November 26, 2012
Well after months of researching different live courses and “video courses” it seems this is the most unique course available, and you Shama seem to be very committed to thai massage as a healing art, not just a way to make money but as a method to really help people. My goal by taking this course is to learn how to help people who suffer daily in pain. This was my goal when i became a yoga teacher, and i have in the last few years seen yoga transform people who suffer from often debilitating disorders like arthritus and fibromyalgia. I hope to use thai massage to help people who can’t practice yoga. I also like the energetic aspect, I have recently started studying and practicing Qui gong and tai chi and understand how blocked energy can often cause pain and illness, even depression. I am very excited to begin this journey, and look forward to my first module.
Hi Kyle, welcome to the course and the forum. I am glad you are with us, since you clearly did your research before you invested in this program. Also you have a very useful background with Tai Chi and Qui gong. I studied both of them as well, by the way, and I use the concepts of energy flow a lot in my training.
I have specialized in therapeutic work during my entire Thai Massage career. Actually these days I only work with people who have really issues. I think you will find a lot of value for helping people in this course. Since you are so familiar with yoga and energy flow, it will be much easier for you to follow the program.
I enrolled you in the certification program and I am looking forward to working with you!
November 26, 2012
I just watched the introduction video and already it has more information than the video i had previously purchased. I like the aspect of observing my breath during the massage, it seems it would set the pace of the entire massage, create a steady rhythmic flow, as well as serve as an excellent tool to keep the practitioner fully present and aware during the massage, and not thinking about what they’re going to have for lunch or going over their grocery list. I wonder if using ujjayi pranayama (audible yogic breathing) might serve to deepen the recipients relaxation, as studies have shown that when breathing this way people around them naturally begin to deepen their own breath and match theirs. I often use this in my yoga classes, when i see people struggling in a pose i sit near them and breathe deeply and audibly and as they begin to match my breath they just seem to relax into the pose. I look forward to the next module.
Breathing will do all those things which you mentioned, however I would not do the audible breath. It goes against people’s expectations of what a massage is in their experience, and they might think it weird, or instead of relaxing more they might mentally rebel against it. It is quite a different scenario from a yoga session which involves breath, and all participants are aware of that. Better keep the breath to yourself during massage. However the effect of relaxing the client more as a consequence of your breathing will still be there, but it will happen on an energetic or subconscious level as far as the client is concerned.
November 26, 2012
Module 2: Here we covered the basic principles, and reiterated the importance of proper body mechanics for the safety of the client as well as the practitioner. I can see how right mindset and attitude are very important in thai massage, if you are feeling down or upset about something it can be easily transmitted to the client, either resulting in a poor massage or adding to the energetic issues already present.
I love the name “chi machine,” i was able to practice it on a couple of different people without difficulty. Both found it initially strange, but after a minute they began to relax and enjoyed the feeling so much they didn’t want to get up when i stopped. the first person i practiced it on said he felt “movement” in his belly as well as a release in his ankles, knees, hips, and back. the second person i practiced on felt a release in his lower back and a warm tingly feeling in his legs that lasted for several minutes after i had stopped. All in all a great starting point for a massage, for getting energy moving in the body as well as releasing some tension and relaxing the client. Thanks Shama.
The interesting thing is that the Chi Machine is really not part of traditional Thai Massage at all. I added it in since I felt that it was a great introduction to the fact that Thai Massage does move energy. Most clients can feel it just like you described. It is quite a convincing demonstration and, besides activating energy flow, it relaxes the entire body from head to toes if done correctly. It is also a very unique move which practically no client has ever experienced.
Most therapists have a hard time in the beginning to get the movement right, but it seems that you picked it up quickly. That’s a good start!
November 26, 2012
The foot massage techniques were great. My partner is on his feet all day at work and really appreciated the foot work, his favourite part was the tractioning and compressing he said it felt like i was taking his feet off and putting new ones on. I really enjoy working with my body weight instead of muscles it just feels right and it is easy to see and feel when i am in the right position. It took a little experimentation working with the feet and rotating my body and changing thumb positions all at the same time, if the circles are to big the movement is to slow if the circles are to small its to fast and its harder to get my thumbs in the right positions, i’m sure with more practice the movements will become more natural and fluid. Your videos are great Shama i can easily see how you place your hands and hold yourself in each move, and the explanations are fantastic.
November 26, 2012
Understanding the concept of foot massage has made learning and remembering the moves much easier, if i feel lost i just remember the 8 ways to work the foot and i can easily see if i have forgotten anything. I feel more comfortable every time i practice which is increasing my confidence, my partner doesn’t even notice when i transition from move to move anymore. And the new moves are great i added them easily.
November 26, 2012
modules 5 and 6:
Wow, lots of information in both of these modules. when i receive a module, i watch it, then go over each move in my head, then i watch it again and take notes, and then i practice with my partner. The practice is so helpful not only for me to learn the moves but to get feedback from my partner about what he is feeling and where he is feeling it, so i can learn what parts of the body it affects, when i was doing the push pull move on his thigh from module 5 (almost like a wringing out movement) which he really enjoyed once i got a good flow going, he said he could feel it in his glutes even though i was physically working on his thigh, probably pulling on his I.T. band was creating a small stretch in the periformis. And all the forearm work in module 6 was very relaxing for him and my hands. I crushed my left index finger a little over a year ago in an accident at work, and while it has healed and i have about 90% mobility, it hurts if i work with it too much, so allot of squeezing with that hand will tire me out quickly and leave me sore. I practice all the moves in the order given the first time so i can learn them all and then choose ones that i feel are appropriate in later practice sessions.
It sounds like you are going about this in the right way. It’s correct, you practice all the moves, and then you pick the ones you like best for either your physical condition (or limitations) and/or your client’s needs. As I mention throughout the training – this is not a one-size-fits-all system but a wide range of techniques which will ultimately enable you to create your own system and your own flow.
November 26, 2012
Sorry i haven’t been posting as often as i should be, the holidays are a busy time for hairstylists, and i had a bit of a bout with the flu, feeling better now though.
I watched the videos for mudules 7 and 8 several times before i was well enough to practice. I must admit the stretches felt a little awkward for me at first, it’s difficult to tell if i’m stretching deeply enough, but my partner assured me that the stretches felt good, i’m sure with more practice i’ll develop more confidence and everything will begin to feel more fluid and natural. Also it probably didn’t help that i hadn’t practiced for 4 days because of the flu. It was great to see in module 8 how one stretch can be done so many different ways depending on the type of person i am working on. And i also loved learning how the feet tell a story about the condition of the hips, i would love to learn more about reading the body. have you ever considered doing a course on that?
Well now that i’m feeling better my practice will get back on track, and now that many of my clients have found out that i’m taking this course i have a line up of people who want to be my guinea pigs, so i’m excited to be able to practice on a variety of different people with a variety of body types.
Talk to you soon.
That’s a really useful situation that you have a number of different people you can practice on. This will help you a lot in figuring out how to deal with different body types. It will speed up your learning curve.
Stretches can feel awkward when you try them the first time, but I can assure you that they will become second nature after a while. Just keep on asking your practice partners for feedback on how it feels. Later when you get better at it you will be able to feel by yourself how far you can go with the stretches, but in the beginning you will have to rely on feedback, and you seem to be well covered in this respect.
I am glad you appreciate the many different variations of the stretches. This is where the art comes in – knowing exactly what to do on particular clients. If you don’t have those variations, then you would fall in the category of the old saying “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail“. The variations allow you to finetune the massage and adapt it to individual body types and degrees of stiffness or flexibility.
A body reading course would be an interesting project. I will add it to my list.
November 26, 2012
I’ve been practicing more on a few different people now, the stretches are wonderful and everyone loves them, the more i practice and try different things i find it gets a bit easier, experience is the key to getting good at this, there isn’t just one way to do a move, with every different person i have to find the sweet spot because where i put my feet and how i position myself is different from one person to the next. The summary in module 11 was very helpful to see how it all flows together, You make it look so easy. I had some friends over 1 day and i spent a couple of hours just practicing the different stretches on them and going back to the videos over and over again until it felt right to both myself and the recipient, eventually with experience i hope i’ll be able to just easily flow from one position to the next without having to feel my way around, i cant imagine that my constantly adjusting myself until it felt right was very relaxing. I look forward to learning more about working with energy as the course progresses as well. I enjoyed your article about 8 ways to use thai massage, in fact just hours before receiving the email i had enrolled in a yoga teacher training course coming up in march that uses restorative supported yoga poses coupled with the healing touch and assisted stretches of thai massage, i will have just finished this course when i go to take that class so i should already have a leg up on some of the work.
It really IS that easy – once you practice it enough. This is a typical progression. First it looks easy. Then, when you do it, it does not feel easy at all. Then, when you get good at it, it feels very easy. Pretty much all skills are like that. The secret is to stick with it and practice it enough.
You know, sometimes when I teach a live class, I catch myself thinking “Why would anyone want to pay me for this, this is so easy, anybody can do it.” But then of course I get hit by the reality that my students don’t find it easy at all in the beginning. I have to remind myself that I have 14 years of practice and experience with it, it has become second nature to me, and I have to be very patient with my students.
Constantly adjusting your position in the beginning is exactly the right thing to do. Once you have done enough of those adjustments, you will get to the point where you hardly ever have to adjust anything, because you will automatically get into the right position. Again it’s a matter of experience.
Like you said, it all gets progressively easier… and more fun… and more creative… and more intuitive… It seems that you are already getting good feedback. One of the joys of massage is that you will get a lot of grateful, happy, appreciative clients who return some of the energy that you invested in the session to you.
November 26, 2012
Happy new year
I can’t believe i’m already on module 13 i’m learning so much and its seems to be going by so quickly. Im fortunate enough as a yoga teacher to have taken anatomy for yoga and anatomy of movement courses which is great because i already know which muscles and joints the stretches and warmups affect as well as which muscles to work on more prior to stretching and which stretches to focus more attention on depending where a person may be experiencing pain or discomfort.
I did have some difficulty with the hip stretches, especially working with the si joint, it seems my regular massage partner has very little mobility there and he found it painful. Do you have any suggestions for working with this area to loosen it up, or should i just ease off on the pressure and see if it loosens up over time?
Recently one of my colleagues at work was complaining about severe back pain, as hairstylists we spend alot of time on our feet and we have to bend quite often usually leaning to one side to shampoo hair or rinse colour, so i offered to give her a massage, she said that she had tried massage before and it realy didn’t do anything, but i convinced her to try it, i worked on her for about an hour focusing alot of attention on the hips with lots of rocking and circling before actually moving into the stretches, I watched her face and when i saw any sign of discomfort i asked her how painful it was on a scale of 1-10 and was able to judge by that how affective i was being. After the massage when she was leaving my house she practically skipped down the side walk and we have a weekly appointment. I absolutely love that thai massage doesn’t just focus on one area of the body it treats the body as a whole system she didn’t even know that the pain in her back was actually caused by a muscle in her hips, she could have gotten all the back massages in the world and it wouldn’t have relieved the pain at all.
I work on the sacrum area quite a lot. Actually I have an entire course just about sacrum work in the Therapy section of my courses. I use a lot of rocking and circling techniques on the SI joint with my hands, forearms and feet. Since this joint cannot be manipulated like a shoulder or hip joint, it works best in my experience to keep loosening it up with constant motion techniques like rocking.
If your partner experiences pain, then you probably just need to use less pressure until the area softens.
Your yoga and anatomy training should serve you very well. And you are correct – a painful issue in one area of the body can be caused by something which is located somewhere else in the body. Thai Massage uses the concept of energy lines instead of strictly anatomical considerations, but you can easily combine the two very effectively.
November 26, 2012
Modules 14 and 15 were wonderful the hip rocking was very relaxing to my partner, and the belly work went over very well, although my partner did find it a bit ticklish and strange because he has never had a belly massage before.
Im becoming much more fluid in my practice remembering to use my breath, body weight, and connect to my hara, when i’m moving from one side to the other i sometimes have to stop and look and plan where my feet and knees will need to land in order to move on to the next step fluidly its only a few second pause and i never loose body contact during the transition, i’m sure in time this will become instinctual. all in all i think things are coming along nicely, i’ll be practicing the shoulder work in module 16 tonight.
Many people never had a belly massage since this is often skipped in massage therapy. If you get a ticklish reaction, it would be best to use the push-pull technique for a while. This uses the entire surface of the hands, it is a slow and broad move, and feels good and gentle if not done too strongly. This will generally never elicit a ticklish response and is a good way to get a client used to the abdominal work.
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