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Jeremy Cowin's Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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Jeremy
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September 15, 2020 - 3:49 am
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Module 1

I have signed up for both certifications.  Please advise if I have missed anything in that process.

I have been doing table & floor stretching for a while now, and I still have trouble with prolonged squatting with my toes in extension. I find I have to modify and usually do a side sit or a half kneel to avoid too much time in toe extension.  

I also appreciated the reminder about the breath in this module.  Breath work is so important for the fascia work I do, as its a way of monitoring how my clients are responding - a quickened breath can mean pain, discomfort, hidden emotions, as can holding ones breath.  By following my clients breath I can "sense" what they can and they can actually guide me.  It's also a great way to connect and a way for me to help guide my clients when they can feel my breath with theirs - I can guide them through stretches they may not do themselves and help open up adhesions and tissue restrictions as well as potential locked emotions.  This doesn't happen all the time, but breath work is a powerful way to stay connected, focused, relaxed and communicate intent.

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Shama Kern
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September 15, 2020 - 10:05 am
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Hi Jeremy, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that everything is correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

We received your registration form, thanks. So far the only thing that is missing is that you fill in your bio here in the profile section of the forum to tell us something about you, where you are from, etc.

I am glad to hear that you can relate to the breath work aspect of Thai Massage. I am looking forward to assisting you in your journey through this course and reading about your progress.

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Jeremy
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September 17, 2020 - 8:23 pm
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Module 2

I have been practicing the "Chi Machine" on colleagues in my PT clinic as well as at home with my partner.  I have found a couple of things: Each body type may require more or less rocking (by this I mean a larger and or faster weight shift through my hips/oscillations) in order to get the rocking to go all the way up ot he head.  Body size/type makes a difference as to how much "wiggling/oscillations" I need to produce.  It's not really forceful, but working on larger bodies means I need to weight shift bigger to produce the oscillations, than on a smaller framed body.  Also, I find that just a small amount of traction/pull (slight lean back) through the feet helps clients to relax a bit more too and makes the oscillations more comfortable and easier for them and for me too. 🙂

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Shama Kern
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September 18, 2020 - 2:16 am
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This goes for many whole-body rocking movements. The natural speed of the rocking is determined by the client's body. Large and heavy bodies will rock slower and small and light bodies will rock faster.

True, a small amount of traction will work, if it's too much traction, it will impede the rocking motion.

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Jeremy
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September 21, 2020 - 9:38 pm
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Module 3

I really liked learning this series - although I think remembering the sequence will take time.  Being so tall, finding the right position for my legs when draping the clients legs over mine was a bit tricky. Found that I needed to scoot back a bit depending on the size fo the client and their leg.  I actually tired to pull the leg slightly to the side and it was better in straight alignment than off to the side even for my comfort. 

I really liked the rocking aspect of this as well.  I practiced both rocking and just pushing and the clients could tell the difference too and I was more relaxed with the rocking and it was easy on my knees/toes/back!  My question - what is the best approach to applying pressure?  Some clients want more pressure and some want less.  Also - sometimes the leg doesn't want to externally rotate due to hip tightness or skin is sensitive.  What's the best approach for Thai Massage? 

Thank you Shama!!

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Shama Kern
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September 21, 2020 - 10:59 pm
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Re: Best approach to applying pressure - there are several factors. One is that with experience you will develop more sensitivity for the right amount of pressure. One good rule is to err on the light side. We don't want to stretch our clients to the maximum. Stretching should be a comfortable affair, not something that takes people to their endurance threshold.

Another approach is that we use a questioning method to determine the range of comfort for the client - the 'one-to-ten' method. This will be explained in the course in detail soon.

A third method is to tell the client before we start the session that they should immediately let us know when they feel that it is getting too much for them.

Re: Leg does not rotate out due to tight hips - In such cases, it is sometimes necessary to work on the hip first to create more range of motion. You cannot force the leg to rotate out via the feet. This will only stress the knee. So you can either lighten up on the feet or work on the hip first, and then go back to the feet.

In general it is important to encourage the clients to give you feedback about the intensity of your work. You want to work with a client, not just on a client.

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Jeremy
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September 27, 2020 - 10:42 pm
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Module 4

The overall summary of "In, Out, Up, Down, Twist R & L and then Top and Bottom" was a great way for me to remember the steps and overall concept of what I'm trying to do, and is a great way to refer back too as well in case I get lost in the massage or just forget - which I have!  🙂

I am still having difficulty with the leg push/twist and pull/twist. Its not the hand placement, its more of getting a rhythm that is consistent from my Left hand to my Right hand.  It was weird to try and find the rhythm for myself and for several clients of mine that I have practiced on.  They all stated it felt good, but that the rhythm needed work.  I found that on some clients its better with my leg under for support and for others not using my leg, as they are smaller and my leg really lifts the leg up too high for them to relax for this move and it greatly impacted my posture - where I felt I was compensating too much and not staying relaxed.

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Jeremy
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September 27, 2020 - 10:54 pm
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Module 5

I've gotten bit behind in my regular viewing and practice due to my School schedule!  So I have time and clients this weekend to practice on and get a bit more caught up. 

I appreciated this module and it was easy for me.  I did have a client that was REALLY tight and their foot kept sliding away from my knee, so I had to adjust and do 1/2 kneel with my foot on top of their foot in order to compete working on their leg.  I also had to use pillows to support this client as the adductors were so tight.  Due to this tightness I had to really watch my pressure and intensity of squeezing and rolling of the tissue as it was quite tender - so it was good to get the feedback and to feel tissue that was so restricted compared to another client that is REALLY flexible!

Also - with the lean in on the thigh/quad area - its easy to just press and feel the bone/femur.  Some quads are tight and the bone is very prominent - Do I need to keep the hand pressure on a slight rolling out or to the side to avoid direct pressure over the bone?  One client did not like the direct pressure - but when I changed the pressure to the sides it was more tolerable.

Thank you!

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Shama Kern
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September 28, 2020 - 2:07 am
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In general you will need to do more adjustments and modifications in Thai Massage than in table/oil massage. The reason is that on the table people lie mostly still in one position whereas in Thai Massage they are being moved around a lot. There are additional factors like range of motion, flexibility, size and weight considerations. 

This will become very evident when you get into the stretching techniques. You will find that I talk a lot about such modifications throughout the course. The goal is to become a creative, sensitive, and adaptable therapist who is able to match the right techniques to the right client. This is an art which goes way beyond the technical aspects of the techniques.

However in the beginning when you still have to think about how to do the techniques this is not easy to do. Later, when you won't have to think about the execution and the technical aspects of the techniques anymore, it will begin to flow and you will be able to focus on more subtle aspects in the session. This typically happens around the last third of the course material for most of our students.

Some pick up on this very quickly...

Regarding your specific question - experimenting with rolling versus static linear pressure is often the solution to pain or discomfort. That's why there will be many motion techniques presented in this course like rocking, rolling, wiggling, swinging, etc. This often works better than static/linear pressure. 

You seem to have figured some of this out by yourself already.

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Jeremy
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September 29, 2020 - 7:42 pm
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MODULE 6

Here again - for the positioning I had to adjust due to my long legs and clients being much shorter.  I received feedback from 2 sources that using the forearm parallel to the leg muscles/adductors with the "figure 4" position with leg draped over mine was much more comfortable than than the arm going in and "X" pattern across the muscles.  I also felt that it was more comfortable for me to lean/use body weight more efficiently for me as well and could manage the pressure a bit more and go deeper with less discomfort for the client.

I am struggling getting the "squeeze" with the elbow and leg roll for the IT Band - the feedback I got was that it was too hard - so for me in stead of pressing in with the below - I just laid my elbow against the leg and then rolled the leg into the elbow by rocking forward.  Both of my practice clients stated this was more comfortable and less "pokey" on the IT band region.

The rocking on the heel and calf up and down both the foot and calf was so relaxing for me with the breathing.  I'm liking how easy the pressure is on my wrists and am liking that you remind us not to sue our thumbs too much.  

Thank you Shama.  Hope you are doing well!

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Shama Kern
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September 30, 2020 - 1:39 am
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Actually you are doing it exactly right. The pressure does not come from pulling the elbow in a lot, but from moving your body against it. You just pull in a little bit with your elbow to fix the leg. If you wouldn't pull in the leg a bit, it would get away from you when you lean against it and the technique would be ineffective. 

However you don't want to pull in your elbow a lot, because that will feel sharp and uncomfortable. You pull in a little bit and lean down to fix your forearm on your thigh to stabilize the position. Then the actual effect comes from moving your body against the client's thigh. Anyway, you did it right! Smile

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Jeremy
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October 8, 2020 - 10:32 pm
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Module 7

My clients found that the double foot on the inner thigh was most comfortable for them than using 1 foot for the stretch.  I found that this stretch and hip relaxation technique were very comfortable for me as well.  Didn't have to find a modification just have to be mindful of client size with my long legs and set up position first so there is less "adjusting" during the stretch: also I don't 'always have to fully straighten my legs to get an effective stretch for those that are shorter than myself - but do need o be more aware of pressure.

Also - the modification for the side stretch / figure 4 / with the Elephant Walk - I found that so far the people I'm practicing on are really tight in this position and using the rocking and pillow did help them to relax and they were able to "open up" a bit more with just the rocking and the hip pull rock was well received as wel.  

I got feedback that at times I still lean in "heavy" - I wasn't causing pain but just feedback to be mindful of pressure.  Part of it is watching the video and getting so focussed on following and listening to the instructions for the technique that I just "go for it" vs just relaxing into the moment.  

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Shama Kern
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October 8, 2020 - 10:47 pm
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The issue in Thai Massage is rarely being too soft, but being too strong with the moves. Working softly helps you to feel more, be more sensitive, and provide a better experience for the client. Once you have developed more sensitivity and can gauge better how far you can go, you can always add more pressure. But working softly is generally the better choice - at least initially. Remember that Thai Massage is supposed to feel good, not oppressive.

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Jeremy
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October 12, 2020 - 11:09 pm
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Module 8

I really liked and found it helpful with the Hip Pie approach - its a great way to systematically work the hip and to assess each section for tightness or hip restrictions.  I have to here again modify a few positions due to being taller than my clients, but it was helpful as well as the ham string stretch.

Am feeling more relaxed during instructional time with practice and getting feedback that my pressure is more even as well.

Thank you!

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Jeremy
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October 12, 2020 - 11:14 pm
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Module 9

The hamstring stretch was really effective and more spa than I thought it would be - was great to feel the tissue response with my hands and discuss with my clients what they felt, what I felt, and their reactions as to the how quickly it progressed from comfortable to really intense so fast.  So really paying attention to the tissue, and going slow with this stretch really stood out for me.

I actually was able to utilize this on a current client I have for fascial work with a history of her hip looking up.  The pie technique and hamstring stretch really opened up her hip for me to do deep fascial work.  

Really like how this carries over into my work!

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Jeremy
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October 12, 2020 - 11:20 pm
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Module 10

WOW!  Another great stretch for the back of the body/glutes and hip joint!  Really like how the pie approach can be applied with the leg and joint capsule in different positions and angels.

The leg straight out to the side was great and the modification for just the rocking was very effective for patient education, relaxiaotn and again paying attention to the tissues response.  Everyone loved the rocking and the adductor tendon release.

Not everyone enjoyed the blood stop! Some found the pressure too much and too long - so glad its an option.

Everyone LOVED the calf stretch position and was glad it was easy on my body as well.

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Shama Kern
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October 13, 2020 - 12:08 am
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The blood stop has to be done with a lot of sensitivity in order to feel just right, and you have to place the heel of your hand in exactly the right spot. But, like with all techniques, the motto is that 'all techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences'.

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Jeremy
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October 15, 2020 - 12:19 am
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Module 11

It was so nice to see you move through the sequence so smoothly.  I know its because you have years of experience but it was helpful to see how your body moved and in tandem with the clients from one position into another and from the stretches as well without much effort.

I am excited about implementing this into my current work as it truly is complementary.  It also is giving me more tools to "try" as well as knowing that some techniques would be of help and good alternatives for positioning.

Looking forward to more!

Thank you Shama!

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Jeremy
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November 1, 2020 - 2:16 am
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Module 12 - This may post twice as I had internet interruption with my comment when I hit submit!

I had varying size clients and patients with practice.  All were too tight for me to do the advanced stretching but got good feedback with may work as I could feel the tissues underneath respond.

I was able to practice on booth the floor and my treatment table - was good to learn a few modifications for my self.

Also - using the side of my hand for the inner groin area versus my finger tips was more comfortable for my clients too.

Thank you!

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Jeremy
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November 1, 2020 - 2:29 am
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MODULE 13

What a great reminder about mastering artistry and not mechanics!  As with learning any new skill there's a learning curve and with this program its not that tissue feel is new to me but its how the techniques are being applied and feeling a different response and then trusting what I feel as well as betting the client feedback.  

I really like the \"pie" analogy too - its helps keep he pace going as well as learning the routine.

JC

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