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Jo Difulvio's Complete Thai Massage Course notes
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Jo Difulvio
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May 10, 2016 - 6:42 pm
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There is a profound electrical nature within our bodies in which senses, feelings, emotions, and instinctive responses are electrically transmitted instantly along the nerves to the brain.

These electrical messages are constantly sent throughout the body, keeping us not only informed of personal and environmental conditions, but they are also the electrical systems that are vital to our physical health.

When the energy stops flowing, we die.

“By comprehending that human beings are energy, one can begin to comprehend new ways of viewing health and illness.” Richard Gerber, M.D.

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Jo Difulvio
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May 21, 2016 - 4:45 pm
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module fourteen:

“Rocking can tap into the parasympathetic nervous system,” physiotherapist Brad Beer says. 

“This is the sedative side of the nervous system and therefore good for pain management. Think about an upset child or someone who suffers from autism – they have a natural inclination to rock themselves, which releases endorphins to relieve the stress.”

Love this module. I am a ‘rocker’ and love to introduce this to people who experience great stress. I already use this technique in my sessions and love your version/explanation. What a beautiful/artistic expression for both the giver/receiver.

I also love the emphasis/demonstration on transitioning in a session. This was a big part of my training years ago and love that you make it significant in your trainings. I refer to the demonstration as ‘ninja asana’ as I teach/use this in yoga. I love this module and will definitely use the ‘rocking’ artistry often. Always get great feedback from clients/yogis with this.

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Shama Kern
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May 21, 2016 - 11:53 pm
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Since you mentioned autism, there is one student here in the forum who uses the course material to work on her autistic son. He loves the Thai Massage and responds very well to the daily practice sessions of his mom. Actually he really looks forward to them.

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Jo Difulvio
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May 23, 2016 - 6:24 am
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Module Fifteen:

Hara, Hara, Hara! Release blocked emotions / trauma / tension/ detoxify vital organs.

I have been well trained/versed in the Hara massage. I’m so pleased that you are emphasizing Hara in this Thai massage course. In all my experiences with Thai massage I have never encountered a session where this was used or even discussed.

In my Shiatsu training we were taught/practiced gentle/careful pressure with the power of breath to release emotional and physical stagnation. We always began with the hand held gently on the Hara with deep breathing and concentration so we could ‘listen’ to the ‘energetic body’. We were reminded often that pressure is made by forwarding the shiatsu therapist’s body weight towards the receiver body without using muscular pressure and power. The moves towards the receiver must be slow, as well as the pressure of the shiatsu meridian points of the body.

I like your demonstration/techniques as they encompass more area than traditional Shiatsu. I practiced the elephant walking on the shoulders and the circles below the collar bone with great feedback. I love the elephant walking on all levels and especially works well with the rib cage and shoulders. Thank you. You just expanded my already comprehensive Hara massage for all my sessions.

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Shama Kern
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May 23, 2016 - 2:58 pm
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Focus on the hara is not part of traditional Thai Massage. That's something which I have built into my system based on my background of Qigong, Shiatsu and Chi Nei Tsang. I never felt that I should be constrained by any tradition. If I feel that if something goes well with Thai Massage or enhances it, then I use it - and the hara focus is one of those things.

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Jo Difulvio
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May 24, 2016 - 7:04 am
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That is what I love about you and this fabulous training you have so graciously shared with all.

Much gratitude and appreciation.

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Jo Difulvio
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May 27, 2016 - 5:56 am
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Module sixteen:

Shoulder tension is a general indicator of a person’s overall body tension, blockages, and stagnation. Many of the Meridians that run through the arms, back, and neck cross in the shoulder region. When we are under stress or in danger, we automatically hunch our shoulders. This is a survival reflex, which serves to protect the exposed neck and the head. Unfortunately, these days this instinctual mechanism contributes to chronic shoulder tension. This is why shoulder and neck tensions are the first symptoms that appear when the body is under stress.

Love this section!! Shoulders are all-ways an issue in both my yoga classes and private energy sessions. These stretches are so beautiful/effective and they still incorporate gentle rocking. As I practiced these stretches it felt graceful/effortless and my partner felt like he was being rocked into a state of bliss!! When life gets busy many shoulders get tense -with these stretches I can help people in all areas of my life -release/let go and feel 'blissful' in the process. Much gratitude. Smile

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Shama Kern
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May 27, 2016 - 11:49 pm
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"As I practiced these stretches it felt graceful/effortless and my partner felt like he was being rocked into a state of bliss!!" Clearly you are doing something right with this kind of feedback by your partner! Smile

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Jo Difulvio
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May 28, 2016 - 6:19 am
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With your guidance/direction/teaching/insight/love it's 'easy' to 'fly'. I realize I already have a good foundation from my Shiatsu training -but my practice/sessions have been greatly enhanced by this course. I bow in gratitude.

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Jo Difulvio
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May 30, 2016 - 1:49 am
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Module seventeen:

The arm/hand section is very similar to Shiatsu which doesn't surprise me now that I'm getting to know you. You always add so much more with your grace/artful style. I love the finger work and the wrist shaking. I am getting more familiar with the 'sen' lines in Thai massage and so much of what you do correlates with my training in Shiatsu.

I also love that you continually make reference to using the whole body and the mindfulness with this. This makes a big difference for both the giver and receiver and if you're not paying attention one can easily muscle in -especially when the receiver is significantly bigger than you. I will definitely incorporate the arm/hand techniques into my everyday work. Thank you.

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Jo Difulvio
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June 2, 2016 - 7:21 am
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Module eighteen:

'Ninja warrior' -love the transitions and it definitely helps if you're a yogi. You make them look so graceful and dance like. I managed to use the transition with the single/double arm stretches and just love the flow of this. The feedback for these stretches was positive/favorable. I will need to work on a smooth transition but the technique is divine.

Now the upper spine twist all versions were challenging. I will have to experiment with someone smaller and see if it makes a difference. This is definitely where you need to focus on hara and full body energy because it could be easy to get caught up in using muscle (at least it seemed so for me). The figure eight shoulder stretch was also challenging -lot's of practice here.

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Shama Kern
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June 3, 2016 - 1:35 am
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You say you want to look for someone smaller - are you practicing on someone who is significantly larger or heavier than you are?

Working with muscle power is "against my religion"! Laugh Of course you do need some muscle power, but the idea is to minimize it as much as possible. And it is possible to eliminate a lot more muscle work than most therapists would think is possible! It's all a matter of using your body correctly. Now that being said, there are some techniques that are just too hard to do on large people, and those you can and should simply skip on such people in order to preserve your own health. Never stress over a move.

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Jo Difulvio
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June 3, 2016 - 3:35 am
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Yes my practice partner is more than double my size in weight and a foot taller. I believe that with enough practice I could master. It is a beautiful stretch and would like to use -I will not stress over it, though!!

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Shama Kern
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June 4, 2016 - 2:54 am
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That's always a challenging situation when you work on someone with such a size and weight difference. I hope you get to practice on smaller persons as well, otherwise you will get a one-sided picture of some of the techniques.

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Jo Difulvio
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June 6, 2016 - 4:59 am
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Module nineteen:

I praise the dance,

for it frees people from the heaviness of matter

and binds the isolated to community.

I praise the dance, which demands everything:

health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul.

Dance is a transformation of space, of time, of people,

who are in constant danger of becoming all brain,

will, or feeling.

Dancing demands a whole person,

one who is firmly anchored in the center of his life,

who is not obsessed by lust for people and things

and the demon of isolation in his own ego.

Dancing demands a freed person,

one who vibrates with the equipoise of all his powers.

I praise the dance.

O man, learn to dance,

or else the angels in heaven will not know

what to do with you.

- Saint Augustine

Shama you are the maestro/dancer of the body! When I watch you give a Thai massage 'performance' it reminds me of this beautiful poem. You 'free' people of their heaviness with a clear spirit and buoyant soul. 'Dancing demands the whole person' which is what you bring/teach in each magnificent module. I love watching this module and I can only strive to be as graceful and effortless as you in your performances. I will be working this module many times as it's content is packed full of great stretches. Laugh

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Shama Kern
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June 7, 2016 - 3:14 am
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Watching modules repeatedly is the key to success!

Looks like we both like the dance. Smile

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Jo Difulvio
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June 9, 2016 - 7:26 am
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Module twenty:

Working the legs simultaneously is a different approach for me. I like it! I also like to use the elbows, feet, forearms, etc. It definitely takes practice and confidence. I used to shy away from using these body parts but no more. The traction and contraction of the ankle was well received with great feedback. I will use this one on a regular basis as it feels good to do as well.  Again rocking is a constant and so loved by all who experience -I use it in my yoga classes with great results. 

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Shama Kern
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June 9, 2016 - 10:46 pm
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Yes, rocking is such a great addition to Thai Massage. It's the one element that completely eliminates the potential issue of overstretching or going too far with stretches.

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Jo Difulvio
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June 13, 2016 - 2:21 am
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Module twenty one:

"Rock me gently, rock me slowly"

What a fun experience! The prone position techniques are similar to what I already use for Shiatsu. Of course the theories are the same about using your whole body/breath and being relaxed what is so nice is the way in which you move about and transition. I will continue to practice to ensure my 'performance'/techniques/transitions are as effortless and artful as yours. All the feedback from my partner and yoga students have been positive which inspires me to learn/practice/evolve more as a practitioner. Feeling inspired -thank you.

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Shama Kern
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June 13, 2016 - 11:23 pm
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I have the distinct impression that you will end up creating a hybrid style between Thai Massage and Shiatsu. Smile

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