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Joleen's Thai Massage Class Journal
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Shama Kern
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March 31, 2014 - 4:13 pm
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Actually you can get dramatic results with the Abdominal massage. It has happened to me that I did a one hour Abdominal-only massage on a client who was severely constipated, and after the session she had diarrhea for two days, which was a great thing in this case since she got totally flushed out.

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April 8, 2014 - 10:48 am
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Hi Shama - 

I'm a little behind in my posting on the forum, but we have now completed watching and practicing Video 16 for shoulder work. I did pretty good performing these moves, although I would say that the positions that I have to lift the shoulder from the side are not impossible, but a little difficult for me strength wise. (I guess I'm a weakling Frown). However, I like the front facing push/pull on the shoulder and I really liked receiving it. The dislocate your shoulder technique (Greg's name for the upside down hand), is an interesting stretch that reaches some not regularly used muscles. I liked that one a lot.  

 

Video 17 - Loved everything about arms and hands!! Simply my favorite video so far. I already give my clients a quick hand massage before I do a Reiki treatment. Mine is quite simple and I like to use a little lavender oil to help calm them and make the massage easier. Now I will try some of the new techniques I have learned too. Loved them all. Especially the "clam crack" (my name for the stretching the whole hand, both front and back. I loved the arm elephant walk and massage too but Greg did not find it very comfortable - maybe I was hitting a weird part of the muscle? I need to try it some more because I loved it. 

 

Video 18 -  In this session, I can not do the technique where you drape your leg over the client for the - I'm simply too short. It was actually kind of funny to try. That's OK, I think there are plenty of spinal twists I can do much easier. I liked getting the technique done to me though and Greg did a great job at at. I love the arm pulling though! Easy to do and I love any technique that does contraction. I still could use more work on the transitions, and I will continue to work on them. 

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Shama Kern
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April 8, 2014 - 7:19 pm
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You two have a knack for coming up with unique names for various techniques! Smile

I think you are getting much better in figuring out what you can do and what you cannot do, at least on your present partner. Some moves that are hard on him might be quite easy on a smaller person, so don't give up on any techniques.

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April 10, 2014 - 10:23 am
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Hi Shama - No I won't give up, but I think the nice thing is that there are so many things I can do, I'm sure I will find plenty that is a good fit for me and my clients. 

We watched and practiced the Summary Video 19 and Video 20, prone legs. 

I did all of the summary moves pretty easy (except for the over the leg thing) and I got good feedback on all of them from my partner. Greg has a hard time withe "dislocate the shoulder move" - it really hurts his wrists, but we are going to keep working on it gently to see if we can get him a little looser after awhile. This segment of techniques had many of my favorites, the stomach, hands, especially the hands and shoulder work. 

 

For video 20 on the prone legs, I also did these pretty easily. There was one both Greg and I had trouble with though and that was the traction/contraction move. Both as the receiver and the practitioner, the knee kept going down, so the contraction was like we were jamming into the knee instead of into the entire leg up through the hips (which I think is the intention). We will have to re-watch the video yet again I think to figure it out. We messed around with some various adaptions on where we thought we were supposed to be and we just didn't think we were doing it right. 

Otherwise, I really like the other techniques. My favorite tonight was the elbow in the sole of the foot - very nice. And I always love contraction/traction techniques, but this one did not quite pan out.  

 

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Shama Kern
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April 10, 2014 - 3:56 pm
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Maybe rewatching the video will clear the traction-contraction move up. The only way that you would push the knee down is if the angle of the lower leg is too steep. There should be as little bend at the knee as possible, and that is accomplished by not not lifting the lower leg more than absolutely necessary. In other words keep your hands as low as you can while you push and pull.

For the shoulder move in question (I don't even want to mention the name you gave it lol) the trick is that you have to move the bent hand of the receiver closer to the shoulder. This will reduce the angle in the wrist, and when you push back on the arm, this will even reduce the angle further. If all of this doesn't resolve it for Greg, then maybe his range of motion in his wrist is so limited that you should skip this move on him.

However in this case it would make sense to do a lot of hand/wrist work on him, just without the big stretches, to get his wrist a bit more flexible.

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April 22, 2014 - 5:45 am
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Yes Shama - We will do - I do think Greg has some mobility problems in his wrist and we are working on it every time we practice. 

Now for our next lesson - we did Video 21 last night and practiced as well. You may have read Greg's post in that he was not a fan of any of these techniques in general. I too had some issue because again, my body type. When I put my partners leg up lap, I think because I am so short waist-ed I had no leverage to do the moves and I felt like I was at a funny angle leaning over for the very upper part of the thigh. 

The other techniques (backward figure 4) for using the knee, my partners feedback was "meeehhh...." - but some people might like it, who knows. Finally, "cheek taffy pull" - (our name), felt pretty good as practitioner and receiver - It's amazing how nice a good gluteus maximus massage feels. You wouldn't think it would feel good but those muscles need love too I guess. 

Oh one more thing - we actually did this work late last week and when we went to post in the forum, we couldn't, the webpage just wouldn't allow us to write anything in the forum post area. This could have been my computers fault, but wanted to let you know. I noticed it looks like your Worpress version has been updated since the last time we posted, so maybe it was your forum??? 

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Shama Kern
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April 22, 2014 - 11:02 pm
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You might have missed that, but I sent an email out to my entire subscriber base alerting everyone that hostgator, the company which hosts my website, had server problems which resulted in tens of thousands of websites being down for a good part of a day. That was a few days ago.

And then wordpress came out with a new version which messed up all kinds of things. That's why suddenly all those icons show up above the text when you write or edit a post. And that also resulted in the forum not working for several hours until I found somewhat of a fix. No rest for the wicked! Sometimes all this technology stuff can really get to you, especially when it is not working as it should.

I'd much rather work on creating new courses, but I can't get around dealing with the technology to make it all work.

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April 28, 2014 - 9:52 am
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Yes technology is a gift and a burden all at the same time. 

We have now finished the 2 lessons on prone back. The first tape that featured the small movements of rhythmic massage along the erector muscles was pretty easy for us to do and felt nice receiving too. Nothing to ecstatic but gently relaxing. You always make things seem so easy, and they were pretty easy techniques but I did get tired doing them - my arm muscles especially, keeping the rhythm up and trying to get all aspects of the techniques. We both felt that most of the back techniques will probably be within our techniques we do regularly.

For the next level of techniques on the back, I have done these now several times with Greg and for some reason on this session when I used the elbow technique and the knee, he tensed up and did not like it at all. (Even though the last time I did it, he said he liked it). He described the reflex to tense up as kind of like a hurtful tickling. We both liked the palm pressing though along the erectors.

Until next time! Joleen

   

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Shama Kern
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April 28, 2014 - 4:36 pm
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The elbow and knee techniques might take a while to get used to so that they actually feel good. It is very easy to apply excessive pressure with elbows and knees. I also takes a while to develop enough sensitivity in those body parts so that you can actually feel what is going on in the body underneath them.

If done right, they will not cause any tensing. I suggest you practice doing those knee and elbow techniques in a feather light way, really exaggerating the lightness, and start building up from there. While you practice them very lightly, concentrate on feeling with those body parts instead of just doing something with them.

Or, in other works, try to use them a listening instruments rather than as working tools. This will change your ability to perceive and it will change the feeling that you generate when using them. And no doubt it will take a little practice.

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May 7, 2014 - 9:51 am
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Shama - Hi! Thanks for the tips on the sensitivity on elbow and knee techniques. I will try for sure. 

In the techniques for the third prone back tape, the elbow techniques when a little better. I guess because it is a sideways technique and the angles technique with the elbows, feedback was much better. I personally like it as a receiver too. Working with the elbow technique around the should area worked well too and was easy to do and Greg seemed to like this in particular, (more than on the back). 

We both loved the elephant walking and feedback was good n the sacral technique. I was asked for extra time on the neck and shoulder/trapezius kneading. That technique went up high on our personal techniques list.

I am running very behind with my journaling and I hope next week is a much better week for us. We have a family member going through a rough time right now and we have been a little distracted. But we are still excited and anxious to get through the rest of our classes for a second time. Confused

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May 7, 2014 - 12:45 pm
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Life can get in the way of our plans as we all know. No problem. Anyway your second time of going through the course seems to be extremely productive. Smile

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May 8, 2014 - 5:58 am
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Yes, I agree. Even though at first we were anxious because we are wanting to get going, we both agree that this extra time was needed and all is well. I think we are better prepared and feel stronger about our skills. 

So, we did get a chance to squeeze in lesson 27 (prone upper back) last night and do some practice. This was a lovely piece of work and we will be using most of these techniques because they are easy to do and the feedback was good, especially the nice trapezius rubbing. The shoulder stretches were good too, much liked and always love the percussion. 

It is funny about the cobra move.............As I have mentioned, I am short and a little on the heavy side, so many of the techniques are difficult for me, but I have many that are not, so I do not worry. And, as a receiver of Thai, I find some of the stretches more than what I am comfortable with because my belly gets in the way, but for some reason, I can do the full cobra easily. My back just bends back easy this way, whereas Greg, not so much. I had a hard time physically lifting him to do it, and he was very stiff too. 

I have noticed that about men in general, like in my yoga classes too. Men just have no flexibility in their backs. Do you think it is posture? Women have a tendency to kind of walk with their butts out a little creating a curve in the back, but men's back are straight and stiff as a board. 

Ok, until next time - Joleen

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May 9, 2014 - 1:30 pm
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It is true that men are generally stiffer than women, and have often much more rigid backs. Not sure why that is, but one thing is sure, that most men can definitely benefit from good back work. Smile You don't always have to do the cobra. Many times I don't do it because some people have a hard time with it. Luckily there are plenty of other ways to work on the back. 

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May 21, 2014 - 8:59 am
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Hi Shama - Well we did our summary session (video 28) last night and it was very good. I liked almost all of the techniques both as a practitioner and a receiver.  We really did it right, with music and candles to try and simulate a "real" massage experience so we could give each other good feedback.

Greg is not a fan of the elbow and forearm work. I practiced it anyway, but as I told you before for some reason it makes him tense up. I find it pretty comfortable to do, so I will try it on a few other people to get their feedback too. I myself like it fine, it's not my FAVORITE thing to have done, but it feels nice. I think it is a good therapeutic technique, especially the elbow technique that rolls out of the groove to the erector muscles. These muscles are always in need of some stimulation and massage, right? 

I think most of the prone techniques are ones that I will be adding to my "regular" massage routine. 

But my favorites are - percussion, the Achilles rub, the forearm/elbow on bottom of the foot and just having someone gently probe up and down the spine for kinks and knots and gently rub them out. 

Ok, well off for now. I think we are going to try and watch the next video tonight. Smile

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May 22, 2014 - 12:32 am
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That sounds great that you are creating a nice atmosphere to get as close to a "real" session as possible. I think I commented on the elbow issue in Greg's post. It's good idea to try it on some other bodies to find out if it is only Greg's issue, or if others react the same way, in which case there would be something wrong with the execution of the technique. So you have to do some detective work! Smile

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May 27, 2014 - 10:29 am
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Hi Shama - Yes I agree about the elbow techniques - I will try on a couple others and work on my own application of it as well. 

As you may know - we just had a holiday here in the States and so most everyone was off of work today. We got a nice pocket of time to do a good long practice session tonight. So, even though we have been practicing a couple of the videos I'm getting ready to comment on, we have not had time to write in the forum. So, now here I go to catch  us all up. 

We were have been working on the side position videos - enjoyed most of these side leg techniques, i especially liked the sitting on the lower leg and the percussion (as always). Most of these techniques were comfortable for me to do and I had no problem giving them. Elephant walking always good too on just about any part of the body, yes? 

For video 30, with was mostly the back, I myself as the receiver REALLY enjoyed this segment. It felt very therapeutic to get the erector palm work done and this was also very easy for me to do as a practitioner too (this makes me like it double good). I really enjoyed every single technique as a receiver on this and had a pretty easy time as a practitioner too EXCEPT for the last move where you lift the leg to do that stretch pushing the shoulder while leaning back to get good leg stretch. Just not going to be able to do that one comfortably.

Video 31 - Also like pretty much all of these moves too. Especially as a receiver. Nothing I didn't like really. We worked alot on specific hand placement since you doing a lot of pulling on the shoulder. Greg sometimes had a tendency after two or three repetitions to begin to kind of squeeze into my should soft spot, which kind felt uncomfortable. We worked on find solutions to this for quite a bit and I think we worked it out. For me as a practitioner, I had a little trouble with the techniques that have the arm lifted while doing the trap pushing and should circling. I felt quite awkward doing them and don't know yet if it is a physical limitation for me or just simply that I need to work more on the techniques. Greg feels it the latter - I'm concerned it's the former but we will see. 

Again, on tonight's session, we spent quite a bit of time practicing so we created a full blown message environment. We did stop to look at our notes now and then, but overall the flow of the sessions was good and I thought Greg was quite enjoying his message tonight. Smile

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Shama Kern
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May 27, 2014 - 12:47 pm
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Some of the shoulder techniques are not that easy and do need repeated practice. This is actually rather advanced material which is not taught in regular Thai Massage schools. It has come out of my own experience working with shoulder issues. I am pretty sure that with sufficient practice you will get quite comfortable with those moves.

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Joleen
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June 2, 2014 - 9:08 am
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Hi Shama - Another great  video session with quite a few techniques that I really enjoyed. This is video 32. For this practice session, I started off being the receiver and I really enjoyed all the techniques. I really enjoyed the technique where the arm is pulled back slightly while that section right under your arm (kind of along your outer rib is pushed firmly. I don't think people get much attention to that area of the body since it is on the side, and I thought it felt really nice. Later you showed a modified butterfly technique up and down the side that I really enjoyed to. I was afraid that move with the butterfly hand position might fringe on touching inappropriately (from man practitioner to women) but it really wasn't. While watching the video though I told Greg, uh oh, we might not be able to do that one - but like I said - it turned out just fine. 

I really liked all of these and even though Greg seems to be having a contest with me to see who's scapula extends out further, I still liked the exercises working with the scapula. I also always like anything that has to do with traction. I liked also that one where you do a gentle stretch along the trapezius in between the neck and shoulder - to me that feels like kind of like a mini contraction for the shoulder area.  

As the practitioner I also got some good feedback but on the exercise with the arm extended behind the recipient where is is laid on the practitioners kneeling leg, I think I was too far back for Greg and he said it was too much. I ended up just quitting, but more practice later showed that moving up further towards the head worked better. 

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Shama Kern
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June 2, 2014 - 10:00 pm
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Sounds like you are on a roll. Actually it sounds like you are going to be a proficient Thai Massage therapist! Smile

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Joleen
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June 3, 2014 - 9:11 am
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Thank you Shama - I do appreciate that. Well we have now watched (again) the last two working videos of the session and performed our practice sessions. These comments will be regarding Video 33 and 34 the sitting position techniques. I did also (like Greg) enjoy these techniques as both a practitioner and a receiver. As a practitioner, these techniques where easier for me to do most generally. It puts the client at a good height for me. So, one of the techniques I struggled with a bit was the one where you lean back for a nice back traction. I really wanted to be able to do this one well because it looks like it would really feel good. I can lean back and do the stretch but I struggle then to lean back up when Greg's weight is on me. I did it, but I really had to use me strength in my abdomen and upper thighs. 

Another one I really wanted to be able to do well that I had a slight physical restriction on way the other back stretch, where you have to balance to put your knees behind clients back. Wellllllll, I can't quite get my legs to go tightly together when I am in a squatting position. Not being able to do that put the pressure on the back a little further out than I think is good, so I might not do that one Frown

Otherwise, the other went great! My favorite was the stretch where you stand behind the client, with their arms behind their back and twist using your knee to help. Super easy to do and very effective stretch (in my opinion). I also loved the neck and trap work with the head laying either on the extended leg or on their own draped arm. That felt very very nice and for me as a practitioner, also very easy to do.

I think we are getting ready to watch video 35 here in a minute. So talk to you after that!  

Thanks - Joleen

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