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Jen Banowetz - Complete Thai Massage Course
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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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November 29, 2016 - 3:45 am
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     Hello~ 

     My name is Jen Banowetz and I live in Washburn, WI.   I am just finishing up my first class with the Shama at the Thai Healing Massage Academy  - the Heavenly Head course.  It was excellent!!  Today I am starting the Complete Thai Massage Course. I have been a licensed table massage therapist for 11 years and plan to add this whole new dimension of body work into my practice. What excites me is learning how to work on more body parts by using my body in different ways.

     Thank you!

      ~Jen

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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November 29, 2016 - 4:37 am
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Module 1

I just completed watching the first video. I especially liked learning about how Thai massage is different than traditional table massage. I look forward to using my body parts in different ways and in different positions.  In all of my years of table massage I haven't paid that much attention to my breath even though I did a lot of energy work. I look forward to expanding this as I am just completing HHM now.  I like the priority on quality of touch and energy and connection with the client vs. being mechanical and technical.  I look forward to learning more:) Thank you!

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November 29, 2016 - 4:20 pm
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Welcome back to another course Jen - you are on a roll! Great! You chose an excellent combination. With the Complete Thai Massage and the Heavenly Head Massage you can put together an amazing session. The HHM is how I always ended all my Thai Massage sessions, and I could not think of a more ideal combination. Smile

I am looking forward to reading about your Thai Massage journey.

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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December 20, 2016 - 1:49 am
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MODULE 2

....it has been a busy few weeks....

The reminders about correct ergonomics was very timely. Thank you!

Over the years I have been incorporating the Chi Machine while standing at the end of the massage table with the client supine with good results.  This was something new:)   I have been having positive experiences practicing this on the mat.... At first I was having trouble with the weight of the clients legs and using too much of my arms in moving them. After watching the video a few more times I realized what you were saying about engaging my whole body - and it got  much easier.  My client liked the gentle slow down and felt fantastic afterwards.   Thank you!

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December 20, 2016 - 8:40 pm
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Excellent - we like clients who report feeling fantastic! It doesn't get much higher on the satisfaction scale! Smile

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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December 21, 2016 - 8:30 am
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MODULE 2

....please note: my client has sensitive feet!  My client was very verbal with feed back when he felt like I was twisting his foot too much (especially on the upper toe region).  I enjoyed getting a rhythm with the circular foot bending and twisting.  It felt better to do it a little slower than you were doing it in the video. Perhaps with time, I can increase my speed?   My client reported good stretches on the feet when bending  them forward and back at the same time.  I am really liking how I am not using my muscles for power!!  My favorite technique of this module was the twisting the foot out with my leg under theirs.  I like motion my body was moving in and the rhythm.  My client felt like their femur was being pushed into their hip socket. Then upon the stretch and traction while I was leaning back - they felt a stretch in their hips that continued to their lower back. My client felt this was awesome!!   I needed to me more gentle with the foot twists - not that I was trying to be rough....but again, dealing with sensitive feet. It felt like the last shaking technique was a nice transition.  This was enjoyable to practice:)  Thank you!! 

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December 21, 2016 - 8:19 pm
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The circular move only feels good at a higher speed if it is totally fluid, which is easier said than done. Smile Until that happens, do it more slowly. When you feel really comfortable with this technique, increase the speed to how I do it, and see how it feels to the client.

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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January 5, 2017 - 8:19 am
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....it has been a busy holiday season, but I am back:)

Now looking at my posts, I realize that I incorrectly labeled my last post as "Module 2" when what I actually wrote about and practiced and documented  was in fact Module 3. 

Sorry for any confusion....

~Jen

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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January 5, 2017 - 8:27 am
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Module 4

The beginning of this video provided a good and beneficial review of all of the 8 ways to work on the feet.   The sequence makes sense and feels like a good flow.  I appreciate how conscientious your teaching is. 

I have been practicing the grasping and rolling technique for the past few weeks. At first my clients feet were very sensitive, but they are changing! Much to both of our surprise - after regular work on them - I am now able to grasp them and roll and squeeze without as much grimace.    My client reports the work about the malleolus very relaxing and smooth.  It was interesting to note several trigger points on top of my clients metatarsals.

Thank you!

~Jen

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January 5, 2017 - 12:28 pm
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Great, obviously you are making good progress! Smile

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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January 7, 2017 - 12:31 am
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MODULE 5

The past few days I have been practicing these techniques.  I am finding that the more I connect and pay attention to my own breathing - the more flow I have. I want to keep this element part of my future sessions.  The most challenging part of this module I felt was getting my transitions smooth between techniques. I do not know them well enough to not have to think of the next one yet ....but know this will improve with time. I am reminded that just by having  slow, steady constant contact with the client - even in what I perceive as awkward transitions - makes them feel content and peaceful....it allows them to relax deeper because they do not need to wonder where I am or what I am doing.    It was interesting to note and experiment with pressure - especially when practicing on the adductors of the legs (my client was sensitive)....and responded better when I practiced the similar technique along his IT band. He really enjoyed that part.   When grasping the gastrocsoleous muscle  - I ended up doing a 1-2-3-2-1 kind of motion with gentle circles... and that was nice.    Thank you!

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January 7, 2017 - 1:53 am
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The transitions are every bit as important as the techniques. They require good body mechanics and control and can take a while to master. However after a while this will all feel like second nature. You can't expect that this will instantly work perfectly, but this will happen eventually. Then you will feel as if you were dancing or flowing around your client's body. Smile

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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January 17, 2017 - 12:53 am
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MODULE 6

While practicing these techniques it was nice to get a rhythm....very relaxing for me to give.  Again, I am liking using my body weight for the compression. The most challenging part of this module for me was practicing getting my body and the clients in the best position to be the most effective. My client has long legs and I had to make sure that his leg was not too far away from mine otherwise I was not able to give adequate pressure....I had to practice extra on my transitions.....but things are becoming easier.  I am just not used to using my body this way. I feel like my whole body is increasing in its sensitivity just like my hands, forearms and elbows did when I  first began body work....Thank you! 

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January 17, 2017 - 1:43 am
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This is exactly what is happening - you put it very well. In Thai Massage your body including its various parts are becoming more sensitive, for sure. I am glad you perceive this. Smile

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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January 24, 2017 - 8:19 am
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Module 7

The assessing part in the beginning of this module was interesting.  I tested my client before I started and then after....thinking that things may change during the practice session.  He had pretty symmetrical angles of both feet, both pretty loose and relaxed....and in the end, there was not a notable change.  However, I could see this happening with others that had more pronounced stiffness in the beginning.

I did not hear you say it, but was trying to discern that when doing the butterfly compressions up the thigh and back down - is my lateral hand a little higher than my medial or are they both parallel?  Not a big issue, just curious....

When practicing the stretches with my feet on the inner thigh and then stretching with my foot and pulling back slightly - I tried a variety of different distances to see what felt like it was the most effective.  I have realized that this may vary greatly depending on the sensitivity of the client and may want to be closer or further for more or less of a depth. I can also see starting out with less depth and stretch, then progressively increasing it while inching myself closer to do it.  Out of these two, my client and I both agreed that the two foot walking on was the most relaxing, rhythmic motion...

Again, I practiced the amount of angle I had my clients knee up in the last squeeze compressoin.  It seemed to feel better for them when I had their foot closer to their buttocks....but I also had to be careful from overly twisting the spine...

Great techniques....after a few minutes, my client was again - very relaxed.

Thank you!

~Jen

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January 24, 2017 - 11:39 pm
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You might remember that in module 5 I showed how to place the hands during the butterfly move in an offset way to avoid coming too close to the genitals with the medial hand. However in the hip stretch in module 7 you don't need to worry about that since you are not trying to cover the entire leg with the butterfly move. You are just hitting 3 spots. So you don't need to offset your hand position since you are not getting so close to the genitals anyway.

And yes, many Thai Massage techniques need to be modified and adapted to the particular client you are working on. This is definitely not a one-size-fits-all system. Smile

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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January 25, 2017 - 7:44 am
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Module 8

Thank you for the clarification about the butterfly technique in Module 5. I thought it looked similar but was not sure.

The client that I have been practicing on has very long legs. This has been a process like I mentioned in the last post about getting my distance correct in relationship to their body.    Though my client enjoyed both of the single handed calf stretches - they loved the gentle, soft, and rapid two handed calf manipulation. 

My client has also had significant knee injuries many years ago and has screws permanently part of his knee structure. Both of the knee rubbing and circling was not pleasant, even as lightly as I was working. I look forward to trying these two on others that do not have these issues. 

The later variety of leg stretches was nice. I practiced the stretches on one leg - but found a lot of tension in the hip/ glutes/ hams right away. I then jumped ahead to the loosening up techniques later in the module. Then I went back and was able to get better ease and range of motion with the first techniques.  Then I did the other leg the same way. Then, practiced both sides again. It was interesting to note the before and after amount of range of motion with both and how these simple techniques can so efficient.  I also liked the last technique using my shoulder.  That felt good, easy, and effective. 

Thank you! ~J.

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Shama
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January 25, 2017 - 10:11 pm
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Generally working directly on places where screws are placed or directly on replaced joints does not feel good. You can work on such clients, but instead of working directly on those areas, try working the energy lines which run through there. In other words, if someone had a knee replacement, don't work directly on the knee, but on the thigh and calf which will positively affect the knee as well.

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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February 6, 2017 - 8:05 am
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Module 9

Thank you for the above comments. Yes, I agree what not working on the area but in the adjacent and surrounding areas to get the benefits.

Very powerful stretches in this session!   The client that I have been practicing on has moderately flexible hips.  I appreciate all of the variations for those  more or less flexible. I have been practicing different distances between my knee that is kneeling down and the knee that is standing up to see what effects that has on the amount of power I am getting.  I know that, after a lot more experience - it will become more second nature my body positioning.  After practicing the techniques first with just exhales while leaning in - I realized again, how much this particular client prefers to be warmed up with a rocking modification of the stretch first.   My favorite was when the clients knee was over my shoulder and I was leaning in with my body. 

Thank you! TTYS,  ~Jen

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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February 10, 2017 - 9:11 am
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MODULE 10

I had good results with working with my client. I am paying close attention to see how much I can do each stretch...and again, rocking before the stretch seems to be very effective in both decreasing the intensity of the stretch as well as allowing the stretch to progress further.  My client and I have been patient, practicing, communicating, adjusting my positions etc. 

The spinal twist variation where I lean in with my leg against theirs feels really good...to sink...to relax and use multiple body parts simultaneously. 

I was able to do the blood stop. My client felt like it was very uncomfortable.  It was pretty crazy feeling the pulse increase.  I think I would have felt more warmth if I had held it for longer than 20 seconds.  My client experienced mild tingling in his left leg. 

During the calf stretches it became obvious how my hand on their heel is just a holding area....and my forearm is what is actually stretching the calf. This felt good for both of us.

I greatly appreciate all of the variations that are provided in the videos.

Thank you! ~J.

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