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Nicholas Boucher's Complete Thai Massage Course Review
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Nicholas Boucher
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January 26, 2015 - 10:17 am
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Hello from Kansas!  I am a 30-year-old male, LMT.  I have been very fascinated with Thai massage, after receiving a brief introduction to Eastern modalities in massage school.  We combined Thai with shiatsu, so it left me quite confused.  However, I have been reading about Thai yoga massage and studying in bursts for a few months now.  The wisdom retained in the Thai healing arts is powerful, and I have made deeper connections in my massage work while using sen lines and freeing intuition.  I am interested in slowly developing a practice that is all Thai massage.  I am a large, husky and muscular guy- so I am often requested for deep tissue work.  deep massage work alongside the table is doing a number on my body.  I want to work smarter, and be on the side of physics! No more awkward angles and upper body strain.  I am so looking forward to comprehensively learning the art of Thai massage, and connecting to your community.  Thank you for this opportunity!

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January 26, 2015 - 11:41 am
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Hi Nicholas, welcome to our forum and the Complete Thai Massage course. Thanks for your great introduction, it’s always good to know what people’s background is. It seems that you chose Thai Massage for all the right reasons. This course will give you exactly what you outlined in your post above. “Being on the (right) side of physics, no more awkward angles and upper body strain” – these are all issues which can be elegantly solved in Thai Massage. I am looking forward to assisting you in developing all those skills.

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Nicholas Boucher
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January 26, 2015 - 12:33 pm
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MODULE 1- Introduction

The breath is too often overlooked in western massage practice.  I am grateful for the reminder that my flow will follow my breath, and my clients will be quite aware.  Without breath, rhythm is lost and then clumsy technique and sloppy mechanics follow.  I enjoy the natural postures for the therapist in Thai bodywork.  My feet and knees will require more stretching, but I have been practicing for a couple of weeks- and already seeing a huge improvement.  I am sure performing Thai massage feels invigorating when done correctly.  After a long day of Swedish/Deep Tissue, I often need to go home and stretch for an hour to unwind.  This will be a change in the right direction, and will certainly extend my career. Time to connect with my hara, and spend some quality time on the floor :)

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January 26, 2015 - 11:01 pm
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Thai Massage can certainly extend your career since you can work without using your hands for everything.

The breathing element doesn’t even exist in traditional Thai Massage. I have added it into it because of my yoga background and because it just makes sense to do so. After all Thai Massage came out of the yoga system where breath is an essential element.

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Nicholas Boucher
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January 28, 2015 - 12:10 pm
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MODULE 2- CHI MACHINE

Hi all! I hope practice is going well. I had the opportunity to practice the lesson from MOD 2 at work today.  I practiced this with clients on the table, and with a coworker during our break.  The rocking movement is very natural to my normal routine.  However, it obviously won’t work if the bolster is in place.  When practicing in seiza, the rocking is pretty intense and painful on my quads.  Having a good stretch in the morning, and going to try again.  I am having some trouble with posture because my calves and hamstrings are quite large- when sitting in seiza, it puts a lot of stress on my knees and quads.  I am slowly getting more comfortable- shouldn’t be long before it is more natural. 

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January 28, 2015 - 2:47 pm
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This issue with the knees and the quads is something that many new Thai Massage therapist are going though. It always resolves itself after a while. The body just gets used to it. Of course there are those yogi types who can handle it no problem, and the Asians are used to sitting that way anyway, but the rest of us just have to get our bodies used to these positions. Smile

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Nicholas Boucher
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February 3, 2015 - 9:45 am
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MODULE 3- FOOT MASSAGE 1

I am really enjoying the videos and format of the course.  I had so many little techniques to try with clients this week.  I did my practice for MOD 3 on the table with clients, but I will have a chance to do MOD 3 & 4 with my practice partner.  

The gentle leaning in of the body weight and natural rhythm are my favorite aspects of Thai massage.  I am just focusing on a gentle approach and not over thinking the techniques.  It is still very tempting to use the strength of my arms.  

I am looking forward to practice on the mat- and will update with challenges.

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February 3, 2015 - 3:06 pm
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Haha, that’s always the challenge for big guys like you – to not use the body strength which you do have. For women it’s different – they just don’t have the body strength, so they are more motivated to use good ergonomics. 

The thing is that working with muscle power just doesn’t feel as good as working with body weight. So in Thai Massage less is more when it comes to generating power. To do it the easy way by sinking in with body weight gives you more power actually and it generates a much better feeling for the client. This is easier to notice when you are working on the floor since you can get on top of clients which you can’t do on a table.

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Nicholas Boucher
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February 6, 2015 - 6:09 am
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MOD 4- FOOT MASSAGE 2

Practice with the 8 ways of movement is going well! I am used to working the foot with oil, but I have some experience in reflexology with cornstarch and bare.  It feels good to work on the floor mat, as long as I keep my chin up and shoulders relaxed.  Also, I am getting much more comfortable in diamond stance (sitting on heels)- I was feeling knee pain from pressing the nerves in my shin.  As my plantar flexion increases, it is feeling much more comfortable. Keeping my focus on intuitive (quality) touch to search out the sen lines.  My clients are going to love the Thai foot sequence!  Now, looking forward to a nice transition to warm the leg.  

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Shama
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February 6, 2015 - 11:21 am
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Foot massage is always a winner. If you ever feel inspired, you can move things up a notch and learn the Thai Reflexology system. That’s different from western reflexology, more enjoyable actually and much easier on your hands. Your clients would definitely love you for that one. Smile

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Nicholas Boucher
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February 11, 2015 - 11:28 pm
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MODULE 5- LEG WARM-UP

I would certainly like to learn Thai foot massage! Western is KILLER for the thumbs.  Especially my left thumb, which is double-jointed and unstable.  I will definitely be palming and forearm rolling rather than thumbing in Thai massage.

I often have to reiterate the importance of the legs to my Swedish/DT clients.  I know from experience that a strong fascial tension in the shoulders usually needs to be addressed from the bottom… up.  Releasing the plantar fascia/arch, then lower leg, then hamstrings, glutes, LB and erectors- the shoulders are finally ready to warm and work to get a great release!  

Thai massage is wise to spend such a large portion of the massage on leg work (starting with the feet).  This warm-up feels great, and has nice and easy transitions- simple compressions with body weight are often lost in Western massage, as well.  Creating a nice “C-Bend” in a muscle is super effective for relaxing both shortened and overstretched muscles.  

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Shama
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February 12, 2015 - 12:55 am
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I know, western reflexology can be really hard on your thumbs and quite painful for the client. Thai foot massage and Thai reflexology are much more pleasant both for the therapist and the client.

You can do a majority of the work in Thai Massage without using your thumbs. I don’t use mine that much because I don’t have to. There are so many alternatives. That’s one of the things I love about Thai Massage.

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Nicholas Boucher
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February 13, 2015 - 11:41 am
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MODULE 6- LEG W/U FOREARMS

Finally had the chance for a very long practice session with my partner.  We spent about 3 hours just feeling out techniques and practicing breathing into a good rhythm.  I sound it really beneficial to just go through and practice the body mechanics and transitions, as well.  

Using the forearm for the leg warm up went pretty well, but my pressure really varied in the 5 different Sen for the thigh. The adductors are, of course, pretty tender- so no problem there.. just focused on not rushing and slowly sinking in.  The hamstrings can really take a lot with the forearm- I felt like my body was getting in the way of using firm enough pressure.  That was also the case with the IT move, to pull in and press.  My belly is in the way, especially when I have a client with a larger leg.  I did the forearm warm up with the rocking moves, then also palmed and thumbed the Sen. Overall, practice went great, and I had plenty of time to go through first contact to beginning leg stretches.  

I want to receive a Thai massage, but can’t find a therapist near me.  There are two that I know of, and neither is taking new clients. Maybe my next vacation- I can go somewhere with Thai therapists!

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February 14, 2015 - 12:49 am
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I guess you have to plan a trip to Thailand, Nicholas. Smile Here there is a Thai Massage shop on every corner, and they all take new clients. And at $5 to $8 per hour it doesn’t break the bank.

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Nicholas Boucher
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February 20, 2015 - 6:07 am
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MOD 7- LEG STRETCHES 1, MOD 8- LEG STRETCHES 2

Thanks for the invite! I would like to come just for the food, let alone Thai massage for that price!  I may not return home Laugh

I had the chance at another extended practice today, and it went pretty well.  I was feeling a little discouraged that my body mechanics needed so much work- but, I understand it is going to take some serious time to feel more natural with the stretches.  I also had a challenging client, as she has larger legs, but has extreme flexibility.  It was hard to give her a big enough stretch, without getting too out of alignment.  I found a pretty natural rhythm for the elephant walking, but it was painful to my wrists. The “peddling” went well on the hamstrings. It felt very nice to receive- I can take a lot more pressure on hamstrings compared to adductors. The “hip pie” was a good model for remembering other options for hip stretching.  

As for receiving the stretches- I have very limited ROM and tight adductors and hip flexors which have me a little locked up.  I would be a challenging client, myself! Working on the mats got me a little loosened up. I was having a hard time with my client’s knee bent.  She was so flexible, it wanted to constantly fall laterally.  When she was working on me, I had enough tension to maintain the knee up.  

The breathing is so easy to forget!  I will have to put notes on the wall to keep my chin up and breathe in to the stretches! 

It has been about 6 hours since beginning the practice session, an my back is quite sore.  It is clear my body mechanics need some work. I have two more practice partners for next week, so looking forward to adapting the stretches.  

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February 20, 2015 - 5:50 pm
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That’s what happened with me – I came to Thailand for a visit and ended up staying. It became my new home.

A client with large legs and extreme flexibility is indeed a challenging situation. The thing is that extremely flexible clients often just don’t need much stretching. Sometimes you have to tailor a session to someone’s needs which might change the character of the entire session. 

However I understand that this is not possible in the early stages of the training when you are focusing on learning all the various technique. Once you get good at it and know the techniques well enough so that you don’t have to think about them anymore, then the real fun starts. That’s when you can get creative and customize sessions and modify techniques.

At this point it becomes an art and doesn’t feel like a struggle anymore. But in order to get there you just have to go through the stage of learning the techniques and the ergonomics. You will see that Thai Massage is an incredible flexible system with a huge variety of options, adaptations, modifications and creative applications. Something to look forward to! Smile

Since you describe yourself as not very flexible, this probably pertains to your wrists as well. In that case you need to be aware of placing your hands in such a way that you don’t bend your wrists at a 90 degree angle, but more at a 45 degree angle. Often this simply means placing the hands a little more towards the outside of the leg instead of in the center.

Also the more you learn about Thai Massage, the more you will be able to replace hand techniques with other body body parts like forearms or knees. That’s something I do a lot since my wrists can’t take too much pressure either. There is an entire bonus course included after the end of the Complete Thai Massage course which shows you loads of ways to work with other body parts. (Body Mastery for Massage).

Then there is another bonus course with one video which shows you an entire session just with forearms. So you will find solutions for all your challenges in this course! Laugh 

One more thing – please make sure to post about each module individually. Normally I always post a link to our certification check list in my first post of a thread, but I noticed that I forgot to do that in your case. Here it is (specifically item #4)

Certification Check List

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Nicholas Boucher
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March 3, 2015 - 2:06 am
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MOD 9- LEG STRETCHES 3

Thanks, Shama!  I have been making a better effort to increase flexibility in my wrists, and practicing palming at a more appropriate angle. 

I had a great practice session yesterday evening; again trying out all the leg stretches along with the videos.  My schedule has opened up for multiple trades this week, so I should be able to get caught up to MOD 11 or 12! I am still feeling very committed, and not overwhelmed.  Looking forward to more practice.  

Both practice partners are massage therapists, so their legs were pretty stiff after a busy weekend. The rocking moves were much needed.  The other therapists at work are very interested in Thai massage- it is a refreshing change.  

I also had the chance to receive the leg stretches.  My adductors and IT band get super tight after a busy day of Swedish/Deep Tissue.   The spinal twist and rocking feel very good! 

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March 3, 2015 - 2:24 pm
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That’s one good thing about Thai Massage: You don’t get stiff from doing it. Just the opposite, it helps your own flexibility.

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