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Karin Secrests' Thai Massage Video Discourse Notes
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Karin Secrest
Eugene, Oregon
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December 3, 2017 - 5:27 am
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Module 1

I am in many ways still a beginner. I have taken a couple of Thai courses but never got around to practice them enough to feel at ease. Something in life always gets in the way. Hence, this opportunity to study here (right at my home) will guide me and that is what I need. For a person like me regularity is the key do cultivate any skill.

Very often I had questions about alignment, about transitioning, about feeling comfortable, about transmitting a flow which shows me at ease. I tended to worry about heavier people. Right away, all my questions were answered. I decided to take this easy.

I have not practiced the Chi Machine yet... but will do so later. I reflect right now about how I will use this place here, and in my mind I make up all kind of treatment plans of imaginary conditions which for sure  will change as I come along here. I think I just will relax into this.

Perhaps it is good to measure on a scale from 1 to 10 my own sense of ease - doing what I am doing in this beautiful Thai learning experience. I often had trouble breathing right and being at ease, transitioning poses is also not my strength.

There are some people who think that the transitioning fully to the floor is advancement. I have not made that transition yet and wonder if it will ever happen. I do have clients who cannot reach the floor any longer. I want to serve their needs as much as I can.

Yes, I wonder how the Chi Machine (adopted from Thai-Chi) can be done on the table. Gentle Rocking surely is a great way to shift awareness into a sense of profound well-being. I will practice it.

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Karin Secrest
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December 3, 2017 - 10:54 am
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Module 2

After I practiced the Chi Machine today, I noticed that I had not enough strength to hold the swing for too long. I lasted about 10 minutes trying out a swing which would look like the one in the video.

I started to swing as instructed but had to pause, repeatedly. The receiver told me later that there was tingling in the feet which traveled from there to the thigh - up to then the upper leg - till it reached the lower back. She felt the vital force. I had to stop because my hands were tired.

I put a bolster on top of my calves and sat on it. This got me to swing more forcefully. She reported a more intensive vital force traveling up to her hip but no further.

She told me that she relaxed profoundly.

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Shama
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December 3, 2017 - 12:05 pm
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Welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program, Karin! For starters, please take a minute and familiarize yourself with our certification check list:

Certification Check List

What's missing is that you fill in the bio field in your forum profile, and that you label the posts with the module number you are writing about. 

For a video description you can also watch the certification tutorial (which I just updated yesterday) on this page:

Certification Tutorial

Regarding transitioning to the floor, we just had an interesting discussion about that in the facebook group. Several therapists told their story how they dealt with this in their practice.

The calf bolster is a good idea until your legs get used to sitting in this position. The Chi Machine is a bit tricky to do because it challenges our idea that a big move should take a good amount of effort. Done right, the Chi Machine is a very subtle move which requires minimal effort. The more effort you put into it, the less effective it will become. Try to make your lateral hip movement faster and smaller and focus on getting the client's hip to move.

You will know that you "got it" when it doesn't feel like an effort anymore. Still, you cannot do the Chi Machine longer than a minute or two, especially when working on larger clients. The proof of the pudding is that you see the nose moving, meaning the move travels all the way up to the head.

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Karin Secrest
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December 3, 2017 - 3:42 pm
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I upgraded my profile some more. Tomorrow I will see if I missed something. Thank you for letting me know... Navigating this forum one has to get used too.

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Shama
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December 3, 2017 - 3:50 pm
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You went from bare minimum profile to a great intro!

The forum software won't let you add something to previous posts once there is a follow up post, so I will add the module numbers in for you.

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Karin Secrest
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December 3, 2017 - 3:58 pm
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Module 1

Thank you - That is just what I tried to do. Just watching the Forum video now. Yes, I would have liked to edit myself. But... I surrender then. I notice that I tend to jump ahead a bit too fast. 

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Karin Secrest
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December 3, 2017 - 4:03 pm
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So every new post has and added Nodule number number? I saw Module 1 and Module 2

Like:

1. Post = Module 1

2. Post: = Module 2

3. Post: = Module 3

I thought every video was the Module, hence I got only one video so far. 

So every Video on the Chi Machine I would have thought to call Module 1

I can look what the other students did.

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Shama
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December 3, 2017 - 4:32 pm
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The module numbers correspond to the numbers of the main training modules (not the supplemental or cultural modules). Those module numbers are what shows up in the emails and on the title page of the videos.

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Karin Secrest
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December 5, 2017 - 7:11 am
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Thank you.

Module 1 (again): I just got the e-mail

Toe-Knee-Ankle Exercises For Thai Massage Therapists

This video was important to me. Although I used to be very decent in my yoga moves - things happen and one one day I broke my toe.

While I can do all the moves in the movie well - I have a bit trouble with one large toe (L).

The broken toe is healed and feels strong but it more stiff than before, so I don't have full range of motion. I can work my way around it putting less weight on the big toe and more weight on the remaining smaller toes, my knee angles out to the left more than the right then. That will be something I have to work my way around. I think it is possible as we all have our own way of doing what we are doing best we can. Thinking about finding a quick mini-bolster to support the foot when Thai moves comes up. I want to observe my level of comfort. I think I can be inventive here.

I liked the way the pillows have been used in the video under the ankles and over the calves - a double pillow support. I can sit for longer on the floor on my own but in case the session is very long it is good to know some tricks.

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Karin Secrest
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December 5, 2017 - 12:55 pm
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Module 3

Today I practiced the foot-sequence video. The positioning and leverage was wonderfully explained. I had a little trouble getting the leg positions well aligned from one side to the other. Also doing things the opposite way on the other foot was slightly confusing to my proprioception. The receiver was very helpful as she listened in and showed me a couple of observations... 🙂 - Feedback matters. I heard several cracks on the right foot.

I enjoyed exploring the wonderful circular motions while doing some twisting, squeezing and point work on the foot.

The body-mechanics were relatively easy to understand, but I know those kind of mechanics always need improvement as I know that my proprioception can be off. I felt comfortable the whole time. 

I want to remember how important it is for me to b comfortable so I don't transmit my own tension to the receiver. On an imaginary scale from 1 to 10, I measure a nine about feeling good in my own body. The only discomfort was that I did not feel that the positioning of my legs were right, changing sides.

I am looking forward to give this lesson to other receivers and see if I can imprint this starting sequence better.

What was so special about the 3 module was how detailed every move plus the transitioning was explained. That is exactly what I need to learn. 

Thank you!

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December 5, 2017 - 9:01 pm
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You are right - some of us have issues with our bodies that we have to work around. This can be done with a little creativity. I know one therapist who injured her hands to that she could not use them for massage. She didn't give up but she started a school for doing massage with the feet!

Your comfort scale of 9 is fantastic. You are clearly off to a really good start - happy for you! Smile

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Karin Secrest
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December 6, 2017 - 3:08 pm
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Module 2

1. Practiced on the table the Chi Machine on a Parkinson Client with severe muscle contractions, stiffness and restless leg syndrome. I did gentle rocking moving the entire body but could neither get feedback nor did I notice a difference. My client is beyond speaking clearly. It was a different way to start the treatment protocol. One needs to think of a variety of other ways to coach the body into change than the Chi Machine. Perhaps at a later point, in case he gets better, I can tray the Chi Machine again. I am not ruling it out and sometimes people do have better days.

---

2. Practiced Chi Machine on a roommate. She responded well. I must have rocked her 5 minutes and she felt very calm and the tingling happened up to her knee area. 

Side-Note: A friend of mine has an electrical ch-machine and when I used it, I sure felt the Chi all over my body. I must have used this electrical machine for 10 minutes. If course, there is something authentic not needing a electrical device and do things by hand. The challenge is to develop enough stamina.

----------------

Module 3

I did the foot routine for my roommate. Today, I understood more details than yesterday. The flow was better and my level of comfort scale from 1 to 10 was at a 8. I noticed that even the sequence is so small I have not remembered everything after the second time of practice. I cannot help but wonder, how anybody can remember all the moves during a  day class. This modality needs to be practiced just like a form of yoga, that meansL regularly. Transitioning was a lot easier today.

I remind myself that it is important for me to be comfortable too because I don't want to transmit any discomfort to the receiver.

Looking forward to work in my husband tomorrow. 

Peace!Laugh

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Shama
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December 6, 2017 - 10:02 pm
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I deleted all the duplicate stuff. Smile

I once had a Parkinson client and I worked on him for several years. He wasn't that far gone yet as your client and over time he actually improved significantly. Then I had another Parkinson client, and she was so far gone that my work did not have any impact. There is a "point of no return" where we can't help anymore - nothing much we can do about that.

You did the Chi Machine for 5 minutes - that's a long time to test your stamina. Normally one to two minutes should be long enough to get the desired result. And for this amount of time you don't need stamina. I commented on that some more a few post ago.

Regarding remembering all the moves for the foot work - I think the very next module will help a lot with this. And yes, Thai Massage is rather complex and needs to be practiced regularly in order to integrate it all. Many course students report towards the end of the course that it really starts to flow for them.

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Karin Secrest
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December 6, 2017 - 11:54 pm
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Module 2

Not sure if the 5 minutes it could have been a minute less. My vision may not that great to see the clock accurately. 

Here is why: I practiced on a extra light weight person. But, I repositioned myself and interrupted and restarted for comfort reasons. In this I could last longer. My wrist does not hurt this morning. The last heavier build person I had some aches the next morning after practicing the chi machine. I know from the electrical Chi Machine, that longer feels better and I jostled myself in that machine for 20 minutes. I figured from my electrical experience that 5 minutes may be short and I ideally I should do more time to redistribute the flow of Chi - - - if I can and if the person is comfy.  :-).

Thanks for removing the double post. Still getting to know the forum.

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December 7, 2017 - 12:17 am
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I guess the difference is that if you use a mechanical Chi Machine (I have done that as well), then this IS the entire session. However when you do it in the context of a Thai Massage session, then it is just an introduction to the session which has to fit within the time frame of one or two hours, and that's one reason why it has to be shorter.

Also I am pretty sure that most therapists can only handle so much wiggling while sitting on their heels before they start to feel uncomfortable. For those reasons I suggest a shorter Chi Machine.

As you said: "...if I can and if the person is comfy".

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Karin Secrest
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December 7, 2017 - 11:24 am
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Module 3:

Just worked the feet on my solid build husband. His bones are sturdy and heavy. I had trouble twisting his feet to the side with one hand. They felt stuck. I used both hands supporting the heel with my leg. That worked. I can see that the side twisting with the elbow does not work for all body types. Sometimes 2 hands are needed to do the twist. I twisted his side if the feet in prayer fashion. Interesting.

My own comfort level was good today. 

The pdf files are useful to take on a trip. One never knows if they could ve useful to work on a friend.

---

Culture Corner: It was nice to see how open the Thai people can work in public. I wish things would be less controlled in the US too. I like more freedom to work on others the same way as done in Thailand.

Video thai Mat: It is a good idea to get the sports mat and the velcro system attached to make the mat larger. I have a Thai mattress already and some square bolsters - but it is ultimately not large enough. I do have a variety of pillows which match the mattress. It will do for a while.

---

Had a good ay exploring this huge side. 

---

Thank you!Smile

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Shama
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December 9, 2017 - 9:04 am
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You will see that many times in Thai Massage you need to modify techniques. Often it is a matter of size and weight differences between therapist and client. Also in some cases you just need to skip a technique if it is too difficult to do on a much larger person. Therefore my motto is this:

"The techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences."

Later on in the course you will see that many times I demonstrate several ways of doing a technique, i.e. I show you some modifications so that you can choose which one works best for you and your client.

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Karin Secrest
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December 9, 2017 - 11:44 am
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Module 4

Yesterday Module 4 Foot-massage 2 arrived in my email. I enjoyed the precision explanation a lot. As usual every struggle the learner could possible encounter was mentioned. Getting the feeling is more important than remembering all the different teachings and techniques. Watching the whole body of the teacher is a good way to absorb the feeling.

What I liked a lot, was the repeat of foot-massage one in module 3. In addition, to remember the way the foot move and in this way we can learn more... that was very helpful – the conceptional way of working on the foot, and in how many ways the foot moves teaches us right then naturally which of the moves we could apply, for instance:  bend out/in, bend up/down, twist R/L, work top and bottom. That kind of talking imprints in me like a flowing picture in me. I do use inner vision, logic and flow to imprint something into my being.

Yesterday evening, I had one of my joint/revitalizing yoga students coming. We agreed to practice and we continued our usual session afterwards. She was very limber and I could do all moves rather easily. This session was easier because we repeated what we did in Module-3, foot massage 1. Afterwards we continued with kneading the foot, pressing and rolling out, it too was appearing circular and we covered the whole foot. The various techniques like the circular motion  on the inner heal of the foot - leaving the foot in a linear fashion was a nice flow and came natural actually, the whole sequence appears so logical and free flowing. However, the thenar eminence of my hand sliding on top of the foot, I never actually used this part if hand in this new way. I would have used my thumb, I believe. As a result, I observed and absorbed a new sensation. I like when this happens but don't want to think about it. I notice that something  NEW IS HAPPENING. 🙂 - That is enough. 

I enjoyed this session a lot and I am glad that so many friends come forward to be a future practice person. 🙂

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December 9, 2017 - 12:51 pm
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You must be a nice person to be around with since you have so many friends who volunteer to be your guinea pigs. Smile

The second foot module brings it all together in a conceptual way. You will notice the same thing when you get to the hip work - this will also be tied together in an easy-to-remember conceptual way.

It is apparent that you are not a person who is looking for a mechanical system of massage techniques, but for a living and breathing system, and that you welcome new ways of doing things. That will prove very helpful for this course!

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Karin Secrest
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December 12, 2017 - 12:15 pm
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Module 5

The leg warm up was in so far interesting that I had some trouble sorting my legs. This is definitely are repeater.

Since I had a broken toe, instead of sitting on the toes inward, I do the following pose (a variation if the hero pose - just look at the toes only). I do this on both toes as it would be funny for my proprioception if I have one foot inward and one foot outward.

This pose is very comfortable actually as my broken toe became over time strong in this pose. This is important for me and this is what I need to learn, not just the technique but how to adjust it to my body at this point in time. 

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     Warming the tissue up is is indeed important (Outside if this course, I like to rub the skin with my hands also to warm the skin up  but this move treats the skin more than the muscle and your warm up is just a beautiful way to start a deeper warm up which goes beyond the skin.

     Stabilizing the foot was interesting as an experience. My foot was not large enough to lock the foot in place, so I kept the foot more like a stabilizing wrapping around and it worked well. If I tried to reach the floor with my foot but my practice person complaint of discomfort as well, so I had to adjust and lighten up, It is good to get experience with this lock.

     The butterfly moves were easy to follow and the leaning forward was very comfortable for me (and the receiver). The readjustments of the hand from right and left was a logical… (avoiding the groin area).

What I really like is how Shama shows how to make the client comfortable with pillows and props teaching how to work on heaver build and more stiff persons. They are harder to work with but with all these ideas, I can develop some ease and grace surrounding the issues I faced in the past.

Pillows are used and re-adjust bodyparts according to flexibility. In this way we can transmit comfort to the client. T

     The rolling up seemed to roughly follow the "Thai Lines" (Sen), When rolling up the upper thigh, I did it with the toes in the same position than the picture above. It was very easy gong and comfortable. This was my first viewing and I think I missed some subtleties. I definitely have to repeat this session a number of time to create a pattern in my brain which works.

Leaning and pulling is like kneading bread. This will be easy to remember.

I am glad having the videos. I can get back at any of them. What a treat. Thank you.

I am happy I could figure out how to use my broken toe with ease. You know this was one reason to hold me back from visiting classes. I could not figure it out for the longest time, till I saw the pose above.

Thank you again!

(I wrote on Word to watch my speaking, so the font is today bigger. Not sure how to adjust this or if this is ok for you.)

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