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Merri Lou Dobler, Thai Foot Massage
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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 27, 2022 - 7:51 am
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Module 1. I immediately liked the subtle but significant change in coming up on your toes for the first technique. The increased leverage was really helpful in  sinking for the sole of the foot on the sen lines. You are not on the heel nor the toes, a good reminder. Bracing the arms and getting into a rocking motion, in and out, and learning how far in and then out you can go for the best work was good experimentation. There really is a sweet spot for this for doing the best work. Save the thumbs! My hands and thumbs felt great afterwards. Thank you, Shama.

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Shama Kern
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January 28, 2022 - 9:31 am
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Welcome back to another course. You rock!! Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 30, 2022 - 8:03 am
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Module 2.  My daughter's feet don't bend out well and she dislikes a pillow for the external rotation, so we make do. There is more of an angle with the foot on my thigh or holding the foot. The rolling motion, from single thumb to both thumbs, is relaxing to her. She likes both feet massaged, which is good news for me to practice with both hands. Squeezing the foot feels good to both of us. Knuckles work great on the feet, and I much preferred using all the fingers instead of just the middle finger, something I will practice to see how it changes. The forearm didn't quite work since the angle wasn't correct, but it was part of a relaxing time for my daughter. Chi Machine to finish up today.   Thank you!

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Shama Kern
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January 30, 2022 - 8:25 am
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That's great that she likes her feet massaged. She is up for a treat! Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 31, 2022 - 6:42 am
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Module 3.  Wow, this is great. I have the opportunity to get the techniques  thatI know just right and to improve on them. All the tips for a good Thai foot massage are presented and I loved extending the techniques to the heel, Achilles tendon and up the lower leg.  Still working on the circular flowing motion for more fluidity. I don't think I was releasing each foot after I bent them out, but the rhythm is very relaxing to me. Sen lines are good to work with, esp with the circles. Medial/lateral edges like the pressure too.

My daughter was blissed out with this, so fun to have this connection with her. It was smooth, quiet, peaceful. And I learned about my own feet as to when they need lighter pressure or can take it with stronger pressure. Tracing sen lines on the top of my feet brought a nice flow of energy for a while afterwards, the feet tingly and happy.  It's hard to do my own feet both at the same time, but it was enjoyable in all ways. Thanks!

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Shama Kern
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January 31, 2022 - 7:08 am
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Yes, there will be a major improvement in your foot massage skills in this course. And only the first few modules are somewhat similar to what you already know. After that it will all be brand-new!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 4, 2022 - 12:18 am
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Module 4. Side and then prone for Thai foot massage. Pillows helped. My daughter was comfortable.The 45 degree angle is comfortable to work with, and I can see how important it is to take the time to get an angle that works for both of us. Elbow without the sharp point is good, folding in, and then up on one foot to stretch the calf.  A nice stretch for the calf and Achilles tendon, something most people would benefit from.  I liked the knee on the one foot and then going from one foot the other was a comfortable move. I skipped the power version since my balance needed more support today.

We worked on the floor with a blanket for these techniques. I had the bed next to us for  the technique of my feet on her feet, and a dresser behind us for using my heels and facing the opposite way.  Both were too much for my daughter.  She said no to them and I came off immediately. We weigh about the same weight, but the support was not quite enough to keep more weight off my daughter's feet. She is used to a certain amount of pressure and this was much more. She loved the finger joints work , however, and I liked the rolling out. Feet were medial for this, one foot adjusted just enough to get the angle correct. I notice I spend more time playing with the best place for the foot, to support the knee and hip and to keep her comfortable.

Very nice!  Thank you!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 4, 2022 - 6:39 am
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Module 5.  What a good review and lovely way to connect with someone. I had some vertigo yesterday so there was no way I could do any rocking, or even work with my daughter. It feels good to have the dizziness gone and to get back to what I love doing, albeit carefully to not trigger a reaction!

A few little pieces that bring Thai Foot Massage together have slipped somewhere out of my memory. "Oh hooray, that's how you do this correctly!"  I'm talking about twisting the foot in and out. Locked wrist, bring your elbow back into your body. The little things that can make it feel right. And I think my daughter was relaxed the whole time because most of this was familiar to her. The cues of in/out, up/down, twist in/twist out has been a good tool to getting me on my way to working with the foot.

Nice to have the double foot inward bend, because my daughter has one hip pretty well tight so one foot on top of the other felt okay to her. And the foot wiggle is very good; my daughter's right foot fits better between thighs together, while the left foot is okay either way. Options are great.

Thanks, Shama, this is a good course.

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Shama Kern
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February 4, 2022 - 6:55 am
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Try doing techniques that are potentially very strong in a very light and gentle way. You might be surprised. Smile

I am happy to hear that you like the course!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 4, 2022 - 8:50 am
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That's a very good thought, Shama, which keeps me open to modifying something which could be powerful ,to also being gentle. There's a beauty in a strong technique that just needs one's own sense of lightness and joy to make it work for anyone. Thank you.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 6, 2022 - 8:36 am
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Module 6.  My daughter wondered if the "foot wiggle" had anything to do with the Wiggle kids singing group from Australia! There is a real benefit to holding the ankle with one hand and using thumb or fingers/palm with the other hand to support an ankle that might not move very well. I would forget to move for better body mechanics, or up on my toes, and the pictures help to remember this. Otherwise it doesn't quite feel good.The different ways to move all of it, and also changing pressure for different directions, felt very good to my daughter. The traction/compression went well and I liked the lean in/lean back with it. I think my daughter liked this one the best. It felt like I was working to affect the whole leg.

I could have gone slower on the toe pull wiggle; I realized I was not paying attention to my breathing and I had speeded up. So I slowed down. Those toes need a gentle touch, yes.   I could not quite get the lift and shake the foot sideways since my daughter wanted to help with the technique, so we ended with Chi Machine. Then she wanted foot lotion on and I was happy to see I had integrated more techniques that seemed to show up in my hands automatically, one to the next. I could not tell you which techniques I did, only that there were quite a variety and it was enjoyable.

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Shama Kern
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February 7, 2022 - 7:10 am
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If your daughter likes foot lotion, she will really appreciate the next section which is all done with lotion or oil - the Thai Reflexology section.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 7, 2022 - 8:29 am
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Module 6 Review: Yes, my daughter loves lotion on her feet. She enjoyed the jojoba oil on her neck in the Complete Thai Massage and HHM,  and it will be nice to use it on her feet.

I turned on the last 6 minutes or so of the Module 6 video and did the review right along with my daughter's feet! It was great; the transitions were easy; I remembered the techniques, and I think my hands are stronger with more flexibility. My daughter completely zoned out.

Thank you so much!

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Shama Kern
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February 7, 2022 - 8:38 am
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Happy to hear that! Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 10, 2022 - 6:18 am
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Module 7. Lots of nice stroke for this module. My middle and ring finger knuckles on my left hand are noticeably "weaker" to me than any other knuckles. My stronger right hand and knuckles have had more practice and are easier to use. Experimented with different pillows and positions, changing positions during the practice to find the best comfort.  The thumb/index finger saver technique works okay with one hand. I guess I really needed a picture of the opposite hand positioning, but it was great to have one side that works, just my brain getting mixed up!

All the different strokes are great; as soon as one techniques seems to be tiring, I can change to another one; the J-hook is very nice. I've liked cross-fiber techniques with traditional massage, although it has always been harder on the fingers/thumb, so here I am saving the joints and tissues.  Heel work was good. Careful work on the top of the foot was comfortable to my daughter, but she did not like work on the outer side of her right foot. Maybe the knee needed moving or I was getting more vigorous than needed. Will see!

Thank you Shama!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 10, 2022 - 6:44 am
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Module 8.  I can see how it is more comfortable using a recliner chair but the floor was just fine using towels, chair, oil. Feet splay out differently for my daughter and stabilization was important to keep the one side supported.  Opposite hand motions went well, with a rhythm to match, rotation adjusted for each foot's tolerance.

Knuckles and thumb work went well until I realized I was not supporting my arm on my thigh; I had started out doing this and then forgot about it. Power stroke using the thigh for support helps, with light effort at first and then after a question to my daughter, I could work a little deeper.

This session ended well, my daughter is relaxed, and my hands/knuckles are warmed up. Thank you!

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Shama Kern
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February 10, 2022 - 9:06 am
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This type of foot reflexology is what I used to get in Thailand for two decades on a regular basis. I totally love it. I had my favorite massage shop in front of one the malls in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately for the last two years, it was all shut down and the entire massage industry atrophied.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 13, 2022 - 6:46 am
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Module 8.  So sorry about the massage industry there in Chiang Mai, and am glad you are living in a better place, for however long it will be. Many changes everywhere and it means we are changing too.

My daughter preferred her favorite scented lotion instead of jojoba oil, and it is being familiar with a certain oil/lotion that makes for a smooth session. Her leg was elevated but her foot was flopping over so I added another pillow with a towel over it. It did feel like a long time of sitting in one position!  It was a little awkward with one leg since it doesn't turn out very well but medial work on the other leg was better. I chose to do other Thai massage techniques on the one foot when rotation was challenging. Oppositional hands working for relaxation and therapy is something I can do, since I have some experience as a massage therapist.

My left hand middle finger was sore afterwards, but the soreness went away and I was glad to experiment with all fingers/groups of finger knuckles. I don't think I was supporting that finger very well, and that is what I will work on.

The rocking that goes with the groove work for the Achilles tendon made this a good technique. Some sensitivity on the padding of the foot under the toes is what I will watch out for next time.  Thank you!

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Shama Kern
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February 13, 2022 - 8:05 am
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It does take a little while to get your knuckles used to this kind of work. Start out softly until your knuckles adapt.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 16, 2022 - 8:32 am
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Module 9.  Toe work!  The warm-up for my daughter's toes was accepted as relaxing to her and it helped to hold each toe back a little to stroke down.  I stuck with the index finger since that is more "competent".  The tips of her toes were sensitive and I was not able to do more than one toe per foot with the the bent index and middle finger. It was also a little awkward for me with my left hand and she probably picked up on this.

The pressure felt good with the thumbs on the sole, index fingers in the groove, a nice squeeze. She enjoyed the fingers on the top of the foot, all around. Good variation of techniques to reach many areas!  It was easier to use the sides of the second digits as a good tool. I tried working between the toes, but again there was sensitivity, or maybe my daughter was just thinking it was not what she wanted in the moment.   Relaxation techniques, mixed in, were great.

She giggled at the horse gallop rhythm but relaxed with it, a nice change up.  I really liked it. Squeezes and strokes on the top of the foot were relaxing to her and the movement was good for me. Some right ankle sensitivity for my daughter, as expected, even with more gentle work. There was some resistance to turning the right foot out, refusal of a pillow, so an adaptation to working with both hands for strokes helped this relax and helped me cover more area of the lower leg.

She has soft heels from nightly lotion massages, and it was her left heel that seemed to bother her, my pressure more than she wanted, with a tickle and a pulling away. And yes, switching hands back and forth seemed to just happen automatically  for me, as I was circling or swaying, breathing. This told me I've learned some good body mechanics and will switch when I pick up on it.  Cross-fiction fiber is a good tool to use. I had to laugh when I worked up to her knees, for my daughter looked at me and said no, this is about the foot!  So for the other knee I made sure I had a firm grip on her ankle, slight tug to help with it.

Thanks, Shama, there is a lot here to incorporate!

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