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Merri Lou Dobler's Thai Rocking Massage
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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 8, 2022 - 7:29 am
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Module 1, and Introduction.  Even with having taken other Thai Massage courses with Thai Healing Massage, pieces of the Thai massage puzzle came together in this first module and introduction to rocking. The integration of the technique work you do with someone, with maybe a fall-back to rocking when you are shifting gears, is a way of moving your energies and bringing in the energetic piece of what is happening with your client. You can pick up something that is happening with their body and use the rocking break to step back and allow the consciousness material to bring this up for you. Your body wants to move and your client receives many benefits from rocking.  The simple list of the kinds of rocking in the video, was like grabbing another puzzle piece and saying yes, this fits in very well here.  This is always helpful and thus can be part of a healing Thai massage sequence. And the best thing is that you can add it in to many places in Thai Massage.   As an example for yoga,  if in a yoga session and  we've done an intense sequence then it is easy to tell everyone to put their hands on their hips and make circles to loosen up. The benefits of this are huge.  And if you have someone in class who is always rocking whenever there is an opportunity,  it's a great clue to me to change what we are doing on the spot to take advantage of  a rocking break. This module opened my eyes a little more to how rocking has lots to offer.

My daughter was tired today after a busy weekend, so we did some rocking with hands on her thigh and side, slow and easy, and then I practiced a transition from one side to the other carefully, to rock the other side. We have time for foot massage later, which we will preface with a Chi Machine, so wonderful. Thank you!

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Shama Kern
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March 8, 2022 - 8:49 am
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Indeed you can use rocking in lots of ways in Thai Massage. I could not imagine doing Thai Massage without rocking. The interesting fact is that in Thailand rocking is not being taught or used at all. This is something that I felt inspired to add on my own, and since then it has been applied all over the world by many students who took this course. But it is still only used by western Thai Massage therapists. The Thais mostly don't know about it, and are mostly not willing to change what they see as traditional Thai Massage.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 12, 2022 - 8:43 am
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Module 2.  I am very glad for the rocking and how it is incorporated into so many places to bring variety and relaxation in a Thai massage session.

The Chi Machine came easily because I've had practice with it, but I learned a few refinements, such as letting my daughter relax afterwards for 10-20 seconds to experience the benefits. We did almost 2 minutes. I was so excited when I got the length-wise rocking, the traction. It took a little bit to get into a good position for it, but when it connected and it went from ankle to knee to hip joints, it was really good.

Determining if there is a restriction  and then checking rotation are both helpful for a good session. "Rock in the way of the restriction" was helpful for this. Very good session, visualizing feet and hips in the supine position tells us a lot. Thank you!

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March 12, 2022 - 10:51 pm
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Some things you will already know from the Complete Thai Massage course, but I tried to refine things and take it much further in this course. Plus it helps that in this course you find all the rocking training in one place versus in bits and pieces in our other courses.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 16, 2022 - 7:38 am
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Module 3. Yes! We learn things in many different ways. I smile when I see rocking in the other courses--which is all of them--and it is an important part of the process for Thai Massage. 

I've learned that my focus while watching the videos tends to wander and I have to redirect myself!  I'll miss things that you've said that I want to hear.  I think it's part of how we adapt to the current stresses, but I find I have to backtrack for a bit to get back to what I last remember. I take notes, I review them after I finish the video, I practice with the doll, and I review them before working with my daughter. Sometimes I can picture the body mechanics right away and other times I can't, so parts of it are being integrated.  I keep at it.  And it is all about the basics to come back to, time after time. It lays the groundwork of what to do.

I reviewed with my yoga class today why it is good hip mobility if the foot rotates inward or outward since being straight up and down indicates the hip is constricted somehow. The group wanted to check their own level of flexibility and it was really fun to do. Keep rocking and moving, I said.

There is a  difference if you are rocking the outer thigh when there is no constriction in external rotation, because it doesn't do very much, and then you switch to the opposite leg for rocking to affect the internal rotation. Both her legs externally rotate well but not internally, and she can appear bowlegged sometimes when walking. With her, in practicing to see the differences, there was a obvious difference in trying the different rocking areas and a difference in the control hand to get the benefit. The leg just doesn't always want to move.  As soon as my daughter complained that she was getting tired, I switched to the lower leg, which worked better for her.  And it was easier for me to sit on one heel for better body mechanics and "feel". 

The hip groove was ticklish for her, but I was able to get into position and find the hollow on one side. Lots more to learn!

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March 16, 2022 - 8:04 am
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Rocking is a very intuitive thing. Some people desperately need it, and some people don't need it at all - at least not therapeutically. However it is always good for relaxation, although a very small percentage of clients can experience nausea with full-body rocking.

But full-body rocking (as in hip rocking) is not necessary because there are so many smaller rocking moves that will never cause nausea. Rocking is highly versatile and I could not imagine doing a session without it.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 19, 2022 - 8:50 am
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Module 4. This was a double session day, rocking is second after the hip. I worked on my daughter's calf first since her thigh would probably be ticklish and I used the techniques of both rolling with palms of the hands and then moving the hands to squeeze, lift, rock. It was not as easy as on the thighs, with the tissue and muscle differences, but it got some rocking going and the connection was good.

That straight alignment information was very helpful and I could hold the ankle, hold the foot, lock the joint. It was so nice for me too, the push forward, rock, lean pull, rocking the foot. I could lift her knee up and move forward to block her leg and wrap my arms around the thigh. It was a careful circle after I pulled her leg over, making all the difference with the leg pulled over. I couldn't quite rock and pull/twist at the same time because my daughter wanted to help with rocking, but the leg went back to the start all on its one on the one side. There was constriction on the other side, as there usually is, and I slowed down, did the "softly" to move it.

For the adductors, palms on the thighs and some rocking was good, and I think it loosened her up.

Great, great information and the video too with this module!

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Shama Kern
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March 19, 2022 - 11:56 pm
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Once you really get into the rocking, it becomes like a meditative movement for you as the therapist because it just flows so well. There is generally no resistance, and there is no end-point. It's not like with the stretches that you repeat maybe three times. The rocking is like ocean waves - they keep on coming.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 23, 2022 - 8:14 am
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Module 5. I looked forward to getting settled in and finding the sweet spot with rocking, for I know it will be beneficial for my daughter and myself. She could manage very well on her flexible hip side to have circling, back and forth, rocking, bent knee with foot on the floor or on my shoulder, or supported on my thigh. In fact this rocking was relaxing for her tonight quite deeply. I included the hands on either side of the knee, going back and forth between the hands for a variation in speed and technique, very nice.I found her limit with the bent leg on that left side, and the little pushback helped to determine when to ease off, change direction, go side to side, and just rock. Or just hold it and breathe with her.

Her leg with more constriction was steady motion in rocking, watching as it relaxed and externally rotated by small degrees.  Circling, back and forth, rocking with limits on flexibility are recognized and accommodated, and I could feel her tiredness; it was her hip-hop dance class with young girls, working her heart out, and now she was ready for more relaxation than stretching.  Neither leg would cross completely over but settled on the medial calf ,and a modified spinal twist felt good to her. I didn't have ergonomics correct, I think I needed to be up closer to comfortably reach,  but I knew not to overdo this for her. She relaxed into it and I could see her lower back softened with the rocking. 

The adductors finger tips circling worked just above the knee and then I palmed  the area for a few inches above that, then the ticklish response happened, which was a good release for her after a busy day.  Her other leg would be too ticklish so I did some palming on both sides just above her knee, slow, then faster, breathing in and out, watching her breath.

There were so many options in this module that gave me the freedom to go with the flow, try a different technique and see how it worked for her. My daughter would sink into a good place and then, being tired from dancing, would come out of it before settling back in. It got her to a better place and a healthier one for sleep tonight.  Thank you Shama!

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March 23, 2022 - 8:23 am
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Yes, rocking is all about having options, flexibility, and flow - I love it!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 25, 2022 - 9:56 pm
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Module 6.  Great explanations on hip rocking, new techniques and modifications, anatomy, getting the most from good ergonomics.

With my daughter, I practiced hip rocking and found her body rhythm quickly.  As her whole body rocked, it relaxed her to a good place. She is now used to me straddling her and asking her questions more frequently, with her nodding or "hmm" as a response.  It is fun with both hands and is one I will use as being very effective. The stretching with hands on the ilium and the other one under the hip, with push down and pull up, took longer to figure out the rhythm, but then it went well. I stayed with it until breathing settled in for both of us and I was leaning in to rock correctly.

Sitting "inside", then a torso push, and seeing how the body returns, using fingers ,reminds me that it is both of us working together on this.  Switching over can take longer but will get better. Six moves in this video, many choices! Thank you Shama!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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March 31, 2022 - 10:46 pm
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Module 7. Rosine trusted when I did the sequence of bringing her legs down on either side of me and thought the wiggling was funny, then she settled in to the varied motions that were rocking and felt good.I stayed with this a while, seeing her relax.  She was okay with bringing her knees together, my hands clasping, and holding for a minute. Then, very gentle lift with a slide out, nice!  I was a little tired and it worked easier on the other side because of the practice in determining which side is stronger for me and remembering that for the next time.

The next sequence took me a minute to review on paper and I read my notes out loud as I did it so she would hear what was happening.  My daughter allowed the back and forth on her more flexible leg, but resisted on the right side. I was getting the sense of how the rocking helps with the initial sense of mind releasing control at the same time as the body, and then, with enough time for it, the flexibility increases and the rocking settles in to her body rhythm. It sets the tone for the whole session

Her legs are shorter than mine but quite strong! The rocking with the heel up showed the importance of my body positioning, as well as the need to not forget to breathe.

Rocking the hip and the abdomen, and the next techniques, had me careful with fingertips to not induce tickling. The push-pull on the belly went well and she enjoyed the flow with the lift to the spine. With the rib cage and up and down the abdomen, we finished with this last night. Thanks!

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April 1, 2022 - 9:00 am
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I like how you explain that rocking sets the tone for the session. That's of course kind of obvious for this rocking course, but it is also such a strong element in Thai Massage in general (at least in my style) that it also sets the tone for any session. The rocking is the on-ramp for many Thai Massage techniques. It is the thing that replaces linear techniques which a client might not be able to handle well, and it makes the entire Thai Massage session more smooth and flowing.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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April 3, 2022 - 6:07 pm
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Rocking 8. A rocking night for us, with my daughter first watching me practice with my notes on my granddaughter's doll before working with her. This set me up with good breathing and body mechanics and more ease in setting up Thai massage with her. She enjoys rocking, and the lower rib rocking went well; I especially like how the fingers face in. Slow sternum circlings were enjoyable to her, then the rocking became a little faster. She liked me staying in one spot and then relaxed enough that I could show her how nice it is to have the varied pressure move up a little bit.  The varied pressure is a neat tool to use.

I eased into the shoulder rocking, again staying with the same technique of going up and down and then left and right. My daughter hasn't liked much pressure in the soft shoulder spot in the past, so I was careful with this. I got back into the rhythm and breathing again, which is becoming more automatic for me after a little time of realizing I'd lost some of the focus. I can relate this to yoga classes, where I talk and demonstrate to students a specific pose, and then I get to settle in for a brief time of breathing deeply in the asana as they move into their own space. I'm attuned to what is going on and how the energies are flowing, so seeing this in Thai massage is great practice for me.

The Figure 8 video directions were really good for a few rounds of practice and again I felt myself slip out of the rhythm. Lots to learn here! I then shifted, knew to reach low for the shoulder blade, and could do some circling before my daughter said it was enough. I eased once into a spinal twist and then we both relaxed after this sequence.  This was a great module of rocking; thank you!

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April 4, 2022 - 8:59 pm
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It is definitely an advantage that you are involved in massage and yoga. This is my background as well, and the combination has clearly influenced my style of Thai Massage.

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Merri Lou Dobler
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April 6, 2022 - 3:01 am
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Module 9.  My daughter and I enjoyed this module with the arm swinging, and then, I really liked the summary at the end. The message about how we have patterns of holding was beneficial and had me thinking about how we, as massage therapists, pick up on this intuitively, and our clients might have an awareness about these patterns but don't necessary want to explore it more. And it carries over to yoga, where someone feels more challenged in an asana and might be trying to push through it instead of breathing in to it to create space.

So many ways to move the arms, holding down, circling, supporting and enjoyable to my daughter. You can see the relaxation in her face as the arm starts moving more. And like the Hip Pie, moving around the body for a half Pie of doing several movements with the arm is really good. The slow rocking pace seemed to pick up a little speed on its own, becoming a nice fast rock that my daughter enjoyed.

The flow of the summary was calming and really cool!  Thank you!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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April 8, 2022 - 5:19 am
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Module 10. My daughter was prone and had small pillows for her upper chest and her face. I set up for rocking sacrum, hips, lower back, and I was up on one knee. I started with a general rocking from legs up to her trunk and used palms of my hands to locate the erector muscles. My daughter is solid and this intro to her erectors helped ease them a bit, as well as help me to locate them and breathe again. Rocking sideways went well, and though my transition to the other side was not super smooth, I felt I was getting it a little better. The circling to rocking was good, I could feel her relax. Since this was accepted, I moved over the lower back and sacrum with circles and then rocking.

The upper glutes rocking, and against the sacrum too, was accepted. I knew my daughter would get ticklish lower on the glutes so I then moved up to her lower spine, flat hands, no thumbs nor knees.  Working with the sacrum, leaning in, back and forth to a count of 4 in and 4 out seemed to relax my daughter. With one hand on the glutes and the other on the lower back, varying the pressure, I could reach more area of the sacrum  and see where she tightens up. Her left hip was more flexible and her right glute had more tension in it.

I had chosen to go back to the erector muscles and chose this time to slow it all down, the four count, leaning in, pressure in and out, moving the hand up and down the spine a few inches while the other hand rocked back and forth.  Techniques that work and relax.Thank you Shama!

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April 9, 2022 - 2:05 am
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This constant, gentle, 'irresistible' motion will definitely gradually loosen up even quite a stiff back. It does work!

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Merri Lou Dobler
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April 9, 2022 - 7:26 am
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Module 11.  Yes, Shama, and the gentle rocking helps me settle in too, soothing and beneficial. We've helped my granddaughter sell Girl Scout Cookies all week and have almost reached the number for her to go to Girl Scout camp this summer.  And now it's back to Thai Rocking, prone, scapula and a twist.  I see value in rocking throughout any session, and it has certainly put my trust in how rocking  benefits a person in so many ways. The grooves of the erector muscles get the so much more in movement, from gentle work with the heel of the hands ,and to work with the sacrum shows how important it is to the health of the body.

To have one hand on the sacrum and the other hand rocking up the spine and then have the pressure in/pressure out for the hand on the spine, is such a good technique for a massage therapist and very relaxing. It's natural for the body to be doing this and so basic that it settles you into breathing correctly and paying attention to the Hara. To vary it with increased speed, both hands together,  and up on the shoulder blades is bringing in the energies of the upper body, to balance the work of the sacrum and lower back.  Rocking the mid-back and staying with this for a while had my daughter relaxing more and more.

Partial work with the scapula, one side more flexible than the other, showed what work can be done, although for my daughter it is more tight and thus not as comfortable for working, so palm circling and then rocking was a good alternative. She let me sandwich her shoulder and it was very therapeutic for both of us to do circling, then back and forth, and to pull back. The technique options were endless and it was a surprise my daughter allowed that twist, albeit only on the one side.

This is an amazing course on Thai rocking, so many options, whole body healing, many favorites for me that seemed to be easy to follow, careful directions and dos and don'ts, videos that were very complete with so many words of advice on how to make it work for a client's body and your body as well.  Thank you, Shama, there's so much still to learn and a great foundation to expand on.

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April 9, 2022 - 7:24 pm
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Well, the course rocks (literally), and you rock too (figuratively)! Another course completed! SmileSmile

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