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Melissa Kok Thai Back Massage Notes
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Melissa Kok
Broome, Australia
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June 20, 2015 - 12:36 pm
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Module 1 and 2 - theoretical part

I've watched the videos from module 1 and 2 and read the transcript of module 2.

After module 1 I made a summary of how to do a spine examination so I can use this as a checklist in the beginning until it becomes an effortless routine to quickly check the spine of a client. I guess this will happen soon enough by practicing. Started to practice on my housemates to examining their spine.  

Module 2 was very understandable and interesting. I feel I have a good foundation now to start practicing on the back and look forward to the next modules. No questions, just a lot of enthusiasm. 😉

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June 20, 2015 - 11:04 pm
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Hi Melissa, welcome to our forum and the Thai Back Massage course. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list: (specifically item #4, and please complete your bio)

Certification Check List

Sounds like you had a good start with the course. I am looking forward to reading about your progress.

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Melissa Kok
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June 21, 2015 - 4:15 pm
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Module 3

I was very happy to learn about what we can do for problems in the posture alignment as a therapist (relaxing tight muscles and stretching) and the responsibility of the client self (strengthening the weak muscle). It makes so much sense. I feel fortunate that I have done a yoga teacher training course and have the feeling this is a great combination as I have learnt asanas for strengthening muscles.

It is also a good reminder for myself that I am not the one who can 'fix' someone. I have to keep in mind that it is always a collaboration that creates success or not. I think it is very important to make the client aware of that before you start treatment. 

Next to that I was happy to learn about the importance and use of props. I have never used props in my Thai massages except from a folded blanket under peoples head in supine position. This might be very useful as it will definitely make people feel more relaxed and cared for. 

I am looking forward to the next module. 🙂

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June 22, 2015 - 1:04 am
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Since you have done a yoga teacher training, you have a great foundation for your Thai Massage studies. Actually a large percentage of our students have a yoga background. It's simply a match made in massage/yoga heaven! Smile

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Melissa Kok
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June 27, 2015 - 5:51 pm
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Module 4

I watched the video and practiced the first 5 relaxation and warming up techniques on my husband. While it looked very simple I had some trouble with it. Especially my arms hurt and also my neck, upper and middle back and later on my ankle. I never have any body ache when I give a massage so I fiddled a bit around to find another position but I couldn't find a position that I felt ok. I might did the technique wrong so afterwards I watched the video again. However, I ended up with sort of a flu (I guess) as my immune system seems to be quite low so that might be the trouble maker of my body aches. 

To be honest I don't think it was a good idea to practice while I felt not very well. I would not practice on other clients but as Module 5 was coming up soon I wanted to practice Module 4. So I did the next days again 2 short practices on my husband. Still my body aches but it is not only during the massage so I guess it is not coming from giving the massage. My husband said it felt ok, however not extremely good. Haha. Well, it might was the vibe of me not feeling very well in my aching body and my husband who I had to beg if I could practice on him and thus he was not really open for it ;).

Lesson learnt: Next time it is better to wait until I feel better!

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Shama
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June 28, 2015 - 2:00 pm
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That's an important lesson - you will transfer to your client how you feel. If you don't feel up to speed, then you can't help other people feel better either. This course won't run away, so don't worry about trying to keep up. If you feel good, and you work with correct ergonomics, then you will feel totally at ease when doing those Thai Massage techniques.

If you feel good, but your body hurts when doing the techniques, then something is not right with your ergonomics. You might be using too much muscle power and not enough body weight, or you might not work with your entire body, or your positions need to be tweaked.

Let's see how it works when your body is 100% again. Smile

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Melissa Kok
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July 5, 2015 - 7:27 pm
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Module 5

Yessss, I'm back practicing! And good news, the body aches were not coming from my body posture but I guess from sort of a flu as it does not ache anymore 🙂

I made a beginning with the practice of module 5. Some techniques I knew already as 'Thumbing in the grooves' and 'Butterfly back palming' but the the rocking technique and sacrum work are new to me and that is pretty cool.

I felt a bit clumsy during exploring the sacrum, especially when I practiced on a bigger person. I need and will definitely practice more to gain a bit more confident. However, I already felt some painful knots on the outer edge of the sacrum so it will be very good to work with the sacrum. I never thought that you can have knots there! (But of course you can...) 🙂

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Shama
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July 6, 2015 - 12:28 am
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Haha, yes you can have knots pretty much anywhere. Just that most therapists never touch the sacrum, so it sounds strange talking about knots there. But many people have painful spots on the sacrum, and working on it generally feels like a big relief for the client. With some more practice it will feel as normal to you as working on the shoulders or the hamstrings. Smile

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Melissa Kok
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July 12, 2015 - 1:09 pm
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Module 6

The most challenging part of module 6 was changing from sitting on one side of the body to the other side. I think I am actually cheating as I can do it in a flow and keeping the same amount of pressure on the sacrum but I do it with one hand on the sacrum and use my free hand in the air to create sort of a swing / balance to get up on my foot. Am I allowed to do it this way? Or do you advice me to practice it with two hands on the sacrum? When I do it with both hands on the sacrum every time I give accidentally more pressure... 

Next to that, I have found the first person who prefers the non-rocking method! I think I do the rocking method well... It flows, I let the body come back by itself, it feels and looks good to me... Actually, I am not surprised that this person did prefer the non-rocking method, because it is the most wonderful and also challenging person to practice on. Seriously he is a jewel! I feel grateful to have the opportunity to practice on someone who is the stiffest person I ever have worked on (I don't mean this is a judgemental way, I love this person!) and he will definitely let you know when something does not feel good as he seems to be very sensitive (or just reactive and find it difficult to let go... 😉 ). However, today he fell asleep (after his attempts to get rid of the flies that were bothering him during my massage work) when I was practicing on the sacrum. I was happy for him and for me ;). 

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Shama
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July 12, 2015 - 9:36 pm
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Clients or partners who fall asleep are generally a good sign. Personally I love this feeling when I drift off into this half-sleep, half-trance state while getting a massage.

I would definitely practice the transition with both hands on the sacrum, even if you found another way of doing it. The reason is that it will help you to develop more body control and better balance. I know this is one of the more tricky moves, but it is a worthwhile challenge! Smile

However if this transition is a real struggle for you and frustrates you, don't force yourself. Either use your "cheating method", or come back to it later at any time during the course. You won't be perfect at everything immediately! Smile

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Melissa Kok
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February 1, 2016 - 1:23 pm
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Yes, the time is ready and I'm excited to go further with the Thai Back Massage course!!!! Just went through all my notes and summaries that I had made last year. I will go over some of the movements again and then I will move on with module 7. So you will hear soon of me again! Laugh

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Melissa Kok
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February 5, 2016 - 7:58 pm
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Module 7 

I watched this module already last year and had written a summery of it so it was a nice start to go back into the course by having some repetition. Now its time to practice more!!

The techniques are great and the receiver said it felt good. Especially the rocking movements were appreciated. As I didn't learn rocking in the movements in another Thai massage course its a great addition for me. 🙂

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February 6, 2016 - 9:47 pm
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The rocking is a unique system which I created a long time ago and which is gradually finding its way into more therapist's repertoires. You probably know that I have an entire course about it called "Thai Rocking Massage".

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Melissa Kok
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February 8, 2016 - 1:26 pm
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Module 8

I didn't practice on a big person but I could practice many techniques of this module on the person and got a good idea what I can use for each individual big or small. 

The transfer from rocking with the hand to the knees on the glutes is a nice transfer. Just need a little more practice to make it a bit smoother but I guess that will come with practice. 🙂
 
It was great to see you working with all the various techniques in a sequence. So many techniques! That's not only beneficial for the receiver but makes it also for the giver more interesting and fun.
 
Ow and yes I know about your 'Thai Rocking Massage'. Definitely keep it in mind for the next course! 😉
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February 9, 2016 - 9:48 pm
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For me the rocking is really enjoyable to give because it flows better than anything else you can do, and it's about as effortless as it gets in Thai Massage.

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Melissa Kok
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February 13, 2016 - 6:31 pm
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Module 9

I had the right person to practice on. It was not difficult to find huge knots in the erector muscles along the spine! Especially palm rocking on the far side of the back was a bit painful so I tried not to give my full body weight. It is a very sensitive person. However, I was wondering, if I don't give my full body weight, will the knots ever disappear? I thought this might be a therapeutic moment where the client can not avoid a strong pain if they want to get rid of the knots... ? 

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Melissa Kok
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February 14, 2016 - 6:39 pm
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Module 10

I like the work with the elbows! However, for the receiver it was a bit of a challenge... He was scared that it was going to hurt. As I said in module 9, he is a very sensitive person so yes I can imagine the elbows are too strong for him. However, he said he wanted to give it a try and I tried not to give too much pressure so I just got the idea of the movement and will try to find a larger person to practice this on. Working with the thumbs and fingers felt better for him.

Just wondering, this person is so sensitive and sometimes he starts laughing and rolling so I can not go further with my work. That is ok as I think laughing is beautiful but I have never experienced this sensitivity by other persons and was wondering what you should do if this was a real client. Its also a person who finds it very difficult to relax and constantly feels itches every where on his body, is quickly annoyed by flies, and very quickly has pain (he is very stiff so his body gets challenged) etc. 

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Shama
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February 15, 2016 - 12:40 am
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The knots don't disappear with extra strong pressure, but with regular repetition. Thai Massage is not a one-time wonder but, like pretty much all massage systems, a gradual holistic process. Leaning in with too much weight will result in pain and resistance and is therefore not necessarily productive. 

You want to generate a feeling of openness and well-being in the body of your client, a feeling of gradually dissolving knots and blockages. I make it clear to my clients that if there is an issue which they have had for months or even years, it would be quite unrealistic to expect this to vanish in one hour.

Elbows are never too strong for anyone - only your pressure is. Actually a really good way to practice elbow work is to intentionally use them in a feather light way. This is actually much more difficult than applying strong pressure with them, but is it the way to develop sensitivity in your elbows.

You seem to have a highly unusual "client". I have never had anyone who was so sensitive and prone to laughing, so I cannot give any useful advice base on experience in this case. However my approach with someone like this would be to primarily focus on rocking techniques. Since you never stay on one spot when you use motion techniques, there is a lesser chance of any unusual client reactions which might result from working on one particular spot in a more linear or direct way.

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Melissa Kok
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February 16, 2016 - 7:28 am
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Module 11

Ha, yes I think it is an unique 'client' to practice on. Well, its good to be challenged from time to time (for both 😉 ). As I am staying in the middle of nowhere he is my only option to practice on but in about a week I have more people around me and will practice on them too. 

Thanks for taking my doubt away how to work with pressure and knots. I've seen some rough work on knots, that's why I was questioning. I'm glad with your answer as I like a more gentle way.

In Module 11 we learnt to use the knuckles. I haven't worked with my knuckles before and I think I have to develop the feeling for it as I did not like it very much. I guess, that will come in time.

However I liked the forearm leaning in the groove very much! I was lucky to find the right spot immediately on the shoulder blades. But it would be good to practice on many more shoulder blades as I can imagine it can be painful when you are not leaning on the right spot.

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February 16, 2016 - 10:30 am
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Very true, if you don't lean on the right spot, you can easily cause pain. Again, practicing it in a feather-light way just to practice sensitivity and develop a better sense for being in the right place is the way to go.

Knuckle work on the back might initially feel strange, but once you get used to it, it will give you so much more 'bang for your buck'. It is great for those big muscular backs where you would break your fingers trying to get good pressure. Knuckle work does not stress your hand or wrist which makes it a very useful tool for the longevity of therapists.

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