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Ka'el Bey's Thai Back Massage progress notes
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Shama Kern
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October 23, 2019 - 11:23 pm
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If it works well for you, then it is good. My way of doing it is certainly not the only way that works. And I always encourage students to develop their own style and creativity! Smile

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Ka’el Bey
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October 27, 2019 - 4:51 am
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Module 12

I had some good practice with the power techniques. I became pretty comfortable using my knee in the most powerful position. I developed more sensitivity and listened to my partner to know how much weight to distribute between my hands and knees. I also tried out the foot rocking technique and tried to do the standing transition with it. I think this will be a great move for larger clients once I get the hang of it. I liked the upper back techniques this time around. Being centered from above my client feels more effective than straddling their back. I am doing my best to learn how to flow through these moves, just like tai chi. 

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Shama Kern
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October 28, 2019 - 1:18 am
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Not having power techniques for those large clients would be doing yourself a big disservice. I am glad to hear that you are taking to the knee techniques.

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Ka’el Bey
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November 3, 2019 - 8:26 am
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Module 13

The back massage I have learned so far is amazing. Everyone who has felt the rocking, percussion, and power moves has loved them. My goals moving forward are to “work with my client, not on my client”. Sometimes I will find myself working “on” a specific area and not finding the result that I am looking for. That’s when I remember to communicate and normally it solves the issue. In addition, I need to slow down a bit more. It is easy for me to get into a rhythm with these rocking and percussion techniques. I want to make sure that my clients don’t feel swept away in motion.This just requires me use better breathing and also use my breath to count.

The power moves in the side position also look promising for those clients who cannot lay in the prone position comfortably. These might even be more powerful since you can pull the hip and shoulders back into the he knee. As a general question, Do you normally move your client to the side, seated, or prone position? Or do you just politely ask them to change position?

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November 3, 2019 - 10:33 am
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This depends on a couple of factors. First, the size of the mat. If it's not big enough, then I ask the client to turn around. If there is plenty of room to maneuver, then I move the client into a new position myself.

It also depends on the client's mood. If someone is clearly 'tranced out', then I prefer to move them myself in order not to interrupt their 'trance' state. However if someone is chatty and engaged and wide awake, then they don't mind changing position on their own upon request.

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Ka’el Bey
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November 18, 2019 - 8:05 am
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Module 14

Thanks for the feedback, Shama.

I found the wiggling and circling moves for the scapula to be very useful. I never had a good way to give someone more attention in a specific area here. Now I feel more comfortable working under the scapula on knots that I find.

The little bridge back bend was amazing. The way I used to do this stretch had very little therapeutic effect. By rocking the client, I feel like they can release compression in the lumbar. And walking with the forearms on the thighs adds such a nice sensation. Thank you for clarifying this for me. Even the way you get in and out of the pose is so much more simple than how I learned before.

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November 19, 2019 - 12:31 am
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I am glad to hear that small modifications can make a big difference in how a technique works out!

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Ka’el Bey
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December 10, 2019 - 10:14 am
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Module 15

I had to take a little break from the forum, but have continued watching the training course and practicing the material. The hip lift techniques have been very fundamental in helping to balance my clients hips level. Sometimes I forget that I can look at the feet for indication of spinal rotation. Most of the time I check the hip level after I do some general warm up on the legs. In most cases, i cannot do the hip “lever” technique, but the straight leg hip lift works well enough in most cases. 

I also try doing one or two of the back bends in the side position to help release energy blockage in the lower back. The cobra is my go-to if I can tell that they hunch forward. It is good to have several variations to chose from. That is what is so great about Thai Massage. If my client is too heavy, I can use a different option to protect my body’s integrity and give them the proper treatment. 

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December 10, 2019 - 11:58 am
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You are spot-on with your observation that all those variations in Thai Massage are extremely helpful. Without those it would be a one-size-fits-all system and would be of very little therapeutic value. And it would wear the therapists out as well!

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Ka’el Bey
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December 13, 2019 - 9:26 am
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Module 16

The seated back bends are some of my favorite stretches to do before a relaxing head and face massage. I normally would do the first move with the hands behind their head. The way you demonstrate this technique looks more comfortable. I have had some success lately by do this stretch several times instead of one or two big ones. We notice a larger release in the erector muscle groups along the ida and pingala nadis. 

Walking the back from seated is a very relaxing move for me to do. I like how I can push and pull simultaneously with the right angles and pressure. The forward fold was new to me. It is the perfect combination of a stretch and compression that works the entire spine including the neck and parts of the shoulder. Thank you for this new move to add to the repertoire.

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Shama Kern
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December 13, 2019 - 11:07 am
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It was my intention to present a balanced routine for back stretches which means, just like in yoga, that every move should have a counter-move to balance it. Smile

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Ka’el Bey
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December 15, 2019 - 9:01 am
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That is exactly how I used to teach my yoga classes, and how I practice thai massage as well.

Module 17

Most of these stretches were familiar to me. You always bring a new flavor to the technique that gives me a fresh approach or an even better therapy.

Two stretches that I like to do for my clients are the side bend and the seated twist. I normally have them place their hands behind their head and guide them to the side or into a sustainable twist. I encourage them to breathe and help them go deeper into the stretches. 

The way you do the side bend allows the client to relax more because they do not have to put their hands behind their head. Supporting their head and guiding them over is a little different than what I am used to but it gives me a new option. Normally I can reach over their torso to palm the thigh and open the hip crease through traction. 

I use the same kneeling position when I do the twist, I will place one knee o the thigh and guide them around, “tango twist”. When I do the stretch from standing, I place my foot on their thigh and do the same move. When I try the technique you showed us, I think my client has more support. Their is a slight distinction between an assisted stretch and thai massage. When they are cradled by your knees, it makes the seated potion feel more relaxing. 

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Shama Kern
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December 15, 2019 - 3:10 pm
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I always try to make the positions as easy and as comfortable for the client as possible. If you have a yogi client, they might not mind if they are not fully supported, but if you have a less flexible and more out-of-shape client, then it is essential that the techniques are comfortable enough to not make them feel stressed while they are in them. 

As you noted, there is a difference between assisted stretches/exercise/yoga and a massage. We can play it both ways depending on who our clients are, but in general the way how I present the material is designed to be easy on the clients.

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Ka’el Bey
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January 15, 2020 - 8:23 am
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Module 18

After another hiatus, I am finally getting back to completing the certification requirement for the back therapy course. I had finished watching the videos several weeks ago, and have still been practicing regularly. I am learning to use my intuition to help out my friends and family.

The unsupported twist was new to me. I use the supported twist quite often, and will start having my partners place their hands across their chest instead of behind their head.

The knee hip lift twist I find useful for balancing my client's pelvis. And the cross leg twist is good for those who have tight shoulders. Adding movement and stretches to a massage gives us such an advantage when taking care of our clients. The rocking motion looks very relaxing, but I still don't quite have it down.

The thigh over thigh twist has been one of my favorites to do since I returned from my first Thai massage training in Thailand. We called it the "monkey twist" because it was taught to us a pivoting motion. It also works as a nice transition into the side position. The adaptation you provide is a way that I can tailor this stretch to different body types. If the client is too light, I can pin down their shoulder. If the client needs a deeper stretch, I can pull with two hands on the sacrum and even come into a seated potion.

Thank you for continuing to help your students develop and continue this art and tradition.

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Shama Kern
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January 15, 2020 - 12:46 pm
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I am always happy to support my students. This is not just a job for me but my way to contribute something useful to this world.

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Ka’el Bey
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January 25, 2020 - 11:00 pm
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Module 19

I love all three techniques covered here. The thigh over thigh twist became so intricate as you added on techniques. I like circling the best. I use the second twist that you demonstrated in my sessions to correct the shoulder posture, in addition to its mirror image twist from the supine position. My favorite move from this module is the traction technique.

I’ve had the opportunity to try this traction move several times over the last few months. Some were great successes and others experienced complications. After watching the video again I know to balance the balls of my feet on the sacrum bone. I think that I was too high up on the sacrum sometimes. I will keep working on this to get the right natural flow.

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January 26, 2020 - 12:32 am
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Intricate - and very rewarding once you master it. It feels great having intricate and refined techniques at your disposal. It gives you so many more options. Smile

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Ka’el Bey
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January 29, 2020 - 6:51 pm
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Module 20

I believe that traction moves are one of the most beneficial features of thai massage. Traction is something quite difficult to do unless you have the advantage of being on the floor. I have practiced the seated moves in their variations and my partners enjoy the stretches. I have been able to avoid the skin burn by gripping closer to the armpits. I prefer grasping the wrists and using my knees to add what my client needs. 

The 3rd traction, full-contact from seated, gave me a new perspective on how we can use our bodies to help each other out. I forgot to leave a few inches of space during my practice sessions and caused some pain. I will remember to leave that gap in the future.

The inverted traction technique was another one of these moves that opened my mind. I will remember to grab low on their legs and keep my client stable on the way in and out. The mini series that you demonstrate is very satisfying. My feedback has been to tell others what is happening before hand so they are not taken off guard. 

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Shama Kern
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January 29, 2020 - 7:29 pm
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For more extreme stretches it is definitely a good idea to tell the client what you are going to do to prevent reactions like stiffening up or resisting due to not knowing what is going on. I have always believed in communicating with clients. This is more important in Thai Massage than in oil massage where there are no unexpected moves.

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Ka’el Bey
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January 31, 2020 - 4:40 am
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Agreed, Thanks for the clarification.

Module 21

I’ll admit, the first time I saw you pull out the massage hammer I started laughing. Here we are learning how to use our bodies and you bring up an important subject of “mechanical aspects”. While we don’t want to be massage mechanics with our techniques, I can see your point on how using a machine can help us to help our clients. My sister recently received a “Hypervolt” massage hammer. It does not have a heat feature, but it works surprisingly well. I tried using the hypervolt like you demonstrated and used my hand to guid my sense of feel. I am considering purchasing one myself, but I will wait until the right time and for the right device. 

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