May 31, 2013
Welcome to the forum, Kong. I have a background in eastern martial arts as well, and in yoga and Qigong. They all use similar concepts when it comes to working with the body, along with Thai Massage. This is not surprising since they are all Asian styles of working with the body and its energy in different, but related ways. Thai Massage has the strongest connection with yoga, where it actually came from originally. You will probably find more similarities as you progress through the course.
May 31, 2013
Been practicing the chi machine on my wife and she says it feels relaxing but its a bit uncomfortable on my ankles when I sit on my heels for an extended time. What you have said about making your client comfortable by being comfortable yourself is very true. My wife could feel my discomfort and my rhythm was off. But I'm sure it'll improve with practice!
This is a fairly common issue in the beginning of the course when you are not used to sitting on your heels or squatting on your toes. With a little practice this will go away. However one of my students found a workaround. She is doing the Chi Machine while she is sitting cross legged, and it works just as well.
May 31, 2013
The foot massage module has been great! The second technique will require more practice on my part as I have not gotten the hang of rotating my torso while pressing and external rotating the foot. The other techniques were easier to learn and your explanation and teaching methodology made it even more so! The feedback from my wife is that it feels great but I need to remove the calluses on my hand as she could feel it as I massaged. The other thing would be applying uneven pressure between my right and left hand. Definitely going to be practicing more!
The technique where you rotate your body while alternating between your hands is one of the more difficult ones to learn. Once you practice it and find your groove, it will feel like second nature.
Callouses can be irritating if you are on the receiving end of a massage. But that's easy to remedy with a skin file or something along those lines.
The uneven pressure between left and right hand is another very typical thing that I have seen a lot amongst my students. It is very good that your wife is giving you qualified feedback. This is really helpful and important. Without qualified feedback it is next to impossible to find out what you need to improve.
May 31, 2013
The foot massage practice has been improving the flow of my movements and I am getting more comfortable with sitting on my calves for an extended period of time now. My Chi machine technique is also improving, consistent-cadence wise. Initially it was quite stop/start and not so fluid! On the movement where you pushed/pulled the foot while rotating the hip joint, I have found that if I applied more force pushing the foot in, there will be a position where the leg will not rotate freely and the leg feels "stuck". This does not cause pain but I was a bit apprehensive on rotating the leg by muscling it and the flow of the technique was abrupt. When I pushed in less, the leg was able to rotate freely but I was barely pushing. Is this normal? My wife thoroughly enjoys the foot massage and its now become a daily requirement!
The main thing with this technique is that it is more about being circular and flowing than a pushing and twisting action. I have personally never experienced what you described, so I suspect that you are still applying this a little bit too mechanically. Try to be really aware that you are working with your body and not with arm power, and look at it as a slow rocking movement that flows in and out freely. You should be able to lean forward with pretty good pressure without causing any discomfort, unless your wife has some specific issue in her hip.
Also check on the position of the foot when you push forward. The foot should not be twisted a lot, just enough to get a turning motion in the hip joint.
I am glad your wife enjoys regular foot massage. It is very healthy for a relationship when there is some good massage involved. My wife and myself work on each other regularly as well, and we both love it.
May 31, 2013
Thanks for the tips Shama! I'll give it a try and let you know how it turns out.
The front thigh warmup needs to be applied gently as it can be painful! I've found syncing my breath with the push like you mentioned helps with regulating the amount of pressure I apply. Also, the side of the thigh push pull technique is wonderful and the feedback I got was that she could feel the increased blood flow in that area. My favourite thigh warmup technique!
The secret with the front thigh warmup is that you find the right spot on the muscle, and then you imagine yourself sinking into the muscles softly by using your body weight exclusively. If you do any pressing with this technique, it will feel painful. However if you lean forward with your body weight and slowly, gently and softly feel your hands sinking into the muscle, it will feel wonderful.
It does take a little practice to instantly find the right spot on the muscle and to know the right amount of pressure which can be applied. The trick is to lean right into the center of the quadriceps muscles. If you are on the outside of those muscles, they will slide away sideways and it will feel uncomfortable.
Since you are still in the very early stages of the training, it is normal that some techniques won't be spot on right away yet. However I can assure you that once you get to the end of the course, all this will feel like second nature to you and you will find your 'groove'.
May 31, 2013
The hip joint rotating technique is getting better with more practice and using my whole body in the movement has helped a lot wih the flow of things.
Being new to using my hands for massaging, my hands tired out quickly and using the forearm techniques was a much welcomed change! Knowing how much pressure to apply will take some more practice but on the whole they were easy to learn!
I really enjoyed your opening comments on how to evaluate a client's flexibility and limitations by observing the foot! I was able to see areas where I needed to work on myself immediately! Looking forward to more tips like that in the coming sessions.
Working with your whole body and NOT with with muscle power alone is one of the secrets of getting Thai Massage to feel good. Working with your muscles and with an isolated body part will always result in the massage feeling mechanical and/or painful.
It seems like you are already seeing improvements just by practicing regularly. It is like tuning an instrument. When you hear a violinist tune the violin, it will first be a little too high, then a little too low, until it finally hits the right note spot on.
It works the same way with Thai Massage. Initially it will be a little too soft, or a little too strong, or a little too mechanical, and then at some point, you will know how to make it feel just right.