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Merri Lou Dobler's Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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Shama Kern
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January 7, 2022 - 7:13 am
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Transitions look easy. When you try to do them, they are not that easy. And once you master them, they really are so easy! Laugh

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 9, 2022 - 6:36 am
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Module 19.  Love it, love it, love it. Brings it all together. Fun to watch and absorb. Thank you!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 9, 2022 - 6:47 am
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Module 20. My daughter is now settled in to my requests for something new, and then ask if she 'd like something else, like hips rotation, arm and hand, spinal twist.  Today she asked for a belly rub and then was great with some sternal movements. We then moved to the prone legs. I know I have one ticklish calf on my leg, when bent up, but my daughter was fine with hers. She likes her feet massaged; we will do heel cream later before bed. On the soles of her feet it went well, once I remembered to be at 45 degrees. You can tell when you're just not in the right spot. The 1-2-3-2-1 was good on her flat feet, three lines and then "soft elbow" pressing down. The rhythm came easily, slow at first, inner and outer. I found the traction and compression to be well-received, both holding and then circling. I leaned in, circled, breathed.

I moved her leg up, pressed on the foot, a press and pull, and back down I got for the tendon circling on both feet. It is strong! My daughter liked it. Elephant walking went well until the upper calves, then it got ticklish. No extra pillow for her head or under her chest, a good sequence and fun to do. Thank you.!

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January 9, 2022 - 8:21 am
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Thai Massage is not only good professionally, but also for family relationships. That goes very much for myself and my wife as well.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 11, 2022 - 8:02 am
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Review today, Modules 14-16. Feels like a long time ago since I've done these. Recently I discovered the Index of content of all the course modules, which is a great tool. It was good to make my own notes, but now I can see the bigger picture better.  This is great. Thank you.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 14, 2022 - 9:11 am
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Module 21.   I see more of the similarities of working prone legs with supine legs, especially with using the forearm/elbows to get into the sen lines.  And I also see how heavy legs require a modification to slide under one leg. My daughter is 4'8" tall with sturdy legs. Her hips are tighter so I could not really move her legs out very far in order to sit between them. The picture of the modified pose was worth a thousand words! I made the adjustment quite easily because of the modified technique, and was able to lift her leg -above her knee -to place it on my thigh. I again had the picture ready for the other leg. Right leg moved easier than left. My daughter's foot was sort of facing down but not exactly there.  I worked with her leg with her foot where it was naturally able to be. It was resisting much of a rotation, to turn it for much of an angle to reach 45 degrees too, and I was careful with it. It was different  working with her legs and I could get to sen lines with more of my torso pressed up against her leg, knowing that the ability to externally rotate will easily stop you and requires caution. At least on one side it was harder, for the IT Band, but not on the other.

That was when I realized I wasn't really breathing again as my mind was working with the little surprises of rotation ability, so I settled in with her breath and leaned in, just to do the best I could. The transition was a challenge, in that my daughter wasn't comfortable on one side. Maybe I wasn't transitioning correctly and I also know that when she was supine that she didn't like the rotation nor the hip coming up. I could still modify it with a pillow for support and a slight angle. I made sure  she was comfortable. I told her what I was doing next, like "I'm moving your leg, under your knee now".

Ah, the rocking motion. Good for both of us! Then the prone leg triangle stretch, which was practically impossible for my daughter. Knee and hip would not allow it for her so  I worked on her glutes with her legs straight. She liked that. Another rocking motion and she was done!  Thank you for this module!

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January 15, 2022 - 8:40 am
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A lot of the art is in the ability to modify techniques. Over time you will come up with modifications on your own, depending on who you are working on.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 16, 2022 - 8:25 am
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Module  22.  With this module I liked the challenge and the surprises that came with it. My daughter and I got some laughs out of it too. With the first leg stretch her leg bent about 70% towards the buttocks, as did the other leg. I could get into position and rock it, which felt nice to her. 1-2-3-2-1 is a good distraction for the brain, since I'm saying it out loud, and this brought a little relaxation of her leg. I was careful with not working on the bone.  I did not try the power version since it wasn't going to work but I do practice first with my granddaughter's doll and can get a feel for what it is like.

With both legs bent to about 70%, I moved the feet together and started to put my hand on both to hold it. This made my daughter laugh so hard. I backed off and just held the feet for a minute so she wouldn't full come out of the position. Socks on her feet  might have limited the ticklish-ness of the toes touching. It reminds me of Western massage, when it's a good idea with a new client to ask about their feet and what works if they are ticklish.

I was careful with turning around and sitting on her hip, maybe 30% weight, since I expected a reaction from my daughter, which happened. I moved off her quickly. I didn't get to lean back while holding her leg. The sacrum would probably feel pretty good if sitting on it correctly.  Next, it was a little work, sort of a heave-ho (!) to lift the leg to my armpit where, low and behold, it was snug and secure. Rocking the leg and a stretch on the glutes was good.

My stability was a little shaky since my toes were sore today, so I leaned in with my knee in the glutes but supported myself with one hand on the floor. Therefore, I couldn't use both hands to reach over to the hip bone.  One hand was ineffective for any kind of work. I can see how this could be a nice stretch, however, but I don't have the control factor needed yet.

My daughter was ready to go supine and have some Thai foot massage done; she is a great sport with all of this.  Thank you!

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January 16, 2022 - 9:12 am
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I like your graphic descriptions of your practice. I can easily visualize it! Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 18, 2022 - 9:15 am
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Module 23.  This session was a little tricky, but  I split it into two sessions so my daughter could feel prepared for it and not freak out. The explanation, and video, along with the transcript ,were great. I found the sacrum and grooves and was able to trace around the sacrum. Circling with hand palms felt good to my daughter.  She liked the pressure and relaxed into it. Rocking always seems to help. I did this for a while, then I was using the thumbs,  finding the grooves, then going up and down the center and around the sides of the sacrum.

Percussion is a great technique and this worked very well on my daughter. Karate chopping started to feel ticklish to her, so I moved pretty quickly to the hip rocking for the glutes and lower back. Nope, again ticklish. She let me try the second side with the same result. For some reason it wasn't going to be today that this was going to work.

When I came back to try it again the first part was again positive.  I had reviewed how both hands are rocking but have a different motion for either the lower back or the sacrum. I was able to transition physically to the other side of my daughter, surprised that it felt easier this time. Then I had to pause.  I wanted  to make sure I was balanced as I switched sides, doing it again with hands down, but an improvement in feeling a little more flexible.  Again I felt I needed to check the directions for the hands. I think my brain was telling me to take a break today.

The video review is a great choice for seeing and listening and absorbing techniques.

I liked how I felt some control  when settling my knees into my daughter's glutes but she said no to it. My neighbor, unfortunately, had a tooth removed  a few days ago and continues to have some pain. So again I have to wait and I can see that  it is all in the timing and in not pushing to keep learning a new series of techniques.

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Shama Kern
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January 19, 2022 - 4:57 am
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So true, you can't push or force it. Sometimes you just have to take a break and wait until the timing is right. Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 21, 2022 - 8:21 am
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Module 24.  I love working on the back and am really glad this is not all about thumbs. It was much easier for me to be on the floor than on a table and to get the body mechanics working for me. I liked not having to use thumbs or fingers to press into the erector muscles, as I might have done on a table. I know the shoulder blades work is coming!

My daughter's shirt was sliding around with the big palm circles, so I slowed down. I settled in to just letting that happen and it got better. Initially I had to find the spine so I could put my hands on the opposite shoulder blades, which made the body mechanics work very well.  Once I got the rhythm of breathing and pressure and speed, then I relaxed and focused on my daughter. She had a few ticklish times but she enjoyed it. I did these circles about 3 times.

The small circles took a minute to speed up the pace and to get to the erector muscles. Leaning in makes it so much easier to stay on these muscles. and to feel their texture.  It's easier now to automatically breathe out as I lean in and apply more pressure. I did this twice, up and down and back up.

The cue page was very helpful with listing moving from circles to sideways to up and down wiggle and then offset wiggle. The rhythm of moving these different ways was just as calming for me as it felt for my daughter. It was like a dance where you switch up without missing a beat. We were rocking to the beat and it felt good.

I was careful with the offset wiggle since it felt like it should be smaller movements and because each hand is giving different information that requires paying attention to what is going on. As long as I'm breathing through this ,though,  I'm getting information that I don't have to search for as I might be trying to do with holding my breath. That is twice the work if I realize I'm holding my breath.

A good one, Shama, and thanks for the back techniques.

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January 22, 2022 - 8:57 pm
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"It was like a dance where you switch up without missing a beat. We were rocking to the beat and it felt good."  Clearly you are getting it! Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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January 25, 2022 - 9:22 am
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Module 25.  What I learned in this module is that my daughter doesn't realize when I am using my elbows. I tried to very gentle and away from the spine. I found that s he enjoyed rocking so much that the first positions helped her relax a lot,  and she zoned out a bit.  I stayed with that a while, going back and forth and making circles to  benefit her level of relaxation. She needed it, plus we had gone to the gym earlier and also did our usual Zumba Kids dancing on YouTube in the morning. Her body was ready to relax.

The body mechanics for leaning into the traps were so excellent in the demo and then the reality too, that the rocking was very soothing for my daughter. Her body is strong and solid, and while the spine took a little work to  find the first place to work, I was glad  for my past massage experience in using the elbows. I took my time and appreciated how it was going. It had been a while since I'd used elbows.  It was much more comfortable than a table massage ever is, as least for me.  Very exciting!

The knee techniques might have gone okay but my daughter did not want any knee contact. So I did the rocking of her body with hands on the sides of the spine. That worked. I'll have to wait to practice this some other time. I did like the third technique when practicing with my granddaughter's doll, actually a really cool move. I would need to get much more comfortable and confident to do any of the three knee techniques, so I can wait. Thank you for this module!

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