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Jo Difulvio's Complete Thai Massage Course notes
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Jo Difulvio
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April 5, 2016 - 6:12 am
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Module one:

As a Shiatsu Practitioner I have had the honor/privilege of sharing this power-full energy technique/system with so many beautiful people over the years. Shiatsu is often considered a form of massage, which is done through the clothes and incorporates simple points and holds.   Shiatsu like Thai Massage includes awareness of body posture, breathing, stretching and exercise. Like acupuncture, Shiatsu stimulates the body’s vital energy (known as Qi or Ki). Shiatsu like Thai massage is calm and relaxing in nature, yet dynamic in effect; the body begins to re-adjust itself and healing takes place. The receiver is supported to become more aware of their body/mind as an integrated whole, on either a conscious or subconscious level. They become aware of areas of tension or weakness on either a physical or emotional level and through this process healing occurs.

Shiatsu -like Thai Massage is best practiced/given on a mat on the floor. It’s a dance of energy between the giver/receiver which ultimately benefits both. Breath -movement -in rhythm. The theories similar looking/approaching the body through the energetic system (meridians, qi) and ‘using’ the body to focus on rotating and stretching limbs, joints, and pressure points, or meridians, as they’re called in traditional Chinese medicine. I am well versed on the body positioning, breath work, energy, quality of touch, ergonomics, techniques and 'anatomy of a move' as you so beautifully stated and believe Thai massage will be an excellent complement to what I have been doing to date.

I am honored/blessed to be here today studying Thai massage with Shama and this talented group of healers from around the world.

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Jo Difulvio
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April 6, 2016 - 7:32 am
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Module two

‘Chi Machine’ -this technique looks similar to what I typically do in Shavasana with yoga students. Although my body posturing varies somewhat the outcome is the same. Love this! I practiced with your body posturing and found it to be comfortable and the feedback by my partner was excellent.

I particularly liked the feedback about developing your own style in your practice (not follow tradition). When I trained in Shiatsu a fellow student was a Tai Chi Master and used this art form in his Shiatsu practice sessions. To my eyes/style/touch it was beautiful and receiving was magnificent. Sensei Sam did not encourage and emphasized more the ‘traditional’ form. I tend to ‘buck’ tradition in most areas of my life and definitely do so in my energy work.

Love the art form/dance of energies between the giver/receiver and absolutely agree that the mood/energy/attitude of the practitioner is paramount to a great session. Thank you for reinforcing this and demonstrating the difference.

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Shama
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April 6, 2016 - 11:05 am
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Hi Jo, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage course. With your yoga and Shiatsu background this course should fit you like hand in glove! Smile You won't have any of the issues which many budding Thai Massage therapists have, like working on a mat, sitting or kneeling on the floor, using your body correctly and incorporating breath and energy awareness.

Like you, I am not much of a follower of tradition. I just do what works best, even it if deviates from tradition. There are innovators and traditionalists. There is room and a purpose for both of them in the world. However without innovation there would have been no progress or development in the world, and that's why I place value on creativity and innovation in my style of Thai Massage.

Also please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list:

Certification Check List

I fixed the first issue for you by adding your last name to the topic title and your display name. With the number of threads and the number of posts in this forum it has to be really clear and easy to find people and match their certification registrations to their forum threads. Otherwise I have to play detective in my own forum to keep track of who is who! Smile

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Jo Difulvio
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April 7, 2016 - 5:45 am
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Hi Shama:

Thank you for your correction and feedback. In looking at the check list and my entries to date it appears to be in good order -but I'm thinking not as you stated you corrected the 'first' issue. I will review again in the am when I have 'clearer' thinking/seeing.

Thank you.

Smiles.

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Shama
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April 7, 2016 - 11:02 am
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When I said "I fixed the first issue" I didn't mean that there are more issues which need fixing. Just that the one issue that I detected happens to be the first one on the check list. Everything else looks fine so far! Smile

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Jo Difulvio
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April 8, 2016 - 3:07 am
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Thank you for clarifying!! and thank you for correcting the first.

Happy beautiful flexible day.

Smiles.Cool

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Jo Difulvio
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April 10, 2016 - 6:32 pm
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Module Three

Foot massage - The feet are many times the hardest worked of all body parts. They are what hold your weight up all day long, and the longer you walk or stand, the more tired they will become. By receiving a foot massage, the client can experience relaxation as well as pain relief.

The principle of foot massage with Shiatsu rests in the premise that the meridian network connects all tissues, organs and cells in our body. My experience with foot massage has been more focused on pressure points specific to organs/pathways in the body. The feet are typically worked on mid way through the session and occasionally at the end.

I LOVE that you begin with the feet in Thai Massage. I also love the amount of stretching/bending/squeezing/rotating that takes place. What a beautiful way to begin the session -honoring the feet with this creative -soothing flow.

I can see where practice is instrumental in the foot massage session. I was soothed and delighted when I practiced this with my partner and the feedback was outstanding. Thank you!

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Shama
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April 10, 2016 - 8:44 pm
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Typically Thai Massage sessions start with the feet in the vast majority of cases. However there are a few schools where they start from the head or even in the sitting position. I prefer starting with the feet.

There are two kinds of foot massage in Thailand. One is what I am teaching in this course - it is foot massage integrated into Thai Massage without oil.

The second kind is the Thai reflexology system which is a separate modality and is done with oil. I am teaching this in a separate course, Thai Foot Massage.

The idea regarding foot massage is the same in Shiatsu and Thai Massage. However in the foot massage system which is integrated into Thai Massage there is less focus on specific pressure points compared to Thai Reflexology.

I am happy to hear that you got good feedback already. Smile

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Jo Difulvio
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April 11, 2016 - 2:12 am
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I love the feet and especially love to receive foot massage. I am excited about learning Thai massage foot techniques and integrating it in all forums. I will also look forward to taking your Thai foot massage tutorial and some day hope to meet you in Thailand for a session. Happy day.Laugh

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Jo Difulvio
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April 14, 2016 - 5:19 am
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Module Four

Foot massage continues....so I can see how massage the feet in Thai massage can become a therapeutic session all its own. I LOVE this tutorial and the many styles/techniques/adjustments that can transpire with this part of the body. When you incorporate the acupuncture points -reflexology principles and the energetic rhythm between the giver/receiver the possibilities are infinite. I am excited to practice and learn more ways in which to make the feet a blissful experience not only in massage but yoga as well - a great way to say thank you for keeping you up all day everyday.

I have been using the Chi Machine regularly in my yoga classes and have a few regular participants say their fast favorite has become this part of class. I am also using some of the foot massage before and after class time. Success! 

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Shama
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April 14, 2016 - 10:32 am
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With your enthusiasm about the foot massage techniques you would really love the Thai Foot Massage course which takes this to a whole new level. Smile

I am glad to hear that the integration into the yoga classes is working well. But then again, this is just an excellent combination. I am convinced that you will find many great ways to add Thai Massage moves to your yoga classes. Not only that, once you complete the course, you can easily give Thai Yoga Massage sessions to your students, and they will love this addition!

I am curious to hear how you find the Thai Massage training similar or dissimilar to your Shiatsu training during this course.

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Jo Difulvio
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April 15, 2016 - 3:48 am
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Hi Shama:

I do plan to take the Thai massage foot course when this one is complete. I am so eager to learn/do more with the feet. I love to have my feet worked on and with the reflexology/acupuncture points that embody the feet there is so much healing that can be stimulated. I have a new appreciation for this part of the anatomy.

As for the similarity/differences with my Shiatsu training and Thai massage -I would love to give you a summary once I'm further along. So far I am so impressed with the modules/your instruction/demonstrations and your continual reference/encouragement to not get caught up in the technique as much as the rhythm/feeling between the giver/receiver. The continual reminders that this is a full body movement/dance between the two people and staying focus on this is just as important as the technique.

Sensei Sam seemed to put more emphasis on technique and learning all the points/pathways that sometimes it felt mechanical in the practice. Grant it there was much to learn with all the meridians/points/techniques/practices/qi/five elements/yin and yang, diagnosis, anatomy etc. that could have added to the 'mechanical' feel.

Although the tutorials are excellent I don't have the luxury of working with you in person as I know that would raise the bar considerably for the training. I look forward to connecting in person and having the experience of giving/receiving with you and giving you a hug for sharing this fabulous course with all. Thank you! Will continue to give feedback for both trainings as the course progresses. Smiles. Laugh

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Shama
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April 16, 2016 - 12:54 am
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Well, I guess for the time being we have to stick with exchanging virtual hugs! Smile

I know that you can add loads of theoretical framework to Thai Massage training - anatomical, scientific, historical, medical, etc. I have purposely avoided this and focused on the practical, intuitive application of Thai Massage with emphasis on developing feeling, sensing energy and learning how to read bodies by listening with our hands.

It is a tendency of the western mindset to analyze, dissect, interpret, verify, scrutinize, intellectualize, and often complicate things. In the eastern world you find very little of that. Traditionally Thai Massage here in Thailand is not taught in a theoretical, scientific and intellectual way.

Therapists here in Thailand are much more simple in their approach compared to western therapists. It is just people helping other people. There is nothing much complicated about it. Most of the theoretical, anatomical and scientific aspects have been added and are favored by western therapists.

I have a foot in both worlds, the eastern and the western one. However I have always felt that lots of theoretical framework around Thai Massage does not necessarily produce better therapists and can even detract from the essence of it. 

Personally I like the simplicity of the Asian mindset and I prefer the heart centered and intuitive approach over the more complicated and theory-heavy approach which is often used in the western world. That's not a judgment but only a reflection of my style and my personal preferences.

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Jo Difulvio
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April 16, 2016 - 5:28 am
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Well said Shama!

I couldn't agree more about having a foot in both worlds. I'm so drawn to eastern thought especially when it comes to the body/energies. As I continue to learn about Thai massage I can see far more similarities than difference with Shiatsu.

Thai Massage like Shiatsu is actually an ancient healing modality. Thai massage like Shiatsu uses passive stretching and gentle pressure along the body’s energy lines to increase flexibility, relieve muscle and joint tension and balance the body’s energy systems. Thai massage is both deeply relaxing and energizing. What a perfect union and I am honored/blessed to be incorporating/learning Thai massage from the best.

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Jo Difulvio
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April 16, 2016 - 5:29 am
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Module five

When viewing the leg warm up module it became so clear how much more similar these ‘therapies’ are than different. The leg warm ups are similar to how the legs are worked in a Shiatsu session. The various ‘techniques’ may vary somewhat but the philosophy and emphasis on working with the breath and using the energies/weight of the body are spot on. Keeping the focus on being flexible and intuitive -relaxed and comfortable while ‘creating’ art-full expression with your client is beautiful and what I consider the essence of energy work.

I will be practicing these warm ups this weekend and looking forward to sharing what I am learning with everyone interested.

I’m in love with this course/Thai massage and so excited to be learning/sharing/exploring the many possibilities ahead.

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Shama
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April 16, 2016 - 11:21 am
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Actually the truth is that elements like working with the breath, focusing on the energy in your body and your client's body, and creating an artful expression are generally not taught in traditional Thai Massage at all.

I have added them all into my system since I have been influenced by more than Thai Massage - namely yoga, Shiatsu, energy work, and some exceptional and unconventional Thai Massage teachers. Typical traditional Thai Massage is mostly taught in a much more mechanical way. That's where I diverge with my style, and as far as I am concerned, for the better.

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Jo Difulvio
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April 17, 2016 - 6:40 am
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I did not know that. Thank you for sharing that very significant piece of information. I don't have a lot of experience with Thai massage so I am so happy I picked you as my teacher/mentor.

I have been working with the leg warm ups and it is a natural with the work I do. These techniques are perfect with Shiatsu/yoga and I am loving your course. I used the butterfly technique and the squeeze and roll in yoga today. The 'yogis' are loving this part of the class and often say they look forward to the Thai massage time. I have two Shiatsu sessions booked for next week and plan to use all that I have learned to date with both. So blessed/grateful.

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Shama
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April 17, 2016 - 4:01 pm
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That's what I would call "serendipity", when it just all fits together like hand in glove. Yoga, Thai Massage and Shiatsu are a great combination. As you know, that's my background as well.

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Jo Difulvio
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April 19, 2016 - 6:07 am
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Module six

Leg warm ups continued. These last two modules are so aligned with what I do with Shiatsu. It is so natural for me to move in and around the body and to work the meridian lines. I know you don't name the meridians as you work on the legs but these warm ups are all on the meridian channels and so beautiful to use in what I already do. The method of teaching/performing these sessions are spot on for me. I incorporated some of these warm ups in my Shiatsu session today and what a perfect union. The breathing and full use of body energy/weight is the essence of Shiatsu (as you well know) and the rocking/push pull along with squeeze and roll are methods I have adapted  in my sessions over the years. and using the forearms, feet, knees were emphasized/practiced regularly in my Shiatsu training and is part of my cellular activity. Again, a perfect union and the learning enthusiasm continues for me. Honored/blessed.

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Shama
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April 20, 2016 - 12:37 am
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I think you are the first experienced Shiatsu practitioner who has taken this course. Clearly there is quite a bit of similarity and compatibility between the two.

The meridians are called "sen lines" in Thai Massage. They have rather complicated names in the Pali language which I don't expect anyone to memorize. Smile

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