July 14, 2012
Hey everyone! I'm Aruna from Mauritius. This is the very first time i'm posting here. I have already received 11 modules up till the summary of suppine lower body. It's not that i'm going to make a summary of all these modules in only one post
Shama I would first of all like to thank you for your generous work. Your love for your work reflects through all the videos i've received till now. And thx for sharing your hardwork & knowledge with us. I must say that the price paid for the course is really affordable.
I have recently decided to become self employed but to do something meaningful. After completing my degree in management & finance, I did a small course to become a certified fitness trainer. i consider fitness training to be kind of too 'rough' for me..i don't really know how to explain this but what i know is that i don't want to make a living out of it.
When i came across your webpage, something clicked in me whilst reading about the nature of thai massage & all the benefits it offers. maybe it's the fact it is work done to influence the flow of energy in our body that has attracted me. i practice meditation so i guess all this fits well.
So let's start.
Module 1: Introduction
Very nice intro so that we can get familiar with some terms & get an overall idea what to expect in future lessons. Thx for taking the time shama & explain all these things in details for us. I was really excited to receive my next video.
Module 2: Chi Machine
Ok, to be honest when i saw you do the chi machine, i was like WHAT"S THIS! It seemed to be too easy that i was pretty sure i would have a hard time with it. Finally i got to practice in on my brother who is my main guinea pig (there's my mother too). Of course i did not get it the first time but i remembered what you said about focusing on our hips & on those of the receiver. That's when i saw the face of my brother moving along with his entire body..he was all smiles!
Module 3: Foot Massage 1
Full fledged into the course now. My practice partner was my mother this time. I must say she is a bit stiff. She enjoyed the entire session except the part where you bend both feet inwards..she felt a little pain there. So i tried to ease up a bit & not bend her feet completely to the ground. The move where you go clockwise, squeeze & bend out the feet..i love that! I thought it would be hard to grasp & get it right at once, but i succeeded in doing it. But i need to be a bit more aware because i tend to squeeze by using muscle force & not by leaning in with my bodyweight & when i remember to do that the move becomes quite effortless.
Ok, i think it's a lot for my first post. See ya later
Hi Aruna and welcome to the forum!
You are from Mauritius - I think that's a first for the forum. I am curious, you speak perfect English, is that common in Mauritius?
Wow, for your first post you packed in some information! Obviously you are applying the lessons. And thanks so much for your kind words of appreciation.
I am glad that the energy flow concept resonates with you. Without it, Thai Massage is just a mechanical sequence of techniques.
I am looking forward to hearing more from you
July 14, 2012
Hmm, i don't think that i speak perfect english. I've always considered my english to be quite elementary & mediocre compared to my friends at school & university. Yes it is common since english is the official language of Mauritius but our mothertongue is creole, a french dialect. Honestly i prefer speaking french.
Just to let you know that whenever i'm practising with my brother he jokes about wanting to wear a pink t-shirt & grey pants like the lady in your videos
Foot Massage 2: Thank you Shama for insisting on conceptual thinking & working intiutively rather than learning everything by heart. Following our intuition will definitely help us in customising our thai sessions (maybe not immediately) & also in adding our personal touch to it.
So, in this video we get the 'final touches' of the foot massage. The steps are quite easy to grasp but the way we have to position ourselves can be a bit challenging sometimes. We have to figure out the best way to be comfortable & there's a lot of testing there.
Otherwise i'm always asking my partner whether he/she is ok with the pressure/bodyweight being applied & try to adjust it accordingly.
Leg Warm Up: The first move which consists of placing both palms on the thigh & applying bodyweight was quite painful for my brother. I sank in completely like you did but he felt uncomfortable with it (his muscles were moving to the right/left). I found this series of leg warm up to be a little strenuous in some parts though.
Leg Warm Up Forearm: This is sort of new to me. Never thought that we could massage someone with the forearm. I really enjoyed it. It was less tiring than the previous leg warm up session & here i could feel that my entire body was involved. I even closed my eyes at some point & focused on my breath trying to match my moves.
Shama what i find really difficult to do is the transition of one move to the other, i mean my own position..you do it so smoothly that i often have to rewind to see when you got in that other position:)
In regards to your English, I am sure nobody would doubt that you are a native English speaker, although you speak French at home. I guess you would be called bilingual then.
You will gradually get better at positioning and transitioning. Imagine a dancer. Even if she is taught all the right steps, it will take time before it looks and feels natural and graceful. Same with Thai Massage. After a while the techniques become second nature, and your body will spontaneously tell you what works best for it. In the meantime try watching a few times how I do it in the videos.
In the very beginning it always feels a bit clumsy and difficult, but it gets easier every time. You are doing the right thing, you get a lot of feedback from your partner, and in time it will get better.
Leg warm up: I know exactly what you are talking about. This particular technique requires that you put your hands in just the right place so that the quadriceps muscles do not move sideways. Once again, this does take some practice, but keep working on it with this goal in mind.
Luckily there are so many techniques in Thai Massage that you can always choose the ones that work best for you. There is no law that says you have to do them all in every session. But it does help to learn and practice them all. Then over time you will develop your favorites, based on what works best for you and what feels best to your body and your client's body.
Personally I use my forearms a lot. I get more power with less effort and I avoid strain on my hands. There are many ways to use forearms in Thai Massage. You will learn quite a few of them in this course.
It sounds like you are doing well. The beginning is always the hardest period. The good news is that it gets easier the longer you do it.
July 14, 2012
Hello Shama, hope you’re doing well. Sorry for my very late post, my job contract just ended so I seized the opportunity to take a small break & went camping by the seaside at a friend’s place. But I did not forget about my thai massage course, I’ve been downloading my modules & practicing regularly. I normally jot down my experience on paper right after practice but I’ve been a bit lazy to post them in the forum.
Leg Stretches 1: I must say that it was really interesting to learn that the position of our feet gives an indication of the condition of our hips. It seems so logical now but I’ve never really given this a thought. It’s so nice to receive such piece of invaluable information. This module includes a set of very interesting stretches & it’s getting better & better with each video. I just love all of the elephant walking done with our hands & particularly with legs since this helps in reducing overuse of our hands which can be painful at times. My partner enjoyed all of them as well. The variety of the stretches made it fun & interesting to do.
Leg Stretches 2: Here we learn some calf muscle loosening/relaxing techniques which appear quite simple but they do feel great according to my partner. Ok there’s this major stretching that I really wanted to try which consists in placing my partner’s foot into my groin & stretching his leg way down. My partner was flexible so it was kind of easy & I asked him whether he was ok with it & he told me that I could go further if I wished to. I also tried the rocking versions. It’s great to have alternatives.
I've already received up to the second summary video, so i'll post every 2 days in order to be up to date.
I hope you had a great time camping.
Regarding the feet being an indicator of hip condition, yes it is amazing how we can see something all the time, but we don't really see it. Then when we get "new eyes", we suddenly see something totally new and different, although we are looking at the exact same thing.
It sounds like you are doing great with the course, you must be a natural!
July 14, 2012
Leg Stretches 3: The stretches are getting deeper now. I have to say that i'm lucky enough to be able to practice on different body types. There's my brother who is tall & flexible, my sister who is really skinny, petite & flexible and my mother who's quite overweight & stiff. It's great since i get to practice all the variations that you suggest. Stretching the legs in different angles was somehow easy with my bro & sis but not with my mother with whom i had to be careful not to cause her too much pain, she has her limits but astonishingly i was able to stretch her more than i thought she could bear. We do need a lot of power & endurance in our legs to carry out these stretches because at some point my legs were trembling a bit. Balance & dexterity are very important as well for the therapist otherwise the massage session could seem to be out of control by the receiver. As always loved to learn all the variations, these are so useful.
Leg Stretches 4: As always you keep on reminding us of the most important aspects of thai massage & in this module you added one more point, ie, focus on the hara. Since i practice meditation this concept just seems natural to me. Thai massage definitely is massage practiced at a deeper/more subtle level. That's why i love it so much. When i tried the bloodstop on my sister, i was not sure whether i was doing it correctly but she did feel a warm sensation when i released the pressure on her artery & i was like 'Oh it actually worked!'.
Ok Shama there's this one i was looking forward to share with you. The other day i practiced on my mother. I did it from the very start, ie the chi machine till the last set of leg stretches. At the end of the session, she was able to get up straight because she usually leans sideways in order to get up to her feet & she was smiling telling me that her legs felt really light. I was soooo happy, satisfied & felt more motivated to continue with the course because i was not expecting such a great feedback. I have to thank YOU for this Shama
Balance and dexterity, or you could say good ergonomics and a graceful way of working, make Thai Massage a unique healing art.
It is very useful that you have different body types to work on, that will make you progress much faster.
I am glad you can relate to the 'hara' concept. Actually at the end of this course you will receive one bonus course which goes much deeper into this matter.
I think I am just as happy as you are that your massage worked so well with your mother . It will work well on many people who you will work on !
July 14, 2012
Hi Shama, how are you doing? Sorry for the irregular posts but I’ve been really very busy lately. But I’m continuing to enjoy the course & the practice.
Module 11: Summary
It’s just great to see you working at your normal rhythm & have an idea of how you carry out a real session. This is the video I turn to whenever I want to have a quick glimpse of all the supine lower body works.
Module 12: Hip Stretch
What I really appreciate in this module is that we get to stand up to practice some techniques, there’s not just sitting down on our heels which can become quite uncomfortable. The techniques are more diverse & interesting. I really laughed out loud at the ‘you don’t want to give yourself a breast massage’ part. Again we have many variations of different stretches to choose from so as the therapist can be comfortable while working on various body types. Frankly speaking, along with my partner, I loved all the hip stretches maybe because it was kind of more ‘action-packed’
Module 13: Hip Stretches Final
I have to say that your simple approach to teaching is what makes you a great teacher. You make things appear really easy.
In a situation where a client would feel pain, I guess I would have backed off or I would even have apologized & skipped to another technique on another body part. But here you teach us how to act professional & to take control over the situation.
And also we get to complete the hip pie & if this concept is kept in mind there’s no way we would stop just to think what move comes next. It makes everything so much easier.
Good to see you back in here:) I am happy that you are enjoying the modules. The further you progress, the easier it will all become. Once you get good at it, it will all feel very easy. I always try to make my teaching very clear and easy to comprehend. I am glad you appreciate my style.
July 14, 2012
Module 14: Hip Rocking
Rocking is real fun & so easy. No significant effort is required. It feels good not only for the receiver but the therapist enjoys it as well, it surely reduces stress on thumbs, wrists & arms. I was practicing on my aunt who is quite overweight & I had to explore a bit before finding her hip bones.
Transition: I always wondered if you would one day teach us your secret or whether we would simply need to watch you attentively till we got the gist. You’re so good at smooth transitions that usually, even though I think I’m watching you closely, I end up wondering how & when you landed at a different side.
Module 15: Abdomen & Chest
I totally get the concept of using the hand as a tool to listen & read the client’s body. Some awareness is needed to do that & to be aware, we just need to be more grounded in the present moment. While practicing only this module on my sister, she said that she felt nothing special.
Then I changed partner but this time I started from the very beginning, i.e., with the footwork, leg works, etc then ended with the abdomen & chest. Abdo & chest work is not dynamic at all but feels really appeasing. I had some difficulty with the moving of the rib cage & on overweight people (my aunt) some bones are not that easy to find & sometimes some parts are so fleshy that you are not sure where you should be placing your hands. But overall it’s wonderful how your course incorporates techniques for each part of the body. I don’t think there’s a similar course out there & it’s worth every single penny
I might do a special transitions video one of these days. I did make a little promo video about it. You can find it here:
Regarding your sister not feeling anything when you tried the 'listening with the hands' - she is not supposed to feel anything. Only YOU are supposed to intuitively receive information through your hands. As you say, this is not an instant process, it does take practice, grounding and the development of an intuitive sense. It will come in time if you keep focusing on it.
Overweight people are definitely harder to work on. But it is good practice since there are quite a few of them around nowadays, and we will encounter them in our practice sooner or later.
I am so glad that you appreciate the course so much:)
July 14, 2012
Module 16: Shoulder Techniques
I think working on shoulders is one my favorites and many people keep asking me whether I have already learned shoulder massage techniques. I guess shoulder massage is always welcome. Loved all the moves & I now see how techniques like elephant walking or pulling up & pushing down can be applied on different parts of the body. I understand why you said that it all becomes easier later on in the course.
Module 17: Arms & Hands
You present to us a really nice series of arm techniques which flow so well one after the other. The part where you squeeze-pull-left/right needs a little bit more practice on my part since I cannot reproduce it like I should. It’s a bit frustrating when someone tells you ‘what are you trying to do?’
Otherwise I can practice almost all of these techniques anytime or anywhere because your partner does not necessarily have to be lying down. So I try it whenever I have the opportunity.
Shoulder massage is very useful. I sometimes do sessions just on the shoulders for an entire hour. Many people need it and appreciate it. I am glad you see that it becomes easier.
Regarding the hand technique you mentioned, I assume you are referring to the one that is shown around minute 10 on the video. I suggest you try it element by element. First practice only the squeezing, then do the pulling, then put the two together. When that works, add the turning of the hands. Don't try to get it right by combining it all immediately. Just build it up gradually step by step and work on a practice partner before you try it on a client.
And if this is a technique that does not come easy for you, don't worry. Since you can do everything else, there are plenty enough other techniques which you can use. It is not necessary to do every single technique which is shown on the videos perfectly in order to do a great Thai Massage. I don't use them all either in every session. You just work with the ones that you feel comfortable with. You can always add more later.
July 14, 2012
Yes, it’s this technique I was referring to. You already explained in the video to practice it step by step & then put them all together but maybe I was too impatient to get it right at once:) I know that you teach us a large array of techniques to choose from & advise us to ‘keep’ those we are most comfortable with but somehow I just want to be able to reproduce all of them correctly even if it’s a bit intricate. I want to know them all
Module 18: Shoulders-Transitions
In previous modules we learned how to transition over the client’s body but here we are shown how to get around the latter without him/her even knowing that we are actually transitioning since there are some arm works involved. How clever!
To my great satisfaction there are more shoulder (& back) techniques shown. There’s the one where you lift the shoulder, walk up & down the back with the right hand together with a clockwise motion of the shoulder..it’s not easy to practice this as smoothly as you do & I guess it’s not suitable for a small therapist to do it on big & heavy people. It would be a hard task.
Module 19: Summary 2
This is the second recap of the course. Again it’s a real delight to see you work at your normal pace with such grace & elegance. The flow of thai massage is much more obvious in summary videos.
Module 20: Prone Legs 1
Now we start to work with elbows: the idea might seem scary at first because of the thought that it could be painful but my partner told me that it was okay, so I sank in a little more than when I started. There are some moves that we learnt in suppine position videos that are repeated here (they have an impact on same muscles) but of course they have been adapted for the prone position. Loved the traction & contraction of ankle, knee & hip joints & the push-pull technique which followed next. My brother asked for more of the ankle & calf stretch & the calf muscle tendon work because they felt so good.
Since you seem to like shoulder work, you will be happy to know that there are two more modules to come with lots of shoulder work.
I know, several Thai Massage moves can scare new practitioners, like the elbow and knee work. But as long as you practice sinking in with your body weight without any pressing via muscle work, and you think 'softness' in your mind, you can do amazingly effective work with those body parts. At the same time you develop a high degree of sensitivity in elbows and knees. You will learn how to feel with them, and soon it will be second nature working in this way:)
July 14, 2012
Module 21: Prone Legs 2
We work with our forearms like in previous warming up modules for legs. Here the hamstrings & IT bands are much more accessible.
I find that working with the knee on the calf muscle is a great idea but I still lack some confidence. This time it’s not really about being afraid to hurt my partner but somewhere I thought (wrongly maybe) that it was not as effective or did not feel as good if I actually used my hands. I’m aware that overuse of hands can be dangerous in the long run & I’m also thinking about taking your new hands free course but one thing at time. It’s already a lot:)
Module 22: Prone Legs 3
I have really appreciated this lovely series of stretches which affect so many areas at the same time (quadriceps, hamstring, knee joints, lower back). They are easy to perform and you can tell that they are strong & really effective.
Now concerning the knee work on the glutes, I must say that I’ve gained a little trust here. I felt more comfortable with it & knew that it was actually having effect on that area.
The Hands Free Course would give you all the confidence you need to use your elbows, forearms, knees and feet. If done right, it feels just as good as working with the hands. I have mentioned this in several places, and it is worth repeating: If I would not have become an expert at using all those body parts effectively, I would not have made it through 14 years of therapeutic Thai Massage work on often large, stiff and heavy clients.
I know, in most youtube videos the Thai Massage model is always a slim, light and flexible yogini, but in a real life massage practice that's just not how it looks like. We need to get the most leverage we can if we are in this professionally for the long haul and if we want to be effective with all kinds of clients.
July 14, 2012
Module 23: Sacrum & Glutes
I was really curious about this module since you underlined the fact earlier that this part is often neglected in other forms of massage. Thank you for the nice little explanation about the sacrum. Knowing a bit about the area we are going to work on definitely helps a lot & adds more meaning to it. Merely executing the moves felt like it would totally make anyone feel good. Lots of rocking in here & the technique where you place the knees in the gluteus is not painful at all. On the contrary it’s very pleasant as per my partner.
There’s not a single body part which is being overlooked in this thai course. Love it.
Module 24: Prone Back 1
Throughout the course you are always emphasizing on good ergonomics of the therapist. You make us realize that thai massage is not only about the client but the giver & receiver are equally important. It’s just great how you design alternative techniques which are effective for the recipient and at the same time preserve the physical health of the therapist. It’s a win win situation. I guess we are just plain lucky to benefit from your hard earned knowledge & experience.
The techniques shown in this module are fairly gentle with the circling, rocking & wiggling. They are helpful in loosening muscles but there are some people (in my family itself) who ask for stronger work on their back & some even want you to walk on their back. These techniques won’t be enough for them but I guess more is coming in next videos.