July 18, 2014
I wasn't ready for the modules to start coming quite so rapidly, so I'm a little slow getting started. That said, I have already started to incorporate little adjustments into my table massage practice based on what I learned in the mini-course. Because I am a licensed massage therapist, I found much of the introduction module regarding body mechanics and basic concepts to be quite familiar.
I tried the chi machine technique on my of my clients, and it seemed to go well. After performing the technique, I explained to her what it was and she mentioned that she had thought she felt something going through her, but until I explained that we were moving chi she thought it might have been her imagination. As this client is a long-standing regular who is highly motivated toward her health, and has previously expressed her willingness to let me try out new techniques on her, I have asked her to be my practice partner. Starting today, we are planning regular practice sessions.
Welcome to the forum Linda. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the following check list:
Certification Check List
Sounds great that you have a good practice partner. I am looking forward to following your progress.
July 18, 2014
I have been practicing, but have not been posting because I had been unable to get my certification request to go through. It finally went through this morning, so I will start updating my notes regarding my practice sessions. Further practice of the chi machine has led to interesting results. Each time I perform this technique my partner says that she can feel the energy moving, but one time she said it only came up to her chest and stopped there. She had a chest cold that day which was causing her quite a bit of congestion, so we concluded that she apparently had a blockage in the area of her lungs and her heart chakra.
The 2 footwork modules have proved very useful. Not only does my practice partner love this work, but I have added it to the footwork I do on my table massage clients. Some of it is similar to what I already did, but particularly helpful are the lateral movements of the feet. I notice quite a bit of stretching and release of tension in the feet and ankles on most of my clients.
I have seen two certification registrations from you, one from July and one yesterday. Anyway, it seems that you figured it all out.
Now all you need to do is read the certification check list to get your posts to look right. You can see that I posted the link to it a couple of posts above this one. Specifically I am referring to sections 3 and 4 in that list.
July 18, 2014
July 18, 2014
Module 1 – Intro
Because I am a licensed massage therapist, I found much of the introduction module regarding body mechanics and basic concepts to be quite familiar. Table massage also emphasizes proper body mechanics and works with the client in supine and prone positions and sometimes in a side-lying position. In addition, Swedish massage emphasizes flow in the techniques. Since I also do chair massage, I already work with clients in a sitting position, also. Table massage also involves the techniques you list of compression, stretching, twisting, traction, rocking, percussion, kneading, thumbing, and holding. The video states that using diferent body parts to work is unique to Thai massage, but in fact, although we do not use the feet in table massage for obvious reasons, we also use the thumbs, fingers, hands (not just the palm, but the side of the hand or often a fist or knuckles), forearms, and elbows to work, and occasionally even get a leg involved to brace or prop a body part that we are working on.
Module 2 – Chi Machine
I tried the chi machine technique on my practice partner, and it seemed to go well. After performing the technique, I explained to her what it was and she mentioned that she had thought she felt something going through her, but until I explained that we were moving chi she thought it might have been her imagination.
Further practice of the chi machine has led to interesting results. Each time I perform this technique my partner says that she can feel the energy moving, but one time she said it only came up to her chest and stopped there. She had a chest cold that day which was causing her quite a bit of congestion, so we concluded that she apparently had a blockage in that area.
You are obviously one of the more creative Swedish Massage therapists.
The two additional tools which Thai Massage uses are knees and feet. Plus of course Thai Massage has a huge repertoire of stretches and manipulations.
The way how the various body parts are used in Thai Massage makes it quite different from Swedish Massage. Instead of doing stroking or gliding movements, Thai Massage employs linear pressure and rocking movements.
However it is quite possible, and many of our students are doing that, to combine Thai Massage techniques with Swedish massage techniques in the same session. That makes for a very interesting and effective way of working.
So you could use Thai Massage to spruce up your Swedish Massage, or as a stand alone system, or ideally in both ways.
July 18, 2014
I am fortunate that Swedish is only a part of my training and experience. While I use Swedish as a base to help create flow in my work, I have many other tools in my toolbox. But you're right that my style is apparently very different from many massage therapists because I often have clients comment that nobody has ever gotten to certain problem spots before in the way that I do.
Module 3 – Foot Massage 1
My practice partner loves the work in this module. I have added the moves in the first 14 minutes of the video to the work I do on my table massage clients. Some of it is similar to what I already did, but particularly helpful are the lateral movements of the feet. I notice quite a bit of stretching and release of tension in the feet and ankles on most of my clients. The move that involves the twisting and push/pull on the leg has proved very useful in the practice sessions as my partner has quite a bit of tightness in the upper legs, and this is very helpful in loosening that area.
Module 4 – Foot Massage 2
While most of the video is a review of concepts and the previous video, the new techniques may pose somewhat problematic for me. They work fine for my practice partner as she is smaller than me, but as I am a smallish person myself, with fairly small hands, I am not sure they will be as effective when working on a large person with large feet. The concepts and techniques are basically the same as I do in table massage, except that I work on one foot at a time using both hands on each foot. I think when working on a large foot this may prove to be more effective for me.
One of the principles of this course is that the techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences. There are more techniques in this course than you will ever be able to use in one session. The idea is not to string them all together for every client. Some won't work on very large or heavy clients, and in such a case you just don't do them. You can always replace them with other techniques where you can use your forearms, elbows, knees or feet instead to give you more leverage and power for those large clients.
You will see that a lot during this course when I show several techniques depending on whom you are working on. The art is to learn how to choose the right techniques for the type of client you are working on. And that of course takes some practice to develop since there are so many techniques available.
This is the beauty of the Thai Massage system. It is incredibly flexible. A small person can work on a much larger person effectively by adjusting the way you work and the body parts you are using. This will all become very evident later in the training.
July 18, 2014
Module 5 – Leg Warmup
The compressions using the butterfly move received a good review from my partner. For the work with her leg angled, I did need to use a pillow under her knee, but the work went well and she especially enjoyed the work on the thighs. I find the inner thigh work especially useful as this is an area that is harder to work using other massage techniques.
Module 6 – Leg Warmup Forearm
Practicing the forearm moves felt a bit awkward with my very small practice partner. However, I could get the sense of how this could be very useful with a larger client. In the calf work, my partner particular enjoyed the rotating motion. The other technique that seemed especially effective was the rocking motion at the beginning of this segment. Rocking always seems a particularly good way to gently start loosening tight areas.
July 18, 2014
Module 7 – Leg Stretches 1
My practice partner had a restriction in her right hip and definitely needed a pillow under her right leg for the first stretch. She enjoyed the rocking motion, but the stretch and walking using the foot with the leg at a 90 degree angle seemed partcularly effective. Like the final stretch and the rocking variation, but it takes a bit more practice to perform smoothly.
Module 8 – Leg Stretches 2
My partner enjoyed the calf and knee work, and I find the knee technique useful for self-care when my knees start to feel a bit over-used. I am using the leg stretch in this module on several of my clients, and I find that they all seem to prefer it when I rock them into the stretch. This goes for yoga practitioners and instructors and non-practitioners alike, the only difference being how far I can ultimately take them into the stretch.
July 18, 2014
Module 9 – Leg Stretches 3
I totally get it about reminding clients to relax. I often remind clients (especially new clients) that it is my job to do the work for the next hour. The adductor stretches are probably among the most difficult, not because it is a difficult technique, but because this seems to be one of the tightest areas for most people. My clients, however, really appreciate the results we can get with these stretches. The hamstring stretches are great for everyone, but especially for athletes. The cross-body stretch is another favorite. I agree with asking for feedback, but have never been a fan of the 1-10 scale. I prefer more descriptive responses that tell me more about what exactly is going on.
Module 10 – Leg Stretches 4
Love the first spinal stretch and the hamstring stretch. I find the adductor stretch a bit more challenging, but think it will be very useful for my some of my clients at the yoga retreat.
July 18, 2014
Module 11 – Summary 1
The summary may be the most difficult of the modules. While most of the individual techniques don’t seem too challenging, keeping a flow through the process may take quite a bit of practice. I need to work on self-care to become much more limber and graceful in my maneuvering from one position to the next.
Module 12 – Hip Stretches
The calf and hamstring stretch with the leg raised toward a 90o angle is fantastic. On less limber clients, a very little effort goes a long way. On flexible clients it gives a very powerful stretch. A chirpractor use to do a similar move on me when I was doing ballroom dancing, and the results were amazing. Hip stretches are among my favorite stretches. My practice partner was very pleased with the sacrum work, and I was surprised at how effective the elephant walking was in the case.
July 18, 2014
Module 13 – Hip Final
Although I practiced the motions of these stretches so I would know them, I could not take my practice partner into the full stretches as she is not that flexible. I’m not sure how often I will do these strong stretches as even many of my clients at the yoga retreat would not be able to handle them. I can think of 1 or 2 people I might be able to gently take into the stretch across the chest.
Module 14 – Hip Rocking
The first hip rocking technique is so simple and yet very effective. My practice partner occasionally has some SI issues, and she found this quite helpful. The techniques after that work well enough on my very small partner, or any of my very slender clients, but I would have a hard time reaching on my bulkier clients. As for navigating around the client, I would like to see a video with a smaller person navigating around a larger client (not just taller, but fatter). What seems easy with your long legs can be much more difficult for a more vertically challenged person working on the heavier clients we often have in the US.
It is next to impossible for me here in Thailand to find a larger, fatter model since most Asians are quite petite. I totally understand where you are coming from, and I am well aware of the challenges when working on large clients in the US. When the size and weight difference is significant, you just have to eliminate some techniques. Even I do that although I am probably much taller than you.
July 18, 2014
Module 15 – Abdomen & Chest
Although I learned how to do abdominal work in my original training and I see the value of it, I have to admit it is something I seldom do. The techniques in this module seem simpler than my original training and very possibly more effective. The techniques for the lower chest are new to me, and it will be interesting to see how they work on various clients, but the sternum and upper chest are areas I have long worked on every client, and are critical to much of my success in treating clients with shoulder and upper back problems.
Module 16 – Shoulders
My practice partner loves all the shoulder work, but especially the circles on the back of the shoulder and the lift and push techique immediately after the circular motion in the video. I think we were both a bit surprised how well the techniques using the foot worked.