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Linda Mills Heavenly Head Massage Course Notes
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Linda Mills
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January 20, 2018 - 10:41 am
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Module one

I decided to incorporate HHM into my massage session as I believe it to be the best way to finish based on my own experiences.

At the end of a yoga class, as we prepare for shavasana, my yoga teacher applies half of this technique to my shoulders. I am always so grateful for it even though she only does it once!

I also feel it is a great alternative for someone who has injuries or who is too self conscious to have a full body massage.

You have only given one technique in this module and actually it is enough as there is a lot going on behind the scenes. IE remembering everything that goes into creating an energy field. This really resonates with me and this will be focused on during all my massages..... absolute awareness a top priority.

The technique flows nicely and BREATHING IN in between the two movements seems natural and adds to the wave like quality.
I definitely had to have my knees a good distance back to get the power needed as I was working on a big man, so good to know.
The 45 degree angle descriptions help to get the ergonomics right.

I have had some clients in the past who are obese so I have experienced the incorrect head position. The head tilts back due to the weight in the shoulders and back. Actually it can be challenging even finding the shoulder bones in this case.

I am looking forward to the next 17 modules.

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Shama
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January 20, 2018 - 8:53 pm
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Hi Linda, welcome back to your third course! Smile

Like you, I find that finishing a massage session with some HHM is ideal. And it lends itself to stand-alone sessions as well. The amount of material in this course is very large, especially the neck work.

There will be modules coming up with lots of techniques, and it is all wrapped up in a beautiful, energy focused flow.

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Linda Mills
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January 23, 2018 - 12:36 pm
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Module 2

Thanks Shama, its great to be back.

So now I am much more familiar with the sternum, IE with its shape, length and function.  I did not realize just how sensitive the solar plexus is on some people. My husband was quick to inform me of this before I went anywhere near his chest.   I do not have much sensitivity in this area on myself.  

It seems it is impossible to do any work on the sternum without being aware of the breath. This became very evident, very quickly.  If you are not concentrating it is easy to get ahead of their breath which you don’t want.

Synchronizing leaning IN with their breath worked well for me and partner and happened naturally. I really like that I can help people breathe easier.

I found I had to come up on my knees to maintain the 90 degrees as the chest curves flat at the top. I did not do this on my first attempt and my husband let me know it did not feel good ie skin stretching. Good to experience this for myself thanks to my willing guinea pig.

It is now truly sinking in that rocking and circling and tapping feel great and I intend on including more of it in my massages.

My mantra is, I must use my entire body when working on a client.

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Shama
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January 23, 2018 - 5:19 pm
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Yes, sternum work without breath awareness can feel quite weird and even annoying, unless you just do some gentle rocking and circling movements. But any kind of pressure definitely has to go with the breath.

Your mantra is spot on ! Smile

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Linda Mills
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January 28, 2018 - 3:12 am
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Shama said
Yes, sternum work without breath awareness can feel quite weird and even annoying, unless you just do some gentle rocking and circling movements. But any kind of pressure definitely has to go with the breath.

Your mantra is spot on ! Smile  

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Linda Mills
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January 28, 2018 - 3:14 am
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Module 3 

I personally believe this module is not suitable for big busted females. The breast tissue is sensitive and covers majority of the chest area making it difficult to find the right spot. It felt uncomfortable, not relaxing and too sensitive regardless of pressure. I found myself having to move a lot of breast tissue to get my hands in the right position to do the rotating technique. I also applied the techniques in this module to a strong large male, he found it pleasant enough. The shoulder elephant walking was enjoyable for the male, and again not for the female. I love the upper body twist, its a wonderful,dynamic simple move that feels great and I like doing it. 

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Linda Mills
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January 29, 2018 - 6:14 am
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Module 4

This technique felt advanced for my client, she liked the rolling sensation. Important to note not to continue this motion for an extended period of time as it can induce a nauseous feeling.

Placing hands closer together when holding the head felt more supportive for my client. She thoroughly enjoyed the feet under her back, it made her feel comfortable with the neck lift.

As i pulled my fingers towards the occiput my client said it felt fantastic. I learnt that i have good coordination and spacial awareness to be able to apply this technique well. The transitions come naturally to me. 

 

 'The wave' is a very suitable name as my first client got seasick. 

 

There were two things that came up for me in the four neck techniques. One was to be careful not to brush against the ears as it can be noisy for the client.  And the second is to be mindful of the pressure from my right hand and I am stronger on this side.

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Shama
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January 29, 2018 - 10:15 am
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No doubt that not all techniques are suitable for every client. Just take them as options to choose from. On some clients I skip the entire chest section and go straight to neck work, for example. Or you just do a couple of chest/shoulder moves on certain clients like big-breasted women. Just be flexible and adapt to the needs of the client. 

There are a couple of techniques in the HHM course which can cause a little nausea for some client. Of course there is no way of knowing that in advance. The techniques are good and effective, so we want them in our repertoire. The way to deal with this is to tell the client before the sessions to let us know right away if anything feels uncomfortable to them.

Maintaining the same pressure between both hands is very important as it feels really weird to the client if one hand is stronger than the other.

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Linda Mills
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February 4, 2018 - 12:49 am
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Module 5

Thanks for the feedback  in last modules. Shama... as you have said many times, a skilled therapist knows how to choose the right techniques and communicated effectively.

I can now see why you emphasize the need to move slowly and with absolute care. Both my clients in this module had stiffness in the neck and I needed to move in such a way as to give them a feeling of security and confidence in what I was doing.

When moving the head sideways I found I had to move with caution as both had stiffness on one particular side and I had to sensitively feel how far I could go.

What a wonderful relaxing way to get the hair out of the way. I found myself coming back to it again and again.

With the neck move my client had a very short neck and I could only use 3 fingers. Also her head barely moved. This improved when I propped head with flat pillow.

You said you must have awareness in the fingers and it reminds me of a story of a luthier working on the inside of the body of a guitar on a spot he could not see......he realized his hands have eyes.

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Shama
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February 4, 2018 - 3:06 pm
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It sounds like you already encountered some situations which require adjustment and flexibility on your part. That's great - those are the situations where you learn the most from.

And certainly, doing abrupt neck and head work is the fastest way to drive clients away and make sure that they never come back! Laugh Slow, gentle, steady and sensitive are the watch words here!

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Linda Mills
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February 6, 2018 - 3:14 am
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Module 6

I really noticed how heavy the head is in this module. I am using muscles that I am not used to using and  it required some strength.

My thumbs felt awkward to begin with, like they didn't quite know where to be..... stretched out in mid air. It felt good to move my entire body in this technique.

My client loved it. I will be using and perfecting this technique for sure.

The transition in technique 2 using the heel of the hand took some  co ordination and figuring out but actually works well once I got it going.

In the last technique, you say, rotate the head with the finger tips in occipital ridge. Rotate to me means move in a circular motion but I think you just mean tipping up and down.

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Shama
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February 6, 2018 - 10:02 am
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You are right, I mean tipping the head up and down. It kind of rotates around the finger, but in a linear way. The finger is the axis, and the head moves around it. Sometimes it is difficult to find the perfect words to describe such unusual movements. But you figured it out! Smile

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Linda Mills
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February 7, 2018 - 11:34 pm
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Module 7

I just love these dynamic clever techniques. You have explained it very well.

The arm support is crucial for me. I must make sure my elbows bare weight as my lower back is a weakness. The only thing is there is no support as you move between elbows or when you do the full circle roll. So it has inspired me to strengthen this area and get going with my lower back exercises as I really want to include this in my massages. 

Do you ease into it doing bigger stretches as you build up to the full circle? My client asked me to do this as he was protective of this area. I also had to tell him to release his head and let me do the work. He was engaging it a lot.

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Shama
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February 8, 2018 - 1:11 am
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It sounds like you had a 'helper' client. That happens sometimes. You just have to tell such people to relax and let go since they often don't realize that they are 'helping". 

I can generally tell by how much resistance a client has if I can go full circle right away or if this won't work. Sometimes you might need to ease into a stretch, or replace it with some rocking/wiggling motion, or skip it altogether. It depends on the particular client.

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Linda Mills
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February 9, 2018 - 2:43 pm
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Module 8

I think I have watched this module repeatedly more than any other. It is beautiful to watch but also very necessary to understand the movement.

I found it helpful to know the chin needed to brush the shoulder each side and to wait for the turn. It will be lovely to do when it comes naturally and I can let go of trying to get it right.

I used three fingers in the half moon stroke, thumb, then index sliding up the neck switching to the middle finger in the ridge.  I discovered this was not what you were instructing but it seemed to work. 

I am having a few issues with oil. When you need to apply more, it kind of disrupts the flow. There are so many small things to be aware of that make all the difference. For example changing my sitting position and doing it in such a way that it is not noticed. Also avoiding hair pulling.

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Shama
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February 10, 2018 - 1:21 am
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If you modify a technique and it works well for you - fine! 

There will be a module coming up which shows how to work with oil.

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Linda Mills
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February 10, 2018 - 3:36 am
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Module 9

I am really pleased you have a module on oil...EXCELLENT.

At this point in time I am still experimenting with sitting positions. So I am grateful to my willing clients for their patience while I muck around with pillows and changing my position etc. In this regard I feel I have a fair way to go before I attempt anything with a real client.

So far the ear techniques all feel really good except I have to watch for my nails under the ears when I cup them. I have cut them short but obviously not short enough.

I noticed I can really apply quite a bit of pressure in the aptly named scissor technique. There is not much there besides bone and skin.

My client absolutely loved the meditative ear cupping. he really was drawn within.

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Shama
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February 10, 2018 - 2:03 pm
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Actually there are two modules with oil work - one for the neck and one for the face.

Definitely for many HHM techniques short nails are essential, otherwise it feels terrible instead of heavenly! Laugh

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Linda Mills
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February 11, 2018 - 10:32 am
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Module 10

I have applied these techniques to 3 different people. The hair was the point of difference. One had very long hair and meant I had to jump to beginning as you demonstrated. The other had  short hair and a great deal of dandruff which I dislodged.Frown

They found it stimulating and relaxing at the same time. 

I felt the techniques were all fairly straight forward and easy enough to do with no complaints.  For me I am mostly focusing on the variable pressure ( the secret), and the speed at which I do it. I am still deciding on my sitting position. These thing take time and practice.

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Shama
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February 11, 2018 - 2:25 pm
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With the head massage we can run into interesting challenges: hair extensions, dreadlocks, dandruff, long wild hair where our fingers get stuck, bald heads which makes it quite difficult to work unless you use oil - I have seen them all! Laugh

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