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Kara Nugent's Complete Thai Massage Progress Notes
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Kara Nugent
Fort Worth, TX
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July 2, 2017 - 2:24 am
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Module 1

Introduction - I really enjoyed the introduction to this course. I am pleased this is based more on energy flow than anatomy. I liked how you put it about learning how to feel what is happening underneath and connecting with someone energetically.

The explanations of the techniques, tools, your positions and your client's positions were clear. I have a feeling using the body weight and aligning myself will be something I will need to work on, it seems like you automatically want to use your muscles. However, I feel like the breathing part of it of leaning in (breathe out) and leaning out (breathe in) will help with that. 

I am very excited and eager to get started!

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Shama
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July 2, 2017 - 7:53 pm
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Hi Kara, welcome to our forum and the Complete Thai Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure that it is all properly organized:

Certification Check List

The only thing that I see missing is that you fill in some biographical information in your forum profile section so that I have some idea what your background is. Without that it is hard to relate to someone, not knowing if you are a total newbie or an experienced therapist.

I am glad to hear that you appreciate the energy flow approach over the anatomy based approach. You are definitely in the right place then! Smile

Soon you won't even remember how to work with muscles only. Laugh Instead you will be an expert in ergonomics, using your body weight, working smart instead of hard, and having more power with less effort.

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Kara Nugent
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July 6, 2017 - 4:59 am
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Thank you Shama for your feedback, I updated my profile! 

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Kara Nugent
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July 6, 2017 - 5:00 am
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Module 2 - Chi Machine 

I practiced on my husband. I was able to get his hips moving fine, but it was just his low back moving, not his upper back and head. I went back and watched the video again and realized and I was just moving side to side and not moving my hips side to side. I went back and tried again, and it worked! His whole body including his head moved in a snaking motion. I also had to go back and remember to relax my arms, I think the first time I was too busy focusing on him, that I wasn't focusing on my ideal position (ergonomics). That will definitely take some getting used to - trying to remember the technique, ergonomics and breath all at the same time!

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July 6, 2017 - 11:24 am
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The Chi Machine takes a little while to get used to, but it is a delightful addition to your sessions, and something that hardly any massage clients have ever experienced.

Thanks for adding your bio. Smile

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Kara Nugent
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July 15, 2017 - 7:37 am
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Module 3 - Foot Massage I

The 1st and 2nd techniques were not too difficult for me. My husband thought I could have squeezed harder. He really liked the pressing of the feet inward on the 3rd technique. I felt my body and his body were in synch. Same with the 4th and 5th technique of pressing down and pressing up. Those came pretty easy to me. He mentioned I should be careful on pressing the  feet down though, he thought I was going too far and using too much body weight. 

 

Now the 6th technique did not go right at all! I got confused with the placing of the legs and which way to turn in and push and which way to turn out and pull. I made sure he was in line, but he said I needed to use more body weight to push in. I found this difficult to do. I also got confused with the 7th technique of keeping the elbow and wrist straight while twisting. I know it is not that difficult and I have watched the video many times, but for some reason, I got really mixed up. 

 

The 7th and 8th technique were fine. All in all, it was not too bad for my first time. However, I was so concentrated on what I was doing (technique) that I did not pay enough attention to him and his energy and my energy flowing together.  

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Shama
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July 15, 2017 - 3:01 pm
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You will see how it all comes together in the very next video. That will help a lot. Don't worry if initially there will be some techniques which you are struggling with a bit. That's to be expected. The same goes for not paying enough attention to the energy and the flow.

Although long term this really is the goal, it would be totally unrealistic to expect this to happen in the very beginning of the course. The usual course of events is that initially you just need to learn the techniques. Once you get so familiar with them that you don't have to think about them anymore, when they become part of you, that's the time when the energy connection and the flow will happen. This normally happens in the later sections of the course.

If there is a technique which you struggle with, don't force yourself to learn it. You might simply frustrate yourself. You can always set it aside and come back to it at a later time, and you might find that then it will suddenly click.

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Kara Nugent
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July 19, 2017 - 10:36 pm
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Thank you Shama, that makes me feel much better! 

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Kara Nugent
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July 19, 2017 - 10:39 pm
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Module 4 - Foot Massage II

I really appreciated you going over again paying attention to your body feels and how your partner's body feels. As I mentioned in my notes on Module 3, I did not do that enough. I will keep practicing. I moved onto Module 4 because I wanted to incorporate the entire foot massage the next time I practiced. The conceptual learning overview helped. It really brought everything together. 

The bending the leg out and the leaning in and rolling of the thumbs under the foot was good, that went well and felt good for both of us. The remaining techniques were easy for me, however, my husband said it needed to be done harder. 

I am doing much better on my breathing and movement once I get started. It is just going to take a lot of practice on developing my sense of feeling, which I know will come with time after the techniques are like second nature to me. 

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Shama
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July 19, 2017 - 11:17 pm
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That's the one thing about Thai Massage - there are lots of techniques to learn, and this takes a while. However once you do learn them and get good at it, you have a unique skill. It's like learning the Tango dance. It is challenging technically, but really good Tango dancers can take your breath away! Smile

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Kara Nugent
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July 27, 2017 - 5:40 am
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Module 5 - Leg Warm Up
 
The Butterfly technique went well at first, but then apparently I went to close to the knee and my husband did not like that all! I will need to be mindful of not going down too far. Other than that, it went well. He told me to be mindful of not using too much body weight, but I kept my back and arms straight, so that is good. 
 
I put a pillow under his knee for the roll up sequence. Apparently I was using my fingers on the shin at first and he said that felt like a burning sensation and to stop, oops! I adjusted using the thumbs on the calf to roll up and he said that was much better. I moved up to the inside of the thigh and hamstrings, no issues. 
 

Same with using the heel of the hand, no issues. 

I had an issue getting adjusted to lightly putting weight on his calf for the pull/roll up sequence. He complained I had too much weight on his calf. I must have been on the bone instead of the actual calf. I adjusted but it still bothered him. So I just stuck my knee on the side of the calf to try and keep the leg steady while I was pulling and rolling up. 

He really liked squeezing and pulling of the calf muscle. I did not have any problems with working on the outside line of the thigh.

All in all, it went okay. With more practice I will stop focusing so much on the technique and work with the energy! 

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Shama
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July 27, 2017 - 8:13 pm
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That's what it is all about. Initially you will get things wrong, but if you rewatch the videos and adjust your technique and position, then ultimately you will get it right. Luckily you have a good feedback system in place, it seems. That helps a lot.

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Kara Nugent
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August 2, 2017 - 7:32 am
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Module 6 - Leg Warm Up II

The rocking/push/pull went over very well. We both really liked that (I enjoyed doing it and enjoyed having it done). 

Forearms worked great, I found it pretty easy to work without stabbing my husband with my elbow and finding the Sen lines. Using my body weight and just sinking in was easy on me and my body. Thank you by the way for sharing the Sen line information, it brings you back to knowing you are moving and flowing with energy. 

I thought I might have issues with the upper arm on the outside of the thigh and making a fist (leg being squeezed between your arm and belly), but it also worked out great. I felt at ease doing this and so did he, said it felt really good. 

The remaining techniques were fine, working again on the calf and then the calf/heel walking. 

I have really enjoyed learning the warms up's, I am going to go through and pick the ones I like! 

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August 2, 2017 - 7:18 pm
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I am glad that you found working with body weight and sinking in easy to do. IT IS easy on your body, however many therapists find it hard to do because they are so used to muscling things. Working with body weight is not only easier on us, but it feels a lot better for our clients.

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Kara Nugent
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August 9, 2017 - 11:01 pm
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Module 7 - Leg Stretches 1

I am excited to start getting into the stretches! I found it totally cool how you went over the feet position and the correlation with the hips. I always knew my left hip was a little more locked up when doing pigeon and other yoga poses. So I laid down and looked and my feet and sure enough, my left foot was rotated more inward than my right foot. Once I practiced on my husband, I looked at his feet and they were both pointed outward evenly. 

 

We warmed up a bit and I started the elephant walking, I like doing this a lot. It helps me practice breathing and moving slowly. I am getting better at staying with a straight back and straight arms. I did that little rocking motion with one hand on the hip bone and one hand on the knee (I found it difficult to find his hip bone though, he had to show me, I ended up tickling him on accident!).

 

I did not have an issue with pulling under his leg and the other foot while straightening my leg to push my foot on his hamstrings. I took care to make sure his leg was at a 90 degree angle when I was pushing in. I did just have a thought that I may not have paid enough attention to having a straight back while I did this. I have had poor posture for years (which has improved greatly though yoga), so I am wondering if I was slumping over when pulling back. I will be more mindful next time I practice on him. He liked the walking the feet on his hamstrings. 

 

I had an issue with trying to pull his leg towards my shoulder while pulling back. His hip was coming up a bit, but he was telling me to pull harder. I felt I was using my muscles instead of my body weight. I need to work on this one. 

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Shama
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August 9, 2017 - 11:59 pm
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The leg stretches will take a while to learn. This is the first hump to get over in Thai Massage. Don't expect them to be perfect the first time around. You will have to re-watch the modules a few times and practice the entire leg stretch sequence, and sooner or later it will fall into place.

Also you will have an "aha" moment when you get to the first summary module where you see how it all fits together and how it looks like in an actual work flow.

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Kara Nugent
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August 25, 2017 - 6:19 am
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Module 8 - Leg Stretches 2

I thank you as always for reminding us that it is okay we may not apply all of this correctly in the beginning. I found it a little overwhelming thinking about all the different evaluations you need to do on a person's body, but I know that will come with time.

 

I liked how you broke the hip out into 8 "pie slices", that made it a little easier to think about. 

 

My husband has tight calves most of the time, so these first few techniques were enjoyed by him. I found them pretty easy to do. 

 

I was surprised I did a pretty decent job with putting his foot in my groin and holding it in with my hand while leaning in and out on the hamstrings. He actually told me I could lean in further, I was not leaning in too much because I did not want to hurt him. He did not like my power version as much as what I was doing before. Obviously I still needed to practice this power version for someone who is a lot bigger than him. 

 

Going great so far! I know I am moving kind of slow through the modules, but that is okay!

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August 25, 2017 - 10:40 am
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Don't worry about going slowly. This is not a race to keep up with the modules. Just work at the pace that is comfortable for you.

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Kara Nugent
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August 31, 2017 - 7:06 am
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Module 9 - Leg Stretches 3

My husband did not seem to have tight adductors, but I did the bouncing anyway just so I could practice. I like doing this stretch, having their foot in my groin and pulling with my hand on their knee feels stable to me and I feel safe doing it. The elephant walk was fine, I like doing this as well, it is a good technique. I ended up doing the hamstring stretch with his leg on my shoulder, I asked if he was okay because he was able to let me lean forward pretty far! 

I need to be better aware of placing my heel on his foot when I cross his leg over his body, I ended up pressing right down on his foot because I was too busy with the rocking motion (hand on their low back) - LOL! He brought it to my attention quickly 🙂 He really liked this and we got him down pretty far using the rocking. 

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August 31, 2017 - 8:21 pm
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That heel can be mighty uncomfortable if you step on it too much. I guess you won't do that again! Laugh It's all about body coordination, and often you have to be aware of more than one thing at a time.

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