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Jordan Kunz Complete Thai Massage Course notes
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Jordan Kunz
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July 7, 2017 - 10:08 pm
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Hello All! I am welcoming myself to begin this course. It has been quite a journey and I am so in love with the path that has brought me here. Currently, I am living in VT with my husband Colin, whom will be my primary practice partner! So far, I have apprenticed 300HR with a massage teacher to learn the basics of Swedish massage, as well as many other Eastern modalities or techniques. In college I went through a Nutrition program, covering Anatomy, Biology, Chemistry, and more! In addition, I am a certified yoga instructor and have also been certified in Ayurvedic massage. I am hoping this course rounds out my practice even more, and allows me to apply massage in an even larger environment! I welcome any comments or support, and am totally open to networking possibilities! Be well…I am off to watch my first module!

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July 7, 2017 - 10:54 pm
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Hi Jordan, after you welcomed yourself, I will follow suit and welcome you as well!  Now you have two welcomes! Smile

You have a great background which will make it much easier to follow this course. This program will definitely round out your practice more and open up a whole new level of bodywork.

Question: Are you just sharing in here or are you planning to go for a certificate? You mentioned in an email that you wanted a certificate. If so, please send in the certification registration form.

By the way, many years ago I had a friend in VT who invited me to teach in his yoga studio. I have spent quite some time in VT practicing and teaching Thai Massage. But that was over a decade ago.

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Jordan Kunz
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July 7, 2017 - 11:22 pm
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Module 1

WOW! I am screaming with excitement after watching the first video module. Being that it was an overview, there is a lot to touch on! Firstly, the apprenticeship I just finished was with the teacher and leader of the Green Mountain Institute of Integrative Therapy. Michael has been practicing massage for over 40 years! He has an excellent understanding of what a good therapeutic practice entails. The parallel here, is that though he is well versed in the science behind massage, he believes also that someone can give an outstanding massage without too much knowledge of anatomy. His course and teaching is greatly wrapped around our own understanding of feeling and touch between the therapist and client. In our study together we did endless practicing of simple breathing or touch exercises. This has allowed me to become extremely comfortable with my presence with the client, and the energy we share together. This is of course impossible to have without proper breath awareness!

Breath is something I am already very conscious of, and so I am always open to more guidance and practice with that work. In yoga, poses are more easily and deeply achieved with a steady and mature breath. Same as with massage partners or even yoga partners! For instance, when I do AcroYoga with a partner, which includes lifting and balancing with two people, the practice is more achievable when we are in sync with our breath! We would be out of balance and falling over, if we are not aware and in sync with our breathing. 

In addition, the body mechanics of the therapist is just as important, if not more, than the positioning of the client. I am excited now to take my posture and bring it down to the floor with Thai massage. After having many injuries as a child, and now being a massage therapist, I realize a lot of injury is from improper posture! My old teacher repeats, that a massage should be just as beneficial for the therapist as it is the client, if it is done properly!

Can not wait to continue!

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July 7, 2017 - 11:50 pm
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Just received your certification registration form. Smile

Please take a moment and read our certification check list to make sure that we are on the same wave length and that it is all properly organized:

Certification Check List

A few areas need attention. Your forum display name and your name in the topic title need to match the name in your registration form. Otherwise trying to find someone in a huge forum like this one will turn into some serious detective work. Smile I will correct this for you.

As per step 4 of the Check List, the module number has to be at the top of each post, again to avoid requiring detective work on my part to find out which module the post is about. I added it to your last post. Just keep it going that way.

After this “house cleaning” stuff, lets get to the juicy part. It seems that there is some excellent compatibility between your previous training and this course. Apparently Michael and I see eye to eye on some important subjects. I call this a good start for this course for you! Smile

Can’t wait to hear more from you about this course and how it relates to your previous training.

By the way, breath attention is not taught in traditional Thai Massage here in Thailand. I added that into my style because of my personal yoga background and because it is an excellent fit and enhances Thai Massage and its energetic components.

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Jordan Kunz
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July 9, 2017 - 6:31 pm
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Mod 2

Today is the second day I have watched this video, as I just got my first practice! I practiced the Chi Machine on a friend, Sarah, who is also a massage therapist. She had a great response to the technique : A rushing flow of energy to her extremities and a warming of her core.

When I was in massage school, we did a warm up every morning and finished with a version of the Chi Machine. We would stand hip width apart, knees slightly bent, and bounce up & down at a given pace; the same feeling is achieved. It was a bit tricky to get the move on Sarah down at first. It felt awkward and that I was moving her body too much! Once you get a rhythm down (with a proper breath!!) it was easy to translate the movement to the client. 

Cant wait for more practice! My husband comes home today, so I am interested in trying this on a larger body. Sarah is 5’3, and my husband is 6’2, so there is a lot more body to get moving, just from the size of his legs to his hips! Hopefully it translates well! 

Is there any advice for lifting larger/heavier legs?

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July 9, 2017 - 9:57 pm
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The good thing is that even though legs are heavy, you only have to lift them from the floor up to your thighs which only takes a second. It is not a sustained longer move. And second, you lift the legs not with raw muscle power, but by leaning back slightly and engaging your body weight. So you lean back while pulling the legs a little, and lift them quickly in this way which takes less effort.

That being said, there are definitely situations in Thai Massage where the size and weight difference between therapist and client is so big, that you should skip certain techniques in order not to stress your own body. The principle of this training is that all the techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences.

There are many more techniques in this course than you could ever do in one session. So once you are familiar with all of them, you can pick and choose how you want to tailor your sessions. Aside from that, for many techniques I will show various ways of doing them to accommodate those size and weight differences. You will see that once you get more into the stretching elements in the course.

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July 15, 2017 - 10:14 pm
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Mod 3

So I am posting now, as I have watched video 3 times; during the second two I practiced in tandem.

It is easier now that I have heard and felt it a few times. My husband gives good feedback, and is waiting for more! The hardest move for me, was of course the second, when we are doing counter clockwise circles while also adjusting the position of our hand on the foot. Now that i am more comfortable with my placement on the foor, the moving piece is coming together. Also, I caught myself trying to twist the foot in & out with the same hand. Once I made the connection (and listened!) to change hands, the range available to the foot to continue twisting increased nicely. 

I just received Mod 4, which I will watch later, and most likely comment on tomorrow. One question I have approaching it is : Are there more foot moves?! I feel like there is a lot of body positioning changes from one move to the next. Maybe there would be some that would keep you, for instance, between the legs for a moment longer. Or maybe this movement is part of this wonderful massage I am learning, and simply different from any other I had done before!

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July 15, 2017 - 11:58 pm
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I think module 4 will bring it all together for you. There you will learn a more conceptual approach to tie it all together. So I will hold off on answering your question until after you watch module 4, since there is a good chance that this will answer it for you.

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Jordan Kunz
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July 18, 2017 - 12:16 am
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Mod 4

OK! Well I am excited to get more “moves” or technique, but at the same time, happy to practice what we already know. I think it was good that the beginning of Mod 4 was a recap. 

A good reminder is about the ‘whole body’ that is doing the massage. We are not just using the thumbs, but the whole body. I tend to have good posture, but sometimes find myself not using my whole weight to apply to the person.

Next, the counts of the movement with the foot–such a great way to think about the sequence so far! 

One thing I noticed with my husband, is his lack of movement when moving the foot up. When pressing on the ball of the foot with the palm of my hand, his foot does not move very much. I am hoping with more massage and other range of movement, that will improve for him. 

I do notice, that with practice, I may be able to create more of a physical flow between client and therapist. Also, I also have to get used to the getting up and down myself!!

More practice ahead with these new pieces! I am meeting with another therapist to trade some work, so I hope she can give me more feedback. 

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July 18, 2017 - 12:41 am
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There are several places in this course where you will learn other methods, and more powerful ones, to do this stretch which was hard to do on your husband. There are about 5 different ways of accomplishing this. It is quite common that men, especially large men, don’t have much flexibility in their ankle for this stretch, which is primarily caused by tight calf muscles.

The better flow will come automatically once you get to a point where you don’t have to think so much about the techniques anymore. But…that will take some time. Smile

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July 20, 2017 - 10:13 pm
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Module 5

Wow! The leg is great so far. I have practiced a few times, on two different people of different sizes. My most usual, my husband, has a much tighter set of hit flexors. He however was not uncomfortable when his leg was in a 90 degree angle, working on the inner thigh and calf. It allowed me to play with pillows and think of some items that may work a little better. A yoga bolster may be great for under his knee for more sessions.

There were some great introductions to the different holds we can have with the client, like when locking their leg straight when working on the front of thigh. That took me a few watches to understand, but was incredibly comfortable and controlled once I put both feet on the outside of the leg. This is a large association to my interest in Thai massage : truly using your body, its weight, and mechanics to counter the weight of the client in aiding them to move their body. 

One thing I am noticing to be more mindful of is that, just like when working on a massage table, to bring the legs back to neutral position, have a hold of the knees to lower them back to the mat. With these extra movements of the body, there is even more care to be had in each move!

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July 20, 2017 - 10:37 pm
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“truly using your body, its weight, and mechanics to counter the weight of the client in aiding them to move their body” – you are definitely in the right place! It will even go deeper than that, as you will see later in the course.

Good to hear that it felt comfortable and controlled. Clearly you had your ergonomics right!

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July 25, 2017 - 7:53 pm
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Mod 6

This was a very good follow up for me from the last module. One of the larger reasons to follow and have interest in using Thai massage in my routine, is to get away from using my hands (fingers, wrist, etc). My favorite hobby in my free time is rock climbing, which is taxing sometimes when combined with a massage therapy career. I have to be careful to have a good balance in my use of muscles versus the time I spend stretching them. Which one way is receiving massage frequently, but mostly just practicing different massage techniques with my forearms, elbows, or even knees. 

I am loving the inner leg technique! Overall, I have been limited at my approach in this area with a Swedish massage mindset. Now not only with the manipulation and movement of the leg, but also by being on the inside of the legs to truly see and directly press on the most inner thigh muscles. My husband is already complimenting the increased rotation and flexibility of his hips from this massage. 

The IT band work is taking some repetition. It took some adjusting to have my body close enough, and the leg far enough in the fold of my body in order to press the leg there. 

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July 25, 2017 - 8:20 pm
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I think there is no better massage style for using non-hand body parts than Thai Massage. Since this is your objective, you might look into adding our Hands Free Massage course to your repertoire after you are done with the Complete Thai Massage course. That should be perfect for you!

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July 28, 2017 - 7:00 pm
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Mod 7

This is my third time watching the video, and I am finally responding! First, I am so excited to be to some stretching technique now that we have warmed up the leg. But not only that, but alignment with Thai! Something that I have had extreme interest in, is the correctional results of body alignment with massage. It is a skill I am still learning, and strive to have as a specialty of mine in my practice. A teacher of mine in massage, could watch a person walk across the room, and know where to first put his hands for correction work. 

So now I am noticing, that by doing our foot warm up first, once we warm up the legs, we can go right to correcting their hip flexion! We are already setting ourselves up to be scanning and making notes on the individual client in the beginning of the session. This will help with a lot of usual pain in back and neck areas; super exciting stuff!

I did also have my first impromptu session! I was at the rock climbing gym yesterday, which is full of body conscious people! A friend of mine was saying they missed their appointment with their therapist and needed some help. I tried the bit of leg that I knew and said he would have to come back for more when I was further in the program! He had never gotten Thai massage and said he was very relaxed and it felt great on his body!

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July 29, 2017 - 12:56 am
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This sounds all very encouraging and enthusiastic! Also I notice that you already see some of the “bigger picture”, not just the mechanical aspects of the techniques. Smile

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Jordan Kunz
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July 29, 2017 - 9:51 pm
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Mod 8

Well theres so much great stuff in this video. Again, to have the direction or thought of how each joint moves, then you have the major pieces of what to do. Its a great guideline. With the hip, because it can almost circumduct, it is almost limitless of what we can do already! 

However it is not even the stretch that is my favorite new technique; its the knee rubs! When the knee is in the 90 degree angle and are rubbing the sides of the knee, it is a fantastic release for all the attachments there. 

Truly enjoying this additive of skills, and the many applications available when doing this kind of massage!

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July 30, 2017 - 10:53 pm
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You wouldn’t believe all that can be done with the knees. I have an entire separate course about that!

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August 7, 2017 - 6:58 pm
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Mod 9

Well I had a little vacation, but now am back! Good news is, in the mean time I was practicing! For part of my time away, I was in the woods rock climbing with my brother. While being physically active, there is always feeling of needing a good stretch! Since we had the climbing pads, we were able to do some Thai in the woods! My brother received very well. His limbs are nice to work with, long and muscular, but not too heavy! He has a lot to work on with his hip flexion. When trying to do some of the leg stretching, I needed to give him a bolster so that his leg would stretch uncomfortably. Since I am around climbers so much, the hip stretch is always loved because the more flexible you can be on the wall, the better climber you can become! That being said, I am excited for arms and shoulders!

I have noticed in the last week that the warm up is locked in my brain! It has become very comfortable for me to go through the beginning work of the massage. Next I am working on tying in some of my favorite leg stretches so far. 

One thing I am nodding my head to in this video, is the section in which you talk about clients having trouble giving up the weight of their limb. I imagine, you will find more of that in Thai because you are trying to pick up and move more areas of the body. I have used the “bouncing” technique, but avoid telling the client to “relax” as of course they are trying to! I have heard from past instructors to better tell them to “breathe into this area that I am working with;” and with each breath the limb gets slightly lower. 

Now! With this stretch-and-breath leg stretch, what a great combo! Cant wait to bring this one into practice!

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August 7, 2017 - 11:32 pm
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Thai in the woods sounds good. That’s an advantage of Thai Massage. You can’t just do Swedish massage in the woods as easily. Smile

I sometimes tell clients to breathe into a locked up spot too. However I do tell them to relax also, because many times they are just not aware if they are tightening muscles somewhere. They might think that they are relaxed, but often they are not, and they can’t tell. So in some cases I point that out to them. 

Of course I only do this if I am working on a particular issue in a therapeutic fashion, and I clearly observe a holding pattern that needs releasing. Otherwise in a general massage I don’t tell people to relax all the time. That would be quite annoying for them. Laugh

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