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Matt Armstrong's Complete Thai Massage course notes
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Matt Armstrong
California, United States
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December 11, 2016 - 5:02 am
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I have just enrolled in the Complete Thai Massage course and look forward to watching the introductory videos as they arrive later this weekend. I plan to pursue the CE certification option as well. I have received many massages, including Swedish, deep tissue, and Thai, and now I would like to understand the techniques involved with Thai massage with the intent of providing this service to others. I am looking forward to the many hours of content provided with the complete course, but also the many additional modules available for purchase after I learn the core material.

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Shama
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December 11, 2016 - 11:37 pm
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Hi Matt, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage course and to our forum community. We have people with all kinds of experience levels in here. Some are Thai Massage therapists who want to add to their skill level, some are therapists who want to add Thai Massage to their repertoire, some are yoga teachers who want to add more variety to their yoga classes or offer Thai Yoga Massage to their students, and some have no massage experience.

Course students from all these groups have learned Thai Massage successfully with this program. You wrote in your bio that you have no experience, however since you registered for the CE certification program, I am assuming that you are a licensed massage therapist from the US who needs the CEUs to keep your license active - is this correct?

Also please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to ensure that everything is organized:

Certification Check List

I am looking forward to seeing you progress and assisting you in developing excellent Thai Massage skills.

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Matt Armstrong
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December 12, 2016 - 11:47 am
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Shama, actually I do not need the CEs, but I thought the quiz questions would help emphasize the important topics from each chapter. 

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Matt Armstrong
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December 12, 2016 - 12:02 pm
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Module 1

Although I was impatiently awaiting the arrival of the first lesson today, I am appreciative of the scheduled and staggered delivery of course material. Receiving all the content at once would make it too tempting to rush ahead instead of gaining the full value of each lesson.

Many of the nine techniques introduced seem straightforward, although I did not grasp the differences between a few (traction and stretching, for example). I have no doubt that they will be explained in more detail later in the course, though. Others, such as kneading and percussion, seem much more familiar to me from the casual exploration of other modalities I've pursued off and on in prior months.

I never realized the importance of the therapist's position in Thai massage. Since it is traditionally performed on a mat, I assumed it would be easier on the therapist than standing and walking around a massage table. I'm sure it is eventually, once one becomes used to the proper positions.

Shama, given the wide audience you reach with this course, I like the idea that anatomy is not the main focus. It is my goal to learn (through self-study) more about the basics of anatomy, as I eventually want to explore Western massage modalities also. However, I am glad that my current lack of knowledge on that topic will not delay my training in Thai massage. 

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Shama
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December 12, 2016 - 12:37 pm
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Working on a mat is much easier on you and gives you a lot more leverage than working on a table for the simple reason that on a table you cannot get on top of or under someone's body. The only caveat is that you have to get used to working on the floor. In the beginning this might feel quite uncomfortable, but this is temporary. After a while it feels totally natural and very comfortable.

Regarding the difference between stretching and traction - stretching is meant for a muscle to lengthen. At least that's how it is popularly called. It doesn't actually lengthen, but is releases the tightness and constriction which caused a reduction in it's range of motion. 

Let's say you cannot touch your toes when bending down from an upright standing position. That's caused by muscle tightness in the hamstring and lower back muscles. By stretching you can get those muscles to loosen up and allow you to reach your toes again.

Traction however has nothing to do with muscles, at least in it's pure form (it can be combined with stretching). Traction means that you extend a certain body part, like straight pulling on a leg, a finger, a toe, or an arm for example. You can also traction the neck and the spine. The purpose is to create space in the joints and thus release built up pressure and tension from either life style habits, or the lifelong effects of gravity combined with aging. 

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Matt Armstrong
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December 21, 2016 - 12:24 pm
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Module 2

Shama, thank you for the detailed explanation between stretching and traction. That made it much easier for me to distinguish between the two techniques.

I paid careful attention to the discussion on ergonomics in module 2. One of my concerns is being able to provide massage for an extended period of time--an hour or more per session--without becoming fatigued myself. It is easy to ignore proper body mechanics, but I can see how this will cause problems in the long run. I'll continue to watch for the correct positioning as new moves are introduced.

Therefore, as I was trying the Chi Machine technique for the first time, I made a conscious effort to keep my back upright. At first it seemed natural to try to swing the legs but after reviewing the material I remembered that I needed to move my body by rocking gently and letting that movement flow into my partner's body. I also focused on their hips, trusting that if the hips moved, the rest of their body would follow. 

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Shama
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December 21, 2016 - 8:40 pm
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If you have good ergonomics and work only with body weight (as much as possible), then Thai Massage is much easier to do than most other massage styles.

Actually your question about the difference between stretching and traction inspired me to make a video about this which I will post in the facebook group and send around via email soon. I figure if one person isn't sure about this, there are probably quite a few more with the same question. Smile

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