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Merri Lou Dobler, Thai Foot Massage
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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 16, 2022 - 8:42 am
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Module 10.  Modules 9-10 were actually done yesterday, with a crazy day today out in the world. It was good tonight to get my thoughts down. Percussion techniques are my daughter's favorites, and I am getting more ease with the flat second digits on my right hand. I can switch to the fist on the sole with my left hand for an adjustment. I'll work more with my left hand second digits, quite a curious thing to me.

There is something so nice about cleaning the oil with a towel, and then using the towel for a technique, a technique that feels very soothing and different than the same technique without a towel.  I avoided toe pulling with my daughter!  I also remembered that my daughter once did not like the right foot traction with leaning back, so I was cautious. She had thought it affected her hip. She had no complaints with this, and she laughed at the big circular move as something to participate in! You just never know how someone will react to different techniques.

Then she's done, we've had a good time together, her face and body show her tension release and time for bed.  Mom and daughter together.

Thanks Shama!

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Shama Kern
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February 16, 2022 - 8:48 am
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These stories about massage within the family are some of my favorites to read. I know from my own family how massage can deepen, sustain, and improve relationships.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 18, 2022 - 8:03 am
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Module 11.  I presented some of the general information from this module to my senior yoga class today and they were so interested. Everyone had a story to tell. They knew about shoes to wear. A few months ago I showed them some toe spreaders and they laughed when I said "No baby is born with bunions", right from your text. Everyone wore either sneakers or boots to class today and most wear at least socks around their house. I told them that indoor sneakers are helpful  too, and that I wear mine when my daughter and I dance to Zumba on tv. Some never go barefoot outside anymore. We then did balance exercises, from my book on scoliosis, and everyone focused in on how their big toe helps them to stabilize for  balance.  I will go over the self-help exercises next week.

I massaged my daughter's feet and toes vigorously so I could warm them up to practice the exercises, and then I dded a little lotion. I was gentle but it was too ticklish for her. Then I showed her how to do one toe on my own foot, which she liked, but then that was it for her. I am flexible enough to reach my own toes, so I did the toe spreader exercises. It didn't feel very different with bending down the abducted big toe and it certainly gives you a different feel for your feet.  And I liked the third technique because it works!  Right hand/right foot works better than left hand/left foot, but the last two fingers hook around the big toe quite well.

Thank you!

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Shama Kern
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February 18, 2022 - 8:25 am
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Great - now you are getting into the therapy section. Can't wait for your feedback to the modules.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 18, 2022 - 9:20 am
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Module 12. Yes, more foot massage therapy!  I did this module late this afternoon, a couple of hours after my yoga class, and now ready to explain more to my two yoga groups next week about how to help themselves with their feet.  They used to have a RN come twice a month to our community to work on people's feet, but that has stopped with the pandemic.

Explanations were great about the impact of extensor and flexor tendons and how you can get hammertoe. I didn't know about toespring in shoes and how they affect balance, nor about shoe companies that make shoes with a wide enough toe box. That is great. In yoga we do a lot of joint exercises, including a chair yoga sequence that includes flexing the toes and then coming over onto the top of the toes with reduced pressure on the first joints.   It brings awareness to the feet before balance exercises.

My daughter was  okay with the technique o bending the toes down and lifting the foot. It seemed like a simple technique that had great benefits. And also nice to do and offering a whole hand response,is the next one of using the heel of your hand to press down. So many parts of your hands can be used to effect a change in someone's feet.  We skipped the toe traction due to tickling effects by my daughter, but I found it to be very good for my own feet. There's something very grounding about grabbing toes and then doing all three options of pulling, pull and rotate, or pull and wiggle. It sure sparks the energies in the toes. 

Coming at it from now pressing down the toes while using knuckles on the sole activates the sen lines and keeps the feet tingling for a while, a very nice effect.  I learned some new things here, definitely, and always came back to the point of including people in their own self-care practices, or purchasing something  different that benefits the feet, can be motivating while at the same time help you realize that changing your feet will take a focus the rest of your life.    This was fun and informative. Thank you so much!

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Shama Kern
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February 19, 2022 - 7:44 am
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This section is primarily informative and therapeutic. It might not be as useful for an enjoyable and relaxing session like the previous section, but it will be greatly appreciated by those with real foot issues for which they have often been unable to find a solution.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 21, 2022 - 8:41 am
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Module 13.  I just know some of the people in my senior  yoga classes this week will be as interested in these foot therapy topics as I am.  The first picture of Morton's Neuroma tells a story in itself. and the importance of good fitting shoes without being too narrow or tapered, and narrow toesprings, which I didn't know anything about,  and then the elevated sides of soles. They all impact how toes and feet can be squished together which affects how the nerves are impacted. The exercises addressed these issues, as well as Thai Massage techniques for the ball of the foot.

My daughter wears shoe inserts for her flat feet and we account for extra time at the sports store so the insert can be tested in a new shoe. If the shoe flaps on the floor as she walks around, then I know it is too hard of material.

First technique: my daughter enjoyed the spreading of the toes and then hands moving up to spread the foot a little bit. Palms of the hands are very comfortable. On myself, doing it the opposite movement with the hands, it was a little more sensitive between the big toe and the second toe, but then it settled in and felt okay.

Second technique. My daughter did not like this one at all, but my fingers fit in pretty easily between her toes, following your directions. Your pictures always make most techniques look easy! And then, on my own feet, it was a delightfully relaxing experience of twisting the toes, some going one way and some going the opposite. Wow, so nice, even with minor foot issues.

Third technique. The fat pad got some good attention on my daughter's feet, thumbs going up and knuckles  going down, easy on the knuckles. I shifted my position when I shifted to the other foot so it was not a strain on my lower back. I liked how it felt on my own feet.

Fourth technique. That extensor muscle stretch is very beneficial and yet it is not difficult to practice.  My daughter liked it. I needed some oil for mine and my feet tingled afterwards.  

Thank you!

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Shama Kern
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February 21, 2022 - 9:22 am
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I don't remember if I mentioned this in the course, but the inspiration for the entire therapy section was my own issue with Morton's neuroma which was the reason why I researched all these foot issues in-depth and came up with solutions for treating them.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 24, 2022 - 7:31 am
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Module 14. Wow, Shama, you've got experience with your own foot issues and now you share those solutions and techniques with us!   Really fascinating information and I am excited to share some of this information with my senior yoga class tomorrow.  My daughter is flat-footed with her own feet problems, and I remember the times she wanted to take ballet but couldn't get into position very well, plus it didn't feel good, and there is no arch support for ballet slippers.  She's been doing hip-hop for a number of years, wearing her regular shoes with her sheoe inserts and continuing to love to dance. Plus there's mom's foot massage almost every night for relaxation!

That was new information to me about plantar fasciitis and a circulation issue, not necessarily inflammation. It makes sense too, with all the factors that can lead to plantar fasciitis and the ways we try to ignore it until it gets so painful that it stops your regular activity. I don't know how painful it is to work with the adductor hallucis if you've had a problem for a long time, although I know my daughter is not crazy about any toe work for flatfootedness, but it's really good that you offer techniques that also are great with bunyons and Morton's neuroma.

Just taking the fear out what seems like a problem you can't fix, to one with some Thai Massage solutions, along with helpful client education, can help with whole person healing and get the energies moving through the body better. Thank you!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 24, 2022 - 7:52 am
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Module 15.  Extremely cold weather here made for a good day to be inside and to continue Thai Foot Massage. I noticed with a client last week that she had soreness below the malleolus on her right foot. There was relief that I provided with the foot techniques taught in the modules, and now I wonder if it was tarsal tunnel syndrome. It wasn't seriously painful, but techniques with the knuckles followed work with thumbs to work  it to a better place.

If you start noticing how people walk, pronation shows up many times. And, as you say, it can lead to other foot issues such as bunyons and hammertoes. Then people go and get new shoes, looking for better support, when really it is the muscles in the foot that need to be strengthened. And the pain of it can travel up and down the leg.  Alignment is important.

You have several self-help exercises. My daughter and I practiced them and she could not roll her feet and ankles very well. She needed help to get her feet pointing forward. The second one was easier for her, bending the knees. I noticed some tenderness in one of my feet.

Very good section, lots to learn and apply.  Thank you Shama!

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Shama Kern
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February 24, 2022 - 9:11 am
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I am so glad to hear that you appreciate the foot therapy section. I put a lot of effort into researching and creating it. It's not for everyone, I know, but if you ever get clients with specific foot problems, it can be a lifesaver. I remember, when I had Morton's neuroma many years ago, I could barely walk across a room without bad pain in my feet (I had it in both feet). After curing myself of it with the methods in this course, I can walk for miles and miles. For the right person, this information is extremely valuable.

But I have permanently changed the type of shoes I wear and would never go back to 'normal' shoes.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 26, 2022 - 8:44 am
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Module 16.  Super good section, which I must have anticipated because in yoga class I asked the class to stand up, take a breath, and look down at their feet for alignment. I reminded them that when we move into Mountain pose that we look down at our legs and feet to see if they are pointing forward. Correct for good alignment. 

What helped with this module was the pictures in the Summary Notes with the with the red arrows/lines to show the foot angles, which is connected to the knees and then the hips.

There is a lot of good information in this module, and it comes back to taking a holistic look at the factors that lead to the stress of non-alignment and medical conditions and shoe wearing history, and all the factors.  Very good, Shama, thank you for this.

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Shama Kern
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February 27, 2022 - 7:12 am
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When I created this course and the therapy section, I must have had you in the back of my mind. Laugh

I have often noticed that just the right people are attracted to the right information, as in synchronicity.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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February 28, 2022 - 7:40 am
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Module 17.   "You just keep going!" This statement you make towards the end of this summary module says it all. Very informative bringing the techniques together with consistent, constant motion, all the fingers and parts of the hands working together.  Your hands are working deep but yet it is as if you are saying to yourself "soft, soft, soft" because there's a wave of energy that keeps it all coming together smoothly. I can see that, for the Hara energy has a "feel" to it that comes through, encapsulating you as a person and bringing in the person you are working with. They relax and fall asleep and you stay in the flow.  I'm not there yet but I do get the feel at times when I'm not concentrating on getting it right. 

I have loved this course and I know that there is time now to bring it together, to draw back in the pieces that slip away but that will be part of a great session.  I thank you for Thai Foot Massage Shama!

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Shama Kern
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February 28, 2022 - 8:25 am
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The best thing to do is to re-watch the videos soon because there is always some information that slips through in the first or even second round.

I know that this course is in good hands with you and that you will do much good with it.

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