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Karin Secrest -Thai Back Massage
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Karin Secrest
Eugene, Oregon
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July 2, 2020 - 10:06 am
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Module 15 - Challenging Technique and other Back Bend Moves

We had a heat wave and I took off a little bit enjoying the shady outdoors. It also took me a while to get the right person to practice the challenge presented in the video, which was a back bend with the knees under the glutes, getting up and down. Of course, I had to adapt that technique for me. I could not lift my person out from my legs up at all, and that was it.

I had to playfully create an alternative. I asked my practice friend to get into a half back bend by pushing her buttdocks up. I went under and my knees could only reach up to her sit bone when she was up. From here, I could lean back some, push a bit more up, and there was actually a good size stretch happening - just not as high as if the knee would have been at the center of the buttocks. I think this method can be adjusted if both parties are willing to experiment and cooperate.

In your technique, the young women was relaxed like a wet noodle. However, I had to ask for cooperation, which was easily given and no big deal. Again it all depends what the client is willing to agree to. If s/he wants just to relax and be a wet noodle ๐Ÿ™‚ during the session, then I would not attempt to do this method. If we want to cooperate, and we agree, then... why not refine this method some more for me and my personal challenges with my hip and see if it can work.

Anyway, it was great and I felt I can do it somewhat too. That was enough to know as it gives me incentives practice this again and to have this move stored in the back of my mind. Getting out of the position, I justย  lowered my knees and moved backwards straightening my legs, no standing up was necessary here, which I could not have done due to the lack of force from my quads anyway. This was interesting to explore and I took my time.

The hip knee lever method frightened me a little as I thought about the knee as a hinge joint. Of course, if the client has healthy knees there would be no problem to slightly hold the knee in place. It was an easy method and I liked the rocking part under the lower back on the opposite side too. Rocking seems more often than not a possibility in so many moves we do and often comes so naturally at this point.

The back-bend-quad-stretch was easy and using the knee and grabbing the shoulder. My practice friend enjoyed this move a lot and I repeated it a number of times. There are variations here to choose from, quads/back and just quad stretch - interesting... all done with little effort and can be changed back and forth.

The foot moves along the upper part of the mid back and the pull back holding the arm and the leg was fantastic and enjoyable. I got lots of good feedback and this method is something I never want to forget. Today in general, I was surprised how easy going things went for me doing and exploring the various moves, in spite of some challenges. Perhaps it all is a matter of playful attitude.

I can see how when one comes out of this position, how one would want to work on the shoulder some, remembering these wonderful shoulder rotations, scapula work and stretches from other courses. I tend to stop the video when I get ideas like this and work freely for a while, till I repeat the same at the other side of the body and before finishing up with other sections of the videos.

The cobra like stretches were familiar to me but I could not straddle the person well enough so I did this move in a standing version, lifting the soft part of the shoulders with my fingers. The disadvantage is that the lower back is not held down - so the lift is different standing and sitting on the buttocks but is still good. There could be a sense of extra comfort involved when the body is held into place by sitting on it and doing this cobra like stretch.

The second part of the stretch gave me some groin pain. I sat with a pillow on the buttocks (legs forward), but could not reach her shoulder as my hip pain prevented my to go further, so I skipped that part for now.

The third part of the cobra was easy again. However, I went from between the legs though in and rested my knees on the buttocks. I practiced the interlocking of the fingers. Usually I used the wrist holding method, but it was just fine holding the wrists your way. This version of the cobra, I did before. I noticed that when a person's hip is too wide, straddling across can be a problem, in this case it maybe better to approach the stretch from between the legs and rest the knees on the buttocks. It seems to make little difference. One just moves the legs slightly and gently apart with the feet in order to get in between the legs.

Interesting, that with a little adjustments, the outcome is really the same. I was surprised how the second versions gave me pain though. It is something, I have to work around. It is good to practice it anyway, because as it is said "what you don't use you lose." Perhaps another day I will be less inflamed at the groin area. It all depends on the day what I can or cannot do.ย 

This session was very inspiring and enjoyable. Thank you again.

I will have a 4 day Summer Meditation retreat... so, I write in a week again.ย 

Peace! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿ˜Šย 

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Shama Kern
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July 2, 2020 - 10:29 pm
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You are becoming quite the expert at modifying techniques and figuring out how to get them to work within your circumstances. It is true that in Thailand many women are of the 'wet noodle' type of flexibility which cannot be said about your average person in the western world. So some modification is a must for Thai Massage.

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Karin Secrest
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July 11, 2020 - 2:39 am
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Module 16 - Back Stretches Sitting Position

One of your favorite backbend using knee, in sitting position was relative easy. I had some imbalances because my broken toe brings forth an imbalance in position myself but I still could do it. The knee was a little bit off to the outside erectors, the pulling back was easy, although I slightly lost balance a couple of time. I prevented that by putting a square pillow under my heals to support stability. It worked. My knees were just under the scapula though and not low enough. I liked moving the knees up and down but I could not reach all the way down.

The all or nothing stretch did not work for me well because it put too much pressure on my groin area which is chronically off and on inflamed. The stretches are wonderful. My nurse practitioner friend did this move later on me and I enjoyed it myself a lot. It looks so easy when you do it.

The part were I held the hands your special way and used the feet/toes to stretch was super easy to follow along. It makes only sense to stretch the person out that way. Walking up and down the spine, wiggling perhaps, going with the opposite foot higher up into the rhomboids (one can engage the toes too) was fantastic and I will sure practice this one a lot when I can go back on yoga retreats, post Corona developments. This movement is particularly good for meditators to release the back. It would be very good to teach it in a group setting, pairing up. I also explored the sacrum area that way and wrapped my feet around gluteus medium, still holding hands to relax the sacrum and the sides of the hip.ย 

The forward bending was also fun. I like the release go back and forth, almost resembling rocking, using forearms, it was very easy to practice and to receive. It makes sense to use back and forward bending alternatively. It makes only sense to later move on to work at the neck area.ย 

Module 17 - More forward bending and Side bending in sitting Positions

The forward bends from the front, having the feet of the client rest on the knees was also easy and enjoyable to practice.

Stepping through the legs and bring the feet forward into a semi-prayer position bringing the knees forward was also possible. I would have problems going too far down because of the weakness of my own legs.ย 

I did another little variation on this. I took the heals and stood up, resting my arms on the feet to give a hamstring stretch, then I took the heels on my hand and walked at the side towards the head and brought the feet to the ground (plow pose). It is an easy pose to do as well but one has to be slow and check. My practice friend is on very good shape and very flexible so this was not a problem to try out while I am at it. Going back should be done also slow to avoid cramp up the lower back. Some rocking afterwards at the hip region relaxes the area.

The boat pose which you assisted was also possible but did not go far enough for my flexile client. The legs bend automatically and the hamstrings relaxed. I could tell that she wanted them straight.ย 

Side bending with torso of thigh, with my knee on her thigh was going just fine, This move did not hurt my groin too much as the opposite leg rested and supported my body on the ground. Nice to know that I can do this move. I had good balance with the other leg. In this move you have to really be aware about the planes of the body and take care to not move the client into an odd and off side position when coming out of it. I need to practice that part a bit more as I moved my leg a bit too fast out of the position. The trick is to bring the client back into the center position before moving the leg. It makes sense to move slowly this position. This move, moving in and out of the side feels a bit like a dance which is very nice.

The spinal twist is not new to me but I forgot to stabilize the tibialis anterior with the heel, leaning down. It was nice to feel that there can be an upper spinal stretch and an overall spinal stretch.ย 

The second part of the stretch for bigger and heavier persons, the part were the leg can be across the belly for instance and then you pull with both hands down was not working that well on my husband. I had to actually stand up to do that as he was too wide to go across ergonomically, I supported his bend leg with a pillow as well.

It is educational to see how we can adjust our body to not be uneven with the spinal twist for different body types.

The last stretch, sitting, slow motion turning twist was very reasonable and easy. you have one hand OT the pec area and the other low behind the shoulder (it touches the leg) and the knees are touching and then you push. All you need to do is change hands after and have a rhythmic flow. I need to explore this a bit more.

It was very gentle and relaxing. What made this one a good one is that it can repeated a number of times and every time the stretch goes a bit further. This one, I definitely want to practice some more before I move on to the next video.

It is always a pleasure making time for my Thai refinements... which is a life long process.

Thank you so much for being here during these strange Zeitgeist we are moving and adjusting through.

๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฎ

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Shama Kern
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July 12, 2020 - 11:20 pm
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I does indeed sound like you are doing a lot of refining and paying attention to all the tiny details. If I would need a co-instructor in a live class, I would imagine someone like you who really 'gets it'.

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Karin Secrest
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July 29, 2020 - 10:36 am
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It is so sweet that you say that I could be a teacher too one day alongside you theoretically but my hip problem is stifling my confidence at times. I can one day overcome this. I still feel I have so much to learn and I do less practice during Covid times than before because of social distancing. It is not easy to find the right practice partner.

Module 18 - Spinal Twists - sitting and on the floor

In this module, I worked on a close family member who is unusually stiff and that that is not always easy.

The sitting position which you recommended in the beginning of the video,... I had to sat him on a small chair. Taking the left upper arm of the client, hold the right shoulder and push, I was able to hold the leg with with my leg and the spinal twist happened with ease. It was simple, all there was todo was to adjust to the chair.

The second twist was also performed on a low chair, I put a high chair behind the low chair, seating the client on the low chair. Crossing the arms in front of the clients chest. I held the client at the upper arm across in front of the chest. I could keep the legs in check with my arm and was able to pull him around. It worked just fine.

The floor, knee hip twist, touching the lower back was a bit heavy but the knee gave a fulcrum, so I could lift the lower back a little but but not enough for my taste. My client was heavy. Repeating this move gently, like a swing on a fulcrum repeatedly, was possible.

The power version, using my leg to press the crossed over hip down and pushing the shoulder down with both hands, worked well but the twist did not go far due to stiffness.

The leg crossed over the bode twist version 1, did not work well as my legs were too short to reach the ground in the other side and dangled mid air, lol. I sat sideways along the side and grabbed the shoulder that way. The ergonomics were a bit off as but I still could do some shoulder rotations. It was not perfect but a good exploration. The stiffness of the shoulder got loosened though which was good.

The leg crossed over twist version 2, one hand hold the shoulder and the other hand pulls upward, walking along the spine lifting the tissue up, I also had to do sideways, which was not feeling right. Again, my legs, as I crossed over, could not reach the other side. I remembered a version in which both the legs are bent and partly on my lap as the body turned towards me (it is not a spinal twist any longer then), as I rocked and walked up and down the spine with my hand that way. That non-spinal twist version worked well.

The last part, were the outer leg of the clients was resting ideally over my leg across, (here, I am in sitting position sitting on my heel), I could lean back pulling along the sacrum area with my fingertips only standing, holding the leg in place with my foot far away. It was a bit hard though as the leg did not cross over. Ergonomically, I was off.

I plan to repeat this lesson this week with a lighter person before I move on. Overall, with a heaver and stiffer person, many of the shown moves can only be intended. Still, even with not feeling complete with this session, I think it was still very nice.

Yes, I need to repeat this with one of my friends again.

It is very hot now here and the gardening takes off, that means a bit extra work so I don't make it as fast as in winter with my practice. The nights are cooling and beautiful still.

Hope all is good wherever you are. ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜Š

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Shama Kern
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July 29, 2020 - 11:04 am
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Working on heavy people is clearly more challenging and can make it seem like certain techniques 'don't work'. But when you do them on a lighter or smaller person, they work great.

We just moved to a seaside town which is more pleasant, more relaxed, and greener than the capital. I can see the ocean from my window. Smile

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Karin Secrest
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August 2, 2020 - 3:51 am
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Module 16 was really 18

Module 19 - More Spinal Twists - Traction/Rocking

This one I practiced a couple of times. I had the same difficulties than in the previous one as I worked on a heavier more stiff partner. The opposite shoulder from the bent hip was more up than the other shoulder and the leaning between right and left was not working smoothly, I focused on hand over hand stretching and rocking back and forth. Bringing the body back and forth with ones body weight helped to make the stretch less strong. Depending how flexible the person is one can go always further. In this motion one somehow has to get the fulcrum working.

The part where I had to put my leg across again did not work for me. With my other female friend, I could do the move sitting along the side of the upper body and then I could reach the shoulder and rotated rock it. The ergonomics were a bit off though this way but it worked. On my heaver partner I could not reach the shoulder at all.

Tractioning sitting was not working with my heavier person, just as you said, Pulling back actually pulled at the skin a bit as the weight caused stress. It is good to practice on a heavier person as more difficulties come up to learn from. I know this is not a wise move for heavier people but I tried.

It is good to know that the weight must be lighter to not cause ani t-shirt rash under the arm when pulling the body back under the arm. It is easier to put then a restorative yoga bolster under their sacrum and let the client lie back and pull the forearms back that way. My lightweight friend which I practiced another time, was easier in this regard.

Module 20- More Traction Moves

Wow, do I like them. I have done some of them slightly differently before so I am familiar with doing those already a bit. The Pulling up version with bent knees lifting the arm (no. 2) works better. The sideways stand we did in another class with folded hands resting on the forearms and then you move back. That is the easiest way for my body type.ย 

I liked the part were you explained the skin burn. I had that happening in the last video happening I put some thought into that already and here you explained it again. Good to be closer to the shoulder, as it indeed avoided that skin burn.ย 

Traction number 3 was good for my heavier partner. In that one the knees were bend and the partner wrapped her hands around your neck and you supports the arms/forearms as one leans back. This one is a good one for me to do. It looks dignified and caring too.

The Method in which the client folds her hands behind the head, me sitting behind, my legs wrapped around her hips, was very easily possible this time with my female friend/ and my heavier friend andย  was gentle.ย 

The last part were the legs of the client got stretched, resting over my shoulder worked well with my lady friend. Moving the legs back, left/right, left/right, feels very nurturing. We have done this before with the legs lying sideways flowing down from our upper lap.

I really like these traction moves. Luckily, I had no pain whatsoever sitting on my heels. I am surprised how much weight I could take. It was a good discovery. Doing this work, one really gets to know some parts of oneself and I like that a lot.

๐ŸŽˆ

I am glad you are near the ocean right now. It is good good to go where there is spaciousness at this point in time. Staying away from crowds is important too to stay centered and increase ones grounded healing abilities and bring forth a balanced heart and mind.

---

Thank you so much again. It is a joy doing this work. ๐Ÿฎ Laugh

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