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Merri Lou Dobler Thai Massage Back Therapy
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Shama Kern
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May 30, 2022 - 8:03 am
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This is great that you always have a practice partner in your daughter. How often do you get to practice on others as well, and do you get similar feedback?

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Merri Lou Dobler
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June 1, 2022 - 1:02 am
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Module 11.  Hi Shama,  right now there is just my daughter for Thai Massage!  We took three weeks off from yoga and haven't see everyone, so the break has been good.  The back therapy has been good to relax some of her tight muscles and I've found that the knuckle rocking is very helpful, especially when you change positions and can get to spots at a different angle. I now see her back muscles relaxing more and easier to get to because I'm working in the same area of several modules.  The cue of certain techniques for the upper back being different than ones beneficial for the mid- and lower back helped me to make the distinction when moving up on the back.

Right away there were four techniques in this module. You can change to a different one pretty easily and feel the difference with muscles. The forearm techniques also were great for moving myself for better body mechanics instead of discovering in the middle of a technique that the body is whining! The self-care aspect of Thai Massage, especially with such a big area as the back, brings back all the points of being good to yourself. And the example of sliding your leg up under the shoulder or the half-straddle with one knee bent up to support you, are all things I'm finally getting. And appreciating.

Energy lines work reminded me to breathe up from the Hara center, so thanks for bringing that in. And I cannot say enough about how my daughter loves percussion, light and easy, which you point out goes deep. "Chopping" is not something that appeals to me either, but good to know.  Thanks so much!

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Shama Kern
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June 1, 2022 - 3:10 am
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This percussion is another unique thing. It is not known in Thailand unfortunately. They are just into their unpleasant chopping thing. The difference between the two is like night and day.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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June 24, 2022 - 8:49 am
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Update, review of Module 11. I am healing from the fall when playing soccer with the kids/grandkids!  And, of course, the current modules use so many other parts of the body as effective tools  that my wrists don't have to worry, nor do I get very fatigued in my hands. My rotator cuff issues need some care, but it will come.  I went back to Module 11 and discovered that I remembered a good portion of it, because it is laid out in a very organized pattern and is easy to follow. The flow is very nice, the reminders of what to look for and how to use more power techniques  are very good.  The language is clear and the steps  follow one another in good Shama style!  My daughter did great with relaxing during this section of Thai Massage and she liked how she felt afterwards.  My modifications worked and it was quite natural.  Many thanks, I am glad to be back Shama!

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Shama Kern
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June 24, 2022 - 10:02 am
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I am always glad to see you back, Merri Lou! Good to hear that you are healing from your fall. When we get older, we are not like rubber balls anymore, like the kids. Smile

You sound more and more like a seasoned Thai Massage therapist.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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June 29, 2022 - 6:34 am
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Module 12. This module, and the next one, helped me to see 1) how huge the back is with different techniques that benefit one area but not another, and 2) how work on the back can be so healing for other parts of the body, as well as bring the parts together. The instructions and directions were very clear, Shama,  and I could see how you would know if you need to switch up a technique, say from the mid-back to the upper back,instinctively, when your hands, or knees/feet/heels/thumbs/elbows would bring  an awareness that it's time to adjust and modify.

That said, my daughter, who is quite muscular in her back, has been swimming a lot and she was ready for some relaxation. I liked how the transition from the previous module helped me get settled in. The one hand on the sacrum is an excellent support, and then the knee, with the three other body points for support, made this really good. I always note when we move our body from 90 degrees to 45 degrees for a power move, and I'm fortunate to feel I have balance and support, and good energy in my feet, to carefully do the power moves using the feet.

Heel rocking on glutes and then lower back went well; my transition to the other side is slow but balanced. I have had experience with these modules and classes to get lots of practice in transitioning, which makes it easier for me since I'm always working with my daughter. Then, moving up to the shoulder blades for fingers and thumbs had followed an elbow in the groove, which I have to re-locate more than once but can do it.  I like doing the index and  middle fingers in the groove and there is nothing like percussion for my daughter!

Those traps need a lot of attention and it helped to move above my daughter's head for that angle, and rocking, and then forearms. I positioned for the power move for the upper back, settled her on pillows, and then she said she was done,  so I'm hoping to come back to the final techniques some time.  Many thanks for this work, so much packed into this module and so valuable for learning back Thai Massage!

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June 29, 2022 - 8:16 am
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Yes, you can do a lot with the back. That's the reason why the Thai Back Massage course is the second-largest course in our library.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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June 30, 2022 - 5:46 am
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Module 13.  Wow, putting this section for the back together with a flow from step to step shows how intuitive Thai massage can be. I think I counted about 40 different techniques ?   Putting it all together shows so much about the bigger picture. I liked how rocking came in. I saw speed changes with the same technique, all the body parts that are tools for Thai massage, sitting 45 degrees or 90 degrees or straddling. I saw the care for the client that you always have, the use of pillows, the techniques that are more familiar than others.

My daughter was ready for a session and I focused on her, synchronized our breathing, moved slowly and carefully, not even sure now if I could name how I did it, but it was good for her and I was relaxed. I also liked the set up for the side Thai massage and the benefits of this, after making sure my daughter was secure. It was a different feel in the groove but more powerful techniques.

Thanks for this whole section offering a wide selection of ways to help someone!

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June 30, 2022 - 5:56 am
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"I think I counted about 40 different techniques"  -  I had never added them all up myself, but I know that there are lots of them, especially considering that what you typically learn in Thai Massage schools is maybe around 5 back techniques.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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July 24, 2022 - 5:06 am
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Module 15.  Guess I jumped past Module 14 and did 15. Not sure how that happened, but I am glad for what I learned! Will pick up 14 next and complete 15 now. My focus seems better now and I can concentrate on the instruction and information for a longer period of time.  They say your pre-frontal cortex changes with all the stress you might be going through, and thus you can't concentrate. Yes, I am consciously working to have a better time in life now, so this is a good sign.

My daughter is okay and she was interested in a Thai massage session, with warm ups for her feet and legs. I had practiced the first technique with my granddaughter's doll and I skipped it for my daughter. With the second one, the assessment of checking one hip over the other was really good and I was surprised how the technique worked well, and lifting the hip with a rocking motion was good.   For the one technique of pulling up the lower back and the sacrum, it was too much for my daughter but I can see the benefit of doing it. I could reach easily because I continue doing yoga regularly, which helps my flexibility.

The side techniques were quite manageable and I think I went at it very slowly, talking as I did it , with the shoulder grab making it acceptable to my daughter. Easing in and out of these side ones was good, and the technique at her head was a different way of getting to parts of the back.  I had to skip the 3 powerful ones towards the end of the module because of my daughter's flexibility level, but I clearly remembered on one of the Thai massage sessions that I had ,that was straight to the level # 2, not the easiest introduction that I really needed,  and how it was too much for me. So I learned that one from experience, both to start with level 1 and also to communicate. My daughter weighs just a little bit more than me so that would have been a factor too.

Thanks, Shama, these are great techniques and the modules say a whole lot!

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July 24, 2022 - 6:46 am
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Thanks for another detailed feedback - always a pleasure to read!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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November 21, 2022 - 5:33 am
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Module 14 (skipped this one previously!)  My daughter and I caught one of those viruses that is circling the globe and were out of commission for the longest time, then she got double ear infections! It is so good when you start to feel better. She is happier today too.

I like working with the shoulder blades because of ease of access and using the thumbs, fingers, and palm of hand with the upper hand, as you support the work by holding the other bent arm. Just moving that arm tells you a lot about your client, and I was fortunate my daughter let me work with both shoulder blades to see how they differ. And the wiggling of the fingers under a tight blade makes all the difference, especially when the thumb is not getting much access under the scapula. And then there is the rocking that comes with using the heel of the hand. Movement helps so much and brings us back to the Thai massage message of using your whole body, breathing and moving.

My daughter enjoyed the shoulder blade work. I appreciated the tips on working with the muscles first before moving to stretching. My daughter first resisted the technique at the end and then allowed me about two minutes to do gentle rocking.  I could do one side-to-side and then she was done.

As someone who loves yoga, doing spinal stretching is the way to go!  We are back and ready to move into the next modules for stretching. Thank you Shama!

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November 21, 2022 - 9:51 am
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Talking about ears, I once had a really nasty ear infection, and antibiotics did not work. Finally I cured it within a few days with colloidal silver. Since then this has been my go-to remedy for ear infections.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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November 26, 2022 - 8:38 am
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Module 16. Colloidal silver is a great idea, Shama, and I purchased some. So easy to forget these things, and I don't know how old my bottle is! 

I warmed up my daughter's back before doing the stretches, and realized that since we weren't as consistent in practicing right now, that she was tighter than before. She liked it. I'm a little stiffer getting up on my toes ,and we were not in a rush, as my knees found a spot on her back. The rhythm of leaning her forward and then pulling back her shoulders into the knees was slower in the beginning and then I could feel when she relaxed enough to go forward then backward. I remembered what you said about creating space.  The power version looked very interesting, but maybe not right for my daughter and for me. I practiced with the doll, just not the same thing.

We both liked technique # 12, although I was the one with a stiff shoulder, but being as fully supported as this technique is, it went well. Initially I had to adjust where I was sitting so my feet reached between the shoulder blades, but then it was very nice and easy to move my feet down a portion of her back and back up. One foot on the back is also a good technique.

We then moved to forward bends, slowly moving to assess the mobility of her hamstrings. This seemed a very familiar technique, motion and movement going well, and again creating space, that little space of allowing her to release.  The forearm was good to use here. Then my daughter resisted going into a back bend, a nice compliment to the forward bend.

This learning of Thai Massage continues and I appreciate everything I'm learning. Thank you Shama!

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November 26, 2022 - 9:35 am
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"The power version looked very interesting, but maybe not right for my daughter and for me."  -  The power versions are typically only for a few people, but not for the majority. Every now and then I had a yogi type as a client who could not get enough of deep stretches, but in general I use the power versions only rarely.

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