First of all, I'm EXCITED to be here and very much looking forward to my experience with this course.
It was something on "the list" for quite a while now (watched ALL the free content and try to keep up with every one of the newsletter's), so when I saw Shama's birthday special I said, "The time is now"
I watched the video as I jotted down pretty thorough notes the entire way through (Like you anxiously do on your first day of school hah) only to realize that the accompanied text download included all of that. That's alright since I tend to digest information a bit better when I write some personal notes while visually taking in the other information. There's always a balance, right?
I've already been doing Thai bodywork with clients for about I'd say about give or take 2years. The first year or so it was mostly friends & such for practice and also lovely barters! I'd even offer some 'moves' in small more quaint group classes or a full session if I had only one student show up to class. This was such a beautiful opportunity to practice as much as I could and of course a wonderful opportunity for someone to receive bodywork for the price of a yoga class. Moving into the second half it literally seemed as though I began acquiring all these new [paid] clients out of the blue! I realize it wasn't out of the "blue" really, and more the energy I was putting out to it.
After watching the video for module 1, I'd say I already feel pretty intuned to my breath/the breath of the work, the vital nature of energy and intuition within the session, but what did serve as a great reminder for me was that I perhaps don't utilize all the "tools" in my treasure chest. It feels good and natural to use my hands, thumbs, fingers and even my feet- and I use those tools quite a bit. I guess I haven't found that natural rhythm with my elbows (those always feel a bit violent) knees, forearms or even the knuckles. This is a good reminder for me to consciously acquaint myself and start practicing with these tools much more to develop a flow or graceful dance equal or at least close to my immediate "go to" tools. This reminder can go for many other things in life as well!
AH! And ergonomics! For the most part, after a session, I feel FUELED. I feel that Jedi force (hehe) moving through and around me. But I did notice after two of my most recent sessions a little tightness in the lower back when moving from one particular place to another. I'm reminded to ground myself and pay closer mind to my own body positions.
I know where my homework is!
Hi Misty, welcome to our community and the Complete Thai Massage certification program. Wow, what an introduction! I imagine you are also really good when it comes to communicating with your clients.
And not a single spelling error in your intro - that's rare!
It seems that you have a great background for learning from this course, and your enthusiasm is palpable!
Although it seems that you have it all figured out, I always post a link to our certification check list at the beginning of each thread to make sure that you have a reference for making sure that it is all correctly organized:
I am looking forward to following your thread, and it looks like I will enjoy reading it!
I can truly appreciate your input on tradition and how this specific course is not traditional. That rather than being [in a sense] dogmatic, or fixed, it is a skillfully modified version. This not only feels powerfully evolving but also authentic and more aligned with the Tao.
I'm reminded that even though I have a pretty good range of motion with my bends and twisting, it is not necessarily advantageous nor in alignment within the client-practitioner dance. Hence, the subtle tension in my lower back is a perfect signal or indicator to make adjustments for myself. Straight spine [and working from the center] using the weight of the body- which I do, but I will become even more mindful of.
The "Chi machine"
I use other body shaking techniques quite a bit that my clients seem to really enjoy. This specific one seems to be even better to me ergonomically [as far as I can see visually] and overall the client. I cannot wait to try this one with my partner as I am sure he will just love. So we will see! *Those few moments after body shaking is super packed with energetic sensations. I feel it's a vital space to allow. This same space is something I personally do several times in my own personal yoga practice as well as when I teach. It can also feel highly challenging to some as we are so used to so much "doing" all the time and not balancing it out with enough "being". It puts you in a place [even if only 30 seconds] that you come up with awareness and feeling and acknowledgment and so on. This can be nice and this can also feel uncomfortable. Either way, it serves the spirit.
Yes, I feel I do I was able to practice the Chi machine on my partner this evening. I discovered just how important it is for my position to be correct to really flow into this technique right. It wasn't long before I got into a pretty good rhythm and received pleasing feedback from my partner. *He is quite stoked to be my guinea pig throughout the training by the way.
Footwork is no doubt a favorite of mine- both receiving & giving. Mostly because of how incredibly grounding it is and how the sensations ripple throughout the entire body. From time to time I'll treat myself to an hour foot massage session, coming out feeling like a brand new woman.
Practicing the techniques in this video tonight the part I really focused on the most was maneuvering from kneeling to leg under clients leg back to kneeling. It's easily done but trickier to it in a smooth like butter precise ninja sorta way. I'm still somewhat awkward at times, especially with this specific transition, but I know that grace comes with time and even more practice.
*Thank you for the short "Public massage scenes in Thailand" video. Those are fun to watch!
"in a smooth like butter precise ninja sorta way" - Maybe I should hire you as my copywriter!
I treat myself to foot massage sessions regularly, and I love it! I have the advantage that here in Thailand I only have to pay around $5-$7 for a one hour session, so it is not exactly a luxury.
The transitions are what makes everything else flow by connecting it in a seamless way, and they do take some time to become butter-ninja-like.
What a deal and what a treat! I'd do it quite often as well if it were that price where I live! I did find a place in Dallas that does 1hr foot massages for $30 which is not bad at all [I believe], for the states!
Module 4 Foot Massage 2
Thanks for beginning with the quick recap of Foot Massage 1. This was definitely helpful as I did another 15ish minute practice with my partner just a bit ago. He enjoyed it but he's biased and just looks forward to any bodywork I want to study on with him Haha!
I'm already ready to rewatch this video to pay closer attention again to your body position during a few of the techniques- one, as you give a shake to a single leg. Also, working out that smooth like butter, ninja flow
Remembering the "concepts" of foot massage is really a fantastic way for me remember all the techniques I have available to me without getting too mental about it -if that makes sense.
The feeling is more important the mechanics or exact sequencing <--- Oh yes, and this is exactly how I feel when teaching or doing yoga asana. Students and teachers even sometimes get way too caught up in the mind about perfect alignment and sequence that I feel they forget about making the experience one with the energy flow and radical presence and awareness.
Circling the inner heal move feels very sweet and calming to me. My partner agrees. There wasn't much pressure involved so it was most delicate and energetic. It's helpful having the feedback from someones especially these cases where your mind may begin to tell you that you aren't doing enough, which I know not to be true. In yoga asana, in some of the most "simple" postures can be so challenging because we feel the restless need to DO more when really we need to just listen more. Not just with our ears, but with our bodies and spirit.
Many therapists feel compelled to always DO a lot, rub, pull, stretch, yank, and press. They think that the client expects them to always be in full action mode. However in some cases a moment of doing less, of gentleness, of little activity with little pressure can be a wonderful feeling. This allows for more energy transfer and for more feeling.
I am not saying that we should have lots of non-activity during Thai Massage, but a little slowing down sometimes can feel quite delightful.
Module 5 Leg Warm Up
I'm just getting back to Thai massage love after the holiday festivities Finished module 5 and got in a mini practice session with my partner. He's super duper ticklish on the upper thighs! This tickled me hehe and I see it also gives me a great challenge to find the most gentle way to approach these super sensitive spots as opposed to avoiding altogether (unless requested of course). He had an easier time breathing through a much slower whole hand movement on and around the upper thigh area, but the individual fingers seemed almost unbearable to him.
Have you ever had an ultra chatty Mc Chatterson client who distracted you from getting into a good flow?
I eventually find an organic flow (with some choppy pockets) in these sessions but it seems like it may take me longer to get warmed up. I've had a couple sessions that I have gone almost straight into stretches before warming the client up when they are super talkative. I know that in these cases especially it's up to me to be grounded.
*I never mind at all when a client is really talkative. Sometimes that is part of the healing for them. On the flip side, when I 'm receiving one I do not wish to be talked to.
I love the tip about the offset hand when in butterfly hand moving up the leg. This tip is extremely useful to me as it has been a bit of a concern when working so close to the genitals. It was such an ahhhh HA! as I practiced it on my partner. The smallest adjustments can truly make significant differences.
I really need to stretch into my feet much more often. I thought they were pretty flexible but I can see, as I am using proper alignment while working on the legs/feet that my knees & feet feel a tad stressed.
Yes, I have had ultra chatty clients. There is an article about this subject coming up in one of the supplemental modules of this course. But I will jump the gun here and let you read it now:
Just read the article and I am 100% with everything you wrote in it. I believe it is important to be with the client supporting them in whichever way they need healing.
Wanting to do the best job I can, I was more concerned with feeling like I remain grounded in moments I may lean toward getting 'distracted' and off flow. But in retrospect, I am sure that I am in perfect flow and any inadequacies would be in the worry itself.
Module 6 Leg Warm-Forearm
I will say, I'm not as big on the forearm moves as I am with other techniques but I will definitely still practice them regularly because I cannot speak for myself tomorrow.
Elephant walking is the best. It's just truly fun to do too!
I imagine you may be going more into the Sen lines later on... I'm curious if you can share some of your personal favorite articles/sources regarding meridians/sen lines?
Happy New Year!!!
Between the xmas holiday, lots of pet sitting and catching a cold, I had a bit of a break from the training. Catch up time!
Thank you for the links above, as I will definitely take advantage of participating in the Sen line training as well.
#7 Leg Stretches
It seems as though I can work on the feet, legs, hips area for most of the session. I have to remind myself to balance out the time and move on to the rest/whole body.
THANK YOU for the hip evaluation tip. It's so tremendously helpful (and seemingly simple) that I can't believe I'm just now privy to it
As I started to practice with my partner, I took notice that his left hip was much more restricted based on the angle of his feet. With that information, I decided I'd practice just on his left side for the few things I was going to try. The triangle butterfly was his favorite and he said he can tell it's something he really needs. SCORE! We will do that lots for him. Both the warm-up and the stretch itself.
I felt to get into a better rhythm with the walking stretch with both legs as opposed to one leg. I really like this one. He enjoyed both.
Both the hip cross and circular hip lift cross pull felt choppy and my partner agreed. He said it felt kind of awkward. (Good to have honest feedback) I'll work on that one more and see what begins to flow there for me.
What I was really excited about, was after working on him for maybe 10 or so minutes total, the angle of his left foot had changed indicating that little bit of work significantly helped his left side open up. Lovely piece of confirmation. Yay!
One more module for today
Module 8 Leg Stretches 2
Good reminder here to not get myself stuck (as you mentioned) on any one specific technique that may not flow right for me for whatever reason. There are many wonderful techniques that I may dance much more gracefully with.
Not sure if I already mentioned this, but my partner works from home so he appreciates the many Thai taster breaks!
He loves calf work but always wants them super squeezed or anything with more muscle power so it's a good challenge to see what I can give him without wearing myself out in the process. It was funny because he was wearing jeans for this session so when I tried the flat palm rub on the outer knee it didn't feel right for either of us with the texture of his jeans. We will do that again later
I've already been working on the hip-pie 180-degree stretch and so far so great. Another fantastic way to open up his restricted left side while playing with multiple variations of the stretch/movement.
Jeans are generally the worst choice for Thai Massage sessions. I always keep a pair of loose cotton pants around in case people show up in thick, heavy or tight pants.
I am glad that you got proof that the hip techniques work. Of course it will need repeated applications to hold.
I don't just keep some long, loose cotton pants around, but also some cotton t-shirts. I have had plenty of clients show up in clothes that are not suitable for a Thai Massage session. So I know from experience that either I have to struggle through the session, battling tight jeans and slippery shirt fabrics, or I give them the right set of clothes to wear which makes it easier for both parties.
In Thailand many massage shops do that automatically. Every client is given a set of loose pants/shirt before the session to change into, and in this way the therapist never has to struggle with unsuitable clothes.
I appreciate the tip and reminder about what to do when someone seems to be having a really hard time letting go of necessary holding. I know it's mostly unconscious and I also release the energetic leakage this can cause. The bouncing/rocking is a good way to go because it is difficult to aid someone in that so it almost tricks the body into surrendering. Nice! I'm sitting here now as I type taking slow deep breaths noticing, as I type, the places I am unnecessarily holding tension.
At the end, you mentioned combining power and softness. It makes me think of the Chinese saying Wu Wei. The state of being where our actions are effortless. A natural action that does not use struggle or excessive effort, yet intentional & skillful.