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Merri Lou Dobler's Thai Massage Hip Therapy
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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 12, 2022 - 10:06 pm
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Module 1.  I assessed my daughter's hips using the inward/outward bending of her feet, and the level of the angle, feeling more competent to determine the next step. Her balance is really good and she can dance up a storm, so my intent was to very careful that I don't change things or create a problem.  Both of her feet are clearly externally rotated, her right foot completely down to the floor. Manually helping her feet to internally rotate is definitely tight.

The common restrictions and the medical conditions that can contribute to hip restrictions is a good section in this module, probably for interesting for my own issues. My daughter is always willing to let me practice with her, and the two techniques were helpful for assessing a little further her restrictions.  I did slow, careful rotations with each leg bent, cupped in my hand, circling slowly.  It was really good to see the differences and to get a feel for the ball and socket joint and how they move. My daughter's left hip is not as smooth in rotating, seeming to get a little "jump" to rotate, which her right hip feels very snug and moves carefully

With the second technique, her leg dropped out, supported technique, she was fine with the movement and it is very obvious where the hip limitation is, mainly due to tight muscles versus any medical condition. I have a better understanding of how internal and external rotation gives us a lot of information and how to approach it, and probably the main point is to use this Thai energy system for a holistic approach to a beautiful individual.

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Shama Kern
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March 12, 2022 - 10:48 pm
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I think you are one of the most consistent and most serious Thai Massage students I can remember. You are accumulating a wealth of knowledge with all the courses you are taking. And you are already one of the four top posters in the forum since I started it 12 years ago. Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 13, 2022 - 9:18 am
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Module 2. Thanks Shama!  You have no idea how these classes help me in so many ways, and most fascinating right now is how the techniques from one class meld into the next class for integration. Many "aha!" moments, many times of focusing on how you demonstrate a technique since it hadn't come together for me until this moment.  It is absolutely fascinating to do several classes and find the connection. I need lots of repetition and I enjoy this very much. 

My daughter was ready for Thai hip massage tonight. Both legs are externally rotated, one rotates down to the floor.  Since both legs go out easily but won't internally rotate well, that was my goal, to rock that side. On her right side, the rocking was great as  long as my fingers were not touching her.  Using the forearm went well. The left side went well until the circling, the next technique. Variable pressure, matching her breath, "soft". She accepted the rocking with a bigger circle and speed. I found it fun. She tried to hold her laughter in with her right side, but couldn't contain it, although she allowed me rest my hands on her, one on top of the other, a little pressure.

I would have liked to practice the next technique, the lean in on the hip bone and then the other hip bone, it looked so relaxing, but it was not meant to be for my daughter. Tickle time for her. However, she liked the push/pull and rocking with the last technique.

After that ,she asked for Thai head massage, which was great, and said "Now I sleep!" Her stress level dropped, hooray. We had a busy day.  Many thanks for how you brought these courses together for wonderful experiences in learning and sharing. 

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Shama Kern
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March 13, 2022 - 10:08 am
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That's the idea - the Complete Thai Massage course has something of everything, and then all the therapy courses focus on one aspect for a deep dive into the subject. That often reveals new connections or insights that one might have missed in the Complete Thai Massage course.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 19, 2022 - 8:34 am
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Module 3. There are so many interesting experiences  in the Forum and then your replies, that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning from them.

I'm finding that my notes are making more sense to me, either I'm writing them more clearly or the visual aspect jumps in as I read and puts it together for me. My granddaughter's doll is getting her exercise and continues to help me practice.

My daughter was a little more high energy tonight and I really wanted to avoid the tickles that she experiences on her thighs, so we did some head/neck/facial/ shoulder, and even some sternum rocking Thai massage to get her into a relaxed state. She always says she likes that part. I lined up next to her side and leaned and rolled with my forearm. It was not as intense as I am able to go but it worked great and is a good technique. I worked the outside leg and then I went right to moving to my knee on that side, soft area, supported on the outside.  I reached over for the other leg and realized I was not positioned correctly, for my back had some pressure,  so I came down with my forearm to work on the inside. It set off the tickles and I was able to adjust for a second: one knee between the legs and hold the forearm down without any pressure. It gave me a better sense of the technique and the value in not straining back or arms or shoulders. Then I shifted over to the side I was working on for the knee, slowing down since I tend to speed up, and was able to get a feel for this again.

The foot  technique set my daughter off and then settled in with rocking, both sides. I really liked the forearm leaning, sitting in and sliding up, although I think that her leg is so strong, and so externally rotated, that the angle wasn't correct to hold it in place. She really liked the circling, pull in, slow pressing, cross fiber rolling. The techniques seemed to transition  from one to the other on the second side without me stopping to recheck my notes. My daughter had settled in again and enjoyed this.

Lots to keep learning, integrating, coordinated breathing, "softly", energies all around us. Thanks Shama.

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Shama Kern
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March 19, 2022 - 11:52 pm
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"Lots to keep learning, integrating, coordinated breathing, "softly", energies all around us."  -  Nice synopsis of the process. Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 21, 2022 - 6:50 am
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Module 4.  It's a process, Shama, and very intriguing to me as to what I integrating!   Hip Pie time, which is a great concept and immediately I recognize the value in placing the leg/knee in the angles to determine hip constriction or mobility.

At "zero" degrees, I remembered how to block my daughter's foot so it didn't slip out. Leaning and rocking and then pulling went well for her leg that has easier hip movement and then taking great care with minimal traction in her right hip.  Slice 2, my daughter rejected a pillow for her right leg, my fault, and her knee not as comfortable. It really is important to be aligned with her for this.  Butterfly went good, and then I hit a ticklish spot. The alternate of rocking both thigh and groin was also unsuccessful for any period of time. Her right leg is definitely more sensitive and the constriction can be seen down most of the leg. However, my daughter found both legs together to be unusual so she was okay for about 30 seconds. I'll take it! I then did some forearm rocking, deeper pressure, that was okay for her. She did relax the right leg after we finished the Slice 2.

For Slice 3, I was able to get into position for her left leg and sink down closer to her knee, which was still adductors but not as 1-2-3-2-1 as I'd have liked to go. The right leg was too much for her to relax into, so we finished up with foot massage and more work on her Achilles tendon.

Wow, I like the hip work. Thank you!

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Shama Kern
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March 21, 2022 - 6:59 am
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The 'hip pie' is also addressed in the Complete Thai Massage course, but in the hip course it is better organized and much more complete. That's because I created the hip course later and could add a lot more detail in the presentation and keep the hip pie together in one continuous presentation.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 25, 2022 - 10:17 pm
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Module 5.  This is from two days ago, things can get very busy! My daughter was okay with her left leg for practice and I liked starting with Slice 3. It was comfortable for her, foot higher up, bent knee, up on both my toes, lean and roll, using heel of hand in advancing the technique. She's been comfortable with the forearm in the past, just not too high up on the inner thigh. She declined the knee or fingertips, which we know triggers giggling, so a modification of hand heel nearer the knee was an option to practice. She is happier when I sit, now sliding  under knee, stabilizing, but I could not move up far enough for the blood stop. We do what works. It makes sense to do this technique and I will in the future with someone else.

Slice 4 moves the angle up even further, 45 degrees. My daughter is relaxed and allows me to find her flexibility point on the leg. She loved the circling, slow and easy, then slightly bigger circles but not significantly so. Rocking, familiar and pleasant to her, hip and the adductor--further towards a knee--was okay too.

One leg practice but it worked and was okay for her. Some Heavenly Head massage to complete a nice time together. I'm scheduled for my own Thai Massage this weekend and will probably be asking questions through most of it!

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Shama Kern
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March 26, 2022 - 9:23 am
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From a practitioner who worked on you before or someone new? I am curious how you will find the session. I guess I will be reading about it right here. Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 26, 2022 - 8:47 pm
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Yes, Shama, a new Thai Massage therapist!  I'm looking forward to it. I have my list of body complaintsSmile. I'm one of those people who talks most of the time and then it all relaxes and I move into that space where talking is not needed. This will translate to becoming a good Thai Massage therapist myself.  Thank you for asking!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 28, 2022 - 8:35 am
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Update: The Thai Massage session today was fabulous and I came home relaxed and energized at the same time. The therapist does great work with her feet, and even said she feels more with her feet than with her hands. There was strength and power in her feet and a connection that was really wonderful ,and I even said that I was impressed with how her feet worked with my body. Feet were on my back, under the arms, thighs. Traction was legs and both arms. She used a Thai tool along the spine and the curved tool on my forearm. I was surprised at  my own level of flexibility with my hips and with the shoulder that has some weakness, and it felt supportive. She rocked one time, so good for letting go of what had been triggered and then released. I had to smile, because I do much more rocking and I know my daughter loves it. It was like a one-time treat, but that was great.

I had to let go of feeling protective of parts of myself  for her to do her work, and to realize I didn't need to over-compensate as much as I do to keep safe when at home. She communicated a lot and I was giving out numbers to back up a bit. I could get almost to the edge and then I'd stop, but then, I do this in yoga all the time so I know when it is the limit.  What else was I holding?  Obviously a massage session can bring up a lot of things, and I go deep within to let go of things I'm holding. Maybe a little soreness tomorrow, but today was great. Afterwards, I was thinking about the difference of feet energy from the previous Thai Massage therapist, whose energy seemed to shoot strongly from the hara to his feet and often came faster than my body was ready, and how it felt more connected today, more in touch with where I was needing stronger or softer work.  Just a perspective.

My daughter has not been feeling 100%, so I will wait for her energy to return and then complete the modules with practice with her. I've been reviewing my notes for the modules that are ready to go, and this has been a good way to cement some of the information within myself. No rush.

My son-in-law has back problems and yesterday I volunteered to apply a few Thai massage techniques for him, which he accepted. I did a few back and shoulder techniques, knowing he has a few issues, and my two grandkids there, ages 7 and 5, immediately got on the floor to imitate me. It was really cool. I finished with Chi Machine, which had the kids laughing as their dad loosened up and then he exaggerated the rocking and they were on top of him. The shoulder techniques were from a recent module, hooray!, the sandwich technique, and I was really happy to help him get some relief.

Lots going on, lots of learning and practice, and all related to these wonderful courses with your Thai Healing Massage.  Thank you!

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Shama Kern
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March 28, 2022 - 8:08 pm
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It sounds like you had a good session - good to hear that! Where you are in Washington state, is Thai Massage fairly well represented or not?

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 29, 2022 - 8:58 am
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Wow, Shama, your question sent me on a search to see Thai Massage therapists here in Eastern Washington. There are quite a few and I am interested in my next appointment with one of them!  Many therapists have a wide range of massage skills and some specialize in just Thai Massage. Websites can tell you a lot about how people value their education and experience. There were several traditional Chinese massage places too and more Shiatsu massage therapists here too. One person has a heated Thai mat and is working with a Thai massage master in the  Seattle area. Some do Thai massage only on weekends and there are some husband/wife teams.

Not far from my home in Spokane is Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, a resort town alongside beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene, and there are some marvelous ski resorts pretty close too. There are lots of spas associated with resorts.

My daughter continues a little under the weather so my own practice time has paused and I am reading everyone's stories and your replies, great value in all of that. Thank you!

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Shama Kern
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March 30, 2022 - 1:44 am
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I have been in Coeur d'Alene - a long time ago - and I remember that it was very scenic there. It was in the summer, so I wouldn't have noticed the ski resorts. Smile

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 31, 2022 - 11:00 pm
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Module 6. Getting the groin loosened is important here, and my daughter's left side moved well to relax the groin. She got ticklish on the right side later, so adjustments are made. It made a difference to increase and decrease pressure for acceptance of these first techniques.  I can appreciate using the scale 1-10 for most people; my daughter is happy  to nod her head to my questions of, is it working, okay?

Slice 5 of hip pie started with the rocking and the tightness of my daughter's hips meant it was too much for her to have a big stretch, so the variation was a great alternative, really backing up to Slice 4. I liked the option o rocking every time, rock the leg sideways. I was able to fold over, forearm on her hamstrings, and saw how beneficial this technique is. Slow, conscious movements to get into it helped.  I skipped the power technique for her, but was able to hold my knees in to lock up hers and to do a circle, small and with purpose, making sure she is okay.

I learned from seeing the knee can be moved from one shoulder to the opposite one and that being attuned to the different ways of moving the hips brings in information  for the intuitive sense of what is next. Thanks Shama!

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April 1, 2022 - 9:05 am
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"I can appreciate using the scale 1-10 for most people; my daughter is happy to nod her head to my questions of, is it working okay?"  -  Your daughter is totally in tune with you and trusts you. You won't need the 1-10 scale much for regular clients whose bodies you know well. The 1-10 scale is mostly useful for newer clients .

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Merri Lou Dobler
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April 3, 2022 - 6:20 pm
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Module 7. I started this module with slow assessing and then moving through the Slice 4 and Slice 5,  and then into Slice 6, aware that the knee to the opposite shoulder is difficult for my daughter.  Rocking worked. Gentle sideways rocking worked. She is okay with me holding her foot or making sure it is secure in the groin.  Her legs don't cross over very easily but I could get it in position enough to secure it and do the least stretch, towards my hip rather than moving towards the knee. It's much better to have gentle, slow rocking as I assess my daughter's ability to hold a pose.

I really liked how Slice 8 looked and sounded, and I could practice it with the doll or even doing the half circles on my thighs while sitting, and I was picking up the power of counter clockwise versus the relaxation of clockwise, super impressive Thai massage but could only get into a partial position to practice with my daughter, so I chose rocking and easy small circling, which worked just for us.  This is one technique I'd really like to learn sometime, but for now it will have to wait. All in good time!  Thank you Shama!

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April 4, 2022 - 9:03 pm
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"The knee to the opposite shoulder is difficult for my daughter."  - This is difficult for most people, not just your daughter. Many people cannot handle this stretch well which is why you often need to use the more gentle circular move/rocking motion. You can't always do the entire hip pie on clients until they loosen up a bit.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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April 10, 2022 - 7:50 am
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Module 8. I'm feeling good today!  I didn't realize I was not 100% this past while, and I'm good now. Also, I was sitting with my granddaughter and family while she was selling Girl Scout cookies this week,  and at one point she was swinging her leg around. I asked her if she wanted to try a Hip Pie and she said okay!  I did  Slices 1-8, enjoying her flexibility and fun with a "pie" for her hips. It is really easy to do with someone who is quite flexible; my granddaughter is 7 years old. Practice on the spot!

At home, my daughter was happy to be on her side, two pillows for her comfort, lower leg straight and upper leg bent. The butterfly technique went well until the palms of my hands got right on her hip bone. Then she was ticklish but she was okay as long as I circumvented direct contact on her hip bone. You really can move around a large area with the butterfly and the pressure tells you a lot.  Palms circling was great because I was using body weight, leaning in, varying pressure. And then breathing too.

The gallop rhythm got her laughing again, so I varied the speed and kept asking her if it was okay. I actually could use my thumbs around the hip bone and even knuckles; I enjoyed the knuckles, light weight and pressure; being up on my toes gave more control.  My daughter could relax to circles now, back and forth.

Her tissues are pretty compact and the squeeze/lift/roll with fingers and then the thumb scooping, were attempted with limited success. All good though! More rocking, soft spot movements, hands and body appreciating this time.  This was a good session with my daughter. Thanks!

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