I enjoyed the introduction module. I have found that I will have to work to regain the easy floor sitting that I did as a younger person. For the last several days I have been practicing sitting on my heals, kneeling and squatting, several times a day. LOL this is going to take a little time according to my right knee. For now I am working fairly comfortably in a half kneel.
I am pleased the the focus on the quality of touch. I have received massages in the past that while technically fine, lacked a human warmth and flow and they are not really very relaxing or beneficial.
I am always happy to have training in proper ergonomics and breath. Many therapist have had to cut their careers short due to injuries and I do not plan on being one of them. I applaud any training in ways to benefit my clients with out discomfort to myself. You are right it can't feel very good to them if I am stiff and off balance.
Hi Patty, welcome to our forum and the Complete Thai Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure that it is all organized correctly:
You pointed out two of the major elements of this course - the focus on quality of touch (you will hear a lot about that in this course), and a therapist friendly way of working. I know of several therapists whose careers have been saved by switching to this way of working.
Your body, while complaining loudly in the beginning, will get used to working on the floor, and you will see that this is more effective, much easier on your body, and much better for your ergonomics.
Module 2 Chi machine
I have practiced this on several people now. At first I had a very hard time with it due to the tightness in my own thighs. I found that I could not sustain the movement very long without a muscle spasm in my right leg. So I rose up on my toes to relieve the pressure on my thighs and it worked quite well. My mother and sister are my most often partners and they both commented that they liked it better with their legs a little higher. It added a bit of traction that felt wonderful on the low back. No tingling noted but a spreading release all the way to the neck.
I am still stretching my own legs and practicing the positions of the therapist several times a day. I can now sit on my heels for several minutes instead of just a few seconds.
My mother who is a retired massage therapist did a modified version of the chi machine on me. She cannot kneel so she stood (she isn't even 5 feet tall so my legs weren't all that high) and tucked my heels into the hollow at the hip/leg joint and rocked her hips until my nose wiggled along with the rest of me. No wonder they both sighed when I did this to them. Boy that felt good.
Module 3 Feet
Boy there is a lot in this module and you are right, I didn't get it all the first time or the second.
I'm glad you said that it does not have to be perfect. I forgot about 1/2 of the moves the first time the second I printed out the transcript and set it next to me. That helped a lot.
I have to be very careful when doing the outward stretch on my mother as she has had one knee replaced and needs the other done soon so any twisting of the leg and feet must be done very gently. When I listened to her body it told me when to stop and she liked it.
The bend out, in while circling takes practice and it didn't feel at all natural the first couple of times. But I broke it down like you suggest and it felt better. When I got the rhythm right was good.
I have practiced all of the moves several times and I am getting more comfortable doing them. Luckily my Mom/practice partner is willing to lay a the floor and have her feet done for as long as I am willing to do her feet.
I seems like you are approaching the practice in the right way. You use your good judgment how far you can go, and modify techniques creatively. These are two important principles in Thai Massage which you will hear a lot more about throughout this course.
It is perfectly normal to feel a little overwhelmed with all those techniques in the beginning, however this will pass, and soon enough it will all become second nature.
Just make sure to keep repeating the moves from the beginning, i.e. from previous modules, during each practice session, so that it really sinks in.
Module 4 More feet yeah!
My practice partner is really happy with more work on the feet. No one ever seems to think any amount of foot work is too much.
I really like the concept of not worrying too much about all of the techniques and just trying to make sure the work is fluid and feels good. The "why" of massage rather than the "How".
I started my practice with going over each technique just once through each to remind myself of the movements then I started over again.
I did a minute or so of the Chi Machine then I took her foot through it's range of motion and just paid attention to where her feet and ankles were stiff. She had a lot of stiffness in the lateral movement of her ankles the rolling circular foot stretches seemed to really help as well as gently twisting. I focused more on how her foot moved and just let myself move with it. I think it was almost as relaxing for me as for her. I just kept going, shaking out her legs and stretching her hips, added is some twisting with shoulder stretching. Not sure if it was truly Thai massage but it was what she needed today. She seemed quite happy with it.
I think that I will try to structure all of our practice sessions like that.
Go over the new moves a few times then push aside the notes and just start at the feet as work my way up incorporating what I have learned then work how ever I can on what ever seems to need it.
"No one ever seems to think any amount of foot work is too much" - that is so true! I get regular 1 hour foot massage sessions, and I always think that this is too short.
I am sure that you will become very good at this since you have the right approach and the right attitude.
Module 5 Leg warm up
This is a good comprehensive leg warm up. I do a very similar one on the table. It feels strange doing it from the other side, sitting between the feet instead of standing beside the table. I have to be careful not to use too much pressure with my thumbs. I am used to having my thumbs on the outside of the leg which can take much more pressure than the more tender inner leg.
This week I only have my mother to practice on. As she has a lot of knee and hip problems I am getting good training on bracing with pillows and modifying techniques to fit my partner. I am looking forward to trying some of these moves on partners with more flexibility to feel the difference.
I can now sit on the floor with and ankle pillow for as long as I need to. Still working on good balance while on my toes. I will do the exercises that you showed in the supplemental video.
There has been welcome and unexpected bonus of this course for my mom. She is 79, very short and rather heavy. She has had both shoulders replaced and one knee with the second knee to be replace in the next year or so. She also has arthritis in her feet, hips and back. I have worked on her at least weekly for many years. Mostly using therapeutic massage and range of motion stretches. She sure likes Thai massage.
She is always willing to let me practice on her. Even watching the videos with me and helping me remember what I'm supposed to be doing. (Always the mother even though I'm in my 50s.) When we started just a few weeks ago, I had to help her down to the mat and up again. Now she gets down and up on her own. Not gracefully but without assistance. She says she may never go back to getting table massages. I am grateful that should she find herself on the floor she can get up if no one is there to help her.
Just a nice benefit I thought you wold like to hear.
I got off track. Back to it.
I really prefer using forearms to mostly hand work. My massage partner agrees. We had a few awkward moments with me trying to get the positioning correct. Tangled legs etc, that is where it really pays off to have a patient partner with a good sense of humor. I had a little trouble with the outside leg squeeze movement because her legs are very short but thick. I just didn't have enough room to get a good position. That is why every move is not for every client. When I worked on my sister who is a very different body type it worked well.
More practice until it feels normal.
I was working on my mom again. Her hips are very tight and not flexible at all. A pillow under her knee is mandatory no matter what position it is in. Rocking was very relieving to her so we did a lot of that. The stretch with feet on the hamstrings pulling the foot was really well received. I am really excited to learn hip stretches because they seem to be really relieving her discomfort.
The hip pie concept is a great way to think about which moves to use. I find it very useful. When you work the hip you also release a lot of stress in the low back. Both of my usual practice partners have significant low back issues and both report a lot of relief with hip work especially when I leaned in at the 180 degree angle. The instruction on how to transition was great. I have been feeling a bit clumsy with my movement so tips are appreciated. As we go along and doing floor work is becoming more natural I am more confident in the work. When I can forget about how I am moving and just do it, then I know that I am being more effective.
I find myself rocking and circling everything weather doing Thai or table massage. I is an effective way to gauge what needs work.
Ooo cross stretches, boy are they good. Oh don't get me wrong the rest is good too. Hips and hamstrings all happy and well received but the relieved groans that the cross stretches got were truly impressive. My toolkit just got a new favorite. the 1 to 10 scale for feedback is also a tool to be used on every massage. Good communication makes every session more effective and enjoyable.