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Jessica Flannery - Thai Massage Course Notes
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Jessica Flannery
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August 27, 2017 - 10:05 pm
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I am excited to be Starting my Thai Massage journey. I am happy to be sharing and learning with all of you.

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Jessica Flannery
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August 27, 2017 - 10:15 pm
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Module 1 Notes

   I am excited to be getting started with this course. I work at a spa and I am hoping I will be able to modify some of the stretches to do on a table. I have never worked on the floor and I am a little nervous that I won’t have enough flexibility.

 My intention is to work on my flexibility and to be able to do an entire Thai session on the floor as well as being able to incorporate some stretches to use on my regular clients on the massage table. I love that the focus and philosophy of the course will be more about a gentle touch and a connection with the client as opposed to a clinical approach. Anatomy can be overwhelming while trying to learn new modalities.

So far this seems to be exactly what I am looking for!

   

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Jessica Flannery
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August 27, 2017 - 10:48 pm
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Module #2

Hi Shama!

NOTE: I wanted to let you know I am a little behind on my forum posts. I was having internet connection and computer problems. I finally have them resolved and I have figured out how to post in the forum. I am practicing with a friend Margaret Miller that is also taking the course we are on Module #7 and I have been writing my notes down in a notebook and I am happy to be able to finally post them (:

   I practiced Module#2 with Margaret, a friend and coworker. We used two yoga mats with a blanket on top. I discovered I am pretty stiff and not as used to sitting on the floor as I used to be.I found it very difficult to sit on my ankles at first but after some trial and error we both discovered it was easier if we put a small pillow under our legs.

  It took a few tries to get the correct movement for the chi machine. I took your advise on looking at the head to see if it was moving and I was thrilled when I finally got it! Unfortunately I have an old injury to my right ankle that causes limited mobility.I found my foot was falling asleep very quickly. I am confident that this is something I can work on and I’m sure adding daily stretches will be helpful.

  I love the “Chi Machine” and I am grateful to be able to experience it from my partner. I plan to add this move in my massage practice, especially with my clients that have a difficult time relaxing. Thank you and I am looking forward to the next Module!

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Shama
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August 27, 2017 - 10:57 pm
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Hi Jessica, welcome to our forum. I am happy to hear that you found this course to be a good match for you.

Many of our students use some of the Thai Massage system on a table. It can be adapted, however I suggest you also learn to work on the floor since this gives you more and better options – provided you can do that in your spa.

In the beginning some students find the floor work a bit challenging if they have never done it, but this resolves itself quickly with practice. It is actually much easier than doing it on a table.

That’s great that you are practicing with Margaret. The ankle issue will go away after a while. This is normal in the beginning if you are not used to sit like this. 

Also as a reference please take a moment and take a look at our certification check list to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Check List

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Jessica Flannery
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September 12, 2017 - 2:39 am
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Module 3

  Module 3 was great for learning some new foot massage techniques. I practice the first stretch several times on my partner as well as her practicing on me. After my second attempt at the stretch I finally found a good rhythm.The second stretch we learned was a little more difficult. I found it easier to do on a massage table but did practice on the mat as well. I will definitely need some more practice with this one to achieve a better rhythm. Bending the feet in and out was also a great stretch. I found that my partners feet tend to bend outward and i have to make sure to adjust my angle to get her feet to bend inward. Twisting the feet is also a great stretch that I have already incorporated into my massage routine.

I am looking forward to Module #4

Thanks Shama!

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Jessica Flannery
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September 12, 2017 - 2:57 am
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Module 4

 Module 4 is a continuation of foot massage techniques. I was again practicing with my partner Margaret. Thank you for breaking down the foot into 8 different ways it can move. This really helped me to be able to picture what the effect I am trying to have on the foot is.

out, in, up, down, twist, twist opposite direction, the sole, the top of the foot. 

I also really enjoyed the circles we did on the top and side of the foot. It felt really nice when my partner practiced on me a nd reminded me that a soft gentle touch is important and that a strong pressure is not always necessary. I am already starting to become more comfortable on the mat. I am feeling less stiff and it took a little longer for my feet to get tingly while I was kneeling. 

Thank You!!

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Jessica Flannery
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September 12, 2017 - 3:09 am
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Module 5

Module 5 is about leg warm ups. It took a few tries to get comfortable holding my partner’s leg still by using my ankle. While doing the butterfly compressions on the top of the thigh I quickly realized that I was using my muscles and not my entire body. I kept reminding myself to lean in and to keep my back straight.

In the next move where we move the leg up I noticed my partner is very flexible and her knee is able to touch the floor. We found when she practiced on me that we needed to put a pillow under my knee. I did find that my partner was a little sensitive in the IT band and I had to adjust my pressure accordingly.

I enjoyed practicing these warm ups as well as receiving them and I am getting more and more comfortable practicing on the floor! Thank You!

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Shama
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September 12, 2017 - 9:37 am
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Overall this sounds like good news and good progress. You will find that Thai Massage has such a wide range of techniques and degrees of intensity that you can’t do every technique on everyone in the same way. Some of the most important skills to develop are the art of modification, listening with your hands, and working WITH a client, not just ON a client. In other words, Thai Massage is not just about learning a sequence, and then doing the same thing on everyone.

This will all become very clear throughout the course and there will be many examples on how to implement this. Smile

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Jessica Flannery
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September 19, 2017 - 12:18 am
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Module #6

   I was able to practice module 6 with my partner Margaret. We practiced these moves in 2 separate sessions. we started with the rocking warm up on the leg. After a few tries I noticed the natural rhythm of the leg and it felt very natural to do the push pull movement. The next move we worked on was using our forearm on the medial quadriceps. I had a little bit of difficulty getting the right positioning on this one. I did finally realize I needed to turn my partners leg outward and I needed to lean in with more of my bodyweight. Once I got the feel for this move it was much easier to do the other moves on the thigh.

As my partner was practicing on me I noticed I have some sensitivity in my IT band on my right and left side and this reminded me to check in with my partner to make sure the pressure was ok. My partner only had a slight sensitivity in this area and I was able to use much more pressure than she could use on me. 

I am glad we were able to watch video 6 several times together as well as practice these moves in 2 sessions.

Thanks Shama! 

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Jessica Flannery
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September 19, 2017 - 12:41 am
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Module #7

   I found module #7 very informative!! It was very interesting to take notice of the angle of the feet and what this means in terms of hip alignment. My partner and I took turns checking the positions of each other’s hips and took note of which way our feet were turning. My partner’s feet both turned outward and her hips seemed pretty much even. My feet on the other hand were pretty straight with my right foot turning very slightly outward. My right hip was also a little higher than the left.  I also did this check on my husband, son, and coworkers. 

   My partner didn’t seem to have much restrictions in her hips, she practices yoga and as a result tends to be very flexible. My partner noticed my restrictions and used a pillow on my right side. We did also practice all of the stretches. We practiced these moves in 3 separate sessions and watched this video several times. The best part of module 7 is that I felt a huge improvement  in my hip flexibility as a result of receiving these stretches. My husband even commented that my gait seemed more even and fluid. My partner also noticeably gained some flexibility with each practice session.

I am getting more comfortable working on the mat with each practice session. It is wonderful to be able to experience the huge effect that the Thai massage has had on my body so far. I can’t wait to be able to apply these in my own practice to have such an impact on my clients.

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Jessica Flannery
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September 19, 2017 - 12:56 am
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Module #8

     Module #8 was all about the “hip pie”. This is a great way of looking at the different ways a hip moves. I can remember being overwhelmed in massage school trying to memorize all of the hips movements and muscles. As a result I have never been too confident in my massage practice working on the hips. I feel as though I have a better understanding of the hip after watching this one module than I did after my anatomy class in massage school. Taking the technical terms and phrases out made it much easier to conceptualize.

   I watched and practiced these stretches with my partner several times and in several sessions. I also took time to just move my partners leg and hip around just to get a better feel for how the hip moves. We found the rocking to be a great technique and used this to ease into each stretch. I still plan on practicing these several more times on a few different people before moving on to module #9. 

Thanks Shama!

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Shama
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September 19, 2017 - 1:58 am
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Thanks for this great feedback. It sounds like you are really serious about practicing and learning. I have no doubt that you will get very good at this with your attitude! Having a good partner whom you can exchange with also helps a lot. Most course students don’t have this advantage. Smile

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Jessica Flannery
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September 26, 2017 - 12:27 am
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Module #9

      In this module we continued with the leg and hip stretches. It was very helpful to remember the rocking technique  while going into these stretches to loosen up the muscles. I was mindful to check in with my partner a great deal using the 1-10 scale. I tried to get each stretch to about an 8 before moving on to the next one. 

      I am lucky that my partner is about the same height as me but we did practice the modifications you showed us for working on taller partners. We both really enjoyed the leg rotations and the spinal twist. 

We checked in with each other the next day to discover that we were both fairly sore from our practice session. It felt about the same as if we had taken an intense yoga class. This was again a reminder that we are having a powerful effect on the body. My partner is much more flexible than me and before this session I hadn’t felt that I was giving her enough of a stretch. It was great to get the feedback that I was having an effect. 

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Jessica Flannery
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September 26, 2017 - 12:43 am
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Module #10 Leg Stretches #4

           I used this practice session to work on my flow and technique some more. I like how you spoke about the “softness of touch” and I try to be mindful of not using any jerking motions. I am still finding some of the transitions awkward and I occasionally forget where I am and what I am supposed to be doing next. This was another module that we practiced a few times before we really felt like we got the hang of it. 

   I also really  tried to center myself using the Hara and I concentrated a lot more on my breathing. I feel like I am finally able to be a little more graceful in my movements but I am still working on some of the body mechanics. I  tend to use my muscles too much and I still have to remind myself to use my whole body in each stretch. I was definitely sore after doing and receiving these. 

Thanks again Shama! 

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Shama
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September 26, 2017 - 1:21 am
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If you are sore and your partner is sore, I guess you are using your muscles too much, and you might want to not go up to an 8 on the one-to-ten scale. The 8 might work for the yogi types, but most regular non-yogi clients might feel a bit beat up if you take all stretches to an 8. I suggest that you go up to an 8 on people who really like being stretched, and on stiff clients you work around a 5 or 6 only. Smile

The question is if you want to use your sessions as an applied yoga session which resembles an exercise routine, or more as a relaxing massage. Both work – you just need to be able to work in both ways and determine what works for a particular client.

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Jessica Flannery
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June 9, 2018 - 12:54 am
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Module #11 Summary Session#1

Hi Shama! I know it has been a while. The winter here in the ski mountains is our busy season and I was working nonstop. I did however use much of what I have learned already to help my clients. I found the stretches I have learned so far to be invaluable to my treatment of the many ski/snowboard athletes I had the pleasure to work with during their competitions. I was able to come up with a 25 min routine that I did on the table before going into a Swedish or Deep Tissue Massage that was a huge hit with my clients!  It also helped my hands tremendously during a 90 min treatment to be able to use this routine.Now that I have some downtime I am ready to get back at it!

I practiced these lower body stretches many times with my partner and I appreciate all of the options that are available. I have started to find my favorites and those are the ones I have been using consistantly. It is wonderful to be able to review this module and now begin to repractice some of the stretches I was not originally comfortable with. We were happy to find how many of these stretches translate nicely to the massage table. I am looking forward to the next Module, thank you!

 

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Shama
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June 9, 2018 - 8:56 am
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Welcome back, Jessica. I am happy to hear that you were able to make good use of the first section of this course. After this success you should have an even much greater impact with your athletes when you get through the rest of the course! Smile

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