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Kaitlyn Smith [Complete Thai Massage Course Notes]
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Kaitlyn Smith
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April 24, 2018 - 10:38 pm
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Module 1:

I LOVE that Thai massage is done from the floor. Having been doing yoga for 5+ years, I a pretty use to working with clients on the floor. PLUS, I am only 5ft tall so a massage table would be close to impossible for me to get pressure to the body.

Working with anatomy, of course, is ALWAYS helpful to know and I have done A LOT of study on this being with clients for 4 years (most refer to anatomy when speaking) BUT again, being a yoga instructor, working with energy lines through the body tends to give that openness/ connection with the client and really help not only the physical body but also the mental state. In the western world, I believe the mind is overworked way more then the physical body. This I believe, to be the reason for MANY mental illness (depression, anxiety, etc). If we added this thought process (using not only anatomy but ALSO energy flow) to our every day practice, I believe A LOT can be achieved.

As module 1 continues, I realize why SO MANY yoga instructors find interest in this type of massage to learn. As Shama explains how there are different ways for “therapist positions”, I realize that this is the way is sit and maneuver all day ! This just gives some perspective and consideration on those that WOULD NOT normally move in such ways and how this CAN be difficult.

Lastly, I wanted to mention my thoughts on the “Anatomy Move” part of this video. Again, this is something taught over and over in yoga as well (can you tell I am LOVING this connection!). The way Shama explains WHY the flow of breath is important is one of my favorite way to explain it that I have heard, “The breath is the entry world to your energy”. YES! Even outside of yoga or Thai massage this remains to be true. For example, without a word being spoken, you can EASILY tell a persons mode by their breath. If my husband walks in the house with a LONG exhale as he sits, I can tell just from the exhale that he has has a LONG day (and my even need thai massage haha).

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April 24, 2018 - 11:16 pm
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Hi Kaitlyn, your enthusiasm is infectious, and your observations are spot-on! Smile It sounds like you and this course will be an excellent match. I have a yoga background as well, and that’s why I have included yoga elements (like breathing) in my style of Thai Massage which is otherwise not done in the traditional version here in Thailand. Can’t wait to see you progress through this course! Smile

Also please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Check List

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Kaitlyn Smith
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April 26, 2018 - 1:10 am
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Hi Shama!

That is so wonderful! I am currently watching module 2 and you did mention that here as well =)

I AM super excited too!

So I believe to have already went through the checklist but if I missed anything would you please let me know as I want to make sure I complete this for the certification part as well!

Thank you very much for sharing your work with me.

Kaitlyn

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Kaitlyn Smith
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April 26, 2018 - 1:54 am
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Module 2:

Shama mentions first that his teachings will not be traditional. I was at first surprised to hear that BUT very excited. 

There will always be a certain respect towards traditions BUT bringing new ideas that bring a POSITIVE effect on both client and practitioner is welcomed to me! In some ways this can pull me apart from others and bring clients asking for me, BECAUSE of that positive difference.

One non-traditional technique Shama shows is the “Chi Machine”, a rocking technique done from the feet/ ankles in order to get the hips to rock (which in turns, moves the entire body) to create an energy flow. Also, this also releases tension off the back by the floor.

I have tried this on my husband. His back pain can be so severe at times that his breath is restricted. So this technique helps relieve the pain by not only taking the DOWNWARD force of gravity away from the back but also opens that energy flow through the body for a deeper inhalation. =D

Shama also talks more about ergonomics. I am glad this is brought up as, technique is also important, but equally so is ergonomics! This goes with yoga as well! If you do not genuinely LOVE what you are sharing, teaching, practicing, etc, then that will always be that negative energy in the room that EVERYONE can sense. 

For example, I went to a yoga class and I can tell after 5min of class that she must have had other things she wanted to do. Rushing through poses, not helping those who needed modifications; just seemed like she wanted to say her part and move on to the end of the class =( Even though the flow/ technique of her class was worked out well, her attitude clearly made the new comers scared to speak up when they needed help and made me not ever go back. 

From this video I have understood more, why technique and ergonomics should walk together =)

Kaitlyn

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April 26, 2018 - 10:27 am
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You are so right – the attitude and the energy of the practitioner are so important. I have had my share of Thai Massage sessions which also felt rushed and disconnected. Obviously I did not enjoy them and did not feel much benefit either. That’s why throughout all my courses I focus on being connected, focusing on your energy and not only on the mechanics, and breathing with the moves instead of against them.

There is even an entire module about communicating with clients, and there is an entire bonus course about working with a focus on energy.

So far it looks like everything is fine with the certification check list. Smile

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May 2, 2018 - 2:06 am
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Yay! I am so very excited for each lesson (but not rushing as I like to sponge things in and NOT CRAM it in my brain lol)

Thank you for taking the time to check on that for me too!

Module 3: Foot Massage 

I love that the entry to Thai Massage starts with that feet! This really sets the relaxation in right away! 

The techniques that are shown, are so peaceful for both the practitioner and client. Just watching the video made me feel so relaxed- more proof that the energy from the practitioner really DOES play a huge role!

These movements are VERY new so I am excited to try these out tonight. Shama breaks these techniques down so well that it flows very calmly and peacefully. My goal is to not only remember the flow BUT to smooth it all in together as if it is ONE piece; One dance.

I understand this may take watching the video many times and practicing many times before I get it down, but I am excited for the entire journey of learning Thai Massage!

Kaitlyn

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Kaitlyn Smith
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May 2, 2018 - 2:28 am
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**SIDE NOTES**

Shama, Just wanted to thank you for your short info video on mats! I was already pending purchasing one before watching and you gave so many great perspectives, that I reconsidered my set-up. =)

I am excited for how it will look as I have space in my home to work with may options!

Thank you!

Kaitlyn

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May 2, 2018 - 9:14 am
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I am glad that mat video came just in time for you! Smile

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May 5, 2018 - 1:39 am
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Module 4:

So I want to first give some feedback on when I tried the footwork from module 3. Some parts came in fairly quick to me but the Push-pull-rotate technique needs MUCH practice lol It looks so easy but when I sit to do it I had to keep adjusting my angle until it was JUST RIGHT haha.

I am going to continue my practice with these techniques including further shared techniques to come =)

So I love how Shama uses the reference of learning the manual shifting car- I had to learn and I did pretty good for my first time haha The reason this was so spot on was because the reason I think I did so well learning was because that way I wanted to learn. Before starting the vehicle, the first thing I wanted to know was WHY switching gears at the right time was so important, etc,etc- I made them break down the whole process before I even started. Once he explained what I was doing AND WHY, I drove it with only ONE stall haha

With all that said, my mind works best when I give myself the REASON for what I am doing then the HOW becomes sensible. Shama breaks this down and my first thought was, “THAT IS EXACTLY HOW I LEARN BEST!!!”. When I first started to try these techniques, my mind felt like I was looking at a blank canvas and I had to paint a very detailed painting with no reference to go from. Once I took a breath and thought of what AND WHY, the “how” came naturally. =)

Excited to try these few additional techniques tonight as well!!

Kaitlyn

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May 5, 2018 - 6:07 pm
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I am glad to hear that my teaching style works well for you! Smile

The push-pull-rotate technique involves quite a bit of coordination and WILL take a little extra time to learn. There are some such techniques in the program, but they are what makes Thai Massage unique and artistic. After a while it will become easier to learn them since your body gets used to moving in the ‘Thai Massage way’.

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May 8, 2018 - 2:13 am
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Firstly, I want to mention that I have practiced the few last footwork techniques on my husband and he fell asleep the first time around. I also, took a night to add all the techniques (with my own natural flow/ order) and it went very smoothly. I got great feedback not just about the feet but their legs even felt better too!

I feel much better/ comfortable with the push-pull technique as I have been working with this one each time. This one may be tough to get at first bet I DO love this technique!

YES! These complex yet efficient movements are what separates Thai Massage from the others and I LOVE that!

Module 5:

I like how Shama reminds me how not ALL techniques need to be done as this helps for me to really be at ease while taking the time to perfect some of my favorite techniques. I still take the time to practice the techniques I am not so good at BUT I also like to take the ones that come natural for me and make it even smoother (creating my own flow/ sequencing based on these great techniques). I like to refer this thought as one of my favorite quotes I heard, “Practice your weakness until it is a strength and practice your strengths until they becomes second nature”. =)

I am LOVING the “locks” Shama shows to keep the clients body safe, comfortable, and still. These are VERY great positions that are not only comfortable for me but ALSO for my client.

Ah… The warms ups! YES!!! Nothing is more uncomfortable, during a massage session, then jumping a relaxed body into a movement or position before it is ready. The muscles and the nervous system will go into a “protection mode” and basically fight back by tensing up =( This is NO GOOD when the intentions are to relax the the client. I love these warm-up techniques to get the body to adapt first before moving into stretching positions.

He also mentions of once you get the techniques/ flow of the footwork down that you will notice how it is also used for the other parts of the body. I DID notice this already based on what I have seen in other massage works and what Shama has shown so far Smile I like this because this helps keep a natural flow, when doing any massage, as my body can get use to how it should work together (moving the whole body WITH the hands and wrist). 

As I learn more, I feel at times I can actually close my eyes and connect my body with the breath and all these techniques just come together without having to force memory into it =) So peaceful! 

Kaitlyn

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May 8, 2018 - 1:34 pm
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I really like your favorite quote! Smile I hadn’t heard that one yet.

You are a natural for Thai Massage, it seems. It is all falling into place for you already. By the way, I often work with my eyes closed since then it is easier for me to sense and feel what is going on with the client.

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Kaitlyn Smith
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May 10, 2018 - 12:06 pm
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I am glad you appreciate the quote!Smile It is something I keep in mind with everything I do.Smile

Yes! This is truly a wonderful fit for me! I am like a kid in a candy shop with every new video that comes in! haha!

Some feedback with module 5, (funny story)- My husband came home from work and told me he was super sore in his legs so naturally I raised my hands like, “auuugh…Hello!” Laugh. Started the techniques on one leg and he had to stop for a moment before I could work on the second leg. When he stood up, he laughed because he said his right leg felt so good now but the left leg was still so sore (he felt so funny walking lol). So we had a good laugh! With that said, he felt much better and is STILL sleeping in the spot I left him as I am typing this haha. I guess I can say these worked VERY well! 

I will say that I need to work on my transition from one position to the other as without watching the video, I tend to get stumped on how to position myself for the next technique. It DOES come to me but just not right away haha.

MODULE 6:

I worked on module 5 and 6 techniques this evening and I thought they actually worked really nice together. As techniques from the last video were pressure with thumbs (and body movements), I did this first to get the muscles use to the pressure first. Then, I used techniques from module 6 (using forearms and whole body movements) to got deeper. At first, I did not think I was making much of a difference from the first techniques but partner said they can totally tell the deeper massage, so I was very happy to hear positive feedback!

These techniques from module 6 were very comfortable for me to do. Even with me being 7 months pregnant and only 5ft tall, the movements not only work so well on the partner/ client but also, easy on my own body Smile

I will practice the sequence again to get a better flow as I think this is where I can use improvement. 

Kaitlyn

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May 10, 2018 - 10:22 pm
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Wow, I didn’t realize that you are 7 months pregnant! And you are still doing all the Thai Massage work. That’s amazing!!

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May 12, 2018 - 1:42 am
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haha! Yes! I am on my 2nd pregnancy! I like to stay active for as long as I can! I am still currently teaching Ashtanga yoga too! 

Module 7:

The start of this video was super interesting to me!

I like the tips on how the relaxed position of the feet explains the hip. This is an amazing tool that will even help me with my clients for yoga as well! Hips are so different with everyone so I find it SUPER important to know this. It does help to ask the clients where they are feeling tight but a lot of the times clients are unsure of where pain/ tightness is actually coming from (ie. lower back discomfort being caused by glutes). This is a great way to find where the tightness is from hips!

I am excited to try these techniques tonight! I think this is great as not only does it give a nice assisted stretch to the client but also massages the leg while doing so! What a relaxing way to do this for the client as well as using the WHOLE body to perform these movements keeps it nice and easy for the practitioner. 

I will try these tonight after the warm up techniques again and give my feedback from me and my partner! Smile

Kaitlyn

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May 12, 2018 - 1:28 pm
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I often get asked if Thai Massage can be done on pregnant women. The answer is that of course it can be done, with some adjustments (which I have written several articles about), just like there is yoga for pregnancy as well.

I would love to get your input since you are clearly in the know about this. In your experience, how does yoga work for pregnant women, and how would you apply Thai Massage on pregnant women?

What would you do, and what would you stay away from?

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May 16, 2018 - 3:04 am
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Hi Shama! 

Yoga is GREAT for pregnancy in so many ways!

To mention a few, in the early stages of pregnancy, woman should stay active as much as possible in order to have a healthy pregnancy. Yoga is a very safe way to still be active, gain strength, maintain mental health, etc.

In the late stages of pregnancy, aches and pains are inevitable. Light yoga sequences can help rid the aches and pains and if yoga is done throughout pregnancy, there is MUCH less frequency of aches and pains. With there being an obvious weight gain, there is a lot of pressure on the feet/ ankles and lower back. Simple inversions, easy stretches, and daily frequent practice (even for a short time) gets rid of the pain by either circulating blood flow, muscle tightness relief, and even strengthening core that untimely keeps the body as a whole more stable, therefore less chances of bad form being an issue. 

Lastly, it also helps for a healthier and (as I heard) a quicker labor AND quicker recovery for after labor!  In my experience, so far this has been very true. I do yoga an hour a day most days and my Doctors are very impressed with my first pregnancy AND my current one.

As you know, Thai Massage is VERY similar to yoga so all of the above would apply as well (ie. a lot of lower body work starting from lower back and down is usually what would help relieve pregnancy pain)  =)

Some things I would avoid, is if someone was never really active before their pregnancy, many things can already be very uncomfortable for them. Not only were they not very fit before but now, their body is even more over worked. Aside from anything a particular person would be uncomfortable with (ie tight hips, neck, shoulders, lower back, etc), bringing thighs up to tummy can be very uncomfortable. Now this may be an obvious on but not just meaning a pressing motion but even just bringing the leg at a 90 degree angle in front of the body I would be careful with  as this lower belly is swelled internally due to pregnancy.

Another thing I would look out for on a pregnant woman would be if they are in their later stage of pregnancy, laying on their back, tummy, and sometimes even the right side for too long can cause discomfort. This can be due to internal soreness or even if the baby is pressing on the body in a certain area that she may be laying on as well (EKKK! Painful when this happens). With that said, maybe if someone is to shy to mention they are uncomfortable, I would just always be asking her is she can breathe comfortably in this position (as breath can determine if there is any discomfort or not) and then ask again if it’s been a few min on one side =)

Module 8:

So I received positive feedback for these new techniques shown in module 7. I will be doing this same sequence I put together again tonight while  this time including module 8″s stretch.

I received a video as well explaining a modified version along with the modified version in module 8, which is great because with me being on the smaller side, modified versions usually are much better on me =)

It’s funny because when doing some of these movements Shama shows for positioning yourself or a client, there is a similar feel to when I did martial arts! Obviously not doing this to hurt anyone but more for being able to control their positions/ movements to my advantage regardless my size. I know this may sound silly as Thai Massage is healing and martial arts can be quite the opposite at times BUT if looked at as a ART of knowing the body, they are quite similar =) 

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May 16, 2018 - 8:51 am
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I have a martial arts background as well, and I found that I can use some of those principles for Thai Massage very well. For example drawing power from your core (hara) instead of from muscle power, working with good balance, and fine-tuning your movements.

Thanks for your response about pregnancy. I will quote you in our facebook group, since this will be interesting for many people, and you are the perfect person to talk about this. Smile

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Kaitlyn Smith
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May 22, 2018 - 1:51 am
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That is awesome! So now you see I am not crazy when I say there are similar aspects haha! Yes, using your whole body to perform a movement efficiently is perfect example!

Thank you! I saw that on FB! Smile

MODULE 9:

I have been practicing each of these leg stretches (including the warm-ups) each night in order for now to get comfortable with the flow.

Some of these stretches will not be used so much as they are for very flexible clients (as Shama mentions) but these are great to know for my yogi clients! 

These stretches are great assisted stretches even outside of a massage session when trying to open up the hips (gain flexibility in hips and hamstrings). I found this easiest to understand the “how to” when imaging teaching the “Happy Baby Pose ” in yoga. This is the same alignment for the client and same preparation for the practitioner. 

Lastly, I like the many way shown to get the same outcome as far as relaxation in this video. With so many different types of situations, there are many ways to modify a stretch to get the best of what is needed for the client =)

Kaitlyn

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May 22, 2018 - 8:40 am
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Between martial arts, yoga, and Thai Massage we can create a ‘symphony’ of all these elements playing together. That’s what I designed my method to be. I built in plenty of flexibility to accommodate different situations. This is something which is normally not taught in Thai Massage. Most schools just teach a fixed sequence. 

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