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Ka'el Bey's Thai Back Massage progress notes
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Ka’el Bey
Wichita, Kansas
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September 29, 2019 - 2:29 am
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Module 1

The three major issues with spinal alignment are lordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis. I first learned about these from a yoga book. It prescribed asanas for each type of problem. I learned that I have a slight case of lordosis from this information and have been practicing the corrective asanas. I am reminded by your video that I should do a better job of practicing so that I can have better posture.

Since watching this video, I've made sure to check my clients alignment. I used this observation to know which kind of stretches to do base on my knowledge of yoga. The trickiest applications ore when the spine is twisted. Most of the time I can check the hip level and after some stretching, they will be more balance. When there is a combination of scoliosis and spinal twisting, I have a harder time knowing what to do and generally ask my client what feels best.

I am looking forward to learning the proper techniques in this course. This way I can be more effective and help my clients have long term results.Smile

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Shama Kern
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September 29, 2019 - 9:50 pm
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Welcome back to another course! 

Being aware of your client's alignment is an important step, because without knowing what's wrong, you can't help with improving it. Just like in yoga, there are many techniques in Thai Massage to counteract these spinal distortions, as you will see soon.

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Ka’el Bey
Wichita, Kansas
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September 29, 2019 - 11:13 pm
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Module 2

It is great to be here Shama. I am really grateful for your courses and support. What stood out for me in this module was the fact that 35 muscles attach to the sacrum. I was unaware how pivotal this structure is to the entire body. I have only recently began massaging this area for my clients because it was left out in my previous training.

In your complete massage course, I learned a few techniques to loosen up this structure. I found that massaging the grooves along the spiny part of the sacrum helps my clients relax. Circling the SI joint is now a fundamental part of any back massage that I do. Many times I can feel a night and day difference after spending some time massaging this area. I know my clients really appreciate it. What I look forward to learning is the right balance. Sometimes I feel like I am moving too quickly when I do massage to this area, but my clients are so relaxed that they sort of bounce around to the rhythm. I will use a more gentle touch and breathe while I work to master these techniques. 

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Ka’el Bey
Wichita, Kansas
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September 30, 2019 - 9:07 pm
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Module 3

I’ve been doing a better job to check my clients spinal alignment. Everyone has a different sacrum, and posture. I am really looking forward to learning how I can help people achieve balance and relive any pain they might have. I had an interesting scenario happen the first two time I tried this. My first client’s spine veered to the left and her muscles were tighter on that side. I was able to stretch and twist the back from a seated posture to relieve that side only. My Second client’s spine veered to the left as well, but her muscles were tighter on the right side. I decided to stretch her both ways and she said it felt better to stretch the right side. Seeing these results is encouraging but I know this is a skill that I need more expertise in when it comes to fixing the hip level. 

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Shama Kern
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October 1, 2019 - 12:38 am
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It seems to me that you are doing a pretty good job already in finding your client's issues and addressing them appropriately. No doubt over time and with repeated practice you will hone these skills much more. Doesn't it feel good if you figure out what the problem is and you know just what to do about it?

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Ka’el Bey
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October 1, 2019 - 4:58 pm
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It feels really good Shama.

Module 4

I am grateful for the review of the 5 back warm ups. I practiced these several times and improved each time. I found that it is easier for me to circle in one direction going down the back, and to circle in the opposite direction going up. During my last session, I finally got the offset rhythm down. My practice partners were so relaxed from these moves. They are exactly what I needed to give a better back massage.

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Shama Kern
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October 2, 2019 - 12:07 am
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I am happy to hear that! Smile

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Ka’el Bey
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October 2, 2019 - 5:59 pm
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Module 5

This was mostly another review from the complete thai massage series, but I picked up a few more details. I was glad to practice the sacrum massages once again. I see how they will be a pivotal technique when anyone comes in with back pain. One thing I picked up were the use of knuckles. The other thing was that there are two speeds for circling in the opening move. I was always playing with the speed that I did this and getting different results. Now I see that I can start slower to warm up, and proceed by adding in a rock. I am looking forward to practicing these again tomorrow and for many years to come. 

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Shama Kern
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October 2, 2019 - 11:34 pm
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I am always glad to hear that someone takes to the sacrum work. It feels so good, and people really like it. In spite of that, some course students feel uncomfortable about touching the sacrum. I could never figure out what that is...

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Ka’el Bey
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October 6, 2019 - 7:53 am
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Module 6

I see where you are coming from. While I am more of an intuitive masseur, I look at this sacrum work from an completely anatomical point of view. I see how pivotal getting into this SI joint is. The fact that it provides a pleasant sensation is just a bonus. The intention makes a huge difference in the way it feels. When you are confident that it is going to help your client, it doesn’t really matter if your working on the sacral (sacred) chakra. As soon as someone starts doubting their ability or has some sort of misguided intention, I can only assume it would feel really weird for them and the client.

As for me, I am glad you showed us some more sacrum work. I practiced each of the new moves and learned how to switch sides while still rocking my partner. My favorite moves were rolling over the glutes with my forearm. I asked for feedback when it came to palming and thumbing the SI joint. My questions were mainly asking if I was in the right spot. My partner assured me that the new techniques felt very good. Once I felt like I was in the right groove, I was able to transition between “pressing” and rocking with no problem. It will probably take me a few partners to get familiar with when to use the different techniques.

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Shama Kern
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October 8, 2019 - 1:20 am
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I totally agree with your analysis of this issue. I have never noticed that any of my clients felt 'weird' about having their sacrum touched. Just the opposite, many mentioned that it felt great, and that they appreciated it because no other therapists ever touch it. 

And yes, anatomically and practically, this is an important area to work on. It is nowhere near the genitals, so I never understood why so many therapists consider this a 'sensitive' area. Personally, I sure like having my sacrum and glutes worked on when I get a session.

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Ka’el Bey
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October 9, 2019 - 8:52 am
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Module 7

I could definitely use a good sacrum massage. I’m supposed to be trading a Thai massage for a Swedish massage soon. In the mean time, I’m testing out a liniment for my lower back. I may start using it for certain clients. Eventually I will start making my own salves and liniments for sports injuries and massage. Do you ever use medicinal herbs or oil in your massage practice?

I just practiced the sacrum rocking technique. I had no problem transitioning from one side to the other, though I couldn’t get the palming quite perfect. I used the forearm techniques you showed and my partner encouraged me to keep rolling down her hamstring. I did a complete back massage session and we released two major areas of tension. She expressed how much better she felt afterward. My practiced has truly evolved since taking your courses, thanks Shama.

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Shama Kern
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October 9, 2019 - 3:21 pm
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I am glad to hear about your positive feedback!

I almost never use oil during my sessions. The exceptions are extended neck work and foot therapy. If you rub the neck for a while it will cause skin burn, so you definitely need oil or lotion. The same goes for foot reflexology work. I have never used oil for Thai Massage back work since that would not be Thai Massage anymore, although it is certainly possible to use some of the techniques during an oil massage session.

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Ka’el Bey
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October 11, 2019 - 5:39 am
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Module 8

While I was dropping off my linens at my massage room, I got pulled into a couple impromptu massage sessions. One of the ladies happened to be quite large so I got to use my knees and feet to open up her energy lines. At first we were only supposed to work on one of her shoulders, but during the session she mentioned that she had sciatic nerve issues. Once I loosed up the shoulder from the side position, I worked along her hip and then we moved to the prone position. She has had a couple complicated pregnancies that made her sacrum and lower back have all kinds of issues. I got the energy flowing properly and loosened up the knots using the techniques you have taught me. Unfortunately, I can predict that her relief will be short lived unless she changes her lifestyle . . . But as far as unexpected massages go, I am happy to have made a good impression using my knees and feet on a larger person.

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Shama Kern
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October 11, 2019 - 10:25 pm
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Well, that's a chronic issue that we have in massage therapy - and in all healing work in general. If people don't make the lifestyle changes to address the causes of their issues, those issues will always come back. And let's face it - most people are not willing to change much. That's something we have to live with in our profession.

It's still a good idea to point out those causes to them, in my opinion, if we can recognize them. But we have to be detached if they choose not to do anything about it - which is most of the time. That's just human nature.

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Ka’el Bey
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October 14, 2019 - 6:38 am
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Module 9

I just finished practicing these new rocking techniques. With one hand rocking the sacrum, I palmed the back with my other hand. I worked both sides. I felt more confident working on the far side because I could use extra body weight. The near side seemed more easy going. I tested out the rhythms and found out which ones worked best for me.

I usually work a little slower and mindfully. I’m really trying to get into my zen so I can turn this massage path into a meditation for my life. Most of my clients come to me for this reason. Sometimes I imagine that I am back in Thailand elephant walking and focusing on my “hara”. I do this while I talk to the client to make sure we are still on the same wave length. I feel really fortunate to have you and Chatchoi as my teachers. It’s given me the skills I need to be successful. Thanks Shama. 

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Shama Kern
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October 14, 2019 - 1:23 pm
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Thank you for this endorsement. I am glad that my courses are helping you in your chosen path! Smile

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Ka’el Bey
Wichita, Kansas
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October 21, 2019 - 4:58 am
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Module 10

This module covered some important concepts about having the right touch. It also reminded me how to feel for problem areas and develop sensitivity. The subject matter of this video was something that came very naturally to me. Many people would ask me during my first thai massage training if I had been doing this for some time. The truth is that I have had an intuitive touch since I was a youngster. I would give massages to my family members and somehow know exactly what they needed. I could feel on my own body what they needed to receive. I tell people that even if you don’t have this ability, you can learn it with practice. I have developed much more sensitivity when it comes to using my elbows and knees than when I started. It is also very important to feel how far you can stretch your client. When ever I am in doubt I just check in with, “how does this feel?” Most of the time it feels great, but if not, we can make the proper adjustments. 

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Shama Kern
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October 21, 2019 - 10:59 pm
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Interesting - we share a similar history. The reason why I got into massage was because I used to work on my friends, just for fun and for helping them out when they had pain or stiffness somewhere. They told me I had a great touch. And that was before I ever had any formal training in massage.

And then, when I got into massage professionally, I have always had something like a sixth sense for figuring out what the problem with someone was. This inspired me to create a teaching style which went way beyond just teaching sequences, as is typically done in Thai Massage schools.

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Ka’el Bey
Wichita, Kansas
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October 23, 2019 - 8:55 am
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Module 11

The knuckle techniques from this video really do come in handy, especially on larger clients. I’ve found the variations where the knuckles are parallel to the spine to be useful in chair massages as well. I use a chair to help advertise my Thai massage at the Beauty lounge I rent my space in.

The forearm moves have become a great addition to my back massage over the traditional approach. The shoulders are a bit tricky, but I’m getting better. It helps me to envision the sen lines and breathe.

I’ve definitely utilized the percussive moves you show after I work on an area more intensively. Sometimes I think they can be a bit cliche at the end of the massage so I reserve them a bit. I agree that the traditional “chopping” move sounds more therapeutic than what it really is. That being said, I still use this techniques in the seated position quite often. I’ve found a some rhythms that feel pretty good. I chop fairly quickly from my wrist joint, similar to waving a fan. In general I use your percussion techniques when I’m perpendicular to the spine and the “fan” when I am working parallel to the spine.

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