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Kathy's Complete Thai Massage notes
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Shama Kern
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August 29, 2014 - 3:00 pm
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Your progress reports show that you seem to have an excellent comprehension of each module. You are using your creativity to make modifications when needed and you get plenty of partner feedback. Plus your massage experience helps in implementing many Thai Massage techniques. I have no doubt that you will be an excellent Thai Massage therapist.

Regarding the knee being a new technique for you - the knee can be the great equalizer when working on large clients. I use my knees on the feet, hands, thighs, buttocks, lower back, forearms, and shoulders.

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September 1, 2014 - 9:40 pm
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Module 22

This module works on prone stretches for the legs. For the first stretch, I positioned myself so that one knee was down and my other was up with my foot planted. Raising my partners leg so that his foot was to his glutes, I had one of my hands on his ankle/foot and the other was on his lateral lower leg. As I would lean down, my partner indicated that I was getting multiple stretches; the quads, the hip flexors, and along the tibialis anterior and the extensors of the lower leg. I did 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 several times before moving on to the stronger version of this stretch where the foot would be pressed to the outside of the hip versus the inside of the hip. To do this effectively, I had to block my partners knee by placing my knees on each side of his and then use my hand to press onto his hamstrings to help stabilize his leg so that it would twist out with the stretch. My partner really liked the deep stretch achieved with this move. I then did the same techniques on the opposite leg before moving on to the next technique. 

Adjusting my position so that I was directly below my partner, I lifted his lower leg, and crossed his feet so that his feet were directly above his buttocks and placed my hands on top of each other as I leaned gently and focused on working with my breath. This stretch wasn't as effective for my partner. Changing my position so that my knees were blocking the outside of his knees, I did the stronger version of this stretch, with his feet being pressed to the outside of his hips. Spreading his legs further apart and moving in between his legs with my knees blocking his, I pressed his feet toward his glutes. This effected his quads and adductors. It was a little difficult for me to do this stretch because of the size difference. His knees were further out than mine, so my knees were actually a little higher than his. I asked for feedback to make sure it wasn't uncomfortable, but he said there wasn't any pressure. 

Changing my position so that I was sitting on his hip with my weight supported by my lower legs and feet, I clasped my hands together above his knee, and kept my arms straight as I leaned back. I leaned back further with each stretch and asked for feedback. I also adjusted my sitting position. At this point, his quads were fairly loose, so the deeper the stretch, the better it felt for my partner. The next technique, I was unable to do. My partners lower leg is longer than my arm, so I wasn't able to place his foot into my armpit. Also, my hand size made it difficult to grasp my partners leg just above the knee. With my partners feedback, I tried different ways, but he ultimately said that I was able to effectively stretch him with so many other techniques that not doing this one wouldn't be an issue.

For the final technique, I was at the side of my partner, sitting on my toes and placed my knee into the fleshy part of the glutes. I would rock forward so that my weight would shift into the knee that was on his glutes. This was a nice compression. When advancing the technique so that I was grasping the opposite hip, the extra pressure created allowed me to get into the deeper glutes and help release tension there. My partner also liked the stretch on the opposite side as I pulled his hip up. I repeated this technique for the other side. I tend to do extensive hip work on my clients, so I didn't have any issues with pressing my knee into any of the bony areas, though working with my knee was different. I worked slowly so that I could learn what the feel should be and did this until I felt comfortable.

Once I finished with this module, I did a 1 hour session on my partner, having him lay face up and starting at his feet. I choose techniques from all of the modules learned so far. I found that I am getting better at transitions and that I am getting a feel for what areas need more attention than others. I also did a much better job at being fluid with transitions and was able to plan ahead to what my next technique would be so that the massage was less choppy. When turning my partner over, even though you haven't demonstrated this, I found that I was easily able to move him and he said he naturally wanted to move with me. I did ask for feed back throughout the massage, but my partner said for the most part, that wasn't really necessary because I had good pressure and my pace was smooth and relaxing. I didn't do many strong stretches, but feel the best way for me to develop my technique is to work slow and steady so that the basics become instinctual for me and gradually add to what I do. This is how I learned table massage and found that it has helped me grow and be successful as a therapist. 

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September 2, 2014 - 9:39 pm
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Another in depth report without any apparent problems. Great!

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September 4, 2014 - 7:25 am
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Module 23

For this module, I worked with my son again. He was actually complaining of low back pain and at the end of our practice session, he said that the work was exactly what he needed. Some parts of the massage were a little uncomfortable for him, but in general, he felt his muscles relax and his back pain subsided.

To begin the session, I palpated to familiarize myself with his sacrum, the ilium, the SI joint and the muscles attached. He is lean, so it was easy to feel the individual bones of the sacrum and the SI joint. I was also able to feel the slight spasm he was having that was causing his low back pain. At this point, I began to work on my partner. Hand over hand and working from the side, I did circles in a clockwise pattern using my palms. It took a moment to coordinate my body with the movements of my hands. Once I felt the natural flow, I changed my position so that I was working above my partner and located his sacral grooves with my thumbs. I followed the example in the video and moved my thumbs up and down. I then added the leaning in and out, using pressure as I leaned in and less pressure as I leaned out. It took a little bit of time to feel I was doing it accurately, though once I felt I was feeling it the way I should, I asked my partner for feedback. He indicated that there was a definite difference in how it felt as I leaned my forward and back. I could also feel that his tightness was diminishing and his low back and sacrum were relaxing. I then changed the positions of my thumbs and moved along the middle of the sacrum and and then along the lateral edges of the sacrum. I had a little difficulty keeping a steady rhythm with both my body movements and with my thumbs. At this point, I had been doing work with my thumbs for several minutes and they were beginning to fatigue. I was grateful to change to doing percussion with my fist.

I moved so that my body was again off to side with my weight over my leg and my other leg straddling across my partner and my foot flat. I practiced this from each side, though I was less rhythmic with my non dominant hand. I preferred using both hands for this technique, as did my partner. I did percussion for a few minutes before moving on to working on the glutes. The rocking techniques really helped to get my partners low back to relax completely. I kept a hand stationary on his low back and used my other hand to rock the glutes, moving this hand in different positions along the glutes and gluteal attachments. This is a technique I often use in table massage. I then used the hand on the glutes to rock my partner at his hips and used the edge of my other hand to rock along the iliac crest, changing the position as I did so. I did better with this using my right hand than I did with my left. The angle was a little uncomfortable on my left wrist. This is also something I do with table massage, though, I often use my forearms and elbows with larger clients. I practiced moving from one side to the other and admittedly had some trouble keeping my rhythm.

When using my knees to rock the glutes, at first my son thought I was joking, so he had me go back on the video to show him what the technique was. Once he trusted me with this, he had favorable feedback for both the compression aspect of the technique and the rocking. It took a few attempts to get the right rhythm and I needed my partners feedback to help me with this. Breaking the rocking down in slow motion made the technique awkward for me, but once I sped up, I found it easy and no longer awkward. 

I finished the session with some leg warm ups and light stretching and then shook each leg out and swung the legs back and forth (he was face up at this point) and finished with the Chi Machine to help his low back to remain relaxed. Since I find hip work crucial in my everyday work, I really was glad to learn these techniques and though I need to keep working on them to fine tune my skills, I can tell that these techniques will be some of my go to methods for helping ease low back issues. Transitions are still my biggest concern but I continue to work on them. With each session I do without the guidance of a video, I find that I am naturally doing transitions in a way that is suited for me. Some are exactly as you have demonstrated, others are not, but are adjusted to fit my own ability to move around my partner smoothly. There aren't many Thai therapists in this area - I actually haven't found any, though a colleague had said she knows of someone - so my clients won't have anyone to compare my techniques to, but I do still want my massages to keep the integrity of Thai massage. This is my only concern as I make the techniques more "me".

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September 4, 2014 - 2:21 pm
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Every good therapist makes the techniques his or her own. This doesn't mean you are getting away from the integrity of Thai Massage. It is actually a sign of progress when you are able to modify the techniques so that they fit your body and your abilities.

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September 8, 2014 - 9:12 am
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Module 24

For this module, I was happy to see that your techniques minimize the use of thumbs and the stress on wrists while working on clients. These are two things that I focus on as a therapist in order to prolong my career. I have worked to gain proficiency with using my forearms and elbows and using my weight to work on my clients and I have developed the sensitivity needed to be effective and to feel what is "going on" while using my elbows.

I began working on my partner by following the warms ups on the shoulder blade. Working from the opposite side, I placed my left hand on his shoulder blade and my right hand over that. I naturally wanted to work with my elbows slightly bent. I began clockwise friction and gradually moved down the right side of his back. When I neared the ilium, I continued to go clockwise, though, typically I would work the right hip counter clockwise to get the best motion on the hip. I have good success loosening up the hip doing this and will probably do this as I progress with Thai massage. Circling and sliding down wasn't difficult, but going up again was more of an issue. My partner was wearing a team shirt with a number on the back of it, so my hands were sticking to that and pulling his shirt up. He changed shirts, so this helped. I will make sure my clients wear unprinted shirts in the future. 

I found that I was working against my breath instead of with it, so I focused on breathing properly as I worked on maintaining the rhythm of the technique. When I added the leaning in and then back out while working with my breath, I had to work slowly to get coordinated. I did several passes up and down the back until I felt that I was doing all parts of the technique easily. I then placed each hand on the far side of the back, with the heel of my hand on the erectors just to the side of the spine. I did circular friction, beginning slowly and gradually picking up pace so that I could keep control and work fluidly. I was able work with my breath while leaning in and out, though as my pace was faster, I had a little trouble with this. I slowed down and practiced until I found the rhythm again. There were a few tender spots on my partners back that were more noticeable to him with this technique. I did find I was beginning to get a little fatigued practicing this for so long and I would find that I was losing my rhythm. At this point, I decided it was best to move on to the next technique.

I found that rocking the hands back and forth rapidly while working on the far side of the spine was a lot easier to coordinate than the techniques that use a circular motion. The leaning in and leaning out was easier to accomplish as was keeping a steady rhythm. I also felt I was able to give the extra pressure my partner needed. Changing the rocking from back and forth to up and down, I was still able to keep my rhythm without any issues. My partner liked this particular technique better than the others. He could feel a slight stretch along the erectors which provided some extra relief. Rocking my hands back and forth offset of each other wasn't quite as easy as the previous two techniques, mostly I had a little trouble getting my rhythm as I leaned in and out while working with my breath, though it didn't take nearly as long to figure this out as working in circles did.

I didn't ever have any issues with over stretching the skin as I did these techniques. I do a lot of this type of work in table massage, though the big difference is that the use of oils makes it a lot easier to do on a table. I also realize that I rock my body in table massage differently than in Thai massage. These techniques were definitely only warm ups form my partner and I found that he needed deeper, more specific work. When we had finished with this lesson, we continued with the next to work more on his back.

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September 8, 2014 - 10:11 am
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Module 25

My partner and I continued to work on the back after finishing with module 24. It seemed like a good progression to continue with the session. I continued to work on the far side of the back, on the opposite side of the spine with the heel of my hands along the erector muscle. As I rocked forward with my arms straight, the erectors naturally were pushed in the opposite direction, away from the spine. I often like to do something similar as I rock rhythmically, jostling the tight muscles so that they relax and let go, especially if my client is in spasm. Following the video, I palpated with my fingertips with circular motions and found the areas along the erectors that were knotted with adhesions and trigger points. Though I was working with the video, I did spend extra time on some of the areas that were more bothersome to my partner, following your technique but also adding some of my own, especially with the use of my elbow. I was aware of the amount of weight I used, realizing that much more of my weight is available with Thai massage on the floor than in table massage. I then continued with the video.

It took a few attempts to find the most effective angle to work on the upper traps by pushing my leg into my arm to press into the traps. I used my partners feedback to find the right amount of pressure, as well. I was able to move around from his side to above his head easily and practiced this several times to get a good feel for what I was doing. My partner felt that this was a good technique and could feel that it was helping to release the tightness in his traps.

Working with my elbows in the lamina groove on the far side of the spine is something I do with table massage, though I typically only use one elbow at a time, often using my free hand to guide me. Using both elbows for this session, I worked slowly, leaned in gently, rocked forward and rolled my arms down. I moved higher up on his back, going about half way as you had indicated. My partner didn't care for this move that much, though in the lumbar area, it was okay. On the mid back, he was more comfortable with some of my regular table massage techniques. I did practice this a bit more, though I kept the pressure light. 

This next technique was a knee technique. I am finding that the more I am exposed to using my knee with massage, the easier it becomes. I am also enjoying learning these new techniques. The first knee technique in this module, I used the flat part of my knee below my knee cap on one leg while my weight was on the other leg. I shifted my weight from this leg to the knee. With my partners feedback, I was able to find the "sweet spot" of his low back. He really liked this. The second technique required me to place my hands on my partner, one on his sacrum, the other near his shoulder blade. I then rocked forward while keeping control of the amount of weight I used. Again, my partner liked the feeling that this technique provided. I experimented with the amount of weight I used and asked my partner for feedback. With the third knee technique, I had my weight bearing leg extended back and would go up on my toes as I rocked forward. I controlled the amount of weight I used by supporting myself with my hands. I found I had good control and was able to use the right amount of pressure.

I changed the angle of my body so that my knee was directed toward my partners upper body. I rocked gently. Being short, I had to shift my body before I had completed a full pass. I found the right position for my body and continued the technique. After I worked on one side, I switched to the other side. I found that it was easier this time to feel the amount of pressure my partner wanted even without asking for feedback.

I am about 3 months into this course and have found that as I complete each module, I am picking the new techniques up quickly. Many techniques are variations to some I have been doing for quite a while, so this has helped a great deal, as well. Even if this weren't the case, I can feel the natural progression of techniques and recognize how the modules build on each other. I have been going back to earlier modules to refresh myself and often do a more complete massage on my partners after the lessons. This has been the most time intensive CEU I have taken so far, but the quality of what I am learning shows that. I still feel that my biggest obstacle is transitions. I continue to work on them and feel I am improving. I am going to video tape myself giving a massage so that I can compare what I see to what I feel. I think that will help me to identify what needs the most work and how to correct it.

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September 8, 2014 - 2:00 pm
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Actually when I created this course I never thought of it as a CEU course but as a full fledged Thai Massage training course. I added the NCBTMB approved CEUs later because I realized that this was an important feature for US therapists.

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September 10, 2014 - 10:29 pm
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Module 26

For this module I worked with the same partner that I have been working with for the other prone back sessions. I often will use my forearms and elbows in massage because of the stress on my hands when I use them too much. I also have some sports injuries to my wrists, so avoiding using the hands as much as possible works best for me. 

For the first technique, I lifted my partners arm and slid under it so that I was supporting his shoulder with my thigh. I had to sit on my foot so that I was high enough to have enough weight behind me to effectively compress. I also have to have my outside leg positioned differently in a way that reminds me of how wrestling cheerleaders sit. This helps to give me leverage when I need it. Working with my palm face up can be a little difficult at times, I tend to want to keep my palm face in with my hand and wrist loose. Part of the issue is that I am rather tight in my arms from my work and am well aware that I don't get enough body work done for myself. Self care is a huge issue for me and I am working on improving this aspect of my life. I did this technique on the first line demonstrated several times to get a good feel for what works best for me. When doing the second line, I found that since I was working closer to myself, it was easier for me to do. These techniques are similar to those that I use in table massage, however, working over the clothing and the lack of oil helps add friction that provides great myofascial release. With the position my partners shoulder was in, working on the infraspinatus of his scapula worked well. As I held his upper arm in place and leaned into his scapula, his feedback was that it was a nice, gentle and gradual stretch. This also mobilized his scapula and provided some relief from the tension of not only the infraspinatus, but also of the subscapula.

Working from my knees and on the far side of the back, I found that I struggled with the galloping rhythm. I did work at it for a bit, and after a good effort, I switched to the Elephant Walk. Part of my issue was that I did this session late in the evening after having done several hours of massage already for the day and then had family duties to tend to. I have worked on this since and I have improved, though I am still not as skilled as I need to be. I will continue to practice this. I also did both the galloping and the elephant walk from over top of my partner. I had to do this technique with one knee up and the other knee down so that I could move higher on my partners back. My partner was very relaxed at this point and didn't offer much feedback.

From my partners side and on my knees, I used my forearms to work on his low back. My lower arm was on the soft area of his glutes and my other arms was above the ilium, I used the elephant walk and galloping rhythms to work in this area. I was able to feel the glute muscles relax a little as I did this. I then used both forearms in the lumbar area of the back and did a rocking motion with both arms. This was a little uncomfortable for me because of the position of my upper arms in relation to my chest. I am also finding that the tightness in my own shoulders was limiting my movements in this position. I adjusted a little and used only one arm at a time, which is how I do this technique in table massage. In table massage, though, I often use my free hand to rock my client from either the sacrum, the opposite hip or sometimes even the opposite rib area, depending on what part of the body I am trying to release. I did use both arms as much as possible, though and will keep working on this. I know that my own flexibility is key in being successful with these techniques. I was able to maintain a fairly good rhythm despite my struggles and my partner said he couldn't tell that I was having any issues. 

When working on the erectors near the spine with my thumbs, I worked with both the galloping and the elephant walk rhythms. I did this for a few passes up and down my partners back until I felt I was doing it naturally and moving easily. My partner said that this was a relaxing technique, but could have used more pressure. He also said that he felt some of my table massage techniques are more effective for him. I will work with some smaller partners who are a little leaner to get additional feedback on this. 

My partner doesn't have any difficulties having his neck turned when laying face down, but for the neck and shoulder work, we did use additional pillows so that he was face down, with his forehead resting on a smaller bolster pillow. I have also used my face cradle in the past when working on the floor. When working on the neck and shoulder, I felt somewhat like I was trying to rub my belly and tap my head at first (a difficult task!). I found that if I started one hand first and then followed with the other hand, I was able to work on his neck and shoulders. In table massage, I often do different things with each hand, so I know this won't be an issue down the road. I find that I am thinking about what I am doing a lot more while learning the Thai massage techniques and once I have a natural flow when I begin working with clients, these things will fall into place for me. 

I followed this module up with a short session on my partner, working on him in the prone position. He was fairly relaxed at this point, so I was able to focus on my transitions, which have improved as I have adjusted them to fit my needs. 

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September 11, 2014 - 12:53 am
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I always feel like I am sitting next to you and watching you work when I read your progress reports!Smile

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September 14, 2014 - 10:55 pm
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Module 27

For this module, I worked with another therapist. This is the first time I have worked with a professional bodyworker and also the first time I have worked with a woman. She has been doing bodywork for over 30 years and has had Thai massage in the past. It has been a few years since she has had a Thai massage; the therapist injured her shoulder in the sitting position the last time, so I worked slow and did a lot of warm up before beginning the session. 

Using the fingertips to hook the traps, I followed the video and circled inward on each side. To get deeper, I used more of my weight as I pulled back on the traps gently. I did this for a minute or so, experimenting with different amounts of pressure before changing techniques and beginning to knead the traps. I followed the video, and did this slowly as you demonstrated. Even though this was done just to show the breakdown of the technique, my partner liked the slow movements and she began to do some breathing techniques that helped her to relax. I picked up the pace and continued to knead the traps. I think I was initially trying too hard with my thumbs and wasn't doing the technique quite right. Once I figured out what I was doing wrong, I was able to find a good rhythm but did notice my hands fatigued some. 

When working in the lamina groove, I usually use my middle and ring finger instead of my index finger (not sure why, it is just more comfortable for me). For this session, I did follow your instructions and used the index and middle finger. I started with moving my fingers up and down at a quick pace and went up and down the back, then I added in the leaning in and leaning out for a few more passes. I could always tell without verbal feedback how it was feeling to my partner based upon her breathing technique. Whenever she did this, I knew I was working effectively.

I did the palm circles on her shoulder blades for a minute or so and actually followed the muscles out to her upper arms to do the same on the tendons and attachments. Her shoulders are very tight and stiff, so extra warm up was needed. Before moving to the next technique, I did some warm up on the front of the shoulder and explained to her what I was going to be doing to ensure she would be comfortable with having her arm behind her back. Once I had her arm and shoulder positioned correctly, it was obvious that her shoulders are very  tight. Her scapula was tight against the ribs but still followed the technique as demonstrated. I also did this technique on a client who asked for some deeper work on his shoulders and had great results, especially at the superior end of the medial scapula border.

With the next technique, the combination of my partners tight shoulders and my short legs required me to adjust my position. I did this multiple times in an effort to figure out what worked best for both of us. I did ask for feedback while doing this, and my partner indicated that each way I did it felt correct and effective and that the stretch was strong for her but never painful or uncomfortable. When transitioning this technique into a spinal twist, I was unable to sit at her side, so I kept my knee on the floor. With my hands laced together and grasping around the shoulder, I first did the circles by using my body motion, small movements at first and the gradually larger. I then leaned back to stretch and twist her upper body. Despite how tight she seemed, she preferred a deeper stretch. 

When doing the cobra technique, for even the more gentle version, I had to keep my feet on the floor. My partner was familiar with this technique in all three versions. Again, even though she is tight in most of her body, she preferred to have the power version done. I worked very slow for this and allowed her to ease into the stretch. I then did tapotement on her back and around her shoulders to help relax her. I also followed up with additional work on her glutes and legs.  

Once we had finished the session, she shared her feedback with me. Though it has been a while since she has had Thai massage, she felt I was doing the techniques properly and was reading her body correctly so that I wouldn't over do any stretches and cause injury. She also said that my experience as a therapist and my quality of touch can easily be felt. She also thought that my transitions weren't awkward for her and that she didn't really notice them unless I stopped to talk to her or pause the video. Hopefully, I will get to use her as a partner again soon.

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September 18, 2014 - 11:40 pm
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Module 28

This module is the summary for the prone position. For this session, I followed the video and the techniques demonstrated, pausing the video and going back to slow myself down. This also made it possible to work on both sides of the body. I didn't have any issues with any of the techniques and find that I am more confident than  before when I have to adjust my position to fit my own size and ability. I did still have some issues with transitions, but the more I do them and the less I am thinking about the techniques,  the smoother they become. The months of trial and error have really helped me progress, as well, and I am learning what works and what doesn't in each situation.

As I had previously indicated, I followed the video but I also relied on my assessment skills to find the areas that needed extra attention. Doing this, I was able to add my own touch to the session and am also using my previous knowledge and skills to give the best massage possible. I find I have much more stamina when on my knees but when I do fatigue, I have found ways to adapt and still continue without affecting the quality of my work. 

The session took just over an hour and my partner offered feedback when I asked. For the most part, he felt that I was effective and he did help with some advice on a few of the techniques that I didn't think felt right. Often, I only had to adjust the position of my hands or my legs. but on at least one of the techniques, I had to completely eliminate it from the session. With the variety of techniques learned throughout the course, this really isn't an issue, though.

I have fewer issues than in the past and am actually feeling pretty confident with my skills. I have noticed a change in my quality of touch and am definitely more in tune with my clients than in the past. This has really helped me out, especially since I don't have to work as hard to get the job done!

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September 19, 2014 - 12:13 pm
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That's a great feedback! It sounds like you are surpassing the stage of just learning the techniques and are getting more into the flow of it. I am very glad to hear this! Smile

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September 23, 2014 - 11:11 pm
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Module 29

For this module, I began working on the side lying techniques. Side lying is my favorite position to have my clients lay in when I am doing heavy deep tissue work. I find the back is more relaxed and it is easier to get in deep without putting pressure on the lungs. It is also a good way for me to do targeted work in the hip and spine. 

For the practice session, I followed the video the first time through and then repeated it on the opposite side. I had my partner start out with the pillows and his arms in a position that was comfortable for him. When doing the elephant walk on the inside of the bottom, outstretched leg, I began slow and gentle, knowing that this part of the leg can often be sensitive to pressure.  This also allowed me to feel for the areas that were the tightest. When doing the technique where I sat on my partners inner thigh, with my partners feedback, I was able to find the right place to position myself and the slowly lowered my weight. As long as I was in the correct spot, this was effective. My partner indicated that it was an okay technique, but not one that he would pick as a favorite. You compared this technique to the blood stop technique learned early in the course, which is a technique this particular partner didn't care for.

Working on the side of the hip, I first did circles with my palms around the trochanter to help loosen up all of the muscles that cross over the joint. Doing this also allowed me to feel which muscles were restricted. I then used my elbow to get in deeper, feeling for those same restricted muscles, giving them the extra attention they needed. This type of work is one of my go to techniques when working with clients who are really having a lot of hip issues. Working on the floor instead of a table let me use more of my weight and I was able to work slowly and with precision. I finished with tapotement all around the hip, trying to move my body rhythmically as I did so. I wasn't very good at that, I must say. I continued to practice this until I felt I made some improvement. 

When lifting the top leg so that I could do the adductor and hip stretch, I had to have my partner move just slightly so that I was able to do the stretch properly. This was a stretch he really liked, especially as I compressed at his hip while stretching. Ensuring the adductors are properly warmed up will be crucial when doing this technique on clients.

The techniques in this module weren't new to me, but doing them on a mat on the floor instead of a table are different. Often in table massage, I find I need just a little more weight behind some of my techniques with larger or heavier clients and find that with Thai massage, that ability is built in. I did continue with the next module once finished with this one, but I will post at a later time.

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September 24, 2014 - 12:10 pm
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You are exactly right, in Thai Massage on the floor the extra weight is automatically built in compared to table work. It just gives you better leverage.

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Kathy
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October 1, 2014 - 11:38 pm
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Module 30

For this module, I followed along with the video as before, repeating it so that I could work on the other side, as well. When elephant walking along the length of the back, I was able to walk on my knees easily and found that this was necessary since I am smaller and couldn't reach the entire length of the back effectively otherwise. Using my thumbs, I worked the length of the back along the erectors. Though I don't use thumbs much in massage, this was an effective technique to help me palpate and find areas in my partners back that were tight and I was also able to find specific trigger points to work on.

With the next technique, I placed one hand on my partners hip and used the palm of the other hand to apply pressure to the erectors. I did this by shifting my weight and gradually working my way up the back. Using my leg to support my arm ensured I used my body weight properly. I really liked the complexity of this stretch which not only stretched the erectors, but was also providing compression to the erectors. This helped to relax my partners back effectively. The spinal stretch in the side lying position wasn't as effective or as strong as previous spinal stretches in the prone and supine positions though I think that this is a technique I will add to my table massage routine for clients in the side lying position. I tend to work on clients on their side when they are having significant tightness or spasms so I think this twist will be gentle yet effective once the spasm has subsided.

The spinal twist using a rocking motion wasn't difficult to do for me, but my partner said my small hand made the grip uncomfortable for him. His feedback indicated that part of the issue was the irritation from the friction of my hand on the fabric of his shirt. Part of this could be from the amount of time practicing to get the technique correctly. I have since done the technique during a table massage with a smaller client and didn't seem to have any issues.

The hip, quad and low back stretch was one both my partner and I could feel the effectiveness of. I had a little trouble with the spread of my arms, but working slowly, I managed. With the knee in the lower back, my partner experienced discomfort, even when done gently, but when I placed my knee in his glutes, it was a comfortable stretch that felt effective and without discomfort. 

Once completed on one side, I worked on the opposite side. I found that I had fewer difficulties and was able to find a good rhythm and flow much sooner than on the first side. When finished with this module, I followed up with working on my partners hands and feet.

Throughout this course, I have noticed positive changes in my touch and abilities. Even very slight adjustments have given me great results. Recently, I was working on a Lyme patient who suffers from RA so severe in her right knee that I would estimate it is 4 times the size it should be. She is also barely able to walk most of the time. While working on her swollen joints, I focused on breathing and quality of touch more than usual. Knowing that touch is often painful for someone with that much inflammation, I worked slowly and gently. She had even indicated to me that she usually doesn't let anyone work on the knee, but could feel what I was doing was different. A few hours later, we crossed paths again while she was with a few other patients. She hugged me, told me she was was glad to see me and wanted me to know that when she left the massage room, she was pain free for the first time in years and that the swelling was down about 50%.

I took this course because I wanted to learn a new technique, but I have learned so much more. I have never considered myself an energy therapist, have always focused more on rehab and orthopedic work, but I am finding that it isn't just the physical techniques you teach that are making me a better therapist. I greatly appreciate all of the small and big things you teach!

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October 2, 2014 - 12:28 am
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That's an amazing feedback with the 50% reduction in the swelling of the knee and no more pain. If you want to become a real knee therapy expert, you might want to check out my Knee Therapy course. That goes even much deeper. I have had excellent results with these technique on quite a few clients with knee problems.

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Kathy
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October 3, 2014 - 10:14 am
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Module 31

This module covers shoulder work in the side lying position. Many of the techniques are similar to those that I use during a table massage. I followed the video the first time through, then worked a second time on the other side without the video. The first few techniques demonstrated were very similar to what I already do and I had no issues with them. I find that shoulder circling really loosens up the entire shoulder capsule and also helps to identify any areas that are "caught". When supporting the back of the shoulder with one hand and circling on the front of the shoulder with the other hand, I also added circular friction on the pec attachments, as well. This helped me to find a few trigger points that I was able to work on.

Arm circling is something I do, but the addition of pressure in the opposite direction of the movement is something new for me. It took me a little extra practice to coordinate the movements of not just my hands but also the circling movement of my body. Next, I transitioned so that I was at a right angle and would lean into the traps with one hand and pull back on the shoulder with the other and then shift my body weight. I had more issues with these particular techniques than with any of the others in the module. I had a little difficulty with the movements of my body. With practice, I did improve, though I am not nearly as fluid as I need to be. I am aware that part of the issues with techniques that require my body to move more is that I tend to be fairly stiff myself. Knowing this, I have really made self care more of a focus. 

My partners feedback for this module was that I did an okay job, but he does prefer the side lying shoulder work I do on a table better than the floor work. This is in part because I do a lot of very targeted and often deep work that focuses on small and specific areas.  His feedback also indicated that my apprehension is noticeable, which is understandable since this was the first time I have done shoulder work on the floor. I think I will have success with working on the shoulder this way, though I do see a need to add some of my own techniques and skills so that I can achieve the best results. Oddly enough, where working on other areas of the body has given me greater leverage, I lose leverage when doing the shoulder work while working on the floor. I will continue to work on this and I'm sure I will get it figured out at some point.

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October 4, 2014 - 1:56 am
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It sounds like you simply need more practice with these techniques. Your commitment to self care will come in very handy, especially if you add in some yoga stretches to increase your flexibility. This will make it more comfortable to move around on the floor.

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October 9, 2014 - 11:11 pm
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Module 32

With this module, I completed the techniques for the side lying position. Many of the these shoulder techniques are very similar to those that I use in table massage. The first technique is a variation of one that I do, and I actually will start to incorporate this one into my deep tissue sessions in the future. When swinging the arm behind the head while pushing the shoulder forward, initially, I was concerned with using too much of my weight as I pulled the arm back. I was surprised to learn that I was being too gentle at first. I did this stretch on several points along the scapula border and was able to find specific areas that needed the extra attention. My partner felt some discomfort at the top of the shoulder at the start but after several passes, the discomfort lessened and felt more like a medium strong stretch. I discovered that different people experience their discomfort in different areas of the shoulder, depending which muscle was the tightest.

The next three techniques worked with loosening up the scapula to 'unglue' it from the ribs. The first of these techniques where the scapula is rolled over the thumb by rolling the shoulder back is a move I use almost every time I work on the shoulder in the side lying position. Using the fingers to grip the scapula is new for me, though. This was a really good addition, allowing a stronger pull and seemed to be more effective than just the thumb. Even on a very tight shoulder, I was able to do this after doing the previous techniques. I made sure I worked slowly so that the discomfort was kept to a minimum. The position I felt was the most effective while doing this was when I was above my partner, had him put his hand behind his low back to open the scapula up, and lift with one hand while pushing back on the shoulder with the other. 

Extending the arm above the head to do traction on the arm and shoulder, I had to adjust my body somewhat. I also moved my hand to other positions along the side to stretch the teres and lats, as well. I continued to follow the video and kneaded the muscles around the lateral scapula and then crossed my hands and leaned with my weight to stretch this area. This not only affected the shoulder, but also the ribs, which helped my partner to feel his chest loosen and make breathing easier.

Moving so that my leg was supporting my partners upper back, I placed his arm on my upper leg and did additional traction on his arm and shoulder then added a light circle. It took a few tries to find the correct position so that it wasn't uncomfortable for him. It was near the elbow that was uncomfortable, so I adjusted how I was gripping his arm and hand and the angle of his arm, which helped. I finished with rocking the shoulder to help my partner to relax and then used my weight and leaned back to pull his shoulder downward.

At this point, his shoulder was very loose and relaxed. His feedback was that the techniques used were gentle yet very effective and didn't only affect how his shoulder felt, but also reduced the tightness in his neck and reduced the tightness around his ribs to help his breathing feel more open. 

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