July 18, 2014
I may think about the abdominal course sometime down the road, but I think if I take additional courses my first selection will be the head massage course. I have a regular client who has had a chronic headache since she was 12 years old, and although I am usually very good at relieving headaches and have been able to help her reduce hers, it still persists albeit at a more moderate level.
Module 17 – Arms & Hands
The work in this module has gone well from the beginning, but I believe the more I watch this video the more my overall work on the hands is improving. I have adjusted the way I massage the hands of all my clients.
Module 18 – Shoulders Transitions & Spinal Twists
As I’ve mentioned before, the transitions can be my greatest challenge, but I really like the standing arm pull in this module. It’s a nice stretch for the client and gives me a chance to stretch my legs a little bit while moving smoothly around the client. Love spinal twists. Though a little challenging at first, my practice partner really appreciates the stretch she gets from these moves.
Module 19 – Summary 2
I enjoy the summaries to help get a better feel of the flow of a session.
I agree that the Heavenly Head Massage course would be an excellent choice. Personally I am in love with it because I have gotten so much wonderful feedback from clients about it. I always use part of the Heavenly Head Massage material to end my Thai Massage sessions. It's a perfect combination.
July 18, 2014
Module 20 – Prone Legs 1
Partner enjoyed the footwork with the elbow and the elephant walking, but my favorite move in this module is the calf stretch.
Module 21 – Prone Legs 2
The work with the forearm is nice, and the calf work is very similar to what I do in table massage. I think it may take a while to become comfortable working with my knees, and I couldn’t really do a good hip stretch on my practice partner because she is not flexible enough. That may be a good move for some of my clients at the seasonal yoga retreat.
July 18, 2014
Module 22 – Prone Legs 3
Amazing set of stretches. Love that there are so many variations of the leg stretch for the different levels of flexibility among my clients. My practice partner found the more moderate forms of this stretch very helpful. I can’t wait for this summer when I can try the more intense variations on my seasonal yoga instructor. Also like the glute stretch as I find I do more glute work than many therapists, and this is a good addition to my repertoire.
Module 23 – Sacrum
I agree the sacrum is an area that often does not get enough work. This is an area where Thai massage has an advantage because it is a better angle to do this work than trying to work with the client on a table. My practice partner loved this module. While percussion always feels good, the rocking movements are especially effective to get the joints moving and the work with the knees provides great compression on large, often tight muscles.
Yes, Thai Massage has a big advantage, especially when you work on the floor. Since you can use so many body parts and you can use your body weight to its full advantage by getting right on top of people, you can be more effective while using less effort.
Sure, it will take you a while to develop sensitivity in your knees, but when you get there, you have a powerful tool which can often replace your hands.
July 18, 2014
Module 24 – Prone Back 1
My clients find the circular and wiggling movements very relaxing.
Module 25 – Prone Back 2
The elbow in the lower back seems very effective. As usual, I am not as comfortable working with my knee, but the second technique seems a bit easier to me because of balancing with the hands. I doubt I will use the 3rd technique very much because I have found that clients massive enough for this technique often have problems which prevent them from getting on the floor.
July 18, 2014
Module 26 – Prone Back 3
In the discussion about not using techniques which over stress the thumbs, I was wondering if you ever use tools which replicate the thumb work. I find these very effective in chair massage, and can envision using them in Thai massage. In the forearm work, I was a bit concerned at first about leaning right on the shoulder blade, but my practice partner said it felt really good. In comparing the elephant walk and the galloping rhythm, my partner couldn’t pick a favorite; she said both felt great in different ways.
Module 27 – Prone Upper Back
Although I do a lot of work with the scapula in my table massage, I was surprised how effective I was able to be working through the clothing. My partner loved the shoulder and upper spinal twist, especially the circles with the shoulder. Along with the cobra, they give great stretches to an area of the body that is often difficult to work.
Module 28 – Prone Summary
As always, great to see the flow of the work. With so many great techniques to choose from, what is the usual length of time for one of your sessions?
In Thai Massage it is not so necessary to use tools to replicate the thumbs since we have so many tools already built in which we can use: thumbs, fingers, knuckles, forearms, elbows, knees and feet. When I work on big or heavy clients, I don't use my thumbs much, and I don't have to.
That being said, I sometimes use a "massage hammer". You can watch this video to see how I use it:
Regarding your question about the ideal length for Thai Massage sessions - I have never done less than two hour sessions throughout my entire career.
July 18, 2014
Module 29 – Side 1
While any technique involving compressions is always nice and circling is very helpful in loosening tight muscles, the only move of this type that was particularly different from what I already do is sitting on the thigh. This move may take a while to get comfortable with. The real star of this module, though, is the stretch. People find it so challenging to get a good stretch on the adductor muscles that my practice partner was quite amazed and pleased with the effectiveness of this move.
Module 30 – Side Position 2
The spinal twists are great. While I personally enjoy a nice, sustained twist like the fist one, I suspect I will be using the second one more often on my clients who are not used to these yoga-like twists as it seems equivalent to rocking into a stretch as I do with many of my clients. In perfoming the leg stretch, my partner said she didn’t really feel a stretch with my knee on her lower back, but once I shifted to the knee in the glutes she said it was an amazing stretch.
July 18, 2014
Module 31 – Side 3
My practice partner has had some issues with her left shoulder, so we were a little concerned about doing the stretches on that shoulder. Not only does she tolerate the stretches well, but she finds them extremely helpful. On the moves when you say you are using your left hand on the trapezius area, it looks like you are actually on the supraspinatus. Am I interpreting this correctly?
Module 32 – Side Pos 4
The traction techniques are very effective. Again, we were somewhat concerned about my partner’s previous shoulder problems, but when I gently eased her into position we found that she loved these stretches. The kneading below the arm and the leaning into the side are great because these are areas that I have found are greatly neglected by most massage therapists, but which can become quite troublesome. These techniques can also be adapted for my table massage clients.
July 18, 2014
Module 33 – Sitting Position 1
The sitting position went quite well. My practice partner was actually able to sit quite comfortably during the session. The first several minutes of this module are very similar to what I would do in table or chair massage. Of the material that is new to me, the back bend and shoulder stretch is fantastic. My partner said it was amazing and it is a good move for many of my clients, although I believe I am still perfecting my technique. The twist is a nice gentle technique, but for my more flexible clients I’m not sure I get as good a twist as in the side position.
Module 34 – Sitting Position 2
As someone who became a massage therapist at a mature age, I don’t have the qualms about intimacy that some of the younger women may have. However, my height is a problem for the first technique; I just couldn’t seem to get the reach to make this one work. The second technique works much better for me, but I still need to work more on my balance. My partner really enjoyed the forearm work. Although you say to use the sitting position in the middle of a massage, I was thinking that this might be a good way to start a massage for some of my clients who have particularly tight neck and shoulders. I feel a bit awkward with the shoulder stretch at the end of this module; I’m sure with practice it will get more comfortable.
Module 35 – Client Communication
I am a big believer in communication with my clients. I have a client fill out a written health history before the first session and discuss any question I may have about the history, why they have come to me, and what they want to accomplish. I also let them know to communicate any preferences during the session regarding a desire for more or less pressure or anything else that seems relevant. My practice partner is a long-term client, and agrees that communication with clients is one of my strong areas. Fortunately, in the area where I practice, folks tend to be outspoken and I have little problem getting clients to let me know if they don’t like something or I am using too much pressure. They are also very good letting me know the techniques they particularly enjoy. I did get a chuckle out of the part about reminding clients to relax because I could really identify with this issue. Even some of my long-term clients occasionally have to be reminded to let go; massage therapists themselves sometimes forget to relax and I have been reminded myself on occasion when I get a massage.
I use the term "trapezius area" rather loosely to indicate the general area between shoulder and neck. I don't mean to say that you will only touch the trapezius. Actually it doesn't really matter which muscle is involved exactly as long as you are loosening and relaxing this area.
You can start a session with the sitting shoulder work, if it fits the client's needs. There are no hard and fast rules here, although this would be appropriate for specific therapeutic work rather than a more general whole body session.
After this posting marathon you came through with flying colors. Congratulations for completing the training program!