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Jeffrey Shade's Complete Thai Massage progress notes
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jeffreyshade
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September 21, 2015 - 1:45 am
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Module 1

Having practiced massage for many years, it is difficult to underestimate the importance of attaining an energetic symbiosis with clients.  Shama’s emphasis on this matter is made explicit with the awareness of the therapist’s quality of touch and the maintenance of this, utilizing the breath as a timing device to attain and maintain a flow.

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jeffreyshade
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September 21, 2015 - 1:53 am
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Module 2

Working with a client on a mat is a very different experience than on a massage table.  Having worked for years to become an ergonomically correct massage therapist, I can see the challenge ahead in this transition to Thai massage.  Not only does an ergonomically-sound practitioner save oneself from injury, but also communicates a softer flow without abrupt jolts or awkward transitions.  Regarding the Chi Machine, I have actually used a similar approach with clients, though on a table.  Doing this from the mat and using the hips is a more natural and easy approach than standing at the end of the table and primarily using arms.

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September 21, 2015 - 1:59 am
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Module 3

Clients always love foot massage.  I think I’ve put more people to sleep over the years with foot massage than any other body part.  But as Shama has pointed out, working with the feet doesn’t mean the practitioner can toss out ergonomics.  And by paying attention to a locked wrist with the turning of feet will give more strength to the move as well as help preserve the practitioners small joints (i.e. fingers, hands and wrists).

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September 21, 2015 - 2:18 am
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Hi Jeffrey, I am glad to see that you made it into the forum after initial tech glitches. Just one question for you: Your forum posts look like certification posts, but I did not see a certification registration form coming through from you. Are you posting just for sharing or for a certificate? Just double checking. (Or do we have another case of disappearing emails?)

You obviously read the certification tutorial since everything looks fine according to our certification guidelines. I can see that you are definitely computer literate! Smile

I am a fan of working on a mat. It gives you so many more options in regards to good ergonomics. Of course I spent my entire Thai Massage career in Thailand and I have never received a Thai Massage on a table in 16 years.

If you do Thai Massage on a  table, you cannot use any knee or foot techniques, and those come in very handy when it comes to reducing stress on your body and accomplishing more with less effort. I have never done the Chi Machine on a table, but I can picture that you would have to use muscle power which is definitely a less advantageous way of using your body.

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jeffreyshade
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September 21, 2015 - 3:33 am
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Module 4

Having a strong western education, I developed early on a linear approach to just about everything.  Only having worked at massage for many years did the conceptual rationale begin to rule the process. It makes so much more sense to see the overall picture than to get caught in the woods of sequences, moves, and mechanics.  All of the latter come naturally through practice.  Because I am a bigger guy, the transition of my leg beneath the client’s leg will take a bit more practice to attain a seamless move.

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September 21, 2015 - 4:21 am
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Module 5

Having had tight hips most of my life, and finding this true of many clients, this is a good approach to warming clients quads on the massage table as well.  Just the position of the leg during warm-up gives a nice lateral rotation at the hips.  The lean and pull of the quads got a nice response from my practice partner.  

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September 24, 2015 - 12:12 am
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Module 6

I can already see that I am in dire need of better flexibility.  My partner is 5’5″ and weighs 120lbs.  I am 6′ and weigh 225lbs.  My current lack of flexibility makes these transitions between the legs difficult for both client and myself.  The focus on body weight is key.  But in my case, using restraint in how much body weight is likewise important.  My partner is dainty and I had to really hold back the amount of body weight I applied.

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September 24, 2015 - 1:54 am
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Practicing on small partners is very useful since you are forced to learn sensitivity. Working on large persons is easier since they are generally not that sensitive to more intense work with their greater muscle and tissue mass.

Once you have the sensitive side figured out, applying stronger pressure on large clients is easy. But it doesn’t work in reverse. 

Also watch out for muscling instead of working with body weight. Big and strong therapists often tend to use muscle power just because they have it, but it is still bad practice to do so. It doesn’t feel as good for the client and it prevents you from really feeling what’s under your hands.

Soon I will produce a video which shows how to develop the flexibility and balance which Thai Massage therapists need.

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September 25, 2015 - 5:43 pm
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Module 7

Tight hips are my achilles heel.  Because of this, I’ve always paid attention to my clients’ hips.  Some of the stretches in this video are ones I’ve done on the table.  Of course, on the mat is a whole different experience.  It is nice using my legs and will be likely be less stressful than using my arms.  However, this on-the-mat experience has really highlighted my need for greater flexibility.

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September 25, 2015 - 6:22 pm
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Module 8

This particular stretch is one I’ve used for years on the table.  However, the rocking element during the  stretch was enlightening.  All these years … how could I have missed this?  So many clients have tight hips and love this stretch, but while working on my partner, I found that the gentle rocking loosened her and made her feel more at ease, thus allowing her to go further into the stretch.  Thanks.

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Shama
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September 26, 2015 - 1:23 am
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Well, there are thousands of Thai Massage therapists here in Thailand who have all missed the rocking element – close to 100 percent of them. This is one of my major contributions to the field of Thai Massage that I have popularized the use of rocking techniques. In the traditional system there really is no rocking.

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September 26, 2015 - 9:30 am
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Module 9

Already I can tell how useful this form of massage will be to extend my career.  The use of my bodyweight and the elephant walk are great tools in the therapist’s belt.  This will definitely help my overuse syndrome with thumbs.  Like you, my partner is short, I’m tall, thus the power versions of these moves were not necessary.

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jeffreyshade
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September 26, 2015 - 6:32 pm
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Module 10

When I initially started massage training in New York City in 1997, my intent was to become a Shiatsu practitioner.  Attending the Swedish Institute of Allied Health Sciences (the oldest established massage school in the United States), I was trained by several Shiatsu masters who also specialized in western massage.  The hara is a familiar term, but the lack of clients seeking Shiatsu eventually led to my discontinuing this particular massage modality.  As a result, I lost my intuitive sense for reading a client’s hara.  I am pleased to revisit this concept.

On this particular practice session, I was once again surprised by the simple addition of the rocking technique.  As a seasoned massage therapist, I am surprised that something so simple has escaped me.  I suppose I have been so conditioned to keep a client ‘unperturbed’ that I have been afraid such movement would disturb them.  As a result, I have underserved my clientele.  The rocking freed my partner’s back as the motion persisted. 

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Shama
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September 27, 2015 - 12:37 am
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I also studied Shiatsu, but for some reason Thai Massage way eclipses Shiatsu in popularity although there are many similarities between the two styles. Actually my original inspiration for developing rocking techniques in Thai Massage came from a Zen Shiatsu class I took.

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jeffreyshade
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September 28, 2015 - 7:18 pm
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Module 11

 

Calves and hips are my achilles heel (figuritively speaking).  I have always had chronically tight calves and hips.  These stretches are an easy approach to deal with clients such as myself.  In western massage, doing stretches on the table can be burdensome for the therapist, especially in the client is big.  By incorporating the therapists position and body weight, these stretches take the burden off the therapist.  I was surprised that my small female partner was comfortable with nearly my entire body weight on the hip stretch.

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jeffreyshade
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October 1, 2015 - 9:49 am
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Module 12

The challenge at this point is making fluid and seamless transitions of my own body.  While stretching the calves, the move from using my forearm alone to the one where I am actually leaning back and pulling the top of the foot looks easier on video than it does in actual practice.  I am finding the wisdom of Thai massage in the use of my bodyweight and how this will extend my career.

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jeffreyshade
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October 1, 2015 - 9:56 am
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Module 13

These hip stretches are already making their way into my massage practice.  The hip-pie concept has added roughly 6 new angles of stretching into my routine.  Today’s client, who’s been a client for over a decade, told me that the new angles made him aware of tightness he wasn’t aware of.  Also, I love the idea of being an ‘artist’ in the work I do.  Taking these basic techniques and making a ‘dance’ with them is rewarding soulfully.

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Shama
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October 1, 2015 - 11:10 am
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Seems like you are catching on to the spirit of Thai Massage, especially the concept that Thai Massage is not just a sequence of techniques, but an artful composition of moves which match your client’s body type and needs.

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jeffreyshade
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October 5, 2015 - 7:02 am
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Module 14

Hip rocking has been in my tool-kit for years.  I do it both prone and supine.  The feeling of this is quite different in Thai massage due to the therapist’s body position in relation to the client’s body.  This particular practice once again serves to remind me to work on my flexibility.  My partners loves the lower back stretch and hip flexor stretch.  I’m getting a bit envious of not receiving this kind of work myself.

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jeffreyshade
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October 5, 2015 - 7:48 am
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Module 15

It is nice to work with the hara again.  I only do abdominal massage on about 10 percent of my clients.  My partner is thin, so I was able to feel the ribs with no problems.  With heavier clients, it is sometimes difficult to find the landmarks.  Working above the client during the upper chest portion was a bit awkward at first.

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