January 17, 2014
Hi Shama, I worked on my husband again last night and he said it was 100 times better than the other session. I guess that doesn't say much for my first attempt at working on him. He loved the move where I use my feet on the inside of his thighs. He said my arms were "too bony" and it was uncomfortable when I use them to roll up the inside of the inner quads so I used my knees and leg to roll up and he liked that better. I condensed my notes with just enough info to jog my memory and put it in a sequence that makes sense to me.
I wanted to upload a picture of my room but couldn't figure out how to do it? I think I read somewhere that someone else was going to upload a video for you to see. What a great idea!!! Can we do that and get feedback from you? My daughter Shania is a communications major in her first year of college and I would love to give her some meaningful projects for her classes by having her videotape me. I just bought a new camera for Christmas and it is supposed to have really good video capabilities. What do you think?
January 17, 2014
100 times better sounds like quite some improvement I have to say. If you keep making such jumps, you will be the world's best Thai Massage therapist soon!
The student who posted videos in the forum is Virender from India, and you can see it on his thread by clicking on this link. If you shoot a video, you had to upload it to a free video site like youtube or screencast or vimeo. Then all you need to do is just drop the video's link in the text area and it should just show up. If that doesn't work, there is an icon above the text area which looks like a green ladder. You can click on there and post the video's link in there.
It works the same with a picture. You have to upload it to some free site like http://screencast.com or flickr. Then you can post the link to it in the forum and it will show up. There is an icon above which looks like a green tree which is for inserting pictures. By the way those icons only show up when you are in writing mode. They disappear when you saved a post.
For your profile picture, what you can do is upload your picture to http://gravatar.com. You have to associate it with an email address, and then the picture will show up automatically whenever you post somewhere as long as you use this email address. So in the case of this forum, you have to associate your gravatar picture with the email address which is in your profile here in the forum, and then your picture will show up just like mine does.
January 17, 2014
Just finished module 8. It makes so much more sense when you preface the lesson with the conceptual way of thinking about the movements. I am translating this to my Yoga practice as well. It has helped a lot that I boiled my notes down to less words so they are more like prompts when I forget what the other moves are. I watch the videos during the day when it's quiet around here and then don't have anyone to practice on so I think what I'll do is re-watch the videos right before I'm ready to practice on someone. Everyone is so busy it's hard to talk them into letting me practice on them. Jack slept for 2 hours after I worked on him on Tuesday afternoon. I should do it right before bed for him to help him sleep. I'm going to check out the video link from Virender and will try to upload the pictures. I still don't see the green ladder icon that you mentioned. I'll give it a go anyway. I never signed up for networking or introduced myself. Is that something I should do now? Stay well, Shama. I so appreciate your teaching style and patience in guiding us all through this process. Thank you!
January 17, 2014
I also wanted to mention that when I work on Jack using the butterfly hands technique on the thighs he is always sort of jumpy about it and says it's too much. I back off until I feel like I am barely using any pressure (which is much harder than using my body weight) and he still feels like it's too much. I have a really good sense about pressure and have always felt like I can "read" the muscles from so many years of doing bodywork. His muscles are not telling me to back off so I am a little confused about what he might have going on. He can't quite describe to me how it feels to him. I won't practice those moves on him if they make him uncomfortable but I was just curious about it.
He is a catcher for baseball and plays baseball from April through October. He is in that squatting position with his legs spread wide for all the innings that he catches. I would imagine that the inner thigh muscles would become lengthened, the hip flexors shortened and the ligaments around the knee would be somewhat stretched. I think my question is two-fold. If a persons muscles are overstretched for whatever reason how do you address this from a Thai massage perspective?
During baseball season what would the best moves be to help him recover from that catching position? I don't really like it that he catches for 99% of the games but he's very good at it....I just think it's a very tough position to be in for that long and for that many months of baseball. Thank you for always taking the time to answer my questions. You are amazing! When I first started taking the course I wondered if there were 2 Shamas.
Actually I once had a client who kept complaining that it was all too strong and too painful although I hardly used any pressure at all. The silver lining of the story is that this led me to develop the Thai Rocking Massage system. This doesn't use that much pressure, but motion techniques instead, like rocking, wiggling, vibrating, circling etc. Whenever I have a super sensitive client, I don't use any direct linear pressure techniques but only motion techniques. That almost always works great on such clients and it has enabled me to work on clients who otherwise didn't take that well to standard Thai Massage.
Muscles don't really get overstretched under normal circumstances, but what happens is that the balance in the body is thrown off if certain muscles are well stretched and used whereas others are not. We can of course do stretches that address this imbalance. For example if the hamstrings are well stretched but the quads are tight, we can work on the quads to try to re-establish that balance.
However the problem comes in when someone recreates the imbalanced condition due to certain life style habits or activities. For example if a man carries his wallet in the back pocket of his pants, that can throw the hip out of alignment and cause problems and pain. We can work on that, but unless the man stops stuffing his big wallet in his back pocket, we are fighting an uphill battle.
My approach has always been that I ask the clients questions in order to narrow down possible causes of a condition. If I find it I will explain to the client what causes the condition and how to change or eliminate that cause.
Muscles can't really become lengthened since the origin and insertion points are fixed, so it is physically not possible for a muscle to become longer. But it can relax and let go of involuntary contraction (which we call a tight muscle).
The problem comes in if the agonist muscle is relaxed or what we call "stretched out", but the antagonist muscle is contracted (tight), and now we have an imbalance. Such imbalanced stretching can cause problems in many ways, and one of the secrets of good Thai Massage is to find such imbalances and work on them. The best way to deal with it is to do the appropriate massage therapy and try to help the client correct the cause of the problem. Many times people have no clue what causes their problems.
One thing to keep in mind is that stretching a muscle more than it can comfortably do, can result in the opposite effect, namely the muscle contracting to protect itself from excessive stretching. That's why really strong Thai Massage work can be less beneficial and effective than more moderate work.
In the case of your son, it is hard to correct the cause of the problem since that's just part of baseball. However you can do lots of beneficial work on his legs and hips to counteract and balance the issue as much as possible. Many of the leg stretches and especially the "hip pie" is very useful for this. The techniques how to do this will come up in the next few modules.
January 17, 2014
I just finished module 9 and will watch module 10 in a bit. Thank you for the explanation about how to help Jack during baseball season. I will try the rocking techniques instead. I had the opportunity over the weekend to work on 3 different teenagers (friends of my daughter Kateri , (all athletes) so it was a chance to work on different body types. They really liked the work and offered to come over whenever I need a body to practice on. One of the girls lives about 5 minutes from me so I might take her up on it. My clients are ready to have me work on them but I'm not ready for that yet! Some of the hip stretches feel a little awkward but it's just because I'm not always sure of where my body should be in relation to theirs but if we do what feels natural I think it falls into place more easily. I need more practice time. The spinal twist move that we learned today looks like it would feel awesome! I gave Megan (Joe's girlfriend) a massage last night and found that she has super tight hamstrings. I can't wait to try these stretches on her. She runs track and XC so these will be awesome for her. Hope there are more of them in module 10!! 🙂 Do you have any other Thai stretches for runners? That could be your next video! Namaste.
There are plenty more stretches just around the corner.
That's excellent that you work on different body types. This will give you a much more realistic experience than always working on the same partner, and you will be much better prepared when you start working on real clients.
January 17, 2014
I felt like I'd fallen a little behind but caught up with the videos today. (modules 10 and 11) I practiced on my older son, Joe last night. He is a runner with about 8% body fat and he has super tight quads and hamstrings so the stretches were perfect for him. He also works construction so he really appreciates the work at night. When I did the spinal twist(his foot is crossed over the midline) and lifted him from under his back he said it really hurt....not in a good way. Not quite sure what I did wrong. I will just be more careful. Sometimes I think I overcompensate for being small. I like the concept you present of the softness still having power. I really appreciated seeing all the moves come together in module 11. I have been stringing them together in a way that makes sense to me and am starting to work on the flow of it and it's very similar to what you presented in the module. Thank you for the summary video. We had a snow day today (no school and we already have a foot of snow!) so I have 2 children home to work on since Shania is home from college today as well. Soup is on the stove and we made cookies for Valentine's Day tomorrow. Time for some bodywork now. Happy Valentine's day! Thank you so much for the love you so generously share with all of us through your work. Your spirit shines through in these videos and I am so blessed to be taking this course with you. Namaste.
Spinal twists can be tough on some people. In such a case make sure that you first warm up the back with non stretch techniques, and then do the twist by using a gentle rocking motion instead of the straight stretch. You can always lighten up to the point where even the stiffest person can handle a stretch. Remember that the goal is not to move the body a certain distance in a technique, but to gently open up the body by staying within the comfort zone of the client.
January 17, 2014
Hello Shama, I am having trouble uploading the videos that we made to show you. The first one is over 2 gigabytes. Is there a setting on my camera to make them not as big? I've never shot a video before so I don't know much about it. I wanted to reshoot the video anyway since Jack had holes in his socks! I signed up for screencast and will try to reshoot the video. If you have any tips, they would be appreciated. I just finished module 12. It really helps me when you explain how to modify the stretch for different sized clients or how to do the stretch since I am short. I am going to pull Jack away from his kindle and practice on him now. I will let you know how I make out with the new stretches. I still get a little confused on body position sometimes so the flow is not as smooth as it will be once I get them all figured out. Namaste.
January 17, 2014
I just worked on Jack for a little bit but he was restless today so it wasn't as much fun for me. I just wanted to ask you about the move where we are pressing down on the kneecaps. He said it felt good and it didn't hurt his knees but if clients have knee problems is it still ok to do that technique? Probably not? I wish someone would do it on me so I could see how it feels. Movement in the sacrum is so important on so many levels. I will have to practice on Joey or John tonight to get better feedback. Namaste.
Regarding leaning on the knees: The leg is totally flexed, so the knee cap is locked down so to say. That's why the pressure goes straight down into what's at the other end, the sacrum. Most likely this move will be fine even on people with knee problems. However it is always better to be safe than sorry - if in doubt, don't do the move on people with knee problems.
You would never lean on a knee with the leg extended, even if the knee is in great shape.
Regarding your camera recording: I don't know what kind of camera you are using. Many cameras have settings where you can change the size of the final file. But in general what comes out of a camera is a big file. The solution is to shrink it down. The simplest way to do that is with a free program called "handbrake". You can download it here:
But if you have no idea how to adjust settings in your camera, you will also have a challenge with handbrake since you have to set it up correctly as well. If you really want to do this, then download handbrake and, if you use skype, I could talk you through it much quicker than writing instructions here in in text form. Actually if you are in the US I can even call you on a landline - it does not cost me anything. Let me know if you want to do this.
January 17, 2014
Shama, You are truly amazing and the amount of support that you offer is unbelievable. Thank you for all that you do. I hope you know that it is appreciated. I am shooting with a canon EOS 6D. I just got it for Christmas and I haven't learned all the settings yet. I will get out the manual and figure it out. I will also try the link that you sent me and if I can't figure it out I will let you know. My kids should be able to help me....it's just getting them to take the time for me.
I worked on my husband again after module 12 and I have to say that I don't really like working on him. He is overweight, stiff and inflexible and when I try to move him he resists me which hurts me because he is big. The sad part is that he needs the work more than anyone else in the family. It always seems that I run into an issue and then the next video that you send has the answer!! I just watched module 13 and you talked about communicating with the client (which I don't usually do with my husband anyway!) and modifying the stretches to fit the clients needs. I would do that with any other client so I need to practice that with him. He is used to Swedish massage and isn't really big on change so practicing Thai massage on him is a challenge. He thinks that Thai massage is for the most part, painful. When I work on my kids there is a completely different energy there and they appreciate the stretching because they are athletes and WANT to be stretched. They understand "good pain". I think I need to practice patience and approach my husband's sessions with a softer, more gentle touch. Maybe I've been treating him like a practice dummy instead of tuning in to what he really needs. It's also late when we begin the session and we are both tired from a long day so that may not be the best time to work on him. I really want to become proficient at Thai massage and will practice until it comes to me. I am going to work on my daughter Kateri right now. Will let you know how the session goes. Namaste!
January 17, 2014
I worked on Kateri for about an hour. She loves Thai massage! I practiced the stretches for the hips and am getting very comfortable with them. It feels like a routine is coming together. I feel a lot more confident after working on one of my children or a friend and that helps after having discouraging sessions with my husband. The truth is that I will probably have clients like my husband so I should view it as a blessing and learn to deal with it. Loving Thai massage today! Hope you have a great day!
Your situation reflects what's happening in real life massage therapy. You get the easy ones and the difficult ones. I agree with you - it would be best to really tune into your husband and figure out what it is that he does like, and then do more of that on him. He is probably not the ideal candidate for an all-round model for every technique that's in the course. He might enjoy working on muscles more than stretching techniques.
Funny enough, I have the opposite situation. My wife is so flexible that stretching doesn't do much for her at all. But she loves it when I work on sore muscles. I never do any stretching on her. So it seems that your husband and my wife are both not good candidates for stretching, although for completely opposite reasons.
Like you say, it is a learning experience. Thai Massage is not a one-size-fits-all program although it is often done as such unfortunately. The art is to find out what works for whom and then fine tune it so that it becomes a perfect fit.
By the way, here is a tutorial video on how to use the "handbrake" program:
January 17, 2014
TaDaaaa. I think I did it. It took almost 2 hours to upload it to you tube even after changing the settings on my camera and reshooting the video and using the handbrake link you sent me. I hope it works for you. Maybe it really just takes that long? My first video ever. Let me know if it works for you and I am open to real feedback. Have a great day. Namaste.
It definitely looks like Thai Massage. I can tell you were speeding things up a bit. Around the 3 minute mark when you lean into the thigh in butterfly style, make sure to keep your arms locked and straight to avoid using any unnecessary muscle effort.
With practice you will get to the point where you will be able to connect all the techniques without disengaging and losing body contact. Try to work on your transitions as much as you work on your techniques.
The way how you do the stretch around minute 6:30 with the hand holding down the hip on the stretched out leg only works on flexible persons. If they are less flexible, then put your hand on the hamstrings of the bent leg so that the other hip can come up a bit. For your model it seems to work well how you do it.
When you do the stretch around minute 7:30, you should put your right heel lightly on top of your model's right foot to prevent it from sliding down. This would be more of an issue with less flexible persons. If you re-watch the training module, you can see how I do it.
The reason why she does not not feel the stretch around minute 8:20 is because you don't lean down enough on the hip with your left hand. That's why her right hip comes up to compensate for the stretch, and that basically makes the stretch ineffective. However this is again only the case if you work on a flexible model. A stiff person would feel the stretch even if you don't hold the hip down much at all.
For the blood stop you should bend the leg even more to expose the right spot (femoral artery) and lean in slowly with a lot of body weight, and then hold it for quite some time. I can always tell when I did it enough when I feel a strong pulsing under my hands.
The calf stretch at minute 10:25 is not right. Re-watch the training module and you will see that your position is reversed how you hold the foot. She will feel the calf stretch if you lift the leg higher. She might need the power version with the leg at a 90 degree angle to the floor while you are pulling the foot down.
She won't feel the stretch at minute 11. That one only works on less flexible people.
The next one, the knee to chest stretch, can be intensified if you place her feet on your upper thigh while you are standing and then you lean forward while pushing her knees towards the chest with your hands. That gives you more leverage. But the sitting on the leg version should definitely be effective even on flexible persons.
The one where you lean onto the knees to move the sacrum only works if the mat if quite firm. Your mat looks a bit soft, so that will make it harder to really impact the sacrum.
Overall it looks pretty good to me. Obviously it needs more practice and refinement and flow, but you are on the right track. You understand how the techniques work, and the rest is just practice and repetition. Good job!
By the way, it should not take so long to upload the video. The trick is to reduce its size in handbrake before uploading it. You do that by moving the "quality" slider under the "video" tab to the left until it reaches the "25" position. Your reduced video should not be larger than about 7 or 8 MB per video minute, i.e. a ten minute video should not be larger than 70 or 80 MB. That won't take long to upload.
January 17, 2014
Hello Shama, I watched the video that I made again and am realizing just how much I need to work on transitions and moving gracefully. You really do make it look easy. I get so caught up in my notes because I can't remember the all the moves that it makes it look very awkward. I am sure that once I can remember all the moves the transitions will come naturally. Loved the abdominal work in module 15. When I first started doing Massage, I offered abdominal massage but most people were so resistant to it that I stopped even asking. ( We were taught to ask if they wanted abdominal massage before the session started) The clients who I convinced to try it now ask for it. It is so incredibly relaxing ! Thank you for the new techniques that I just learned! Should we just incorporate the abdominal work and not ask if they want that?
The shoulder work in module 16 looks awesome. Can't wait to practice it this weekend. My family has been so busy that I haven't been able to practice for a few days. The only way I am going to become proficient at this is by tons of practice. Stay well. Namaste.
If you do Thai Massage for 15 years like myself, I can promise you that you will look super graceful! I don't want to know how I looked when I first started out.
Regarding the Abdominal massage, I never ask my clients about incorporating a little of it - I just do it. However I also offer extended or stand-alone abdominal sessions. If I feel that the client really is in need of abdominal work, I ask if they would like a specific abdominal session, or if they like the idea of me spending 30 or 45 minutes during a standard 2 hour Thai Massage session on the abdomen.
So far every person whom I ever asked that question agreed to it. Of course I know from touching them if they really need abdominal work. I have a special course where I go quite a bit deeper into abdominal massage. If you ever feel that you want to offer specific abdominal sessions, then you might want to consider getting that one.