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Kelly Galey's Heavenly Head Massage Course Notes
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KellyGaley
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June 30, 2017 - 11:06 am
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 Module One

I enjoyed watching and practicing the Shoulder Press Technique. I have used a similar technique to this for years, but not quite the same. The difference being the changing of the hands position and pressing inferiorly on the client shoulder while sitting back. I practiced this on clients today and felt that it was very effective and that the clients liked it.

Also, in the video, Shama expounded on the use of the word “energy”, and that was helpful. The word itself is vague and I like hearing others talk about what it means to them, and I liked what Shama had to say.

The breathwork is important. When we breathe consciously while doing the work, we are activating and moving our own Chi, and queueing the client to do the same, thus helping them to activate and move their own Chi.

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Shama
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June 30, 2017 - 8:52 pm
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Hi Kelly, welcome to our community and the Heavenly Head Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure that it is all organized correctly:

Certification Check List

Good to hear that you are comfortable with energy and breath since that’s an important component of this course.

I read that you have been in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, studying Thai Massage, so you have a great foundation. Thai Massage or really any massage can be easily combined with Heavenly Head Massage. I have almost never ended any session without adding in some neck/head’face massage at the end, and this is not exactly the strength of traditional Thai Massage.

And you are from Texas. I used to live in Austin before I moved to Thailand. My daughter and grandchildren are still in Austin. Also an amazingly high percentage of Thai Healing Massage Academy’s students are from Texas for some reason.

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KellyGaley
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July 11, 2017 - 10:24 am
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Module Two

I liked and since watching the video, have been keeping in mind, in my practice, keeping the arms straight, finding the 90 degree angle, and using bodyweight to apply pressure, instead of “muscling it” with hands or arms.

It’s important to work between the ribs, not on them, because we want to work the costal muscles, not press on the bone, presumably, unless we are trying to push a rib back into position. And of course don’t want to push a bone OUT of position!

I had totally forgotten that tapping the top of the sternum activates the Thymus! Thanks for the reminder!

Use of tapotement and vibration, rocking, circles: I like to keep an eye on the feet while rocking the  client, or the most distal parts of the body, to see that they are moving as well.

Synchronize the breath: I have gotten a lot of massages from therapists who don’t do that, who really do just press press press without regard to the breath, or even to whether or not I can breathe! It isn’t pleasant, and certainly isn’t effective.

I would not agree that touching the breasts of a male client is a non issue. Male breast tissue is equally sensitive to female breast tissue. To avoid “confusion” on part of client it is best to avoid it altogether and treat male breast tissue same as I would female breast tissue.

There seems to be great interest in Dallas, anyway, for Thai Massage, so probably that is true for the rest of the Texas as well. 

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Shama
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July 11, 2017 - 11:40 am
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Even here in Thailand the therapists never pay any attention to the breath. That’s something which I put into my style of massage. For the Heavenly Head Massage system it would be a disaster to work without breath awareness, as you noted.

Both I and my wife have received a lot of very positive feedback from working the chest of male clients. Personally I love receiving it. You might want to reconsider depriving them of it. Smile 

Neither I nor my wife have ever felt that any man got confused by it in our 18 years of doing Thai Massage. Why don’t you try it on someone you know and get feedback how it feels and how they like it? And then let me know how it went. Smile

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KellyGaley
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July 18, 2017 - 11:52 am
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Module 3

In doing the circles at the axillary (at 10:24 in the video) we can see that while working on the clients Left side, Shama is circling clockwise, and when he works the Right side of the body, he circles counter clockwise. What is the reason for the direction of the circles? Is it because the client finds one direction more comfortable than the opposite direction? Does it have to do with Chi, or energy? Direction of muscle fibers? I am curious because I do pay attention to directions of strokes, circles, progression of compressions, etc. and am curious to know and understand the rationale.

I like the technique or form for the therapist at 19:00 in the video.  It’s a very useful technique for pressing those aspects of the shoulder while client is supine on the mat. 

The “weight / un-weight” instruction for the elephant walk is interesting to me, reminds of footwork in “cloud-hands”, which has a very specific function, which Elephant Walk has as well.

I do think its important to work the chest of both male, and female clients. But I would not agree that they should be treated differently. I would not work over the nipple of a man, or a woman.

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Shama
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July 18, 2017 - 12:32 pm
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Yes, there is a reason for the direction in the circling at 10:24 in video 3. If you circle the way how I show it, you are lifting the pec/breast tissue up which feels quite nice. If you circle the other way, you push the tissue down over the side of the torso which doesn’t feel as good.

In this case there is a real reason why I circle in this direction. There are other techniques where I just found out from experience that circling in a particular direction feels better that way. And then there are techniques where circling works in either direction. So it depends on the particular technique.

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KellyGaley
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July 20, 2017 - 1:38 am
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Module 4

That is a nice transition move, from the sternum / shoulder work, to the neck work. Nice breakdown of getting from one position to another.

Question regarding The Wave: 

Should we start the movement the way it is done in the video: First by pressing upward on the neck and titling the head back, then adding the traction movement with the fingers, then adding the movement with the feet? Seems like it would be nice to ease into the movement.

Thanks for teaching the movements in an ergonomic way that protects the therapists body.

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Shama
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July 20, 2017 - 2:13 am
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Actually the flow starts by lifting with the feet. However in order to get your feet under the upper body, you have to lift the head first. But the actual wave movement starts with a foot lift, then flows into a neck lift with the hands, followed by the traction.

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KellyGaley
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July 23, 2017 - 2:31 am
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Module 5

This course is exactly what I was looking for. I work very directly, therapeutically, and was looking for those yummy feel good moves for the neck and head. Thanks!

I do like to incorporate strokes or bodywork even when moving hair, moving an arm. Good idea, good way to connect strokes and techniques. And it’s good to relax a client as much possible so that they aren’t guarding, and tensing up.

I use Coconut oil, have never used Jojoba oil. Do you find that they are similar? Except for the smell, of course.

Shama I have a question, in the Thai Massage Energy Lines course, do you teach the names of the lines, and the function of the lines?

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Shama
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July 23, 2017 - 2:54 am
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I like Jojoba oil because it doesn’t smell. Coconut oil is good and healthy, but it can be a bit stinky unless you mix it with some essential oil.

Regarding the energy line course, I don’t use the Thai names (they are actually Pali names), but I use a simple numbering system which is a lot easier to remember than those long and complicated Pali names.

I do not teach the specific function of each line, and I have good reasons for that. Here in Thailand there are long lists of all kinds of things that can supposedly be cured or healed by working on those lines. In the western world these things are dangerously close to medical claims which can get a massage therapist in serious trouble with the law and the medical profession.

So I keep it a bit more general which is usable by all therapists without skirting or breaking the law. Here in Asia you can get away with making all kinds of outrageous claims, but in many countries in the western world you cannot.

Plus many of those claims what individual lines can do are impossible to substantiate. That’s another reason why I don’t want to present as fact what actually is just something that I have heard or read.

I prefer to stick with things that I know from personal experience and that are easy to understand and implement, and I tend to stay away from more esoteric concepts or health claims. 

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KellyGaley
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July 28, 2017 - 5:51 am
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Module 6

I like all the neck rolls and stretches. I am “practicing” them on live sessions, and one thing I like is that if I forget one, or get them out of sequence, it’s ok. I don’t usually keep oil around the Thai Mat, because it can be a little messy, but am doing so now so that I can practice this yummy neck work.

On the test, it was a little confusing, Question 29: “6.4 What is the difference between the “getting the hair out of the way” technique and the neck sliding technique #3?” 
Answer #1 “they are one and the same”, in the video you say they are similar but with more pressure for the neck sliding technique. This was my answer.
Answer #2 “they are totally different techniques”. Obviously this is not the correct answer.
Answer #3 “#2 is only used for special therapeutic applications”. This wasn’t stated in the video, so I don’t think that’s the correct answer.
It was just a little confusing.

LOL Where I live, coconut oil is never “stinky”!! But it is good in combination with Lemongrass, or Gingergrass. Smells like a Thai restaurant!

I understand what you are saying, regarding teaching the functions of the lines, but I don’t see how it’s any different teaching the meridian points and lines associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine. But not many people teach the names and functions of the Thai lines. 

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Shama
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July 28, 2017 - 12:52 pm
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You are correct about the test question answer. Anyway, you only need to get 80% right to pass.

I know that my wife had to throw out a bunch of clothes and sheets because she can’t get the coconut oil smell out of them. She mixes it with some essential oil. Without that the coconut oil here has a strong smell. It’s not when you smell it in the bottle, but it’s a smell that attaches itself to things like clothes and hair.

Thai women often rub it into their hair which is supposed to be good for healthy hair. But I can testify that it is stinky, or maybe I should say smelly, when my wife does that! Laugh Maybe where you are the coconut oil is processed in some way to make it not smelly. 

Anyway, no such issues with Jojoba oil.

Regarding the specific names of the lines and their functions – in Chinese medicine the theoretical background of the healing arts is more precise than in Thailand. Here it is sometimes not so well defined or documented. There is also less literature available on this compared to Chinese medicine. 

You also have to remember that to get an acupuncture licence involves years of study. However anyone can take a weekend course and get themselves some kind of Thai Massage certificate. So if an acupuncturist says something about the effects of meridian work it carries more weight than if a Thai Massage therapist with a weekend certificate makes claims about what those lines can do.

Also the names of the lines are very long and difficult to pronounce and almost impossible to remember for most westerners. That’s why I use a numbering system instead. 

Another thing is that I have always preferred a more intuitive approach by encouraging my students to feel with their hands rather than dealing with lots of complex theoretical material, as is more common in Traditional Chinese medicine.

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KellyGaley
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July 28, 2017 - 7:25 pm
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Oh, you mean Coconut Oil goes rancid?! I didn’t know that, haven’t had that misfortune, and thought it was one of those few oils that it didn’t.

Yes it is true that it takes years of study to become an acupuncturist. I just find it frustrating that it is so difficult to learn more about the Sen Lines. It is easy to find information about Meridian Lines. 

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Shama
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July 29, 2017 - 1:04 am
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True, it is a lot easier to find information about the meridians. I have a course about the Sen lines, however I approach the subject more from an experiential point of view than from an academic one.

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KellyGaley
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August 1, 2017 - 11:09 am
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Module 7

Something that every (Thai Massage) teacher I have studied under has stressed, is the importance of being mindful of the legs, keeping a wide stance, for stability and power. 

The Sideways Neck Stretch with Head Roll looks like a good stretch for Levator, but also and maybe especially a nice movement due to rolling the neck with the forearm! I really wish someone would do that for me, so that I could know what it feels like. Looks great. I have been practicing this on clients and getting good feedback from them.

Thanks for the attention to body mechanics!

I like the vertical head lift. It resembles a yoga shoulder stand, but with traction instead of compression that would occur if doing a shoulder stand. Nice!

I think my clients will really like the neck work, especially the techniques in this video.

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Shama
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August 1, 2017 - 11:41 am
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Neck work is something where Thai Massage falls short a bit. That’s what I wanted to fill in with this course. There are so many people who really need and want good neck work, and you will find lots of it in this course. Smile

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KellyGaley
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August 3, 2017 - 9:48 pm
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Module 8

Thank you Shama for the modified neck stretches, for those people who are not so mobile in the neck.

Would you say that a good marker for correct hand placement for the first technique, that the ear fits into the space between the thumb and the forefinger?

Is the Pull and Squeeze (just after the Half Moon Stretch) being done on the Sternocleidomastoid? Looks like a good technique. I think SCM is a badly neglected muscle.

I have been doing the figure 8 stretch with a scarf for a long time, but wasn’t taught with so much precision. I’m sure that doing the stretch with my hands and being mindful of what was taught in the video, will make the stretch better whichever way I am doing the stretch.

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Shama
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August 4, 2017 - 12:34 am
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Yes, you can use that as a marker for correct hand placement.

The squeeze and pull technique can be done as a general move on the side of the neck, but you can also focus it on the SCM. This could be variation. Later on in the course you will see techniques which are more specifically suited for SCM work.

Regarding doing the figure 8 with a scarf, there is an entire module about this later on in the course.

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KellyGaley
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August 4, 2017 - 12:53 am
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Cool! I look forward to the module with the scarf work.

In the case of people with very stiff necks, would you recommend starting with the head wiggle, then doing the modified figure 8, and then trying the figure 8 to the degree that they are able? 

Next client today really needs this work.. Thanks!

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Shama
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August 4, 2017 - 8:59 pm
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That sounds like a good sequence. However I would first do a lot of non-stretch work, just loosening the neck up, before getting into the stretches.

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