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Jonathan Nelson's Complete Thai Massage Notes
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Jonathan Nelson
Illinois, USA
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January 9, 2018 - 12:40 pm
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Module 1

I'm absolutely thrilled to be embarking on this learning journey!

I'm really glad that you place a strong emphasis on practicing kneeling positions before getting started on techniques. I know first hand from a Thai Massage class I took a few months ago that these positions can definitely put some strain on your knees and ankles if you are not used to them. 

As a musician, I greatly appreciate the comparison of music and massage. I've noticed that when playing music or giving a massage, if I'm simply focusing on executing a certain technique properly and not totally in the flow, there's something lacking. Transitions aren't as smooth and the whole song or massage won't have that soul that makes it a transcendent experience.

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Shama
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January 9, 2018 - 1:03 pm
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Hi Jonathan, I am glad you joined us, and welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program.

Just to make sure that everything is organized correctly, please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list:

Certification Check List

It sounds like you already took to the artistic nature of Thai Massage, and clearly your music background makes it easy for you to relate to the concept of transitions. Smile

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Jonathan Nelson
Illinois, USA
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January 10, 2018 - 11:55 am
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Module 2

I'm glad the importance on ergonomics and body mechanics is stressed. I know from experience that improper posture and body mechanics during massage can be quite hard on your body. I've been trying to get better about noticing where and when I'm tensing up during sessions and letting go of that tension. The importance of attitude has also made itself present in my work. I find I do much better work when I am fully present and happy to be be doing what I'm doing rather than having my mind occupied with less than favorable things (big surprise).Wink

I'm relieved to know that we aren't taking a fully traditional approach as I also agree that tradition can, in many cases, impede progress and improvement. I aim to learn as many different styles and modalities of not only Thai massage, but all kinds of bodywork and healing arts so I can combine different aspects of them all to create something unique and beautiful.

I got the hang of the chi machine pretty quickly as I do use some rocking techniques in my practice. However, I definitely do need to better condition my ankles to stay in a kneeling position for longer periods. While the technique was easy enough, I found it difficult to do it for extended periods of time as my ankles became sore quickly. My wife enjoyed it and while she didn't quite feel tingling throughout her entire body, she  definitely felt it in her hands.

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Shama
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January 10, 2018 - 7:02 pm
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Improper posture and body mechanics can kill a massage career!
And a wild mind can kill our spirit! No big surprises here. Laugh

I am glad that you agree with my non-traditional approach. It is not WAY off the traditional style, but definitely different enough to improve many aspects of how Thai Massage is normally taught.

There are a couple of supplemental videos in this course which can help you with your own flexibility, like ankles, etc.

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Jonathan Nelson
Illinois, USA
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January 23, 2018 - 9:36 am
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Module 3

The first time I practiced this lesson I had a bit of an issue getting a hang of the push, twist pull technique but the second time around it went much more smoothly. Now that I'm more used to it, it's probably my favorite from this lesson. Prior to practicing, my wife was complaining about pain in her left hip and said that she felt a release there with this technique. I've been practicing some of the techniques on my clients at work and while they are adaptable to working on a table, it feels much more natural on the floor.

My wife said that everything felt good but that my work feels a little imbalanced in the sense that pressure and placement with my left hand do no feel as good as with my right. I will definitely try to even it out more.

My ankles still aren't thrilled about this but I know they'll be used to it soon. For the time being, a bolster is helping a good deal.

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Jonathan Nelson
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January 23, 2018 - 9:57 am
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Module 4

I agree with the idea of conceptual rather than mechanical learning. In the last Thai massage class I took, the main focus was on memorizing a sequence. We would learn a set of techniques, practice them once and then practice the flow over and over again. While this was a great way to memorize an entire sequence and work on transitions, it didn't really give us a whole lot of time to get a feel for the techniques themselves or for any creativity. That being said, it was only a two-day, level one training and I did learn a great deal but I like that you place more of an emphasis on really getting a feel for things and not just memorizing a string of techniques.

I enjoyed the quick review of module 3 and found it helpful that you split up the techniques into different ways of moving the foot.

I felt very comfortable with the thumb circles and dragging up the inside of the foot as I do a variation of this on my clients. Dragging up the outside of the foot didn't feel quite as natural to me but I know I'll get used to it.

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Shama
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January 23, 2018 - 2:53 pm
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This is something which I have often seen with my students - they use one hand with more pressure than the other hand. This feels very strange to the client and we need to be very aware of using the same pressure with both hands.

In almost all Thai Massage schools the sequential model is taught whereas I have found that the conceptual model works a lot better. It also lends itself to developing more creativity and intuition since you are not locked into one way of doing things.

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Jonathan Nelson
Illinois, USA
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January 31, 2018 - 12:07 pm
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Module 5

I'll definitely need to practice this one a little more. I felt a little awkward at times with body mechanics and figuring out where I like to put my feet to stabilize the leg. After a couple of times practicing, I felt a little better about it, but there's definitely room for improvement. I found that for the thumb rolling on the inner thigh, it was more comfortable for me to place my foot on the outside of the leg, above the knee, in more of a lunge position. This also allowed me to use my body weight more efficiently.

I'm a little more used to warming up the legs bilaterally, alternating between legs, rocking left to right but that doesn't really allow for the push/pull technique which I enjoy.

After watching the video, I practiced the foot techniques, flowing into the leg warmup. I'm definitely getting more comfortable with those and my wife says she can tell I feel more confident. I do need to work more on slowing down and linking breath and movement. 

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Shama
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January 31, 2018 - 2:47 pm
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Many times there is more than one way of doing a technique. If you find a modification that works well for you, by all means do it.

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Jonathan Nelson
Illinois, USA
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February 6, 2018 - 9:20 am
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Module 6

I'm very happy to be getting into the forearm techniques! I find it is very important to move slowly as you mentioned as my wife has very sensitive adductors, hamstrings and hip flexors. At first when I was sinking my weight in, it was definitely causing some discomfort but when I slowed down and moved with my breath, It was much more comfortable for her. I also like to pick the pace up a little and add a rolling motion with my arm similar to a tui na technique I learned in school (I'm sure it's not exclusively tui na but that's how my instructor described it). After receiving this work, my wife says her hips and hamstrings feel much looser.  

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Shama
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February 6, 2018 - 10:07 am
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The leaning and rolling move is a perfectly good modification which I use a lot myself. You will see me explain this later on in the course.

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