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pat ciaramella complete thai course notes
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PatCiaramella
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October 29, 2015 - 8:01 am
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Module 2

Chi machine:  did you know that there is a machine called the chi machine that promotes so many benefits ?  It was designed nearly 40 years ago from an asian gentleman.  My office peer was talking today about his back problems and talked about a machine he saw on youtube but couldn’t remember the name.  Just a few days ago i watched Module 2 Chi machine and i suggested that he look up on the internet ‘chi machine’.  He found it and IT IS THE name of the machine he was looking for!!  So I tried applying the chi move to my partner.  And to my surprise, i was able to get the whole body moving and this was to a 260 lb man.  The recipient later said he felt relaxed and was a very different feeling that he experienced from other thai techniques.  I enjoyed doing chi move, felt comfortable even with a large person , and will continue to practice.  There are MANY benefits that i learned about on the internet about this move using the machine.  I will tell my clients about the many benefits and be curious about their opinions.  LoVED learning this… good stuff Shama.

Module 3

Foot massage 1 – this module taught me a few things about the techniques and the class course approach that I need to take.  I watched it twice and then tried the 7 various moves on my partner.  Overall it well, the client enjoyed moves.  I felt though the inward foot press had to be done with more caution and less expression than Shama did on model.  My partner was not as flexible and produced pain in outer leg area.  So after the application and practice I watched the module for the third time and realized I forgot 1 technique  and some of the finer intricacies.  I will practice again using the notes that I wrote down to make certain I practice all.  Also, i varied the foot press toward head by trying to straighten my arms then lean in.  The partner felt both were fine but straight arms were better on my back.

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Shama
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October 29, 2015 - 3:42 pm
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Not only do I know the original Chi Machine, but that’s where I got the name from for my non-machine technique. A massage therapist friend of mine had the mechanical Chi Machine, and I tried it. When I originally learned the manual Chi Machine (it was in a Chi Nei Tsang course), I not only decided to name the technique after the machine, but I made it part of my Thai Massage repertoire. So the Chi Machine is not known in Thailand as part of traditional Thai Massage. However I thought that it fits perfectly and so I adopted it into my style.

I am impressed that you got the technique right and you got the entire body of a 260 lbs man to move! Many students initially struggle with the Chi Machine.

Regarding module 3, yes, the inward foot press has to be done carefully on stiff people, otherwise it can hurt or even pull a muscle. My model here in Thailand is reasonably flexible, so I could go all the way.

Of course this applies to all Thai Massage stretches. If they are done without sensitivity, they can all be overdone easily. That’s why Thai Massage often has the reputation of being a painful modality which is not true at all. It just means that there are plenty of insensitive Thai Massage therapists around who just press without knowing how far to go and where the limits of a particular person are.

You will learn a lot about this throughout this course, including very specific ways to determine exactly how far you can go with any particular technique.

==> Since you just got started with the forum, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our certification check list, just to make sure we are all on the same wave length! Smile

Certification Check List

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PatCiaramella
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November 2, 2015 - 9:46 am
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Very interesting reply about Chi Machine.  The feeling must be wonderful, I need to teach someone so it can be done on me.

I reread the Checklist forum requirements and I believe I did everything except put “MODULE” on the line alone.  I did not find a way to edit my first post.  Can you be more specific if there is something I am missing.?  I do NOT want to get to into the course and have to redo.  I also believe I entered and explained enough about the practice on my partner,  If not please inform.

thanksConfused

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Shama
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November 2, 2015 - 10:08 am
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Don’t worry, Pat, your posts look great. They are informative and interesting to read. We are not fanatics about rules around here. I just automatically post the certification check list whenever someone starts a certification program because some people never read the certification tutorial, and then things can get totally messed up.

I fixed the module number reference for you to make it stand out a little better. But as long as it shows up in some way so that I know which module you are talking about, you are fine. This is just a cosmetic change.

You can always edit your most recent post, but as soon as there is a follow up post, you can’t edit previous posts anymore.

Regarding what’s missing – there is no post about module 1…?

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PatCiaramella
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November 4, 2015 - 2:04 am
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Module 4

Recommendations in this module were very much needed.  Pulling apart the foot techniques into 8 ways to massage the foot is an art to teaching!!!  Don’t think I’ll ever forget them and they will allow me to ease into a sequence flow and feel more confident.  The other recommendation mentioned is to basically “stick with it”.  Anything worth doing and especially if you enjoy it, is worth practicing.

So that being said (or written in this case), I will take heed by practicing those techniques which were not easy.  In asking my partner, ‘how did that feel’, or ‘how’s that’, I was NOT satisfied with “ah, ok, not bad”!! The relaxation move where there’s 3-4 different things you are doing,(squeeze, push, pull, thumb press, rock) was the most difficult.  I have come to realize that not all moves are for every person.  The first massage to anyone is the most challenging.  Talk to them, ask how’s that?  I also find it easier to — KNOW when to back off– as opposed to — KNOW when to use more expression in the technique.  That was the case with the contraction, traction foot technique.  I was not applying enough contraction for this person. So , I tried pushing more, which helped to get the result I was seeking for my client. (“ahhhh, that feels good”).

One last thing:  the addition of the technique, kneading the soles of the foot, I really liked because the client gets so much satisfaction from the simplicity of it.  I have one sore thumb from slight arthritis and I was able to give a lot with not much effort (and pain) to my thumbs.  That’s my goal in doing this massage.  Give a lot without doing a lot.  Which is what you emphasize and repeat often, Shama, that you, the giver, must be comfortable.

Overall, Module 4 was good stuff!!

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PatCiaramella
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November 4, 2015 - 2:33 am
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module 1 – Introduction

This module had no hands on practice so I assumed I didn’t have to enter into the Forum.

In reading the module, much of it was a review for me since I have been doing (a limited amount of) massage.  The concepts definitely enriched the way I view Thai Massage and improved on the confidence in which I speak about the healing art… reminding me it’s the energy lines which we are trying to improve… that is the more spiritual side of this massage, something I want.  Personally, I don’t want to learn European massage and this module allowed me to understand why I have that Opinion.  I don’t really need to know anatomy in order to help my client feel better.  I do this art to help people feel better… In fact my business card says, “all about YOUR well-being”.

I loved what a read a few years back about the difference between European massage and Asian massage…

 “European massage uses oils, Asian massage uses compassion”

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Shama
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November 4, 2015 - 11:27 pm
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I managed to move your disconnected posts about module 1 and 4 to your main thread. So now everything is where it’s supposed to be. I can’t get it into the right module sequence, but that’s no big deal as long as all the posts are there.

Your posts are great and detailed and fun to read. Don’t feel bad that you had some issues with clicking the wrong button – this happened to many forum users. I keep updating my documentation and tutorial videos to make it even more clear, but I understand that for first time forum users it is easy to overlook something. From now on just click the “Add Reply” button for subsequent posts, and it will all be perfect! Smile

I am glad that you liked the last module (#4). Regarding talking to clients or asking them how it feels, there is an entire module at the end of the course which deals with specifically this subject.

Also you might find this article interesting and informative:
How Much Should You Talk To Your Clients?

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PatCiaramella
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November 9, 2015 - 7:25 am
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(used the ‘add topic’) which didn’t work correctly,,, shama , didn’t you say do ‘add topic’, then this is an ‘add reply’
MODULE 5
Leg Warmup using Thumbs and Palms
Learning when to warm-up a client more thoroughly or doing stretches is a very good lesson. Of course, it takes practice to know this, but what I got from this Module is to DO warmups first on everybody. I also think warmup is a good way to allow the client to begin to know you, feel comfortable and begin their relaxing time. I am doing an expo this weekend and will be giving 20 minute thai sessions to strangers of all types and this lesson came as an excellent reminder at this time.
Really liked 2 ideas and one technique in particular. The push/pull technique worked well on a large thigh and also was easy on my hands and thumbs. The ideas of locking the foot when doing the butterfly to upper thigh to allow for full upper thigh exposure, and, the light press with knee on the upper calf of client was very useful for leveraging and allowing maximum benefit for the push/pull.
On the other hand, I found it impossible to give the calf squeeze on a large man with my little hands. I won’t be doing that and am HAPPY you offer so many other techniques that I can pick and choose. The last 2 modules I reviewed came at a good time for me to use at the expo on Saturday.
(i’ll let you know how it goes !!) Wink

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PatCiaramella
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November 9, 2015 - 7:36 am
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(did add reply for this)

MODULE 6 – Leg warmup with forearm

Practiced all weekend during the expo that I was practitioner.  I remember the lines that I was trying to work on the thigh, however the position of the client’s leg and how it interacted with mine was not remembered totally.  The ones I did remember went well.  The client enjoyed the leg and one said it activated additional work that was needed and revealed a reason he was having ankle pain.  It will take some practice shifting my knee under the client’s leg.  I did not feel comfortable getting up close under a male that I was working on and therefore avoided the inside #2 sen line and upper t-band work.  

The technique will be use often because one woman said she liked it because it was very nurturing. That’s a good thing !!for sure.

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PatCiaramella
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November 9, 2015 - 7:44 am
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MODULE 7 – first stretch module

Never heard or read about the hip analysis with how feet turn.  Liked having this knowledge very much.  

The other very important takeaway, was leaning in the butterfly move more than 90 degrees.  I tried a comparison on my partner and they definetly agree that more than 90 does indeed give them the traction(stretch) which is what we are going for… Not sure I did that , or was aware of that before.  Maybe i did it sometimes but not conscious all the time.  For tight people I liked the rocking technique which was easy to apply.

Foot hip walking stretch was a review for me, I call it Yanika. My clients LOVE Yanika.

Thanks Shama,

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Shama
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November 9, 2015 - 10:09 pm
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Great – now your posts ended up in the right place. Keep hitting ADD REPLY and avoid hitting ADD TOPIC like the plague! Laugh

Regarding module 5: On large men you should switch as many techniques as possible from using your hands to techniques where you can use your knees, forearms or elbows. You will learn a lot more about all this later in the course. If your small hands can’t handle something, there is almost always an alternative way of doing any particular technique.

Regarding module 6 – not feeling comfortable getting too ‘intimate’ with some techniques, later in the course there is an entire module that deals with this issue in detail.

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PatCiaramella
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November 10, 2015 - 9:59 am
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Module 8 – Leg Stretch continued

Knee to chest stretch was a review but also had several nuances, precautions and modifications that I used on my partner.  These served me well especially with tighter clients.  The rub to the lateral and medial knee area was received well by my partner. She said it was a relief to knee discomfort due to arthritis.  I also feel very confident having the rocking techniques in my back pocket with certain clients   that are feeling apprehension.  It’s a good ice breaker too.

In the video, you showed, Shama, circling the leg for the hip and said to only go towards center of the body and NOT the other way.  I was waiting for the reason but you never said, and can’t figure it out.  I know i have done it the other way and wonder if it gave pain?? Thank You

The END

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Shama
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November 10, 2015 - 11:39 pm
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There is no scientific reason for going in this direction. I have just found that doing it that way works better for me since the move starts out with the most intense part of the circle and tends to be more effective for the actual stretch effect. I am referring to the stretch toward the opposite side of the body and the opposite shoulder (the 225 degree and 270 degree stretches of the hip pie).

Doing it the other way always felt a bit ‘watered down’ to me. This is just my personal preference. There is nothing actually wrong with going in the other direction. Try it both ways, get some client feedback and then do what works best for you. 

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PatCiaramella
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November 18, 2015 - 1:42 am
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Module 9 – leg stretch #3 notes

Thanks again for the analogy of the Pie with leg stretches.  It will help me remember the great number of LEG stretches available in Thai Massage.

In reviewing the module several times, I came up with this summary: Knee bent had a 45,90,135 degree expression.  Leg straight or (attempt to straighten) had a 90, 180 and 270 degree expression of the leg pie.

I tried these expressions on my model and for certain, not everyone can do every one of the ‘asanas’.  The value for me in this module were the generous number of examples for tight, and large people.  The rocking techniques are invaluable and I did use them on my model and she found relief and ease when applied.  I have a steady, large, male client and intend to use the modifications, particularly, leg on shoulder(180 degree stretch), and using my  forearm on hamstring,(client bent knee 45 degree stretch).

I continue to practice and learn with this complete Thai course. thank you

PS.. to be clear the missing pie degrees above were completed in modules 7, 8, although I did not discuss them as pie degrees in my notes

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Shama
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November 18, 2015 - 10:59 pm
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You are right – you cannot do all the pie stretches on everyone unless someone is naturally very flexible. They are really not meant to be done as a sequence anyway. The hip pie is just a memory jogger, and then you pick the techniques that best fit your client’s condition and needs.

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PatCiaramella
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November 20, 2015 - 12:55 am
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Module 10 – (last) Leg Stretches(#4)

SO, I had my weekly Wednesday night client and was very pleased with modification you suggested for small practitioners and larger clients while doing the spinal twist.  Before using the mod. I would often slip off his shoulder, or even worse, not be in a comfortable position for myself or pleasing sensation for him.  I was so happy with myself (and YOU) that I felt some ego creep …. OH foreshame !!

I practiced the adductor leg extended stretch on this person and that went well but knew from past experience, the leg cross over to other side of body, produces discomfort for him.

On my second session, to a smaller woman, I practiced blood stop which I recognized that one side’s throb, was more pronounced than the other.  Wondered why !!

I was able to practice the cross body leg abductor stretch on her as well and she enjoyed it being a yogi.

I feel at this point, I utilized all parts of pie leg stretches , some many times, and recognize the increased comfort level I have with the application.

One outstanding point you made which has given me much confidence and comfort, is with my outside hand, the holding of the client’s leg while foot is in my groin .  It truly gives a nice secure feel… one I won’t forget and hope other students use as well.

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Shama
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November 20, 2015 - 8:32 pm
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There is a difference between a healthy pride of a job well done and ego! Smile We should be proud of our work, and we should have a good self esteem. Otherwise why would our clients feel good about working with us…

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PatCiaramella
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November 28, 2015 - 9:55 pm
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Module 11 – Summary ….   Feet and Leg sequence flow.

Since viewing this module many,many days ago, I had several chances to practice the sequence and arrive at a reasonable sense of flow for myself and give my partner comfort. (of course there’s much more to be done,, it is a practice and a process).

The summary module was very welcomed and hope to see more of them in the complete course. It allowed me the overview I needed to more easily remember the techniques which allow me to focus on breadth, power of softness, hara and relax.  When I can have an easy mind, and stop the chatter, at the end of the session I feel energized, balanced and at peace.  At the last session I gave, I think the client really felt my overall presence in the therapy because he commented on the calmness he was feeling.

An additional note I am emphasizing to myself is :  After a strong stretch always give some comfort and a gentle move to relax.  I had a session done on me last night and after the intense , deep work I yearned for some soothing and noticed that it was missing!!! thanks for the lesson and the course in general. 

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Shama
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November 29, 2015 - 12:12 am
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Yes, there are several more summary modules coming up.

And your observation is spot on – if Thai Massage is done like a never-ending workout session, something really goes missing. Personally I would never want such a session. I love to be able to drift off into this wonderful half-asleep state when I get a Thai Massage. I also always ask the therapist to end with a gentle neck, head and face massage.

Here in Thailand the therapists normally end the session with a bunch of heavy duty stretches in the sitting position – a terrible way to end a massage in my opinion. That’s one of the first things I changed in my style. The end of a session should be totally relaxing, just like a yoga workout should end with shivasana, the corpse pose, which is total relaxation.

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PatCiaramella
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December 1, 2015 - 9:46 am
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Module 12 – Hip Stretches

The four Calf stretch versions were very informative and will be useful. They are easier to remember and administer when you break them down as you do, pointing out their intensity and type of practitioner/client height-weight ratio. The version with straight leg, I have never done because I don’t know anyone (but myself) that has the loose hamstrings needed for it.  My favorite version to practice and offer is the one up against the belly because 1) it gives the compression- traction action and 2) I think it flows nicely from chi machine/foot relaxation then TO hip/leg warmups and stretches.  Nice flowing transition that was fun to do.

The sacrum/ hip rolling techniques towards the end of the module were very relaxing to my partner after the intense leg stretches as taught in modules 7 thru 10.  

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