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Linda Mills Complete Thai Massage Progress Notes
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Linda Mills
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November 7, 2016 - 3:14 pm
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Module 21

Overall there has been quite a bit of figuring out and adjusting going on for me in this module.

Legs in the prone position are more difficult to move and seem heavier. Even lifting the legs apart at the ankle is not as easy as it looks. I definitely preferred the technique you suggested for heavy legs.

I found that I had to raise my leg to support the leg I was working on whilst doing the hamstrings otherwise it would have been in mid air. The leg you were working on seemed to tuck nicely into your hip.

 My partner had a bit of sciatica and he found it relieving so I must have been doing something right. I feel very familiar now with the sinking and leaning.

I did some chi machine on my mother in law and her hip bones felt uncomfortable very quickly. So it's worth noting that older people may require more padding especially under the hip bones as they may have little muscle tone or fat to protect them in that area.

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Shama Kern
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November 7, 2016 - 11:46 pm
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Yes, some people do better with more padding. What kind of mat are you using?

The other way to deal with this is to do the Chi Machine with less sideways movement in a more subtle way. This will create less movement in the hip and less friction with the mat. It is possible to do the Chi Machine in a super subtle way although this requires a bit more finesse.

And like with many techniques in Thai Massage, they don't all work equally well for everyone. It's always up to us as practitioners to decide or figure out based on feedback what works well and what doesn't. 

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Linda Mills
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November 9, 2016 - 2:33 pm
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Module 22

I am using a large very large woolen mattress underlay with a super soft blanket on top.. I will try Chi Machine in a subtler way as you say and it will be interesting to see if it has the same affect. Worth noting also was my mother was able to get off the floor much easier from the prone position. She is loving the free massages and feels she has become more supple.

One young women I massaged had a sore shoulder. I gave her an overall massage including the shoulders and the next day she told me she now had two sore shoulders instead of one. How would you react to this? I believe I was not doing anything that would have caused it.

In this module you said you can use several techniques on one spot alone if there is a problem and perhaps I should have just worked gently on that one shoulder.

The progression into the next stretch for this module is easy to remember and has a logical sequence. So far the 3 people I have worked on this week have not had enough flexibility to take the stretch into the buttocks. So I will have to wait for someone more flexible to try the other power versions.

The hip flexor/glute stretch was powerful and much appreciated by husband who does bike riding and I manged to stay balanced with knee in right place.

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Shama Kern
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November 9, 2016 - 10:12 pm
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It is difficult for me to say something about this since I have not seen it. Maybe you used a little too much pressure, or maybe the woman was just super sensitive. My wife is like that. Even a touch which I consider light will easily hurt her, and I have to be really gentle with her.

Or maybe you should have asked for more feedback during the session. Or maybe you should have used different techniques. Many maybe's...

There are two full sessions with only shoulder work coming up in the side position. After that you will be much better equipped to deal with all kinds of shoulder problems.

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Linda Mills
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November 11, 2016 - 2:20 pm
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Module 23

The sacrum is a part of the anatomy I have not paid much attention to besides the yogic spiritual anatomy and its connection with the Sacral Chakra. If I was to refer to this part of the body I would have just called it the lower back. I am now appreciating it like never before, feeling for its location on various people. So I have been tracing sarums ....... life is full of wonder.

I also tried to locate it in relation to the Venus Dimples, but these are not always going to be visible due to clothing. I found myself using my other fingers after a while to save my thumbs which seemed to work as well. My mother particularly enjoying the percussion.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing the knee rocking which brought my massage partner back down to earth after zoning out.

Today I used my eye pillow on my partner who said she loved it as it gave her privacy and a kind of permission not to talk to me if she did not feel like it. I think it brings more attention to the sensations in the body.

Re Last reply and super sensitive people...... I don't think they choose to be this way so I will just do my best.... be as kind and as gentle as possible and continue to learn from them.

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November 11, 2016 - 5:23 pm
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How often have I heard this reaction - "I never paid much attention to the sacrum. Now I do and people love it!" 

It's amazing how something so plain in sight can totally fly below our radar in massage. Smile

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Linda Mills
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November 13, 2016 - 1:08 pm
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Module 24

This is an amazingly easy yet effective energy conserving way of massaging the back. The slow motion circling feels comfortable with the heels of the hands and is a great alternative to thumbs for moving tissue around. By kneeling on the opposite side of the body your are working puts you at the angle and gave ME a nice stretch too.

I find I am still not sure when to change sides and I feel I will have to go over previous modules to figure it out. I am now rocking whenever I have lost where I am and not sure what to do next.

I have massaged 4 people this weekend. One women had had a knee operation and appreciated the way I supported it in transitions as you demonstrated. She said she liked it when I also gave her the opportunity to straighten the problem joint out herself...... It felt safer. She said I was more balanced in my massage on opposites sides of the body then previous times.

One women had a significant emotional release and cried at the end of the massage! I was astounded that the massage had affected her in such a profound way. I was not quite sure how to react...... but I think it was probably a good thing????? She also mentioned a tingling in her head.

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November 13, 2016 - 10:31 pm
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Such emotional releases can happen. I have had a few such cases - just let it happen and be supportive. You never know what can happen in massage therapy.

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Linda Mills
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November 15, 2016 - 1:36 pm
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Module 25

I have practiced this module on a strong male and a slim women. The strong man felt the techniques with elbows and knees would be too strong on a female which turned out to be totally untrue. The techniques enable you adjust your weight according to the body you are massaging.

I was able to leave my leg up by the head to use as leverage which makes it flow easier.Smile To begin with I squeezed my leg against my elbow for the trapeziums. It worked, but I later realized, as you demonstrated, that rocking forward was all you need to do. It is just as strong and requires less effort.Cool

Adapting and adjusting the techniques according to the individuals issues and their size and weight must make all the difference to a great massage and a mediocre one.

I have started verbally setting an intention at the beginning of a massage now. Just feeling my way with it.

I am half way nowLaughand I am feeling like I am benefiting as my partners are, with regard to improved range of motion, flexibility and balance and of course moving my own subtle energy.

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Shama Kern
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November 15, 2016 - 9:35 pm
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That's a common misconception that elbow or knee work is "too strong" for anyone but a bear of a man. For example my wife who is a small Asian woman and who is very pressure sensitive, has this one spot on her upper back which always gives her trouble. And there the only way to really iron it out is strong elbow work which she greatly appreciates. I couldn't do that on any other part of her body, but for this spot it is perfect. You never know...

"Adapting and adjusting the techniques according to the individuals issues and their size and weight must make all the difference to a great massage and a mediocre one."  - You are spot on with this one! Smile

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Linda Mills
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November 20, 2016 - 1:40 am
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Module 26

I massaged 3 people in one day as I wanted experience how that would feel for my body. I seem to be massaging for about 1 hour and 20 mins.... so I did a total of 4 hours. It is as you say crucial to preserve body parts and to remind oneself of this and form good habits ergonomically. This module is definitely designed with that in mind.

It took some time but I have ended up loving using my forearms on the 2 sen lines. I am still not sure about it on the scapular. I tried not resting my partners arm on my leg but for sure she did not feel supported. She also said that through the entire massage she had a secure feeling where she did not feel as though she was going to tip out.

The elephant walking is a favorite and now I have a galloping horse to add to my sequence.... its fun and feels great to do.

I have come across people being ticklish, for example on the calves and one women in the buttocks. Do you have any thoughts or theories regarding this?

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November 20, 2016 - 9:07 pm
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Children are often quite ticklish, adults generally less so. In the case of those who are, you just have to work around it in some way and avoid doing whatever tickles them. For experiment's sake, try a deep, sustained pressure on the ticklish area and see if it still tickles them.

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Linda Mills
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November 24, 2016 - 2:34 pm
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Module 27

I massaged my own trapezius to find the spot that feels the best. The kneading is a technique I am going to have to work on and figure out the best way to do it, without hurting my thumb joints. The circling is fine and as you say, it feels great and its not all about stretching for 2 hours solid!LaughLaugh LOL. I like the idea of circling or rocking when you need a break or to just to gather your thoughts.

My partners scapula came out an enormously long way and he said it felt funny, probably because he has never had this done to him before. The Shoulder back stretch is fabulous and will be one of my favorites.... once you realize it is safe......... as it looks rather awkward.

I look forward to doing the strongest cobra............ when the right person comes along.

I have heard it said that real learning begins when you step outside of your comfort zone and it is so true. I have been stepping out of comfort gradually with the people I massage. First close family, then extended family members then close friends then friends and my latest is friend of a friend. 

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November 25, 2016 - 12:11 pm
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Sounds like you are expanding your use of Thai Massage. That's great! I am glad to hear that you are not confining yourself to your comfort zone. Smile

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Linda Mills
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November 26, 2016 - 2:29 pm
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Module 28

The main issues for me in prone summary would be making the client feel comfortable on the floor in this position. So I have been trialing various pillow propping, experimenting and making sure I suggest the options you have demonstrated. I even made a prone position head support out of polystyrene which I covered with a soft fabric. I though I had invented something new, even the name........... but then I googled it and discovered its nothing new.Frown

The other thing would be dealing with areas of discomfort and knowing when to make adjustments to what I am doing. I have started doing what I call cat pawing when I do the 90 degree hip stretch...nice and slow.

As I continue to practice I find myself becoming more and more familiar with the positions and it flows much more naturally and easily. What you do a lot of you get good at. I just keeping watching the videos and results are following........... 

I cut my thumb on a tin can this week but still managed to do a 2 and a half hour massage on my sister. This would be due to all your alternative to thumb techniques. It made no difference to the massage according to her and she had no idea. I have you to thank for that Shama.

She crawled out of the room which was rather funny Laugh.

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November 26, 2016 - 10:53 pm
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I have to tell you this story. Many years ago I was scheduled to teach a live class to a group of yoga students. One day before the class was supposed to start, I had a motorbike accident. It wasn't too bad, but my hand was scraped enough to prevent me from doing normal Thai Massage hand techniques easily.

I really couldn't cancel the class, because some of those students had come half way around the world to study with me. Luckily I managed to work around my handicap by using a lot of non-hand techniques and using my hand as little as possible. This can be done in Thai Massage, in contrast to most other massage modalities.

When you told me your tin can story, it reminded me of this event.

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Linda Mills
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November 30, 2016 - 2:33 pm
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Module 29

Yes, you can still have an excellent massage without the use of a single thumb and the client is none the wiser which I never would have guessed before starting this course.

Regarding sitting on leg.....my partner felt his pulse similar to the blood lock and thought it felt good but did not experience any rush of warmth. I am thinking it would be great for a small person to apply pressure but I myself am not small and I can do very well with just the elephant walking on the adductors.

The side position is an excellent position for hip massage. You can actually apply quite a bit of weight when you use your whole body and really lean in with your elbows  and its wonderful to relieve the deep muscle tension so often in this muscle. I see this is another option to massaging this area while the client is in the prone position.

The last technique is for the inner thigh as you say but does the back arch at the same time? Should the client feel anything in the lower back? I could not quite see the angles in this video. Just checking if I am doing it correctly.

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Shama Kern
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November 30, 2016 - 9:55 pm
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No, the back is not arched. This is strictly a thigh adductor muscle stretch, and that's the only place where the client would feel it.

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Linda Mills
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December 2, 2016 - 3:04 pm
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Module 30

Leaning in with the thumbs on the adductor is definitely the trick, rather than pressing.

Using the leg for leverage gives me a good amount force to apply, similar to what we did at the shoulder. I think its clever and feels great to do. 

We have some big dynamic moves here which are impressive for the spinal twist and arch. I can do it and my husband said it was great. It does require my strength though and 3 counts is enough at this stage.  I did have to reach a long way as he is 6 ft but I managed both knee positions. Your demonstration was clear.

Today I massaged a very supple yoga teacher....... the open hearted type. She loved it and is coming back for more. There were times where there was no stretch at all but with her feed back we were able to make the right adjustments.

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Shama Kern
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December 2, 2016 - 9:07 pm
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Congratulations! That sounds great! 

Did you read my article about the different types of therapists? I listed the open hearted type as one of them. Is that where this came from?

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