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Pamela Herrick's Complete Thai Massage Progress Report
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Pamela Herrick
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April 1, 2014 - 10:25 pm
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Module 1

For me, the most beautiful take away from this module is the description of quality of touch. The notion that with great touch and the mastery of only one technique, you can help a person is perfectly aligned with the practice of loving kindness in Thai massage. It is a perfect introduction to everything that will follow.

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Shama
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April 1, 2014 - 10:37 pm
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For me the quality of touch and the loving kindness aspects of massage have always been more important than the more clinical interpretation of western massage. That’s why I prefer the Asian environment and healing arts where such notions can be expressed without causing scorn by more scientifically minded practitioners in the western world.

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Pamela Herrick
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April 1, 2014 - 11:03 pm
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Module 2

Finishing up my course work for today. The chi machine is something that I have experienced and it is a remarkable sensation. A colleague of mine has the machine, but it had not occurred to me to integrate the technique into a treatment. I can imagine each of my family members learning it to share. What a great tool for any person to use and to easily master. Very interesting.

And, Shama, I agree that practicing a healing art, rather than taking a more scientific approach, is a good fit for me as a therapist as well. Looking forward to the next module!

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Shama
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April 2, 2014 - 1:15 am
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Actually I had the same experience as you. I had used a Chi machine before, but then I took a Chi Nei Tsang course and the teacher showed us this technique. I immediately thought that I should incorporate this into my Thai Massage, and everyone has loved it ever since, and that was well over a decade ago. 

I am not too hung up on being traditional. If something is a good fit for my style of Thai Massage, I use it, even if it comes from Chi Nei Tsang or Shiatsu or Breema or Trager or yoga therapy. I mean no system needs to be exclusive. It just needs to work well. I am not trying to make a religion out of traditional Thai Massage. Smile

By the way I have been adding the module numbers to your posts so that it is clear what you are posting about. This makes it easier to follow the thread. You can continue with that to help the ease of use.

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Pamela Herrick
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April 3, 2014 - 12:11 am
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Module 3

I like very much the rotation of the body of the therapist while doing the foot massage. Interesting as it is an alternative to various other ways which I use in doing foot treatment. It also reminds me of the sensation of releasing energy which I experience in working the sen. For me your demonstration is an expression on the macro level of a release on the micro level. Hmm… Food for thought.

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Shama
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April 4, 2014 - 1:44 pm
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This particular technique is not well known and is not taught in any other schools to my knowledge. I learned it from one of the original masters of Thai Massage, Chaiuth, who is no longer with us. He was amazingly creative when it comes to the use of your body.

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Pamela Herrick
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April 4, 2014 - 10:51 pm
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Module 4

Of course, Chaiyuth’s work work was amazing. I loved how he got under his client to use their body weight, rather than his own. Just about three days before he died, he passed me on the street on the back of a motorbike, smoking with a beautiful young woman driving. I will always remember him like that.

This module included a lovely technique which I particularly liked, the dragging along the outer edge of the foot from in front of the heel to the toe. I could feel it so perfectly when you demonstrated it. Will have to teach it to my son! He may one day be 5th generation Thai therapist (on his papa’s side!).

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Shama
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April 5, 2014 - 1:36 am
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5th generation? Who is the papa?

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Pamela Herrick
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April 9, 2014 - 12:43 am
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Module 5

His papa is Amnat Khunchamnan, and on his material grandmother’s side they have practiced Thai massage for as long as anyone can remember. A very interesting lineage. My sister-in-law now runs the family business Khunchamnan Family Massage in CM.

 

In this module, I am reminded of the dynamic way we can lean and roll muscle up to work the muscle against the bone. I so love having that bone as the backdrop for my work and you demonstrate it beautifully here with the double palming work on the upper leg. Just great.

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Pamela Herrick
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April 9, 2014 - 1:09 am
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Module 6

Ah, an interesting observation after watching you work the legs. When I work between the client’s legs, I am nearly always in a squat on my toes and using knees and hands as tools. Many years into the work, I do find that my knees become more dry with the passage of time. You remind me, of course, that sitting on my bum gives another option which is easier on the knees. Hard flexion I have found to be a bit wearing.

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Shama
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April 9, 2014 - 12:36 pm
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Yes, this passage of time is happening to all of us. It makes perfect sense to make this work as easy on our bodies as possible. The longer I am doing this, the more I become aware of it. Nowadays I shift even more towards distributing my techniques among my hands, forearms, elbows, knees and feet to avoid stress in my body. If we can get into a more comfortable position, all the better.

So you have a family connection with Chiang Mai – interesting. You are one of the very few where the usual western man-Thai woman relationship does not apply.

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Pamela Herrick
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April 24, 2014 - 4:21 am
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Module 7

Ah, my old friend “1-2-3-2-1”!

And a very nice review of hip assessment with the client supine. Rocking is such a beautiful technique. I use it frequently and am reminded of the years in which my son was a babe in arms. Rocking, jostling and jiggling are so fundamentally relaxing.

(and yes, Shama, I am unusual in my twist on the Thai-farang marriage – we used to joke that we would cause a motorbike accident with the bold head turning when we walked together along the sidewalks in Chiang Mai) Smile

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Shama
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April 24, 2014 - 11:37 am
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Haha, I can imagine. To this day this is a head turning combination here in Chiang Mai, and probably anywhere in Thailand. 

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Pamela Herrick
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April 28, 2014 - 11:10 pm
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Module 8

Ah, I love the knee warm-up, palm to palm. Much like the ankle technique which is a favorite with clients. 

Also the “hip pie” conceptual thinking is a beautiful description and a perfect way to categorize a long list of hip treatment options. Love it.

Really enjoying your videos, Shama. Thanks!

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Pamela Herrick
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April 29, 2014 - 1:18 am
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Module 9

The circling of the hip technique is an interesting one and can be so helpful for a client holding in the hip.

I was once in Arnot L’Hermitte’s Osteopathy Meets Thai Massage class and found his version of this interesting as well. He “throws” the leg in a circular motion from a seated position himself. It is very dynamic. Perhaps you have seen it?

Given my own size (a bit smaller than Arnot, particularly in shoulder muscle mass) and the size of many of my clients (a bit larger than the average massage student), I don’t use his version in my practice. 

Very nice to see the same theory in the hands of a different therapist. This is what makes our work varied and interesting, no?

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Shama
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April 29, 2014 - 1:19 am
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I am so glad that you are enjoying the videos. I really appreciate this coming from you since you know very well what you are talking about with your background. Smile

The more I do this work, the more I find out that there is always something new to learn. I did develop my own style, especially when it comes to rocking techniques and some of the more specific therapeutic applications. However we can all learn something from each other since most of the experienced practitioners develop their own unique style, and that’s a great thing. In this way Thai Massage will keep growing and evolving.

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Pamela Herrick
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April 30, 2014 - 4:52 am
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Module 10

So lovely to see your “power versions” of individual stretches.

I particularly like, and will incorporate, your spinal twist with the client’s ankle at the crease of your hip. This supports all the weight of the client’s leg on the therapist, which feels safe and secure to the client. Always a good thing in a stretch. 

I often do this stretch from a standing position with the client’s heel on my thigh. You are surely a bit taller than me, which may have lead you to the lunge version. Like it!

See you in the next video!

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Shama
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April 30, 2014 - 4:21 pm
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I try to always point out several versions of the more involved techniques to accommodate the size and weight differences between clients and therapists. Many times I get comments from course students who think that small therapists cannot do a lot of those techniques on bigger people.

However as you well know, all those small Thai women can do all these techniques on the much larger farangs. It is quite amazing what you can do with some position adjustments. I am sure there are even more ways of doing it than what I show in the videos, and most experienced practitioners keep figuring out how to adjust things until they work for them, like you with the standing version of this spinal twist.

After all these years I myself still keep coming up with new adaptations for techniques.

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Pamela Herrick
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May 1, 2014 - 4:37 am
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Module 11

Aaahh. Love the put-it-all-together. Great recap, and my list of “Shama’s greatest hits” is growing longer!

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Shama
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May 1, 2014 - 6:57 pm
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The “greatest hits” is a new one for me. Laugh

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