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Mclain Swift’s Thai Massage Shoulder Therapy Certification Notes
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Mclain Swift
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March 8, 2022 - 12:33 am
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MODULE 1

Well…so far I’m impressed with the first few techniques. Those alone are a fabulous way to release the anterior shoulder. I’m a fan of compressions and adding the rocking movements applying more pressure on and off is such a fabulous way to mobilize tissues. I practiced these techniques on my wife and a personal training client of mine and they were both quite pleased with the loose feeling across the chest. Both ladies (along with most everyone these days!) need that opening work in the front. I’m really excited to be able to have valuable tools to use in any location like the other day with my client. I train her in her home and I was able to perform these shoulder techniques right on the floor with just her yoga mat after our session. I could have easily adapted them to a table as well but it’s nice to have the ability to be versatile. I’m looking forward to learning the other techniques.

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Shama Kern
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March 8, 2022 - 8:30 am
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Hi Mclain, welcome to the Thai Massage Shoulder Therapy certification program. First, please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our Certification Checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

The only thing that is missing is your bio information in your forum profile. Could you please fill that in so that I have some idea about your background.

I am glad to hear that the first module hit the mark with you already, and there is lots more to come! Smile

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Mclain Swift
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March 8, 2022 - 6:26 pm
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Ok…did that 👍

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Mclain Swift
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March 9, 2022 - 3:10 am
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MODULE 2

So, I just finished a session with a new client about an hour ago. He presented with upper thoracic and cervical pain/tightness consistent with the forward rounded shoulder and head posture we see all to commonly these days. He is a psychology student and spends 8-10 hours a day on the computer. I did a basic movement and postural assessment and then seamlessly had him get onto the table in supine—clothed! Fabulous. I easily went into unilateral Module 1 techniques for a warm up and then moved into the Module 2 techniques. I spent about fifteen minutes per side and then we moved prone for a classic deep tissue on his poor victimized back and neck musculature for the remaining 30 minutes or so. I re-assessed some movements that he was restricted in particularly thoracic rotation and shoulder flexion. I couldn’t believe the results and neither could he! He said he has never felt so “open and free” with his shoulder movements. That is exactly the type of results I’ve been looking for and I accomplished them with very little effort on my part. I lower my table down so I can lean with my body and I also sit/kneel on the table as needed. I am going to work on some more of the Module 2 techniques with my next client later this afternoon. The various shoulder rolling techniques are really something I’m looking at mastering to help get those shoulders moving freely.

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Shama Kern
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March 9, 2022 - 8:25 am
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That's an interesting bio - and a massive resume! Thanks for sharing it here.

I am happy to hear that the techniques are such a good fit for your work! Smile

I changed your forum display name to include your last name. This is explained in our 'Certification Checklist' - the names on the certification registration, the forum display name, and the name in the topic title all have to match. This is to prevent me from having to play detective and figuring out who is who in the forum.

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Mclain Swift
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March 9, 2022 - 6:08 pm
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Shama Kern said
That's an interesting bio - and a massive resume! Thanks for sharing it here.

I am happy to hear that the techniques are such a good fit for your work! Smile

I changed your forum display name to include your last name. This is explained in our 'Certification Checklist' - the names on the certification registration, the forum display name, and the name in the topic title all have to match. This is to prevent me from having to play detective and figuring out who is who in the forum.

  

Not too many “Mclains” in here I’m sure 😂

MODULE 2 UPDATE

My second last client from yesterday was another new one. She has quite marked hyperkyphosis of the thoracic spine and her main complaint upper back pain between the shoulder blades. The hyperkyphosis naturally protracted her shoulders which puts her rhomboids and mid traps on constant stretch. In comes my very limited tool set of Thai massage! I worked with her for fifteen minutes on each shoulder in supine with module 1 & 2 techniques and then had her flip to prone for some osteopathic mobilizations to the spine as well as some traditional oil based massage to give her back muscles some relief. When we where done the session her chest was markedly open and less hunched and she was almost in tears saying that this is the first time in years her back didn’t hurt. She said no therapist has spent any amount of time on her pecs and anterior shoulders before. She booked again for next week. 

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Shama Kern
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March 10, 2022 - 5:03 am
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That's a wonderful success story!
Your 'limited knowledge of Thai Massage' will soon be the highly skilled knowledge of a Thai shoulder massage specialist. Can't wait to read your success stories then. Smile

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Mclain Swift
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March 13, 2022 - 2:13 am
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MODULE 3

Module 3 gave some amazing tips on how to get those clients that just won’t let go of their arms. I had a person last week that I just couldn’t get them to relax their arm. The throwing technique would have been a nice thing to try - next time! Some of the swinging techniques shown are similar to an osteopathic technique I use called harmonics. I also employ distractions regularly for treatment as well as assessment. One of the first things I do is traction to quickly differentiate a joint problem vs a muscle/tendon problem. If there is pain with traction it’s a strong indicator of an internal joint issue. My wife enjoyed the triangle stretch and I had her do it to me. Apparently I needed that 😂 I’m going to have to think on how to effectively adapt the rowboat stretch to the table but I supposed that’s the advantage of the mat. I also had her do the arm shaking movement with the traction on me after I practiced. What a fabulous shoulder relaxing technique.

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Shama Kern
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March 13, 2022 - 9:58 am
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"Some of the swinging techniques shown are similar to an osteopathic technique I use called harmonics."  -  Interesting, I didn't know that. So I can add osteopathy to the list of modalities that share similar techniques with Thai Massage (like yoga, chiropractic, trager, shiatsu, physical therapy).

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Mclain Swift
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March 13, 2022 - 6:15 pm
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Hi Shama,

This might be a good solution for the prone position for those with less mobile necks. I’m not sure how easily sourced it is around the world though.

 

https://oakworksmed.com/oakwor.....one_pillow

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Shama Kern
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March 14, 2022 - 3:41 am
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"I’m not sure how easily sourced it is around the world though."  -  That's often the issue, and that's why I like to provide simple solutions that work everywhere like shown in this video:

Face cradle simulation in Thai Massage

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Mclain Swift
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March 15, 2022 - 1:42 am
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MODULE 4

This is my favourite module so far. The prone shoulder rolls and strong stretches are exactly the type of techniques I was looking for to really be able to stretch out the anterior shoulder and get movement and ease into the entire shoulder complex. I think the prone stretches give a great way to slowly work on increasing the range of motion in those positions over several sessions. My wife is quite small so I need to be very careful when doing some of these techniques so I don’t break her LOL. The trapezius work isn’t unfamiliar since I am a massage therapist, but it’s nice to be reminded that the circling techniques with the fingers are perfect for a clothed client.

I had a new 70 year old client this morning that is coming to me for headaches and after I treated his head and neck I used a few Module 1-3 techniques (the ones I could remember!) to really help his stiff shoulders. It is so rewarding to see the difference in people’s posture and demeanour when the front of the body is opened up. I am so very glad I found your courses, Shama, they are highly effective at loosening up the shoulders and bringing a sense of ease and lightness to the body. I’m absolutely looking forward to the hip course.

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March 15, 2022 - 9:36 am
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Thanks, I am happy to hear that! Smile

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Mclain Swift
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March 15, 2022 - 7:07 pm
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MODULE 5

Yay! Side lying position. Since I discovered table Thai a while ago I am using side lying for a very large part of my sessions. Most massage therapists avoid side lying because of the draping difficulties, but being clothed opens up the amazing work that can be done in the side lying position. The stretches you showed in this module are really great and will take some practice for sure to get a smooth execution. I’m going to have to get one of my friends to come over so I can practice on a larger body. My wife is just so tiny that some of the movements feel awkward so it would be nice to have some broader shoulders to work on. Free Thai shoulder massage! 😂😂👍👍 I really wish these techniques were taught at my college. I went to a two year clinical massage program and I really don’t know why these techniques would not have been taught as they are FAR more effective at mobilizing and loosening up the shoulder complex than what I learned. People with shoulder/neck issues need movement and freeing up of stiff tissues not a passive, oiled up gliding session.

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March 15, 2022 - 10:21 pm
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I agree with you. I have never seen any more effective shoulder work than these Thai Massage techniques.

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Mclain Swift
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March 16, 2022 - 6:32 pm
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MODULE 6

The scapular mobilization techniques are something I already employ in my treatments and the addition of the new stretches are nice especially the circle traction stretch with the body blocked by the leg. I appreciate how you mention that we don’t have to do all the techniques and we can just add a few. This is so difficult for me since they are all amazing and I can’t seem to remember most of them when I’m in a session 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ I just need to remember to take the time to practice and re-watch the videos. This is where the value of online courses really shines. If this were a live course there is no way I would remember a tenth of what you are teaching. You are absolutely correct in your statement that these techniques could easily form a session on their own which is something I can see offering without a doubt. So many people have such restricted and poor shoulder mobility that this work is desperately needed. We spend so much time hunched over, closed in forward flexion and internal shoulder rotation, we really need to be opened up and freed from that posture.

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March 17, 2022 - 9:11 am
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"This is where the value of online courses really shines. If this were a live course there is no way I would remember a tenth of what you are teaching."  -  I have met so many people who took a live Thai Massage class in Thailand in one of the many schools there, and a few weeks later they had already forgotten half of what they had learned and had no way to bring it back.

After hearing plenty of such stories, I decided that creating good online training would be a way to avoid this scenario of forgetting the training. I am glad you confirmed that. Smile

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Mclain Swift
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March 17, 2022 - 4:49 pm
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Shama Kern said
"This is where the value of online courses really shines. If this were a live course there is no way I would remember a tenth of what you are teaching."  -  I have met so many people who took a live Thai Massage class in Thailand in one of the many schools there, and a few weeks later they had already forgotten half of what they had learned and had no way to bring it back.

After hearing plenty of such stories, I decided that creating good online training would be a way to avoid this scenario of forgetting the training. I am glad you confirmed that. Smile

  

I have taken several online courses and I have to say that your work here is second to none. 

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Mclain Swift
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March 17, 2022 - 4:55 pm
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So…I had a client yesterday afternoon (a second visit) and she is absolutely having a hard time relaxing. She says she has always been like this. I tried the arm throwing technique and after about five minutes of rocking and throwing I barely made a dent in her ability to let go. We had a few times when arm started to become less stiff, but the stiffness never really let up. She has full, normal shoulder ROM, but she just can’t let me take the weight of her arms. I’ll keep trying that technique with her since it was starting to get her to let go.

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March 18, 2022 - 7:45 am
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"I have taken several online courses and I have to say that your work here is second to none."  -  Thanks, I am happy to hear that.

Regarding your client, if she is willing to invest the time and the money to have repeated sessions to see if you can release it, fine. If not - we all have to realize that we cannot help every single client. That's just a fact of life.

I have had clients who took a long time to relax and release, but they kept booking with me on a regular basis because they had faith that my work would ultimately help them, and it did.

But I have also had clients where I knew after one session that there was no point in working with them. You can't 'fix' everyone and everything.

I have had clients with the attitude like "You are the therapist. I pay you and you are supposed to fix me. I have nothing to do with it." That doesn't work very well. Healing is a 2-way street. There has to be willingness on the part of the client to change, to heal, to relax. 

Rigid muscles are generally an indication of a rigid mental pattern as well. The body is a reflection of our energy and our minds. Clients with such chronic patterns will need to understand that the cause is in themselves, and they need to cooperate with the therapist to address and change the underlying cause - that is, if the therapist is able and willing to go deeper than just moving body parts around.

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