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lelia bridgeforth rocking massage notes
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lelia bridgeforth
Richmond, Virginia
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August 21, 2015 - 9:00 am
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module 1 

I watched this module twice because sometimes you miss information the first time around.  I decided to use some of the rocking techniques demonstrated on a new client today to try them out and see if my client would mention any of them after the massage.  However, other than being relaxed she did not comment on any of the kinds of rocking.  On the other hand, I felt that I conserved some energy doing deep tissue work without constantly using linear pressure.  The rocking blended in well with what I was used to doing and added more rhythm to my flow.  The rocking that I did, especially the circling on the hips and swinging on the arms, helped the client relax.  I noticed that she guarded her hips and think that was because she was expecting elbow work, but felt the tenseness leave her body when the rocking came instead.  The swinging of the arms helped the client to let me relax her arm without her trying to help me move her arm.  Slow rocking of the thighs was also done and I paid attention to the lower leg/foot movement and was delighted to see the effects.  I found these rocking techniques easy to add into my routine at any point during the massage.

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Shama
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August 21, 2015 - 1:10 pm
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Hi Lelia, welcome to the Thai Rocking Massage course and our forum community. Looks like you  have the forum and the certification system almost figured out. SmilePlease take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list:

Certification Check List

(hint: the one thing missing is your bio in your profile so that we know who you are, what your background is and where in the world you are from. I know you mentioned it in your intro post in another forum, but it is definitely easier to have it in the profile bio where it shows up in all your posts.)

You are correct, Thai Rocking Massage is not limited to Thai Massage at all. It can really be used with any kind of massage just as well. Often gentle (or stronger) rocking can be more effective than digging in with elbows because, as you noticed, there won’t be any resistance from the client.

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lelia bridgeforth
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August 24, 2015 - 8:40 am
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module 2

Today I had a volunteer to work on for the chi machine.  The technique is easy to do, but 2 minutes was a long time moving my hips while trying to make sure my volunteer’s nose was also moving.  My volunteer said the technique felt good and was very relaxing, but she did not have a tingling sensation.  I’m not sure if that is due to an energy blockage or my awkwardness.

The tractioning appeared to be more successful for my person even though I felt uncomfortable in the beginning getting into the correct position and watching her alignment.  Then I realized I could use a pad under my knees and that made a positive difference for me.  My volunteer said she felt looser on the right side more than the left, especially in the hip area. Then I had the aha moment when I checked the position of her feet.  Her left foot was restricted turning inward and that told me the restriction was on the left and that rocking would be indicated inward on the left side.

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Shama
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August 24, 2015 - 9:43 pm
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Yes, 2 minutes is at the upper end for the Chi Machine. You can do it for one minute and the effect will still be there.

Regarding your partner not feeling the tingling – try it on someone else first. Some people simply don’t experience the tingling. It is also possible that you are doing it a bit mechanically without making it feel like a natural rhythm. The way to find out which one of the two issues it could be is to try it on one or two other people.

True, the position of the feet indicates where the restriction is – an easy visual test.

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lelia bridgeforth
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August 26, 2015 - 9:32 am
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module 3

Tonight was attempting leg rocking on a different volunteer who was very patient.  I took my time and slowly positioned myself at the proper distance from her and aligned the center of my body with her knee.  Hand positioning with one rocking therapeutically and the other as the controlling/assisting hand was easy even when moving up and down the leg on the sen lines. I made a conscious effort to not lock my arms and to use my body in a rocking motion but still allowing the speed of the rocking to be set by my volunteer’s leg.  After I rocked both legs, both my volunteer and I were amazed when she said her legs were tingly from the bottom of her feet to her thighs.  She said she felt very relaxed and could feel a difference and was glad it was not deep pressure and did not hurt.  Then I found that groove between her left quad and the adductor and felt tightness.  She felt it too and I stayed in the groove for a while and occasionally shifted the position of my hand.  I could feel some loosening and she did too.  I am sure that with practice I will become more confident and relaxed doing these techniques.

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Shama
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August 26, 2015 - 7:20 pm
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This sounds really good! You  seem to totally grasp the concept and obviously you are doing it correctly according to the feedback about the tingling. This means you are not only moving body parts, but also energy. Smile

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lelia bridgeforth
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August 29, 2015 - 10:10 am
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module 4

My first volunteer today enjoyed the squeezing, lifting, and rocking technique that uses both hands working at the same time.  He said it made him sleepy due to the rhythmic rocking and that his legs felt like jello.  This was the only technique used on this volunteer.

With my second volunteer I tried working the hip along the length of the body and this is still a work in progress for me.  I can follow the steps but have to stop overthinking the rhythm part and let the client’s body do the work for me.  I made sure to keep the leg aligned straight and to keep the ankle joint locked.  I have a firm grip so that is not an issue.  More practice is needed.   My volunteer was very relaxed so I did not have to work with making her aware of what her body was doing.  However, it was great to learn some methods to keep clients from helping me and to actively participate in relaxing their muscles.  Doing the stretch was easy because of her flexibility.  The hand positions were familiar from the previous module and the client liked the stretch.  She also enjoyed the clasped hands technique that lifted the hip and back.  I found that I was not exerting a lot of energy to perform this and the rocking motion was relaxing to me as well.

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Shama
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August 29, 2015 - 2:42 pm
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“Sleeping” and “jello” are two good results! It also is much more descriptive than talking about neuropeptides and dopamine levels as a result of massage! Smile

The overthinking tendency will go away once you know the techniques well enough that they feel spontaneous and natural and connected. Naturally this doesn’t happen the first time you practice them.  

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lelia bridgeforth
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September 1, 2015 - 7:36 am
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module 5

Plenty of stretching today.  The first stretch felt good to my volunteer with the knee circles.  She said it felt smooth when her hips were rotated.  I made sure to keep the knees forward and the knees back.  The second stretch I was familiar with minus the rocking back and forth.  My volunteer said she could feel a stronger stretch when I took the knees over to the opposite shoulders.  Stretch #3 was pretty straight forward following the directions but I tried several times to get her foot locked onto my upper thigh.  Afterwards however the stretch was easy but the client could not handle my moving my hands up and down her leg.  On the pain scale of 1 to 10, she said that movement was an 8 with my body weight applied.  Her upper body would not rock until I lessened the pressure.  Although she did resist me, I think she got a good stretch of her adductors once I backed off and she said she was at a 4 then.  I finished up with this volunteer with the spinal twist.  She was familiar with the regular twist and was happy when I said there was an alternative method.  She said her shoulders hurt from the regular way.  I made sure her shoulders stayed on the mat and only had slight difficulty with my left hand – getting the ring finger and little finger on the hip bone and the index and middle fingers on the soft part of her lower back.  She enjoyed this one.

 

My second volunteer was my brother who always complains about tight hips.  So I started with my fingertips making rhythmic circles in the grove and made sure to rock my hips.  He said he could feel some of the tightness loosening on both side after 2 minutes.  Then I started the 2 angle stretch with the 90 degree angle between the mat and thigh and thigh and lower leg.  I only did a gentle rock of the knee to the left.  I did not do the other side because I wanted to see if he felt a difference..  So I rocked the other knee sideways and did not rock to the opposite shoulder because I thought it would be too intense for him.  He said he liked the 90 degree angle better because it felt easier on the hip joint.

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Shama
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September 1, 2015 - 10:56 pm
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The rocking techniques will grow on you. They are really more of an intuitive art than straightforward techniques. The secret is to never go so far that it hurts. It is best to start gently and build up to more intensity slowly. This means that you have to spend time on the various techniques. If you go through them quickly you won’t be able to build up this intuitive feeling for how far you can go and what works best.

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lelia bridgeforth
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September 7, 2015 - 8:13 am
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module 6

This module was about directly rocking the hip to create movement and activate chi.  My female volunteer enjoyed the hip work up and down her groin area and said although she felt tight that the rocking was not painful like she thought it would be.  I rocked her body from knee to armpit with just the heel of my hand and a flat hand because she was ticklish around the ribs.  She liked the next two stretches but said this first was very relaxing and her favorite.  However, when I did the hip/torso technique at the end she said it was very comforting with the push pull motion and was her new favorite.  I slowly changed sides but never stopped rocking her.  The second time I did it was much smoother.  My volunteer said all of this rocking had a “sedative effect” on her. Oh, she also experienced tingling at the end of the first rocking technique.

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September 7, 2015 - 8:31 pm
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Great, it sounds like you figured out the transitioning while rocking. That’s not the easiest thing, so I am glad you managed it well. Smile

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lelia bridgeforth
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September 8, 2015 - 8:43 am
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module 7

Unfortunately today my volunteer was too heavy for me to do some of the techniques since I am only 5’2 with short legs. Even the tricks would not have helped me this time around.  I’ll have to try them when I have someone more petite.  So we moved on to the abdomen and the belly sandwich was a bit hit for her.  Since there was very little space or arch under her back all I could do was rock her hip and slide my hand underneath.  The belly sandwich was easy to do using the heels of my hands doing the same motion at the same time.  Again I was not able to do some of the other techniques for my volunteer’s benefit, but she was kind enough to let me walk through the steps.  I will have to look for a smaller volunteer to practice on.  However, I did go back and do hip rocking for her for her patience and she enjoyed that a lot.

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Shama
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September 8, 2015 - 8:38 pm
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That’s something you will always have to deal with – if the client is too heavy compared to you, there will always be techniques that you just have to skip on such persons. Don’t do any techniques if they stress your own body.

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lelia bridgeforth
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September 9, 2015 - 7:13 am
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module 8

Tonight was belly/shoulder practice.  My volunteer from the previous session did not get much out of the belly sandwich technique.  She was uncomfortable with her legs being flat and bent her knees instead.  This gave her an arch in her back so it was easy to get my hand into position.  When I finished the technique, she said it just did not feel good to her.  Once I removed my hands and rocked her ribcage, I found her ticklish in that area so I had to use flat hands.  So I moved on to the chest circles rock, which she liked.  She has asthma and said the rocking up and down on the sternum felt very good and that it did not feel invasive (she has large breasts). The breath component worked well for me. Then I tried the rib area again and she said it was not as ticklish as before.

The shoulder techniques were easy, however, the first time I put too much pressure on the right (my dominant side) and had to adjust that.  This did not occur with the side to side rock and the rhythm felt better.  Both times I tried the rocking I made sure my positioning was in the right spot, not on the bone and not on the ribcage.  My volunteer felt one shoulder loosen but stated the other shoulder still felt tight but she attributed that to a huge knot in her back.  Once she stood up I saw that that shoulder was higher than the other one.

We finished with the figure 8 technique where I kept my body low.  Of the 2 stretches, my volunteer liked the second one better and that may have been because I had a good grip on her shoulder blade.

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Shama
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September 10, 2015 - 11:54 am
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When I spend quite some time on the abdomen, I often put a pillow under the knees to make the position more comfortable for the client. Try the abdominal techniques on someone else. If that person also doesn’t like it, then there is an issue with your technique. If the other person does like it, then your practice partner is one of the rare persons who doesn’t take to abdominal massage.

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lelia bridgeforth
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September 10, 2015 - 8:10 pm
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module 9

This module was interesting because I have done basic arm swinging on clients before to relax their arms and keep them from having those stiff fingers.  Usually they are trying to “help” and talking to them during the swinging seems to make them not be as stiff as before.  It was fun to see how swinging applied to the shoulder.  Both swing techniques felt good to my volunteer who said doing it at different angles and getting that added stretch in helped his shoulders to relax.  The positions were easy for me to do and I kept a regular rhythm going using my body motion.  Both the slow and fast arm rocking were also easy to do.  My volunteer said the rocking rhythm was soothing to him and he really enjoyed the hand rocking so I spent a little extra time on the hands.  Twenty minutes passed quickly and he said his arms/shoulders/hands felt great.  Sadly he was not up for any abdominal rocking, but I will use your suggestions on someone different – need to review that module and check my technique.  Thanks!

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lelia bridgeforth
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September 15, 2015 - 9:37 am
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module 10

I was excited about this module because I have several clients who complain about sacral discomfort.  My volunteer today is stocky with thick glutes.  I made sure to give sufficient pressure, as well as staying close to but not on the sacrum.  My client enjoyed it when I used my thumbs to hit some tight spots.  However, the high point for him was my using the knees.  He said the pressure was great and thoroughly enjoyed the work.  I suspect I will be using my knees more often.  Positioning was easy for the up and down and sideways motion and felt comfortable to me when I supported myself with my hands.

Now that back rocking sure does look easy but it is not.  I had a different volunteer for this technique.  She said her back felt softer after I did rocking with a slow 3 count and my breathing was easy with that count.  I need more practice with a faster count.

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September 15, 2015 - 12:15 pm
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I am glad you got confirmation how useful knee work can be. In Thai Massage you can do lots of powerful work without stressing your hands. That’s one thing which sets it apart from most other modalities which work mostly with the hands.

Sure, everything looks and feels easy once you know how to do it. But getting there takes time and practice. The back rocking is a wonderful flowing way of working, but is does require a good amount of practice to get into the ‘flow’ of it. You will get there! Smile

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lelia bridgeforth
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September 16, 2015 - 5:01 am
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module 11

I’m kind of sad to see this class come to an end as there is so much to learn.  My volunteer today got benefits from the various ways to work the spine, especially the c spine.  She said all of the techniques used felt good to her, but her favorite was when I used my fingers rather than the palm or edge of my hand.  I found the technique to be pretty straight forward but focused on leaning in and out in conjunction with my breathing.  I thinking I enjoyed using my fingers more as well since her back was not really broad.  I tried not to go beyond the 70% mark and after about 10 minutes total, my volunteer said her back felt really loose.

The spinal twist for the upper body was also successful.  I was able to get in good position to do shoulder circles and also do the rock circle combo.  My volunteer liked both of those, but tolerated only a little bit of a direct stretch.  After we finished, she said everything felt wonderful and she felt energized.  I was happy too!

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