018 - 9:18 am
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Module 4 Forum

It was difficult for me to do the Wave--as much fun as it seemed to be--due to the many steps.  I think I was too tired to think clearly.  I'll have to come back to it and practice more.

On the neck warming techniques, my clients liked the 4th technique: grabbing the neck muscles and pulling them up alternatively right and left.  I found it was easier to do that technique on clients with longer necks.

Shama's advice to not breathe on the client’s face was a given for me, coming from my cultural background.

All in all, the techniques in Module 4 were easier for me to perform strength-wise 🙂

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Shama
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May 2, 2018 - 9:25 am
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Don't worry about the 'wave' too much. I have done lots of sessions without doing the wave. This is strictly optional, and only works on the floor anyway. Take your time with it. Smile

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Jacqueline Shipp
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July 11, 2018 - 9:40 am
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Module 5 Forum

My thoughts on the "get the hair of the way" technique is that it is very sweet.  My practice partner found it to be very relaxing and enjoyed the "touch sensation" of that technique.

I like it that Shama instructs us to do each technique slowly (and carefully).  And I ordered and received a bottle of Jojoba Oil!  I decided to add a little oil (or more, if necessary) when I practice on a partner because they really like it when I do that "technique"!

The two techniques that are a little difficult for me are where the head is held in one hand while the other hand does neck manipulations.  Generally, the head is too heavy to hold for even a few seconds, so I decided to skip these two techniques until I get stronger; I've been working out at the gym and it's helping me get strength in my body.

The neck stretch where the face is turned to the left and to the right by the practitioner is very nice.  I was excited to learn it!  My practice partners really enjoyed this technique, and I enjoyed using it!  For some reason, I found the two-handed technique to be very soothing--to me!

Am looking forward to studying and practicing the next module!

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Jacqueline Shipp
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July 11, 2018 - 10:00 am
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I tried to do as many of the neck sections of the module at the same time, but time didn't allow it.

My clients really loved the big neck roll! It makes me feel so pleased when they get such enjoyment with the massage!

I was a little leery of the small neck roll because it involves holding the head up, but I like the concept of it. I didn't do this technique because of my lack of strength but, as I said in my previous blog, I'm working on it at a gym.

I got some good comments on the second and third moves.  It seems that anything I do on the neck is a favorite of my partners!

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Jacqueline Shipp
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July 11, 2018 - 10:49 am
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Module 7 Forum

On the sideways neck stretch with head lift looks like it would be very effective, but I was too timid to try it.  The placement of the arms and hands was a little intimidating to me Yell

The rest of the techniques in this module were fine.  My practice partners said some of the techniques were a bit cumbersome, but they liked the results.  So they took back what they said!

The neck stretch with the vertical head lift was very relaxing to my practice partners. It took me a couple of times to get it relatively right, and I enjoyed practicing this technique.

I like the principle that Shama gave in this module, that "if you do a strong movement in one direction, you should balance it out with a movement in the opposite direction." I think that's a principle that dancing uses, so I've got that down pat!

My practice partners found the pushing movements on the neck were somewhat mundane, and I put the blame on myself.  I was a bit cumbersome with my hand placement and stroking.

I had to skip the head blocking technique as I have all my practice partners lie on a bed for the massage.

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Shama
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July 11, 2018 - 4:20 pm
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None of the techniques should require much muscle strength. Try to work with as much support as possible as per the video demonstrations, and try to engage your whole body whenever possible. It shouldn't take a gym workout to do this! Smile

The neckrolls require some finger strength, as do some other neck techniques, when you are holding up the head with your fingers in the occiput. If there is a particular technique which you have a hard time with, there is nothing wrong with skipping it. There are so many techniques that you will never do them all in one session anyway.

In general it sounds like you are doing well with most of them, though. Smile

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Jacqueline Shipp
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September 11, 2018 - 10:20 am
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Module 6

I had somehow misplaced my notes on this module, so my reports are a little out of order.

When doing the Big Neck Roll, I found it a little difficult because I do all the massages with partner laying on a bed instead of doing them on the floor. I had to tweak things a bit so I would be able to perform this technique. I felt awkward with it, which thankfully my partner didn’t sense, and I determined to practice this move more on my step-daughter, who lets me practice the techniques I find difficult on her whenever she comes to visit. 😊

The three finger slide techniques were relatively easy for me to do, and my partner said he liked the first and second moves, but the third move left a little to be desired.

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Jacqueline Shipp
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September 11, 2018 - 10:23 am
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Module 8

The first technique taught in this module is indeed a very nice and soothing move. It seems that my partner liked all the soothing rubs to his neck. The sideways undulations got a good review also, but the figure eight wave didn’t do anything for him (but not because he got seasick). Maybe I didn’t do this move well Surprised

The next technique taught, turning the head and rotating it, was a little difficult for me to do smoothly. I believe I improved each time I performed it, but I feel I still need to improve my application of that technique. The figure eight was also a little difficult for me to do smoothly, and the partner commented that this movement was a little uncomfortable. I need to work on these two techniques.

My partner said the Half Moon Neck Stroke and the squeeze and pull techniques were very nice, and the occipital ridge circles and the transition move from neck to face were okay. I’ll have to work on these, too.

I feel I was clumsy doing some of these techniques, but after my initial disappointment, I’m resolved to working to do these better.

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Shama
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September 11, 2018 - 12:13 pm
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I am curious, what makes the big neckroll more difficult on a bed? My wife does it on me on our bed, and it works fine. Is your bed very soft so that you sink in a lot?

It is completely normal to feel a little clumsy in the beginning. The neck techniques are rather involved and need quite some time and practice to flow well and feel natural. Any time you are a manipulating a head in 'mid-air', it will take some time to really flow.

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Jacqueline Shipp
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October 30, 2018 - 7:27 am
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Module 7 Forum

Shama, thank you for your help to get back on-line.

The sideways neck stretch with the head lift looks like it would be very effective, but I was too timid to try it.  The placement of the arms and hands was a little intimidating to me. I was fine with the rest of the techniques in this module.  My practice partners said some of the techniques were a bit cumbersome, but they liked the results.  So, in the end, they took back what they said!

The neck stretch with the vertical head lift was very relaxing to my practice partners. It took me a couple of times to get it relatively right, and I enjoyed practicing this technique.

I like the principle that Shama gave in this module, that "if you do a strong movement in one direction, you should balance it out with a movement in the opposite direction." I think that's a principle that dancing uses, so I've got that down pat! However, my practice partners found the pushing movements on the neck were somewhat mundane, and I put the blame on myself.  I was a bit cumbersome with my hand placement and stroking.

I had to skip the head blocking technique as I have all my practice partners lie on a bed for the massage.

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Jacqueline Shipp
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October 30, 2018 - 7:29 am
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Module 9 Forum

Oh, I’ve been dreading this module! I feel touching the ears is a very personal, intimate act, and I don’t want to touch anyone’s ears other than my husband’s!

However, for the sake of completing this course as fully as possible, I buckled down and bit the bullet.

My partner enjoyed the session, but I was uncomfortable with a couple of the techniques that required placing my fingers on the ridge of the ear. If I were to do this in the future, I’m considering wearing gloves. I feel picky and petty saying this, but that’s the way I feel about it.

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Jacqueline Shipp
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October 30, 2018 - 9:27 am
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Module 12 Forum

I’ve been looking forward to getting to this module, as I’m very interested in improving my face massage techniques. Although I knew about the ‘third eye’, I never thought to work it into the massage. Also, I never did work on the nose or eyebrows, so these were also new to me. I felt a little uneasy about applying a very light pressure on the third eye and working on the nose and eyebrows, but my partner said he felt those techniques felt good, so that gave me confidence. The cheek stroke was also new to me, as were the fan and elliptical techniques on the third eye. My partner like those moves and they weren’t difficult to do, so I was happy.

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Jacqueline Shipp
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October 30, 2018 - 9:28 am
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Module 13 Forum

I’m familiar with most of the techniques in this, so this module was easier for me to handle. I liked the ‘heel of the hand sliding down the sides of the head and resting on the temples’. The best reaction that I got from my practice partner was that the ‘full hand’ contact was very relaxing.

The sinus line stroke was a new one on me. I usually had pressed under the eyes and under the cheek bones. After practicing the ‘outstroke between chin and mouth’ and ‘outstroke on chin and jaw line’ a couple of times, I was able to do it without pressing the mouth open. The ‘roll skin on chin and jaw line’. I’ve never considered massaging the chin before, so this was interesting to me, and the practice partner said he “could take it or leave it.” I did have to concentrate when sliding down the cheeks so I wouldn’t stab the practice partner’s neck. I was very satisfied to learn all the techniques in this module, and the practice partner was, too.

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