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Merri Lou Dobler- Heavenly Head Massage
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Shama Kern
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January 11, 2022 - 9:08 am
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I can tell that you will make a great HHM therapist! Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 14, 2022 - 9:25 am
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Module 12. Lots to learn with these modules for HHM! My daughter likes to lie down on her favorite blanket  on the floor and she easily relaxes with HHM. I did a number of holds before moving on, so soothing.  I really appreciate this time with my daughter in this way, our special time together. She has a short nose bridge and I was careful with her eyes. I don't have big hands, I'm glad to say! She liked the movement of one thumb after the other and the sides of the nose bridge. Pressure was medium light to avoid the eyes. And slow, slow, slow. Eyebrows are always neat to work with and I was cautious under the eyebrows. The circling was good too.

I was not always sure what typle of pressure to use and I will need to work on this, although it felt right when I was doing it as directed.  Practice will get me there. I like the fan image for the forehead. Parallel thumbs was nice.

Thank you so much for another wonderful lesson in HHM!

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Shama Kern
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January 15, 2022 - 8:44 am
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"I really appreciate this time with my daughter in this way, our special time together." I am happy to hear this. I know quite a few course students who used their Thai Massage practice to establish this 'special time' with family members. My wife and I also have 'special time' with massaging each other. It is really a great tool for relationships!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 15, 2022 - 11:55 pm
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Module 13.  Thanks for your responses, Shama. My daughter's favorite thing is to have the HHM new techniques practiced first and then move to her feet to lotion her feet.  This also includes some of the Thai feet techniques before the lotion is applied.  And the Chi Machine is her favorite. It's a lot of fun with my daughter.

  I think I get the friction move pretty well, as with the temples. And in the PDF I like the BOLD words highlighted for the main action to move to next.  That helps when I need reminders.  The side views  in the video have been really good, esp for the downstroke for the cheeks and the importance of bending the wrists and rolling over the fingertips.  It's not smooth yet but I played part of the video while working with my daughter to get the motion going, and then remembering the breath. The rhythm of the big face circle settles it all in nicely.

Pressure is also important. I'll get better at this with practice.  The review at the end of the module is great too. Many thanks!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 17, 2022 - 8:43 am
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Module 14.  My daughter has sleep apnea, with certain characteristics to define it, but not able to be determined with a sleep study. This was a few years ago and I can certainly understand how difficult it would be to sleep with a mask on your face and things taped on your chest, a machine beeping at you all night if you moved. Her breathing pattern is not a regular in-breath, out-breath, but some quick breaths and then holding the breath. I coordinate my breath to hers usually by holding one breath to her two quick breaths, to match her exhale, or just holding my breath too. It's good for me, and as a yoga teacher, it brings me back to my center to the value of breathing.

And here we are with a module of holds for the neck, cheeks, ears, head, temples/third eye.  Each hold is done with 3-5 breaths, or even more, seven breaths. It's whatever works, what the intuition says is right, a relaxation into a beautiful time. Breath to breath. These are fantastic holds, so calming, the energy in our room flowing and still at the same time, a deep connection between my daughter and me.  To coordinate the breathing became secondary since I was used to her pattern, but it was different this time. It was the breath of her life moving in and out, and then me with my breath, in these wonderful moments of togetherness, not knowing what our future holds, but being so present to her that it was all that mattered. It is only now as I write this that the tears come up for whatever is to come for us together or for us individually. So much love and peace between us, her heart open, my hands on her head to complete this module, such a heart-opening experience.  I can only thank my daughter for what this has brought to me and the time we have to be together.

And I thank you, Shama, for this wonderful Heavenly Head Massage.  It is a gift to me.

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January 19, 2022 - 12:42 am
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These holds are some of the most powerful techniques in the entire system. They can hardly be called techniques, as you do apparently 'nothing'. But I have seen the most amazing results with these holds, like deep trance-like states, altered consciousness, and profound inner peace and connection to the inner self. I am confident that you will transmit all this to your daughter, or generate such states in her and in yourself as well.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 20, 2022 - 9:49 am
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Module 15.  My daughter has a short neck but she relaxed very well with these techniques. Her head turned more easily to the right and was a noticeable difference  to me, so I was more careful with working with her left side. Her head lifted easily and moved pretty good for the figure 8, more practice needed. Even just the side to side was a nice move for her. She opened her eyes periodically and made a slight sound in her throat to agree that all was going well.

The second method for rotating her head seemed the better option with one hand supportive to guide the head.  Rocking sideways was nice and I liked the little trick of putting the hand on the mat with her head resting in my palm. I was interested in how her neck movement worked with the lateral movement and it moved better on the left side, but not quite the same as the right side.  So I slowed down the rocking and sat with the rocking a bit longer on that side. As might be expected, the lifting of the head to the 45 degrees, to the left, felt a little different than the right side, but I think the angle of flexibility was pretty close. My daughter was relaxed even more now. A little deeper pressure on the head as it was lifted seemed to feel more secure.

Jojoba oil was a treat to use, and you are right, it makes the techniques feel more complete and easier to manage. The knuckle work was not as comfortable to do on the restricted side, and the neck is shorter anyway, and I needed to adjust my body to get to the area easier. Then I moved back to one of the other techniques that seemed easier to do and that flowed and that I was familiar with. The two versions of circling were soothing and comforting to both of us.

It had been a stressful day for my daughter and this was exactly what she needed. She had talked on the phone to a friend earlier and the friend was not getting well at all, so we talked about it and then later, after she processed it, the HHM was the perfect solution.  And two of my yoga students expressed an interest in the HHM this morning, so it is getting to be time to expand for more experiences with HHM. Thank you so much!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 21, 2022 - 2:54 am
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Module 16.  This really is advanced but it was a very good introduction and had clear instructions on how to do it. I had my granddaughter's doll, which is not very heavy, and she has no neck. I had a hand towel, which was not long enough but was cotton.  The safety of the person is so important and the factor of keeping the session short so you don't get tired and thus make a mistake, showed that an experienced therapist with lots of practice could make a difference  in using a neck towel as part of a therapy session.

Am appreciative of seeing an advanced technique in action; thank you!

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Shama Kern
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January 21, 2022 - 5:33 am
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It's better to know some advanced techniques and not need them often than not knowing any advanced techniques when you come across a client who would really benefit from them! Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 24, 2022 - 12:51 am
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Module 17.  Face therapy section was fascinating with a focus for therapeutic needs. My daughter declined a pillow and said the jojoba oil was fine on her face. I started with a tiny bit and added a little more, which was perfect for the whole HHM.  I appreciated the section on shifting the body, since it got uncomfortable to sit for long in any one position, and it was helpful to switch legs, although not done altogether seamlessly!

Starting with the facial techniques from a former module was helpful, in order to adjust the pressure, see how the oil was working, and to vary fingers/thumbs/heel of hands.  What a great variety.  I was careful with the sinus areas, since these are an issue of congestion for my daughter, and the cheekbones pressure was light to begin with, then got  deeper. Slight nods of my daughter's head during all of these techniques when I communicated with her, indicated she was fine with it.

I liked having supportive fingers so I didn't get tired. It was fun to change it up with pressure changes and alter the pressure just a bit from one hand to the other to pick up differences. I found it was better for my daughter to back off pressure on the outer area of her jaw and to go slower with the jaw in general. There were miniscule changes in certain sinus areas and I changed to small circles to help with any nerve triggering.

I wasn't quite as comfortable with both hands on one cheek and I think it related to some tightness on that side of the neck, which  my daughter resisted a little as I moved her head,  but the other side was okay. It also relates to right hand/left hand flexibility, and then I was getting the body cues to change my legs.

My daughter also likes feathering moves on her face, so at the end I concluded with this, as well as light touch through her hair and finishing with her throat and coming off her clavicles to the sides, in one motion.  Thank you! This was great!

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January 24, 2022 - 7:31 am
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Now you have a big face repertoire. You never know - once I had a client who came to me regularly, and all he wanted was these therapeutic and strong face sessions. He said he could not find anyone else who is able to do such work.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 25, 2022 - 8:40 am
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Module 18.  What a great way to complete Heavenly Head Massage, Shama, with  information on the bigger picture, to put more of this together for clients and to have a holistic approach to each person. As you know, I'm a yoga teacher for seniors and I modify many techniques to protect the spine, neck, and joints. It's as much for me as it is for everyone else in my classes.

This course went very fast and offered so many techniques but also focused on the person and their needs. Of great value is keeping my own body safe and strong, practicing a lot to keep a good flow. It brought a real connection in the evening with my daughter, a way to help her wind down and for me to see just how valuable the reduction in stress helps her through these times.

I had started organizing my notes and putting the pieces together this past week. There is still a lot to do, and I look forward to getting a good sense of the sections. and the "fit" of all together in a Thai massage session.  For instance, my daughter likes some neck massage, then her head, and then her face. Of course she has always like foot massage at night, so this practice includes doing what she likes.

HHM is very relaxing and I consider it therapeutic for myself as well. I've learned a lot and I feel like I'm a better massage therapist in many ways. It's been great to have your responses and insights and refreshing to have an online course where the instructor takes the time to give feedback for every module.

Thank you Shama!

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