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Jen Banowetz - HHM
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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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November 1, 2016 - 12:35 am
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Module 1

Things that I noted:

-pay attention to the position of the neck when starting

-need 3 things:  Blanket, pillow, +/- oil

-this process facilitates a meditative state in both client and practitioner

Technique:

Position of hands on client, rocking back and forth motion that is sychronized with breath.  When pressing - rock forward and exhale, inhale when switching back to heel position.

-Tuck in shirt to avoid it touching their nose.

-If have a larger person - can start with knees back. Then have more power and can put more pressure on them. Lean forward with straight arms and full body weight.

In Practice....

This has been a little bit getting used to breathing in coordination with the movement.  I experimented on a variety of surfaces - yoga mat, massage table on floor, and foam pad.  Then experimented with getting the distance correct.   Right now it does not feel natural to do but I am sure with more practice I will move through the stages of "thinking" and then simply doing. 

I look forward to learning more!

Thank you!

~Jen

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Shama
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November 1, 2016 - 1:51 am
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Hi Jen, welcome to our forum and the Heavenly Head Massage course.

Your post looks like you are intending to get a certificate. However I did not receive a certification enrollment form from you. I need this for our records in order to issue a certificate. If you look in the certification section of your course manual, you will find a link to this form.

After you send in this registration form, you will automatically be forwarded to our certification tutorial which explains how the process works. 

If indeed your intention is to get a certificate, make sure to watch the video and read the information in the certification tutorial. Here is an abbreviated version for your reference:

Certification Check List

Please look at item #7 in this list, and you will see that your post is not quite in the spirit of things. Smile

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 2, 2016 - 12:40 am
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Thank you for your reply Shama. I had not watched the tutorial for the correct posting and will  try to make them correct from now on.

Please consider this a replacement for my earlier post on Module 1...

MODULE 1 - HHM

I have been experimenting on a variety of surfaces - yoga mat, massage table on floor, and foam pad. The foam mat on the floor feels the best for my client and my knees.  I have also been experimenting with getting the distance correct from my knees to (my husbands) shoulders correct.  I like rocking motion and being down on the ground.  I am liking the focusing of my breath in coordination with the motion.  This seem like such a simple concept, but I can imagine the value and look forward to exploring that throughout the course.   Right now it still feels a little awkward to do but I am sure with more practice I will move through the stages of "thinking" and then simply doing. I was checking in with my client (husband) on how it felt and he felt like the amount of pressure was good. 

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Shama
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November 2, 2016 - 1:38 am
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Thanks for sending in the registration form and updating your first post. Now we are all set! Smile

You are right, in the beginning you have to focus on thinking while you are learning the process, and then later when you get to simply doing, it will feel totally different. Then you can feel all the subtleties and at that point it will start to feel heavenly. You cannot expect it to feel heavenly immediately, but soon it will!

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 2, 2016 - 10:58 pm
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MODULE 2

First I reviewed the techniques from Mod. 1 and noticed a little more ease in doing them. I plan to review all old segments before practicing the new ones...and I have a very willing client.

I started going thru the thumb techniques on my client. As soon as I started my clients said that his chest area (sternum)  was very tender and sensitive. I decided to mix up the order of the techniques and then started with some light thumping/ pounding with my fist, then finger tapping. This seemed to work well to quickly allow the client to get used to touch in the area and encourage that area to relax. Then I went back and did the thumb techniques and there was not the degree of sensitivity. My client ( my dear sweet husband) is using his upper body in crazy ways by building a house so I am not surprised by this.  He liked the alternating compression elephant walking on the shoulders. I feel like I am getting into a better rhythm.  After a bit my client was relaxing into a deeper state and I was having a bit of a challenging time working with his breath because the spacing between breaths was lengthening so much....but I stuck with it and found that it forced me to slow way down too, physically and mentally. My client did not like the circular movements or wiggling as much as the compressions....but everybody is different! Thank you!

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Shama
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November 3, 2016 - 12:00 am
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The leaning on the sternum with the thumbs is a super subtle thing. Almost everybody uses too much pressure initially. Alternatively you could do gentle, slow circling on the sternum with either your palm or the heel of the hand. That will eliminate the thumb pressure issue, however it will not get you into sync with the breathing. So it is good to do both.

Your observation that everybody is different is spot on. Not all techniques will work equally well on everyone.

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 4, 2016 - 8:08 am
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MODULE 3 -

These techniques I practiced once, but did not feel like I got them very well. I watched the video again, took detailed notes, practiced again...and this is what I noticed.

Thank you for the feedback about pressure on the chest. I found that when I was practicing the first technique (using flat thumbs) inferior of the clavicle - it was very sensitive again.  I suspect my client has lots of trigger points in that area. I found myself repeating rows to make sure I was getting "everything".

Pectoralis Squeeze - my client liked this, liked the rhythm.

Re:  Next movement with hands compressing the breast of a woman.  I have not practiced this one (my client is male)....and with all due respects Shama, I think that this may be one that I skip in America.  I don't feel comfortable massaging  - even thru clothes - this part of a womans body. I don't have issues with bodies (I have been in this business for a long time:)  I just do not think it is ethically appropriate.  Am I making sense.  If I had a client who we had a lot of comfortability and she needed this specific technique - then I would discuss things with her in advance and ask her permission to touch her there.  

In the movement about the elephant walking on chest down and back.   I tried to use a light amount of  pressure without being superfiscal.  My client and I discussed the contraindications that may come up with elderly clients - wanting to be very careful compressing the ribs.

Clavicle compression with thumbs....this one went well. I got the rolling.  I found though that as I was coming from the soft area of shoulders and heading towards the C6/C7 area I was finding more trigger points and wanted to "stay" and work them out or at least pause - but kept on moving with the breathing.

Elephant walking the shoulder felt good for client and felt good for me. I like the rhythmic motion!!

Upper Body Twist is going to take a bit more practice but on the second time of this I feel like I am getting the flow of the order of the movements - feet, hands, lifting etc.  My client liked it. We talked about how I would approach this if my client was a lot bigger of a person. My client is tall and thin, approx. 150....but to do this on 180 lb. + I would need to be really up and over them and using my bracing foot as leverage.

Thank you!

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 4, 2016 - 8:16 am
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MODULE 4

....lots more learning and practicing todaySmile

.....the Wave:   Client and I both liked this one. I enjoyed getting more of my body involved in the process.  After about 5 minutes of practicing the tops of my feet were getting sore though. I realize that it is probably a part of my body that has not been used in that way before....and that is that I am liking about this:) 

I used the neck warming techniques on my client tonight as well as another client today (when I finished a traditional table massage).  I like these; they feel soft and fluid.....and very effective for loosening up the tissue. 

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
...the shores of beautiful Lake Superior
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November 4, 2016 - 8:26 am
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MODULE 5 -

I imagine that the technique for getting the hair out of the way will be very useful. My client has shorter hair and we both found it very relaxing in and of itself.  

Out of all of the techniques in Module 5 - my client and I liked the one where both hands are under neck and the finger tips almost touch.  I then get up on my knees and lift the neck up and gently release. This feels really good on me to be up right and my client loved how it bought the natural curvature back to the cervical spine.  

The neck turning was fine.  I found it interesting that there was not any tilting of the head.  It feels like very effective way in releasing tension in the trapezius, levator scapulae, and the splenius capitus and spenius cervicus muscles....areas where everyone seems to be tight. 

Thank you! I have a busy next few days....but will get back when I can. ~Jen

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November 4, 2016 - 9:01 pm
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Regarding "compressing the breast of a woman" - you are not compressing it, but just pushing it down a bit. Your hand is above the breast, on the pectoralis major, not on top of the breast. As such I don't understand why you would consider this unethical.

Here is my experience. I have done hundreds of Heavenly Head Massage sessions, including in the US and in some very high end destination spas. I never encountered a single person who took issue with this technique. Just the opposite, the clients loved it. And that was me, a man, working on mostly female clients.

Based on 15 years of giving Heavenly Head Massage sessions, my experience is that if you have clean energy, your clients will not interpret this move as anything but a massage technique which feels good. My suggestion is to give it a chance with someone you know well and see what the reaction is. You might be surprised! Smile

Also you might want to watch this video which addresses a related topic:

Controversial Touch Issues In Thai Massage

In the end it is of course up to you to set your own boundaries. I can only tell you my own experience and my opinion.

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 8, 2016 - 8:40 am
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I appreciate your perspectives Shama.  After reviewing the video a 3rd time, I noticed what you said about the hands being on the pectoralis major muscles.....all good. I look forward to trying it when I get a female client to practice Thai massage on.

On another note - in the past few days since I last posted I have been surprised by the number of random opportunities I have had to practice these new skills.  I was at a field trip with my kids and a Mom asked me if I could work on her daughter a bit.  On a beautiful sunny afternoon I was able to apply the past few modules on while relaxing on a patch of grass.  Then later the same afternoon a friend asked if I could also work on her neck....this time in a library foyer.  I am loving how this can be done anywhere....ideally on a mat - but with a little creativity - comfy spots can be created anywhere:) 

Thank you! ~J.

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 8, 2016 - 8:51 am
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MODULE 6

I really like the Big Neck roll.  I like how it feels on me and the client.  My client was concerned about his head being too heavy for my hands (index fingers).  I like the flow and rotation and being able to cover a large area.  

Out of all 3 techniques I found # 2 most effective. Again, I liked the straight fingers.  It feels really good to have that pressure on the occipital ridge.

One of the things I have been personally battling this whole time is my desire to hold trigger points when I find them (often at the occipital ridge) area....but I have been keeping moving....and have been noticing them melt away instead of me pausing and holding the points all of the time.  My husband really, really liked the head dropping on (like on a hinge) at the occipital ridge.  He felt that this was fantastic for address  this very issue. 

One thing that I have had a question on and have not necessarily heard you talk about yet is contraindications to these techniques?  I know we go light-ish, and slow....but I seem to have a lot of clients at the spa who have had surgery on their cervical vertebrae - like fusing them together.    I am wondering your perspective on working on the neck area?  Does it depend on person by person or are their specific sections of this learning that I should avoid? 

Thank you!

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 8, 2016 - 9:03 am
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Module 7

My client really liked this first stretch.  They were concerned on how I was feeling doing it because they felt like it was involving a lot of my body.  I explained how I was supporting their head and taking care of my body.   Stretches 2, 3, and 4 went well.  I continue to enjoy all of the ways of interacting with the part of the body.

Re:  turning and pressing the clients head from side to side.  The second time I practiced this one I had my knee closer to the clients head like on the next exercise.  My client liked it this way better - having the knee braced against their head to add stability for both exercises.      My client and I discussed the possible contraindications and  being very gentle and conscious about the neck alignment ...and slowly turning the head.

I have had past training in tilting the clients head so that their ear almost touches their shoulder. I like these techniques more....they seem safer.

Thank you! ~J. 

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Shama
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November 8, 2016 - 7:58 pm
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You are finding interesting spots to do this. This is what I like about Thai Massage and related modalities. They can be done in so many places easily - very convenient. I have done sessions in all kinds of places as well, in the park, next to the swimming pool, next to hotsprings in the California desert, in a motorhome, on plenty of livingroom carpets and beds...

Regarding contraindications, this is very much a case-by-case thing. I have always resisted the notion of establishing fixed contraindications for my work. The fact is that I have never had to turn away a client because of a certain condition. I had to modify what I was doing in many cases, but this was never a black and white scenario for me, like 'fused vertebrae=no neck massage'.

You might want to read a couple of articles which I wrote about this issue:

Contraindications part 1

Contraindications part 1

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 14, 2016 - 8:22 am
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Thank you again for your comments Shama!

Module 8:

Out of all of this module's techniques - the one I will have practice more is the first one.  I need to watch video again to see if the elbows were resting on the thighs.  Mine were for stability and it felt like the head was tilted too much....so more practice.  

During the Figure 8 technique my client was able to get some good neck stretch and increased range of motion.  It felt like his head was going to twist off though. ( I am not sure how to describe it other than that)...but the results were good!  I have done a variation of this in my past work but enjoy the uniqueness of this one:) 

Client enjoyed the  technique where I lift the head at a 45 degree angle and timed the stretch with the clients breathiing.

When completing the small circles under the occiput - my client felt that it was uncomfortable - not terribly - but moderately.  I then switched to the next technique of sustained pressure and hooking the fingers. This seemed to quickly release some trigger points that I think were bothering him...then I went back and did the circles without irritation.

I found it interesting that I only worked on my client for 10-15 minutes practicing these techniques and my client felt very deeply relaxed.  I think it exemplifies the effectiveness of the techniques...and I look forward to learning more:) 

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November 14, 2016 - 5:18 pm
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I have put countless clients to sleep with Heavenly Head Massage within 15 minutes - get used to that! Laugh

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 15, 2016 - 8:15 am
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MODULE 9

I really enjoyed learning all of these techniques in working with the ear....I found the variety interesting to do and give.  Each of the techniques addressed a different area of the ear.  It seemed very effective ...and not just relaxing for his ears - but for his whole body. 

My client responded the best to the Scissors move and the one following it - massaging the notch in front of the ear.   He also really like the last technique of enclosing the ears under the hands. He deeply relaxed and his ears became very, very hot!! Interesting....I may very well never look at ears the same way again!

Thank you!! ~Jen

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 15, 2016 - 8:22 am
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MODULE 10 

Lots of new techniques!!  Even though the majority of these techniques were "invigorating"  my client fell asleep:) The sequence through the 3 progressive techniqiues on the side of the head went well....they were very thorough.    The only one that my client did not really like was the last one - working on the midline and working out perpendicular to it.  That felt a bit uncomfortable for him...otherwise he really enjoyed the variety.    

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November 15, 2016 - 9:29 pm
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Isn't it amazing what can be done with a little tiny body part like the ear. Most therapists totally neglect this, but it can be like a trance experience for the client!

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Jennifer Flament-Banowetz
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November 16, 2016 - 8:55 am
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MODULE 11

Ok...lots of  new techniques:).  I practiced these a variety of ways - speeds and amount of pressure with each one. The first technique my client did not enjoy as much as the rapid finger tip rubbing. I worked thru them all. My client liked more pressure than the light work....but I think if I would have slowed down even more he would have liked the lighter pressure too.    I, personally, really like all of the variety.  I have been doing a "Crown Treatment" a the spa I currently work at....it involves massage a head for 30 minutes in any  kind of motion I want to  use.   I look forward to the next time I have a session like this scheduled...and in the mean time will add in these techniques to other services.  Thank you Shama....I greatly appreciate all of the detail that you have put into making these videos.

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