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My progress report (Thai Healing Massage course)
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Shama Kern
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May 4, 2012 - 2:36 am
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I know, it can be challenging for westerners to sit on the heel. Thais are used to that since they have been doing it since childhood. In regards to the crossover technique, you are not supposed to sit on the heel for a while but just move quickly from one side to the other. Then get off the heel into a position that is comfortable for you.

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Alessandro
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May 5, 2012 - 9:35 pm
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Module #15: Abdomen & Chest

The work on the abdomen is a very gentle one and, as you said, it's an important area, both physically and energetically, but it's also a sensitive area. Hence, more then ever, becomes important working with a sense of softness during the treatment. I would add that be able to feel the energy quality of this area enables us to determine the general well-being of our client. The abdomen is also the seat of our feelings so its treatment can help to bring more balance in them.

The techniques in this module are pleasant to receive and some of them, indeed, resemble a wave-like motion. They represent a good way to relax the receiver. About the chest work, I already have my favorites; the thumb work along the costal margin and the palmar one on both sides of the chest.

In regard to the abdominal work, here are some questions for you; how much importance do you give to this kind of work? What is the general response to such treatment in your experience? I think that this kind of work can appear a bit odd if we consider the westerner mindset. So, how many people ask you to work specifically on this area?

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Shama Kern
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May 6, 2012 - 1:21 am
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"How much importance do you give to this kind of work?" -  I consider it very important, and I always build some of it into my sessions if time allows. Sometimes I do one hour abdomen sessions only.

"What is the general response to such treatment in your experience?" - In my experience my clients love it. I always err on the light side on the abdomen. Even very gentle work produces good results. The worst thing for me is if a therapists works too strongly on the abdomen. It can be really painful.

I work the abdomen in such a way that it feels pleasurable and literally puts the client into a trance.

"I think that this kind of work can appear a bit odd if we consider the westerner mindset." - You know, I have heard arguments like this a lot, like "women don't like to get massage from a man", or "it is harder for a male therapist to find clients", or "people find abdominal work strange."

In my experience none of these hold true. If you are good at what you do, have clean energy, and your clients trusts you, you can do any kind of work and it will be fine with your clients. I have a 57 year old male clients who loves to get the abdominal massage. Many times, when people find out how good it feels, they love it.

"How many people ask you to work specifically on this area?" - Hardly anyone, you have to introduce it to them. When I work on someone for the fist time and I feel they would benefit from abdominal work, I suggest to focus a bit more on the abdomen in the next session. I explain why, and this is one area where it is very useful to have some knowledge about the abdomen and what is going on in there both physically and energetically.

I created a separate course just about abdominal work where I go more into depth than in the Thai Massage course.

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Alessandro
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May 10, 2012 - 2:41 pm
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Module #16: Shoulders

This is a new approach to working the shoulders for me. These kind of stretches can really help to release blocked shoulders and they feel wonderful if they are done properly. I especially like all the sideways shoulder work (where the arm is on our thigh) and my partner too, of course. She enjoyed all of them :).

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Shama Kern
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May 10, 2012 - 11:26 pm
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Great! If she enjoyed all of them, you must be doing it right!

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Alessandro
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May 10, 2012 - 11:47 pm
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ThanksSmile, but I'm a perfectionist, I'm hardly pleased with myself most of the timeSmile.

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Shama Kern
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May 11, 2012 - 12:35 am
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Haha, I know the feeling, I am a perfectionist too. That's one of the lessons I really had to learn, that it is never perfect in the beginning, and it will never be perfect at any time, but it is a process of constant improvement. After all, if it is perfect already, there is no more place to go from there:)

So if your partner liked your work, give yourself a pat on the back. And next time it will be even better!

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May 14, 2012 - 2:39 pm
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Module #17: Arms & hands

A good set of arm techniques in this module. They all flow nicely and are perfect if we go for an extended work on the arm. As much as for the shoulders, this kind of work can be very enjoyable. Master the techniques can really adds much value at our practice.

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Alessandro
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May 18, 2012 - 2:21 pm
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Module #18: Shoulders transitions

Transitions - still a working in progress :). I have always simply "walked" around the person to get in position during my work :). I have never thought of anything like what you have shown me in these modules :). Anyway, the most beautiful work I've seen in this one is about the upper and lower stretches with the latter being the most enveloping one and where finding the right pace plays a big role in achieving relaxation. This kind of techniques teach you that if you want to relax the person, you yourself have to really let yourself go to get a good result.

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Shama Kern
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May 18, 2012 - 6:15 pm
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I have also never seen anyone doing these transitions. I developed this technique when I got more and more into rocking moves, and it seemed perfect to me to keep it all going without having to disrupt the rhythm of the rocking motion by having to walk around your client. It just creates another level of "flow" which otherwise is not there in the session.

I have had quite a few clients comment to me that they felt I was just 'flowing' around their body. That has a lot to do with good transitions.

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Alessandro
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May 24, 2012 - 2:02 pm
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Module 19: Summary #2

Some familiar techniques in this recap module and some of them are from the HHM course I took some time ago. It was nice to come back on the importance of the energy work. I think it's a valuable aspect of the practice; it adds a lot to our work and that is why it should be always taken in account. It's a very interesting topic and from what I see on the homepage there's already an interesting course on the subject... luckily for me, it's a bonus module 🙂

 

Module 20-21: Prone legs #1-2

Elbows work on the feet; I've never worked on the feet in this way so I think I have yet to adjust my skill properly, but I think I've already got it. This, along with the others techniques, remind me of the ones used for the frontal legs work and it's a nice thing; it makes the treatment uniform and lend to it an identity of its own. You're right, the work on the ankle tendons is nice :).

The same thing is true for the leg sequence shown in module 21. The knee work on the lower leg can really make a difference. It's one of those techniques that works well on this area. Most of the time a "good" releasing pain can be sensed right in these spots. As for me, I just have to be careful with the pressure.

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Shama Kern
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May 24, 2012 - 8:56 pm
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Today I did a session on a big, muscular client. I used mostly forearms, elbows, knees and feet. Once you get good at that, clients can't even tell the difference which body part you are using.

Regarding releasing pain, I just completed an article that talks quite a bit about that. 

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June 1, 2012 - 1:27 pm
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Module 22: Prone legs #3

I like this series of stretches and the variations too. They are easy to do as well as putting too much weight on them 🙂 The one where we block the foot under our armpit is a familiar variation for me; it makes me think about their different approaches. The work with our knee on the buttock is the technique that I already know I'll be sure to repeat in every session 🙂

 

Module 23: Sacrum and glutes

I was looking forward to this module. As you said the sacrum work is often overlooked in the practice, but I understand its importance and benefits. For this reason I have always wanted to learn some very effective techniques. Every time that the discomfort is located in the sacrum area I often find myself unable to do a valid work and this mostly for the lacking of techniques. The ones that you showed in this module will be a good starting point for me. The techniques on the buttocks are a natural fit and the integration of the rocking motion adds a lot to the relaxation. I love them 🙂 Finally, your use of the knees on the buttocks it's been a complete novelty for me. If I think about it I would have used the knee on the buttock with myself placed sideways to the receiver. A more traditional approach, I think. Moreover, its variation hasn't been that tricky this time for me as I thought it would be at the beginning 🙂

 

Module 24: Prone back #1

Some nice back techniques in this module. They've been easy to do for me, so I didn't run into any particular problem. For me, the work on the back often involves the use of thumbs and, as you have noticed, if your client has a very tight and muscular back, you don't go anywhere. So, besides these series of techniques, it would be advisable the use of the forearms or the elbows, I think. I would like to see your type of approach in this regard. Well, I'm probably going to see that in the next modules 🙂

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Shama Kern
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June 1, 2012 - 2:52 pm
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Sacrum work is often neglected in massage therapy and it is often not even taught in massage schools unfortunately. I do a lot of sacrum work on my clients, actually I firmly integrate it into back work in general. I believe in it so much that I even created a separate sacrum course which goes more in depth than the Complete Thai Massage course.

My main Thai Massage course is already a huge program, but there is never a point where we can say that we know it all and don't have to learn anything else. That's why I have created even more in depth Thai Massage therapy courses which are meant for those students who want to increase their skills for very specific and localized therapy work.

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Alessandro
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June 8, 2012 - 1:45 pm
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Module 25-26: Prone back #2-3

Well, what I was hoping to see in these modules it's here :).

Prone back #2   -  I like the first sequence and how we adjust to work on the trapezius and I like even more the inizial work we do with our elbows on the lower back. It's a classy one and not that complex; once you locate the groove you only have to worry about the right amount of pressure since it's a very delicate area. You can easily feel that. The knee work is a powerful technique too; having a fairly distributed weight between our arms and knee it's a crucial factor here. As seen for the first technique, I like the transition we make to work all the way up the back. In regard to my sessions, I have tried to work as much gently as possible since there were some very painful areas; I then opted for some less intense techniques as the ones I learned in the previous module.

Prone back #3   -  The knee work continues in this module and I have to say I love this kind of work. The first sequence (when we work on the two lines on the back) is very nice and the gallopping technique is a good variation in the traditional rhythm. All the lower back variations are not an exception and they are very appreciated. The tip for the neck is a good one. Usually, I simply suggest to my client to turn the head sideways everytime he needs to.

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Shama Kern
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June 9, 2012 - 12:57 am
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Looks like you are making good progress with the course. Once you are done with the back modules, you can give a great two hour Thai Massage easily. You are getting there:)

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Alessandro
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June 9, 2012 - 1:28 am
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Two hours... it would mean set a new record for me... 🙂

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Shama Kern
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June 9, 2012 - 2:37 am
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I think the longest session I ever did was about 3.5 hours. Not that I am recommending that, but the client loved it. I hardly ever do sessions less than 2 hours. Here in Thailand it is not uncommon for people to book 3 hour sessions (not with me, I limit myself to 2 hour sessions these days).

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Alessandro
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June 15, 2012 - 1:15 pm
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Module 27: Upper back

The first technique is a loosening up kneading move but I like the way it distinguishes itself from the classic upper back massage. In the second one the use of the fingers it's been a bit of a surprise to me, but I acknowledge the technique effectiveness. However, the upper back stretches are those that stand out most in this module; the cobra stretch is a valid example. For now, I think I'll stick to the first variation 🙂

 

Module 28: Prone summary

Nice recap as usual. I like your choice of techniques and I appreciate the tips you give on how to address the stiff areas on the back. I usually start working first on the lesser stiff side after a comparison between the areas since there is a correlation between them.

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Shama Kern
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June 16, 2012 - 12:53 am
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Definitely, if there is any stretch that needs to be handled with care, it is the cobra, especially the third version:)

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