For this module, I chose a partner who is smaller than me so it would be easier to learn the techniques. Typically, the shoulders of my adult partners would be higher than mine while doing some of these techniques which tends to bother my hands and arms. I also wanted to use a partner who would have an easier time sitting cross legged. For these reasons, I used my 8 year old step son as my partner. When working with him, I had to ask about discomfort a lot more than I typically would for an adult partner. The first few techniques that focused more on the neck area weren't an issue for him, however, once I was in a position behind him with my feet against his back and was grasping his hand, this caused some discomfort in his distal biceps. To ease this, I moved my hands so that I was gripping just above the elbow instead. This required me to bend my knees, but this did not effect the quality of the back bend and shoulder stretch while using my feet to rock. The only thing that I noticed this effected was my own balance, but only slightly.
When doing the spinal twist technique , I ended up working on older and larger partners to effectively practice this move. For the 8 year old, it felt uncomfortable in his upper legs. With the adult partners, there weren't any issues and they both felt that it was an effective stretch.
I typically don't like doing seated work on clients so I don't know how often I will use these techniques, but it is good to have the knowledge as an option if the need comes up. I do see a benefit to using the seated position with clients who do yoga and want to get a deeper stretch. Besides that, every new technique learned helps me to become a better therapist and improves my knowledge of how the body should properly be moved when doing body work.
I don't use the seated techniques much either, but like you say, they are an important addition to our repertoire, and for some clients they are the perfect fit. If someone has really tight traps, and has a large physique, you can't get any better leverage than in the seated position.
For this module, I continued to work on techniques in the seated position. For the most part, the techniques in this video were quite difficult for me to do on my partner who is much larger than me. I was able to do all of the techniques, but never really found the fluidity that I have had with the previous lessons. With clients who are closer to my size, these techniques will be much easier to do, so I will continue to work on them, I will just choose smaller partners. My partner still felt that the techniques were performed effectively and didn't really think that it felt as if I were struggling. The techniques that required my partner to rest on my leg didn't work at all, he would have to hunch over quite a bit and would be uncomfortable to do this. We did use a pillow to help, but that didn't feel practical.
The one technique that did work well for me was the shoulder stretch. With this stretch, I was able to give a good strong stretch to my partners shoulder, and was actually able to go deeper than I would have expected. I have already begun to use this technique when doing shoulder rehab and have had good results with it.
As I had said previously, seated work isn't something I do very often. Even when doing short sessions on someone who only wants their shoulder worked on in a limited amount of time, I almost always have them lay on my table. I feel like I lose most of my power when my clients are seated since most of them are larger than me.
Throughout this course, I have learned so many new techniques that I have incorporated into my table work and now that I have finished this course (with the exception of posting for module 35), I want to get another month or so of practice with different sized partners and then I will start taking clients. I have had a lot of people ask, so that is promising!
Sounds great! Just do what you feel comfortable with and what you can do easily. There will always be some techniques that don't work on certain clients or which you personally don't feel so comfortable with, and that's ok. Just remember the principle that the techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences, and you will be doing fine!
This module was very helpful in demonstrating how to explain what Thai massage is to my clients as I begin to get more inquiries about this modality. Few people in my area are familiar with Thai massage so having a good description is important to obtain not just interest but also obtaining and maintaining a client base. The client intake in the video is very similar to what I already do with new clients, though first I have them fill out a questionnaire and then follow up before the massage to get any explanations or additional information. I also like to find out what experiences my clients have had with massage, whether previous experiences were positive, what they liked, what they didn't like and to find out if there are any areas that might require extra attention or need to be avoided. I also ask similar questions every time a client returns.
I also appreciate the tips and the demonstration of describing the process/concept of healing. This is huge with the style of massage I use and the type of clients I typically have. It is important for my clients and the patients at the center I work at to understand how cellular memory works and the importance of restoring the body to its optimum health. Your explanation with this will really help not just with Thai sessions, but with many of the chronically ill patients I see on a daily basis.
Wrapping up this course, I can really tell that I didn't just learn new techniques over the past few months, but have also fine tuned my quality of touch, my assessment skills and have learned to focus my energy much more effectively. With the addition of this video, I will be able to verbally explain to my clients what I am doing and how it can affect them. This course not only has given me a new modality to share with my clients but has improved my every day massage skills.
I am happy to hear that you took away a lot from this course. I enjoyed reading your progress reports since they rank among the most detailed and most comprehensive ones I have seen in this forum.
I am sure you will be able to help many people effectively with your Thai Massage skills.