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James Meehans's Complete Thai Massage course progress notes
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james meehan
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October 30, 2016 - 8:16 pm
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Module 1

I am finally getting started with the certification process.  Hope I am posting this correctly.  I have been practicing thai massage on folks for about two years now. Yesterday I gave an hour and a half thai massage to one of my yoga students and she loved it.  I always sit down and explain the basic concepts that you explained in the first module. One that it is an energy based therapy.  I explain the lines and how they compare to the meridians in shiatsu and acupuncture.  I explain how we will be using  the different  methods you described, stretching, compression, percussion, kneeding, holding and traction. I have a book on thai massage and I show them how we will  be using thumbs fingers knuckles hands forearms knee and feet to work on them.  The positions you talked about to give the massage I tell the clients and patients that I am doing yoga my self as I work on them going through these positions. I show them pictures and explain I will be working them in various positions supine prone side and sitting. I try to use the breath and combine that with the movements but I seem to be doing a lot of explaining and talking and making sure they are comfortable with the amount of pressure or stretching I am applying.  On to module 2.

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Shama
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October 31, 2016 - 12:25 am
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I have no doubt that your Thai Massage clients are well informed about what they can expect after reading your post above. Actually when I had new clients who were not familiar with Thai Massage, I also always spent some time explaining it to them. Module 35 of this course contains a useful script for such introductory explanations.

Since you are getting started with the certification program, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our certification check list: (In response to your question if you are doing it correctly)

Certification Check List

I read your profile bio. You have an impressive background as a massage therapist, yoga teacher and chiropractor which should make it quite easy for you to increase your Thai Massage skills through this course.

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james meehan
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November 6, 2016 - 9:10 pm
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Module 2

I have been using the chi machine to start all my massages.  Seem to help people relax and get ready for the rest of the massage.  I notice some folks have a little trouble letting go but the chi machine is a great start.  Trying to work on my body mechanics for each movement.  Trying to use as little energy as possible especially when it comes to working on bigger folks, like a gentleman I worked on two days ago.

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james meehan
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November 7, 2016 - 10:10 am
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Module 3

I gave one of my yoga students a massage this morning and spent extra time trying to incorporate lesson 3 on the feet.  She loved all of it but even though I reviewed written notes I had taken on the lesson it was hard to remember it all.  I practiced the movements a week before on my wife but the gap was a little too much to recall it all. I tried not to look at my notes as I gave the massage. I used some of the movements three days ago on an older gentleman, but spent a lot more time this morning on my student’s feet. I actually used some lesson 4 movements.  I am giving another thai massage tomorrow night and will incorporate more foot movements. 

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Shama
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November 7, 2016 - 11:37 am
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Don’t worry too much about remembering it all. That will come with regular practice. Just focus on what you DO remember during the session. Your partner or client won’t know what you are supposed to be doing. Smile

Then re-watch the videos and you will remember more every time. In the early stages of the course there is no way that you will remember it all unless you have a photographic memory. Smile

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james meehan
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November 13, 2016 - 8:17 pm
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module 4

I have been practicing some more foot work on module 4.  Being conscious of the all the ranges of motion.  Spent more time on the last two massages working the top of the foot followed by shaking it.  Love how I can check out the range of motion in the different joints in the foot.  The client I worked on yesterday had fairly stiff ankles especially in dorsi flexion.  I said to her I don’t think your heel go to the floor in down dog and she said that is right.

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Shama
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November 13, 2016 - 10:38 pm
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There are many stretches in Thai Massage which help in getting the heel to the floor in down dog.  There is actually an entire module about this in one of the bonus courses.

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james meehan
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November 27, 2016 - 11:18 am
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module 5

Hi Shama,

I have been using the leg warm up technique on a few people already.  I like the butterfly grips and then alternating them.  Found the rolling motions worked better on smaller folks.  One client had very big muscular thighs and it was hard to get any pressure on them especially the lateral thigh.  Everyone like the push pulling movements and the calf squeeze worked well.  Have watch the video again even though I took notes on it.

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Shama
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November 27, 2016 - 10:48 pm
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On such big muscular thighs you are better off using forearm or upper arm (for the lateral thigh) techniques where you get more power with less wear on your hands. Foot techniques are also great for thighs. They are covered in detail in the Body Mastery For Massage bonus course.

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james meehan
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December 12, 2016 - 10:42 am
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module 6

Hi Shama,

I have done a few thai massages using the forearm to work the inner and outer thigh.  I like doing this a lot more than the finger pressure especially on the outer thigh. Had to try to remember to just shake the thigh like you showed us instead of just the pressure of the forearm.  But I do throw in the push pull movements from the other module in between the new movements.  I can give a lot more pressure if the person desires it. One client hardly could take any pressure on the anterior thigh yet another women could take a tremendous amount more.  Liked the elephant walk up the calf. Time to watch the next module.

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james meehan
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December 20, 2016 - 7:29 pm
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module 7

Hi Shama,

Liked your discussion on pelvic rotation.  It is something I look at as a chiropractor.  I have a rt. pelvis that is rotated anterior and inward and will show patients my x rays demonstrating differences in people. I feel thai is very similar to how I have worked with people over the years in many areas. Wish I had trained in thai years ago.  I had a client yesterday with very stiff hips but was able to do most of the techniques on module 7.  Used the rocking technique instead of tractioning   I had another client earlier  and was able to use the tractioning and having the thigh abducted to 90 degrees and push with the foot and then both feet.  I have been using that technique for a while but some people I have to be careful to let the hip open to far.  I also have been using the elephant walking more.

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Shama
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December 20, 2016 - 9:20 pm
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There are clearly similarities between Thai Massage and Chiropractic. I have had several course students who are Chiropractors, and they all found the two systems very compatible. If you would go through some of my more specialized courses like the Thai Hip Therapy course or the Thai Back Massage course for example, you would probably find it even more compatible, since I go even more in depth there.

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james meehan
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January 4, 2017 - 10:48 am
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module 8

Hi Shama,

I liked the way you divide the hip up into 45 degree angles. The last two massages I gave I was thinking and trying different angles.  It is nice to add in some new calf movements, everyone loves them.  I like the squeeze, push pull and little circles. Holding the lower leg outward and circling seem to hit the inner thigh a little more and was a nice variation.  The person I worked on today was much tighter in her rt hip so I did more of the rocking movements on that side.  I had to be careful not to push to hard on the inner thigh because it did cause some discomfort.  I constantly ask people how the pressure is and use you 1-10 scale.

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Shama
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January 4, 2017 - 9:10 pm
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Good, using the 1-10 scale is really useful. I use it too even though I have 17 years of Thai Massage experience.

Everyone loves the conceptual approach, like the 45 degree angles. This, by the way, is not something which is taught in Thai Massage schools. Smile

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james meehan
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January 26, 2017 - 10:08 am
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Confusedmodule 9

Hi Shama I was visiting my daughter in Texas and gave her an hour and one half thai massage.  Tried some more of the hip variations. She is a former gymnast and is very flexible.  The knee in the groin movement, some of them brought her knee all the way to the floor.  Used the knee in the hamstring variation.  She has long legs so I was able to place her ankle on my neck to stretch the hamstring.  She was very flexible in the spinal twist movements.  She liked the spinal twist with rocking a lot. I worked on her husband and he is much stiffer so I used most of the technique but used some rocking on with hip in the groin stretches.

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Shama
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January 26, 2017 - 4:28 pm
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Good contrast between the two. It’s always good to work on different kinds of body types. That’s where you learn the most.

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james meehan
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February 21, 2017 - 7:33 pm
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Module 10

Hi Shama,

Trying to keep in mind your basic concepts in module 10, correct body position, softness of touch, correct breath.ing and the hara.  I have done some training in shiatsu and when I get to the belly on clients I always mention how we start here in shiatsu and how in thai work I have been starting with the feet and the person supine. I guess I could start at the belly for an evaluation and then go to the feet.  I like the rocking the hip in side posture before anchoring the foot and pressing on the shoulder for the full twist.  Everyone always loves this stretch.  The last two clients were very different.  My childrens retired pediatrician is 71 years old and the hamstring stretches and adductor stretching were very limited on him.  The next day a 23 year old athlete who does yoga was a very different story.  The adductor and hamstrings were much more mobile and I could explore the stretching much more.  I was able to do the straight leg calf stretch on her much easier.  Trying the blood stopping and I think I am getting it down.  I think I need to hold it longer so the client can feel something when I release.

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Shama
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February 21, 2017 - 10:59 pm
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I have studied Shiatsu as well – Zen Shiatsu specifically. It is quite easy to blend Thai Massage and Shiatsu. I have never been a fan of rules of what can be done or not. If it feels good to the client and you feel good about it, by all means do it.

The only thing is that you might find that some clients, and especially new ones, don’t feel so comfortable if the very first thing you do is work on the abdomen. That’s where many people hold a lot of emotions, and it feels more intimate or even invasive to some, if you start there. Starting with the feet is totally non-threatening and is for me a better way to start a session. But that’s just me…it might work for you.

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james meehan
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April 1, 2017 - 5:10 am
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module 11

Hi Shama,

I have been doing quite a few massages the past month.  Went south to visit my family in Florida and worked on relatives there and also received a thai massage from a women who just got back from Thailand studying with Pinchest Boothumme.  It was quite intense pressure which she held for several minutes at a time.  I liked it but am more used to flowing along and more stretches than what she did.  I have  been playing around with the different angles and variations depending on the persons flexibility and any other health problems.  Certainly find variations in stretching the hamstrings helpful.  Had to be careful on who I practiced the supine compressions with the knee flexed and a stretch already on the front of the thigh and then pressing on the lateral lower leg.  Anyways time to move on to lesson 12.

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Shama
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April 1, 2017 - 10:31 am
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Pichest can be very intense up to the point of being brutal. He is a good teacher, but some of his style cannot be used on the average western client. I studied with him when I started out with Thai Massage, and I learned a lot from him. But in actual application I moved away from his style and developed my own, more mellow and more flowing style. I don’t do those intense pressure holds.

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