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Peg's Thai Massage Notes
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Shama Kern
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May 20, 2014 - 9:41 pm
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Wordiness has its place. There is nothing wrong with being able to express oneself very succinctly. At the very least I am totally sure that you are actually practicing the material! Smile

Maybe there is a writer hidden inside of you!

I can also imagine that you are a good teacher since you notice details very well.

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peg rusert
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June 4, 2014 - 8:21 am
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Module 20 Prone legs 1

My partner for the session was a middle aged gentleman who is one of my yoga students.  He was in the prone position. I encouraged him to relax, breath and release as much as possible. I sat between his legs at an angle so that his ankle would rest comfortably and be supported on my thigh. Starting at the heel - my elbow worked the outer edge of his foot first. I leaned in with my elbow and rolled my forearm down. Moving up the foot with the 1-2-3-2-1 movement. Using my body and my breath to find a flow. My partner is a larger man so I did 3 lines in his foot - outer, middle and inner. He found this very relaxing. I didn't find the movement awkward, The position of the bodies helped the movement feel stable and comfortable. I moved to a straight position between his legs to work traction and contraction of the ankle, knees and hips. I held his ankle in my hand and placed the other hand on his heel. Tucking my elbow into my stomach have me more stability holding him in position. I pushed forward to lean into his heel  - changed position the position of my hand and wrapped it around his heel and pulled back. Moving with my body and breath to fond a flow- it was quite awkward at first. His size took some getting used to. He was very patient - letting me find my way and it was smoother. When it was right - he liked it. I then moved his leg so it was at a 90 degree angle - his foot flexed toward the ceiling. My hand was on his heel with my forearm along the sole of his foot. I pushed down on my forearm to push his foot towards the floor. I backed off on the depth of the push - when questioned he felt it was too much. With a more gentle movement he was comfortable and felt it was a pleasant stretch. You are so right about asking the partner how they feel. I think some people need alittle encouragement to let you know how it feels. The same techniques were done on his right leg . I was getting alittle more comfortable with his size. Although I feel I need more practice with this the movements and transition from one area to the next  felt smoother with the right leg. The last technique I did was elephant walking the legs. Kneeling between the legs - walking the calf muscles. Leaning in squeezing the muscle and rolling it out. He had some tightness in his calf muscle, so I started gentle - as I "walked" the area I could feel them start to soften. I walked the calf and thigh area. The large size of his thigh muscles took some getting used to - practice and more practice.  My partner rested in crocodile pose for several minutes, then moved to a seated position before getting up. This was a good session for me - the experience of working on someone larger was good. I had to make some adjustments to his length of  his limbs and muscle size which was a good experience. I am truly loving this course - teaching yoga is about connection with the students. This can be such an incredible way to connect with people. Thanks for making it so clear and enjoyableLaugh

Take care,

Peg Rusert ( Margaret)

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June 4, 2014 - 10:30 pm
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Your love for this material comes through loud and clear. I am sure your students and clients feel that as well and will greatly benefit from your work. Smile

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peg rusert
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June 5, 2014 - 7:23 am
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I do love it.... you make it interesting, clear and warm in your videos. Thanks for your nice response - your support comes through in your encouragement!

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June 6, 2014 - 8:32 am
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Module 21 Prone leg 2

My partner is a fairly flexible young woman and one of my students. She was lying prone -toes pointed in to relax her leg. Sitting between her legs, I lifted up her leg and slid under her leg so her leg is across my lap. Her leg was relaxed across my lap with her toes pointed towards the floor - making the center hamstring area accessible. I started at the top of her thigh by the buttocks. Leaning into my forearm and then folding the forearm down. It took alittle adjustment on my part to be able to lean with my body - not just my arm. It did get better and the breath gave it some rhythm. I used the 1-2-3-2-1 method. I turned her leg so I could work the edge of he hamstring. Same method with 1-2-3-2-1 movements. To work the side of the thigh- I moved her foot towards the floor and anchored it with my foot. Initially, it takes me a lot of forethought to do the movements to move the partner and myself to get n the right position. There are times when it's the hardest part to figure out and try to do smoothly! Anyway, with the side of the leg open -I applied the same technique. With each part of the massage, I started out gently and used more body weight as I got more into it. The movement was fairly relaxing as I moved into it more. I wanted to move up under her hip for the next technique - I lifted and gave support to her leg as I moved my thigh up under her upper thigh by her hip. Her foot was anchored so it wouldn't move. Feeling where the soft part of the glute is and using my forearm to lean and roll down again. The leaning movement took some time to feel right. At first her hip seemed to high, as I adjusted my position, it became more comfortable. To finish the leg, I slid out by supporting her leg and placed it on the mat. I did the same technique on the other side. Sometimes going to the other side of the body and doing the same techniques  of message can feel different. 

Module 23 Prone leg 3  

Same partner as above. Kneeling between her legs, I picked up her right foot move it towards her buttocks with a bent knee. Release back. With the left hand on the foot the right hand works down the side of the calf. 1-2-3-2-1. She did not have the flexibility for the heel to hit her buttocks. I gently leaned forward and asked her how it felt. She could feel the quad stretch in a positive way. I did the same to her other leg with the same effect.  I moved back so my knees were back by hers. I took both her feet in my hands and crossed her right foot over her left so they are crossed. I leaned forward and back gently to feel the resistance and ask her feedback. Moving forward and back with my breath and finding a gentle rhythm. I switched her feet and did the same movements. She really liked the stretch in her quads and hips - especially the hips. I gently released her feet to the mat and she rested several minutes and relaxed before she came up to a seated position. What a difference it was - working with this woman ( about my size) and the gentleman the other day (a big man) - it's all good experience though.

Take care and thanks,

Peg Rusert (Margaret) 

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June 6, 2014 - 8:45 pm
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Working on clients with different sizes, shapes, weights and degrees of stiffness can make a big difference in Thai Massage. For a modality like Swedish massage it doesn't make such a difference, but in Thai Massage this is often the basis for what you are doing in a session, what can be done, and what the client can handle.

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June 9, 2014 - 7:54 am
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Module 24 Prone back 1

My partner for this session is a middle aged women yoga student. We discussed what I would be doing and the need for her to relax and breath. She positioned prone and comfortable -  I kneeled perpendicular to her side. Working the far side of her spine - left hand on her shoulder blade with my right hand on top. I keep my arms bent to avoid being stiff in the movements. Starting at the top of the back, at first I slowly circled.  Getting used to placing my weight into my hands, the forward and back movement with my breath. It became easier as I moved up and down her back - but the finding the comfort of smoothly moving my hands with ease will take practice. I next felt foe her erector muscles in relation to her spine. I placed my hands side by side along her spine. I did small palm circles down the side of her spine and back up. This movement was easier for me - As I leaned forward I would place more pressure though my palm - and less pressure as I leaned back. Breath was a good way the get a rhythm to the movement. I moved into the rocking movement - again leaning forward and back. This rocking movement, with the leaning was not as easy and I had to start fairly slow to get the feeling it was right. I next did the rocking with an offset movement. I thought of the movement as a see saw. A slow start to begin with - then I was able to step it up abit. I asked her several times during the session if she was comfortable and was the movement pleasant. She said the session was relaxing - she wanted to lay there for a few minutes as she felt relaxed and mellow. She then slowly came to a seated position.  This was a nice session - everyone likes their back massaged. She asked me if I had to practice more on the back- she wants to come back.....I guess that's good

Take care, be well Smile

Peg Rusert (Margaret) 

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June 10, 2014 - 9:04 am
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Module 26 Prone back 3

My partner is one of the students that I teach. She is fairly tall. She was comfortable prone on the mat. I sat with my thigh high under her shoulder. Her are rested comfortably on my thigh. Using my forearm on the close side of the spine. Using the forearm and leaning forward and back with my breath. I started at the lower back, ling up the erector muscles and leaning forward and back. I started gently and asked my partner with it was too much - she replied to lean with more weight. I moved up and down her spine on the first line near spine. To work the second line I changed my arm position  - I felt the erector muscles and moved my focus a few inches towards me. This move took me some repositioning to get comfortable. I moved from the top of her hip up to the scapula. I again felt where the should blade and back went together. I leaned into the scapula with my forearm - repositioning myself to get the right feel. I asked about her comfort level - the felt relaxed. I moved my arm back a 45 degree angle and moved back down her spine. I did the same movements to the other side of her back. I felt some of my positioning was awkward, but it was comfortable for me once I felt positioned where I felt the moves where more relaxed. I straddled her upper thighs in a kneeling position. I used elephant walking to work both side of her side. I started with the 1-2 walk. Leaning with straight arms - walking side to side. She fond this movement very nice on her back - relaxing the tightness. I moved up and down her back. I did the galloping movements also. This took some thinking - it was hardly as smooth as you make it look! I worked up and down her back several times -she was very patient. In the end I had the rhythm but not the speed. I wanted to work the lower back with my forearms. I kneeled on the near side of her back - my legs wide for stability. I leaned forward with my forearm on the base on her spine and worked with the soft part  my forearms alternating up her lower back with 1-2 rhythm and down. This movement was smooth and felt good to her- I did not do the gallop rhythm again - she had been patient enough.  I repeated the movement on the other side. She rested for a few minutes at the end of the session. Slowly came to a seated position. She was positive about the massage - offered to come back again for practice. That's a good thing Cool....

Take care,

Peg Rusert (Margaret)

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June 10, 2014 - 9:43 pm
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The bottom line is that your practice partners offer to come back for a repeat performance. That's definitely a step in the right direction and a confirmation that you must be doing something right!

Sure I make it look easy. When you have been doing it for 10 or 15 years, it'll look and feel just as easy to you! Smile

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June 13, 2014 - 5:28 am
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I have along way to go but your support is felt Thanks!

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June 19, 2014 - 8:21 am
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Module 27 Prone Upper Back

The same student that I practiced with last session returned for this session. She positioned prone with a small pillow under her head for comfort. I was in a half kneel position over her lower back. I did circling of her trapezius with my fingertips. Working the soft tissue area with circling finger tips. This was easy movements - relaxing for both of us. Then I started to kneed the soft muscle area. The muscle was easy to grab and gently roll it back.. I got into the rhythm of he movement and squeeze the muscle and move my thumbs to reach the areas between the spine and shoulder blade. This was also an easy and relaxing move. I used my palms to massage the scapula area. Using palm of my hand to circle outward. All of this was very comfortable to do and my partner felt very relaxed from this. I then moved to the side of her body. Her left arm gently placed behind her back. I positioned up towards her head at a 45 degree angle kneeling. I lifted her left shoulder up to rest between my knees. I put my finger tips under her scapula and gently lifted it up. I was pretty gentle at first as I wasn't sure how easy it would lift. I found it was able to be lifted and as I worked it loosened up some more. She said it felt great - shoulders are generally tight in many people and this is a nice technique to open them up. I did Cobra1 - straddling her lower back and sitting on her sacrum. With hands wrapped around her shoulders I leaned back with my body and straight arms and released forward with my breath. I did this several times asking her if she was comfortable wit the movement. I had observed her in yoga class so I had a fairly good idea of her tolerance. I did Cobra 2 sitting on her buttocks and again she felt good with the movement. I didn't do Cobra 3 as I felt the stretch would be too deep for her. This session was very enjoyable for her and me - we were both relaxed  and comfortable with the movements. She rested for several minutes in the prone position. She then rested on her side before moving to upright and seated.  She said she would come back again and I will take her up on that.

Take care, be well,Smile

Peg Rusert (Margaret)

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June 20, 2014 - 12:24 am
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It's great to read your "look over my shoulder" reports. I always feel that you totally "get it" and that you are doing a good job with the material.

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June 21, 2014 - 7:41 am
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Thanks for your continued support and input. Check out my email response to you about your face book page - it is so nice to be able to give you support!

Module 30 Side Position 2

My partner is a yoga student. We did some initial talking about breath and relaxation. She positioned on the mat on her left side. There was a folded blanket under her knees for support. I started the session with elephant walking on the erector muscles along her spine. Palming her back in the left/right movement - using breath to lean forward and back. Slow and gentle movements using body weight to lean in and release back. I moved several times up and down the area. The next move I did was the thumbing technique. Working on the small of the back - I worked the erector muscle with my thumbs - hands up towards the side of her body. It took alittle practice to get my body weight in line with the hand movements - but it did get easier. Using my breath to gauge my movements always seems to make a flow come together easier for me. I did find moving a wider base with my knees was also more comfortable - I didn't have to lean way over. I moved to a half kneeling position. With my leg placed above my elbow I leaned into my arm - leaning into the erector muscles - moving up and down her back and leaning forward and back with breath. Breath in lean forward - lean back, exhale and move up or down her back. I went up and down twice.  I wanted to do a spinal twist - her back was in good position - square with the floor. I placed her left arm behind her back. My right hand was on her hip to hold it in place. My left hand on her shoulder. I leaned into her left shoulder  - slow and gentle into the stretch Leaning and releasing with my breath slowly moving her alittle deeper into the stretch. She changed sides and I did the other side of the back. When we finished, she rested on her back in butterfly with blankets under her thighs for support. She was completely relaxed for a time. She enjoyed all of the movements of the session. She was flexible enough to enjoy the stretch of the twist. The back is a fun thing to work on - everyone likes their back massaged. It just feels so relaxing. 

Thank you once again! Laugh

Take care,

Peg Rusert (Margaret) 

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June 22, 2014 - 1:13 am
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I did read your email, and it made my day - thanks! Smile

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June 23, 2014 - 8:20 am
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Module 31 Side portion 3

My partner happens to be my sister. She does take yoga and is involved in other physical activities as well. We talk about relaxing and breathing briefly - I know she practices regularly. She lies on her left side and I kneel perpendicular to her back. I place her arm back so it runs along her side but closer to me. I stabilize her arm between my arm and the side of my body. I asked her if she was comfortable and then started circling her shoulder with both my hands around her shoulder.  I moved gently to just loosen the shoulder up abit. I circled right and left - the movement was easy and her shoulder seemed to move more freely as I circled. I then moved to involve her trapezius muscle. I started with my left hand on the side of her neck to massage the trapezius muscle - and my right and on the shoulder to circle. It took some time to get the two movements down - circling the shoulder and the trapezius was first - then when I felt more comfortable I was able to move along the trapezius smoother and with my breath. I did find it easier to change my hands out - it just seemed more comfortable to me. I wanted to stretch her shoulder next. I placed my left hand on her scapula and my right hand on the front of her shoulder. I pushed back with the right hand and circled. The left hand supported her shoulder as I pushed back with circling. I wasn't sure how flexible her shoulder would be- so this was started slow and easy. I asked her about her comfort level and did back down at her suggestion. I feel she still got a good stretch and she was comfortable. I did the same techniques to her other side. She did move to her back and rest in savasana before sitting up. The massaging the trapezius and the stretching of the shoulder movements did take some time to feel right to me. But she said it was enjoyable and she will do some more sessions. She's a great sister!

As always thanks!

Take care,

Peg Rusert (Margaret) 

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June 23, 2014 - 11:49 pm
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You seem to make your sister happy with your work. That's what it's all about and it will only get better. Smile

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June 29, 2014 - 2:59 am
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Module 29 Side Position 1

My sister did return for this session. I am very interested in the side position as I teach a prenatal class - I feel this will be beneficial to them. In my classes they are in different trimesters of their pregnancy so even the yoga positions depends on their state of pregnancy. Positioned on her left side with a folded blanket under her head- she was comfortable. With her left leg straight and her right bent. To warm up her leg I palmed her inner thigh an lower leg. Leaning into it and back - moving down and up her leg. I didn't  have to move my body as I was kneeling wide and could work the length of her leg. I moved to a half kneeling position looking toward her feet. Supporting my body with weight ton my left hand to position over her outside buttock and upper part of the inner thigh. I sat ever so slowly and leaned against her body. As I moved to lift up and slide alittle bit down her thigh - supporting myself with my hand and arms. I questioned her each time I moved to see if she was comfortable - I did sit with the boney part of my butt her  and she let me know - right away. I did 1-2-3-2-1 movements and found I had to go slowly just to keep comfortable with my balance and change in the position. It is definitely something that takes time to be truly comfortable with. I placed a folded blanket under her thigh to give her body stability. I did palm circling with the heel on my hand  on her hip to warm up. Then I placed my upper forearm on the soft part of the hip and rolled the forearm down. Moving up and down - leaning into the movement. Lastly, I did the percussion moves on her hip. Loose fists and wrists up and down the hip area - taking my body movement with the flow of the fists. I ended the percussion very slowly. We changer her over to the other side and I repeated the techniques. When I did the sitting on her inner thigh - it was very different from the left side. The other side seemed easier for me to position myself as I moved. I can see where that technique will take me some time to know. I was fortunate it was my sister and she knew I wouldn't let it go without giving it the full shotWink

As always, thanks so much, take care,

Peg Rusert (Margaret)

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June 29, 2014 - 10:03 pm
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The side position in Thai Massage is the best one for working on pregnant women. You can do pretty much an entire session in this position, including the feet, legs, hips, arms and back. It helps to put a pillow under the extended belly.

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July 8, 2014 - 9:18 am
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Module 32 Side position 4

My partner is a yoga student and has previously participated in my practice sessions. We reviewed the importance of relaxation and breathing. She was positioned on her left side. I wanted to warm up her shoulder before starting the stretches. I sat along side of her and did some shoulder circles to loosen her shoulder up. I then did some shoulder rocking - she loved the warm up. Sometimes the warm up massage techniques are the most liked by the partners - they are so relaxing. I kneeled next to her and moved her arm around in line with the floor up to back behind her head. I placed my right thumb in the soft area next to the shoulder blade. I moved to a half kneeling position so I would have room to lean smoothly. As I leaned back her arm moved back as I pushed my thumb into the soft muscle on the  side of the scapula. I had to readjust my body several times to get the right position to lean back as my thumb pushed in. It became a see-saw effect with my body and breath. I didn't find it easy but I did find it better as I took time. I start out gently as I focused on the proper movement. Her shoulder was fairly flexible and she related she was comfortable when I questioned her comfort level. I moved her arm back to her side when finished. I kneeled behind her back sliding my arm under her upper arm so my hand could place on the top of her shoulder. I had my hand on her trapezius muscle with my left thumb on the edge of her shoulder blade. I moved her shoulder back with my right hand as I pushed in with my thumb and gently up. I moved down the shoulder blade and up several times. She felt okay with this - I did start very slow as I didn't have any feel as to how hard was too hard. I could feel the scapula lift  more as I moved.  I moved her right arm up along her ear. I changed to a half kneeling position, holding her wrist in my hand. My forearm is supported by my knee. My right hand is below her shoulder. I lean my right arm into her shoulder as my left arm leans to pull her arm up. Like all the techniques it took my some time to get the hang of the movement. I moved slowly to see how it would feel for her.  She felt this stretch and thought it was wonderful. I moved to move her arm along the side of her head and blocked her arm with my leg for support. I did kneed the soft muscle  below her shoulder. Gentle kneading up and down the area - easy movement- comfortable for her and me. To finish that side I did more shoulder circles to relax. Also rocking the shoulder with my hands on either side of her shoulder. We changed to the other side - I always find it different working on one side verses the other. I have to rethink my position form side to side. I find having the video available to review as I practice helpful. They are so clear and help me focus on what is important as a practice the techniques.  I am very interested in the side positions as I want to use these techniques in my prenatal classes. I think they will be helpful as comfort measures especially as the pregnancy progresses. Although the massage is wonderful for anybody.

Take care,

Peg Rusert (Margaret)

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July 10, 2014 - 2:40 am
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Actually 'warm up' techniques are not just a prelude to stretching. They can be an entire massage all by themselves which can come in very handy for very stiff people or people who need a gentle introduction to Thai Massage or old people who just cannot handle much stretching - or pregnant women. I have done many Thai Massage sessions with hardly any stretching.

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