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Melody Lake Thai Foot Massage progress notes
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Melody Lake
Birmingham, AL
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February 16, 2018 - 2:54 am
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Module 1 - Module one was very similar to the beginning foot work of the in-person training I completed. I have been elephant walking feet since completion of that course, but now I have begun practicing more specific attention to the three lines to follow. At this time I have only done this on the table, but plan to practice on the mat next week.  In my experience (limited!) practicing on the mat makes such better use of body weight and movement!

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Shama
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February 16, 2018 - 1:09 pm
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Hi Melody, welcome to the Thai Foot Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure that it is all organized correctly:

Certification Check List

You definitely can make better use of your body weight on a mat. And, as you will see, there are techniques which are hard to do on a table. You can still use a lot of the material on a table, if you want to blend it with any other work you do.

For the second part of the course (Thai Reflexology) you will be sitting and the client as well.

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Melody Lake
Birmingham, AL
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February 27, 2018 - 2:48 am
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Module 2 - More great information about the sen lines. I really appreciate Shama's description of the importance of this work, along with the understanding that precision is not the main goal here. In all of Thai massage, intention seems to be the most important quality. Of course, technique, sequence, body reading (locked hips, etc.) are extremely important as well. The second Module reinforced for me the importance of my body position in relation to the work. This was something discussed in the 3-day workshop I completed. In my practice, I remind myself to make those slight adjustments (still not an automatic thing!). Watching this video, I saw the range of motion of the foot of his partner. I have practiced getting comfortable with that much movement.

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Shama
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February 27, 2018 - 12:18 pm
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You clearly grasped the essence of this work! I hope that this course will get you hooked on Thai Massage! Laugh

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Melody Lake
Birmingham, AL
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March 9, 2018 - 1:55 am
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Module 3 - Wow! I love the energetic motion of the circling body and rolling feet. I've used "elephant walk" previously, which I find calming (as do my clients), but this seems very different as it allows for the continuous movement of both feet and is a bigger opening. I have practiced top of feet and still need to feel a bit more confident with that - especially for clients with high arches. I like that these techniques warm the feet and prepare them for greater range of motion.

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Shama
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March 9, 2018 - 7:25 pm
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The circling move is wonderful because it is so fluid - it doesn't start or end somewhere. Some therapists practice Thai Massage in a more linear way, with direct linear pressure moves. I have always preferred motion moves and fluidity. My client feedback has always confirmed this style as more enjoyable for them.

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Melody Lake
Birmingham, AL
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March 19, 2018 - 7:43 am
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Module 4 - The prone position technique using my elbow on the sole of the foot is great for warming and stretching the foot for further work. I also really like the knee work! I had a client last week who was particularly guarded where ankle manipulation is concerned. She and I talked about her resistance to ankle rotation / stretching. Her hesitation toward the work lies in a fear of being injured. She had the same hesitation with shoulder work. I think the rhythm of Thai massage allows for a great connection with client's body. For us, it opened a dialogue about her fear of injury as she ages.

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Shama
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March 19, 2018 - 3:13 pm
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Case in point that often communication with a client is very important. Often it is a necessary ingredient in good therapy work. I have produced a small course just about this:

Communication Secrets For Massage Therapy

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Melody Lake
Birmingham, AL
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March 20, 2018 - 2:22 am
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Module 5 - Thank you so much for clearly demonstrating the impact of angle when moving the feet! I now understand the importance of the 90 or more degree angle to the action. This allows for opening rather than compressing. In addition, it makes my own position feel more natural. As in all massage modalities, the science of physics is key.SmileAs a new Thai practitioner, it is easy to get caught up in the what to do (sequence, 1-2-3-2-1, movement, etc.) when the most important aspect of this work is the "how" in relation to the client's level of flexibility and comfort. Even in the case of inflexibility (as I referenced in my Module 4 notes), there is always space for some movement. Over time, that movement may grow.

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Shama
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March 20, 2018 - 9:41 am
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I am glad to see that you picked up on the art of it instead of just focusing on the the mechanical elements. Smile

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Melody Lake
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April 19, 2018 - 11:31 pm
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Module 6 - Wow! I'm so glad to see the larger rotation that includes moving the leg instead of just the ankle. Just like using a larger tool (fist rather than thumb) in deep tissue work, the larger rotation in this case adds a relaxing stretch. This allows the ankle to "let go". I feel so much better about ankle rotation now! Also, thank you for the gentle toe stretch. I, for one, do not pull toes. This is mostly because I don't appreciate a pop. Most of my clients are middle aged females and I think the gentle method will be must appreciated.

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Shama
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April 20, 2018 - 12:44 am
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Truth be told, I dread the toe snapping and cracking which so many therapists do in Thailand. For me it is painful and I don't see the benefit of it. The gentle version is what works well for everyone, whereas the snap/crack version will freak quite a few clients out.

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Melody Lake
Birmingham, AL
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April 23, 2018 - 4:17 am
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Module 7 - I'm so excited to begin the reflexology work! The first 6 modules were so important in helping me understand the stretching and supporting of the foot ankle. I definitely see this happening in this new module as well. My clients love the foot massage work and I am anxious to be able to offer a new therapy to them with reflexology. Is there a specific oil used traditionally in Thai foot reflexology? Also, I was thinking I might begin with a warm, moist towel infused with a relaxing or an invigorating essential oil. What are your thoughts about using Kansa wands for the initial massage strokes? Thank you for your thoughtful teaching methods!

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Shama
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April 23, 2018 - 9:22 am
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There is no specific oil used here in Thailand. Some use coconut oil, some use a cream like Nivea mixed with oil. You can experiment with it. The main thing is that it should stay slippery long enough so that you don't have to constantly re-apply it.

In Thailand they use something similar to Kansa wands, wooden sticks with different sizes of points - sharp and more rounded. Personally I don't like them. To me the human hand feels a lot better. Here in Thailand some shops use the sticks, and others never use them. If the sticks are skillfully used for stroking movements, they can work. If they are used for pointed pressure, they can easily feel quite painful in my experience.

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Melody Lake
Birmingham, AL
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April 25, 2018 - 7:49 am
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Module 8 - Thank you for discussing the specific properties of oils/creams to use. Makes perfect sense. I tried the work on the medial ankle today and found it to be an easy way to warm the foot and ankle for additional movement in my "regular " massage on a table.  I'm excited to learn more! Thank you Shama!

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Melody Lake
Birmingham, AL
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May 7, 2018 - 6:00 am
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Module 9 - I have tried the toe work on my friend and on myself. She loved the work, especially the gentle stretching up of each toe. I prefer more rocking techniques; not only as a receiver, but as a practitioner too. The rhythm is soothing. I understand that in Thailand, foot massage and reflexology can be a stand alone practice. Do people consider it healing ( of particular maladies), relaxing, rejuvenating? Is it considered a luxury?

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Shama
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May 7, 2018 - 10:48 pm
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Yes, the foot massage/reflexology work is very much a stand-alone practice here in Thailand. However most foot massage therapists are also trained in Thai Massage.

It is not a luxury since you can get a good foot massage for $5-$7 per hour easily in most places in Thailand. People don't usually associate it with particular maladies (unless they are foot maladies), but nevertheless it is considered healing, relaxing and rejuvenating.

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MelodyLake
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May 17, 2018 - 8:26 am
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Module 10 - As a therapist, I enjoy the rhythmic motion of the Thai foot massage and my clients have enjoyed the addition of these techniques in our regular massage appointments. I think that I expected to learn more reflexology as I have seen it applied in the traditional sense with parts of the foot corresponding to parts of the body for the relief of specific pain or ailments. I still want to study this method. However, Thai foot massage and reflexology is relaxing and invigorating to the whole body and I love that! I hope to offer this as a stand alone practice to those needing a full energy reset rather than a traditional massage. 

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Shama
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May 17, 2018 - 11:56 am
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You could easily offer stand-alone sessions with this course. That's how it is used in Thailand. Soon I will release several new modules for this course, by the way.

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