November 7, 2017
Kerry Lee Module 1:
I have started a journal with lots of notes and little illustrations to keep track of each module and refresh my memory. Noted the massage was performed on a futon on the floor rather than a low table. It was really helpful to understand the importance of body weight and positioning being of more benefit than muscle strength. The positioning of the legs and feet is very similar to a yoga pose I teach in my classes so it felt quite comfortable to me. I really appreciated the close ups you showed of the hand positions and how the hands mostly close over the foot. I practiced on my fiancé Scott ( he is very eager to make sure I get plenty of practice!) It felt a bit strange at first leaning my body weight in but he said it felt great so off to a good start... As we have just returned from visiting Chiang Mai I have a fresh memory of the rhythm of a good foot massage so I really tried to bring that rocking/relaxed motion into my first practice. I also appreciate that there are many options available to use as a practitioner and that I don't need to panic if I'm struggling with a movement- just to be patient and practice or take another approach. Thank you for a great first module!
Hi Kerry, welcome to our community and the Thai Foot Massage certification program. Since you just returned from Chiang Mai, you have a good basis for knowing how it is supposed to feel. And as a yoga instructor you won't have a challenge with working on the floor.
I can totally relate to Scott wanting you to practice a lot on him! I have my favorite foot massage shop in Chiang Mai, and if I had the time, I would get a one hour foot massage every day.
Also please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure that it is all correctly organized:
November 7, 2017
Module 2: Kerry Lee- Thai Foot Massage Course Notes
I started by watching the module a few times and stopping to make notes and observations on positioning etc... as this seemed a bit more complex to follow. To practice these positions on my ever cooperative partner Scott I performed each move separately to get a feel for each one. Scott has a damaged left ankle from a football injury so I have noticed a restriction in movement and it doesn't roll open as easily as his right foot. I had to run through this movement a number of times before it felt more fluid and enjoyable to do. The 2nd movement I really struggled with getting my positioning right and ended up shuffling around and shifting my body weight. It took about 5 separate goes to start to feel better positioned and able to lean into the movement. This is one I will need to practice to feel comfortable in! The 3rd movement using the forearms to roll the sole of the foot outward - began a little awkwardly while I was trying to find the right position and keep Scott's foot supported. One of his feet - the injured one - was quite sensitive on the instep so he suggested I start the pressure off gently then work up the intensity. So that was valuable feedback...especially when working with people that have sensitivities due to injury. I really enjoyed putting the four moves moves into a sequence and got positive feedback on the flow through! I'm ready to practice on other humans now 🙂 Thank you for another well presented module.
November 7, 2017
Module 3: Kerry Lee
I'm finding the Thai style of massage less tiring than the 'Western' style. Being able to use my body weight by leaning into a movement makes much more sense in preserving my own thumbs, hands and shoulders etc... I really enjoyed putting all these moves together and working the tops and sides of the feet - Scott said it felt really lovely in my practice runs which is always encouraging! What I did have a challenge with is that Scott's legs are quite hairy and the tendon thumb glide pulled his hairs a bit. I ended up pressing and releasing in that area instead of sliding. Should I have used oil in those areas or was it ok to improvise? He also had an extremely tender spot on both tendons when I used the direct circular technique and the pulling up of the tendon technique I didn't work with strong pressure so think it is perhaps tightness or old injury related. I can see how important it will be in the future with clients to understand their feet history and sensitivities. Also I did a foot massage session with my daughter; her feet ache a lot as she is on them all day. After our session she reported the next day her feet still felt very tingly and comfortable so it's great to be able to offer my family some respite from aching feet 🙂
Thanks for the great module!
I know all about the hairy leg problem since I have quite hairy legs as well. Yes, you need to modify and improvise to prevent pulling the hair. You did the exact right thing - pressing and releasing instead of sliding. Later on in this course you will learn the Thai reflexology style which is done with oil and which can solve this issue.
Using oil during a Thai Massage session is not practical since it will be a bit messy. It is best to keep non-oil and oil styles separate. Improvising is fine, and if you cannot improvise, there is nothing wrong with skipping a particular technique.
For example, when I get a Thai foot massage (the one which uses oil) I always tell the therapist not to work on my calves, because it generally hurts by pulling my hair when they do sliding techniques. Some of them understand and they replace it with press-and-release techniques, and some of them just stay away from my calves. Either way is fine with me.
November 7, 2017
Module 4: Kerry Lee
Practicing these moves using my knees and feet to massage someone felt quite strange at first and I was a little worried about the pressure I might be exerting but once I had gone through the practice once it felt really enjoyable to perform. I also practiced on my stepson who is 15 but very thin so with him I was concerned about him feeling squashed rather than massaged...my concerns were unfounded 🙂 he said the pressure was fine and that he really enjoyed it! I set myself a personal challenge and invited a friend who is a professional massage therapist for a massage. I thought it a good opportunity to put into practice some of what I have learned so far in a 45 minute session. It's going to take me time and practice to find my flow from technique to technique but only practice will help that but the end result was that she said she didn't want it to end...she particularly enjoyed being on the floor for the session and the forearm roll outs on the sole of the foot. When using knees, feet and heels I began with one foot at a time but ended up feeling quite comfortable doing both at once. I think perhaps having some balance from a regular yoga practice helps! Really enjoyed these techniques - Thanks 🙂
November 7, 2017
Module 5: Kerry Lee
Practicing this module was interesting 🙂 The challenge for me was with getting the positioning of the body and arms right to lean my body weight into the movement without pushing my weight directly downward...clearly I need to practice this and give it some time. With wrapping the feet across each other I could do this comfortably with my daughter and she enjoyed me really leaning into it but I couldn't use this move at all with Scott as it hurt his ankles ( hopefully the old injuries and not my technique). I found the moves to stretch the feet up and down easier and enjoyable to perform and synchronising breath and movement very familiar from my yoga practice. When it came to practicing the moves that twisted the feet I wasn't sure I was doing them properly but each person commented on enjoying the sensation so I guess it went ok. I am aware that although at the moment I am performing the techniques in a somewhat disjointed fashion I can imagine with practice it will start to feel more natural to me and I look forward to putting things together as I progress 🙂
This is indeed the normal process - in the beginning it is all a bit mechanical and disjointed, and after a few months it all morphs into a natural and synchronized flow. That happens when you have found the right body mechanics for each move and when you have the techniques internalized so that you don't have to think about them anymore. At that point it feels like a real joy to practice Thai Massage.
November 7, 2017
Module 6: Kerry Lee Thai Foot Massage Course Notes
Thank you Shama for returning my email about the break in my study and for your understanding.
I am very happy to get back to my modules and this one came as we did four days of quite intense hiking so proved very valuable with the ankle release work. I practiced the first couple of ankle release and loosening techniques on my partner who has bad ankles due to football injuries. I found his ankles very creaky and with minimal joint flexibility however he found the loosening movement of the hands moving quickly and in opposite directions extremely relaxing and felt it could benefit him prior to a football match! There were a couple of moves here I was challenged by which was picking the foot up and pressing down with the thumbs and heel of the hand and up with the fingers under the foot then sliding...but as I have had a break from the study I am probably a bit rusty and need to get my confidence back up with more practice. This ankle release work was particularly relevant with Scott's injuries but also very nice after hours of hiking where our feet can take a real beating. I enjoyed running through the sequence at the end as an idea of how these techniques can fit together. I know the foot massage is mostly done as the earlier part of the full body Thai massage but I can see the value in using some of the moves prior to a sporting event or after a long hike. I also agree that the toe snapping thing can often be quite painful and appreciate that you have an option that feels more pleasant for the client. I will review my previous modules to refresh my memory this week alongside the new modules. Thank you again for giving me some extra time with the modules 🙂
Definitely a good idea to review the previous modules, especially since now you have completed the first section of the course and will get into the reflexology part which is quite different.
It is true that foot massage is done at the beginning of a Thai Massage sessions, however you can also use it as a stand-alone therapy, as is the case with the reflexology.