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Pia Bager, Complete thai massage course notes
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Pia Bager
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May 4, 2021 - 3:12 pm
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Module 13 – Hip stretches 2

Yes good pain and bad pain is definitely a thing, people often start laughing, or suddenly cry!! Very interesting. But bad pain is not fun and also scary as a therapist but like you say avoiding it is also not a good practice. For groin pain there is also often knee pain so doing your gentle wiggles and scooping at either end of the muscle attachments is nice, and having the leg a little raised makes a big difference I feel, not done that before, and its also easy to use that method in a table massage too.

The 'wiggling knee move into the stretch' is very clever and yes my dummy today was not very able to do the hip 225 but the wiggle he could handle. The hip pie 315 though there was no way his leg was going there without bringing one side of his hip up high and putting an uncomfortable stretch into his back, so will have to try that on someone else.

I know what you are saying about not following a book from picture 1 to 100 but working with what you feel the client needs in that moment. I had a lady come after a few months away and she said she wanted the exact same massage as last time!!! Oh dear!, I do a have a massage routine as such but its definitely not set in stone, and it shouldnt be because we all change from time to time.

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May 5, 2021 - 1:18 am
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Luckily this client won't remember what exactly you did last time! Laugh  If it is similar, it will be good enough for her.

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May 5, 2021 - 10:49 pm
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Module 14 - hip rocking:

Rocking is my favourite move, easy and feels relaxing:) good hint about holding the sides of the hips on males, and it is also nice feeling. I found the three variants where you only rock one side are really interesting to play around with and im amazed how it can reveal tightnesses. Mixed responses from my guineas: 1 client was very stiff and didnt find the lift and hold rock comfortable and another thought it was the best back release ever. But the one where you sit down and have the weight of your leg over the clients legs, I felt that was really awkward to do and it feels like my legs are too short. I only tried the half back ach hip flexor stretch on 1 client and she was fine on one side but on the other it was too strong in her hip. Will definitely be doing lots of these in the future:)
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May 6, 2021 - 1:30 am
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With Thai Massage you typically find more diverse reactions from clients for the simple reason that there is so much movement involved unlike the more static Swedish-style massage systems.

The range of techniques in Thai Massage is just so much greater with kneading, rolling, rocking, stretching, and tractioning. There are bound to be people who can't handle certain techniques as well. Luckily we have so many techniques at our disposal that we can always find the appropriate techniques for clients. 

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May 8, 2021 - 2:37 pm
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Module 15 - abdomen & chest: 

Working on someones stomach feels very intimate to me, maybe because its not in my usual sportsmassage routine unless someone has an issue there. But my guinea pig whom ive done this routine on twice (couple of months apart) really likes it. The first time she was very tight at the edges of the ribs and i thought she was about to cry, she was definitely very shocked/surprised at how sore she was there, but 2nd time she was very soft and also a bit more relaxed potentially. So this time she thought it was very soothing. Moving around on the belly is also a funny feeling- and so many different bellys outthere! This routines guinea is quite slim but still soft, im not so keen on tight abs with no padding! My favourite move in this session is definitely the lateral shifting of the ribcage, and so many are crazily stiff there (aswell!) And also the shoulder elephant walk, so calming:). Ive not tried the sternum rocking but i like the elephant chest walk, in this session I struggled to find her breath so asked her to take a couple of deep breaths- yeah! Im not so good at talking to people who are trying to relax but it made such a benefit, so must do that every time. 
The circling under the collarbone is sometimes quite tender so know to be gentle here. 
1 question please Sharma: on clients with bad forward lean posture is the shoulder elephant walk still a nice move? 
Thank you for yet another great class.
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May 8, 2021 - 11:30 pm
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Yes, the shoulder elephant walk is really good for such clients, however they might need a good pillow under their head to make the position comfortable.

Later in the course you will find many techniques that are excellent for hunched-over clients.

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May 13, 2021 - 11:48 pm
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Thank you for that advice, very much appreciated:)

Module 16 - shoulders:
I could definitely feel the difference in trying to do the should lift with my arms VS bodyweight, it was practically impossible but quite entertaining to try. And do you have clients lifting their head? "to help you" mine say.
For the shoulder massage one client really liked it and another found it very uncomfortable to have his shoulder on my leg (he just finds everything uncomfortable so im not too concerned anymore), but regardless it is a great way to reach the rhomboids etc.
The foot in the armpit takes a bit getting used to, and was scared to pull/push too hard and then ended up not pulling hard enough, its good when u work on someone who is keen to give feedback. And im glad u pointed out not to keep your foot flat but angle it,  its micro-details like that, that I really find useful.
I was taught the tricep stretch as part of my massage training but ive given up on it as most my clients just cant do it with the hand like so, instead i just keep the hand palm up, then the stretch is not great but the access to the tricep is similar- saying all that this one flexy guinea pig can do it and it is a great stretch:)
 
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May 14, 2021 - 11:09 pm
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Yes, clients trying to 'help you' is pretty common and quite annoying since it defeats the purpose of what you are doing. I often turn it into a humorous observation by telling the client that I am quite capable of lifting whatever body part I am working on and that they would be better off relaxing. But some people are really stubborn 'helpers' and they need constant reminders to not do that and relax instead. 

In such cases I point out to them that part of the therapy is to learn how to relax in order to induce the best healing response in their body. Then they feel that I am trying to help them instead of just getting on their case about it.

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May 23, 2021 - 6:08 pm
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Oh im happy you have the same "helping clients problem". Yes I tell them that, then tell them again, annnd tell them again haha especially with the head many really wants to help lifting it, but also with arms and legs, which I also mention in my next reply : 

Module 17 - arms and hands

Yes, arm & hand massage are soo underrated and simply fabulous. If asked noone wants an arm massage - until tried! Funny how such an important limb gets so little attention and love from most.

Initially I forgot to circle the body and just did side to side rocking to move the hands up and down the arm, but then remembered and 'Guinea' said it was nicer when doing the body circle, it just flowed better. Doing the thumb rotations up and down the arm takes bliming ages but it is very nice and worth it so thats ok, but definitely the favorite is your squeeze/pull/slide/rotation and especially all combined, I almost fell asleep myself when I did that on her! I often feel clients are unconsciously tense in their arms so often use your wiggle technique to trick them to relax before carrying on, that works very well thank you. The palm opening squeeze also get good responds

In reflexology the space between the finger bones is very important for lymphatic drainage and most also says it feels super relaxing to be massaged there, and then after rubbing each hand and all the fingers some clients also like having their fingers pulled, whilst others freak out! Personally i really like having it done, altho it makes a nasty sound! 

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May 23, 2021 - 11:25 pm
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I know, finger pulling can get interesting reactions! I always make sure to never force any cracking in either toes or fingers. If it happens - fine. And if not - also fine. In Thailand they often force the cracking, and that's not a good idea. First of all, it is not necessary, and second, it can really freak some people out. 

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May 25, 2021 - 12:24 pm
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Module 18 – Shoulders and transitions

Im starting to realize that you have very long legs Sharma! And is more flexible too. No way I can get from the side to round the head in one leg swoop, I tried standing up instead whilst moving, that wasnt actually that bad, but still needed several steps. More practice needed on that for sure. The standing arm pulling is absolutely amazing, very relaxing both for me n the client, and for once because of my height I didnt have to stand funny like you do, it just fitted with my guinea, but maybe not on someone with very long arms... However again on the seated positions I am struggling with the short legs over their body to give the leverage (my legs really are not that short but it feels like it in this! ) so am at a mixture of can tell the shoulder rotations and twists are wonderfully relaxing for the client and meanwhile im definitely sweating here haha! I tried to sit on my heel instead of sitting behind the heel so my knee is still in their Deltoid, that was better. Had to think about where their arm goes though as on my 1st attempt my friend was rubbing my thigh, which is fine cause she is a friend, but others might not find that appropriate. I see your model either has her hand by the opposite shoulder or across your arms. The figure of 8 feedback was that she felt it also made her neck really relaxed, yeah for once she didnt 'help':) I also tried this in a table massage but that was a little unusual as I dont normally put a leg over the client like that in a sportsmassage, and so ended up just doing the rolls on one shoulder at a time but then didnt quite get that head roll effect the same, but still very useful for relaxing the shoulder. (Also tried this on a a 3rd client with an extremely tight neck/scapula and wow it was impossible haha hmm it was like rocking a tree-trunk!)

 

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May 26, 2021 - 6:10 pm
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It is true, the interplay between the size of your body and your client's body does require adjustments and modifications. You just have to play with it and make it your own. Sometimes my long legs are an advantage, and sometimes not. There is no question that Thai Massage requires more creative modifications than table oil massage. You seem to be figuring it out as you go along - and that's what it will take for several techniques.

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May 27, 2021 - 8:30 pm
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Module 20 – Prone legs.

I really like the push and pull moves and this one is easy to remember as we also did a similar move in supine. I have been using it a lot when I see people lying “what they think is straight” on my massage table so thank you for that technique. I just realized I missed resting my arm whilst doing the ankle rocking though, so will have to try that again and feel the difference. Elephant walking is also just great and good of you to point out about the squeeze-and-roll for the calf's, My guinea said that definitely made a difference to just leaning down, and also that I could just keep doing the “walk” all day:). Its also fascinating how peoples calf's are so different. I don't like to jump onto my massage table with clients, but the calf's I can easily do in a table massage also so that is very handy:)

I did a pregnancy massage course ones, hoping there would be a lot about using props, but sadly there wasn't. Yes a big chest is sometimes complicated, so is a big belly:/ So am looking forward to the side lying lessons:)

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May 29, 2021 - 7:09 am
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In one of the bonus courses there is an entire module all about working with props.

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July 9, 2021 - 7:34 pm
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Module 21 – Prone legs 2

Like you have pointed out before the feet placement can tell a lot about the hips, so yes have noticed some people cant lie with their feet pointing in. Sometimes I correct them but then they are more uncomfortable ah its confusing at times.

For the first move where you slide under the legs my client said it was fine for her but to some it would be too much twist in the pelvis. (Possible because we hadnt warmed up much as we were just practising this and the following modules) Well other than that I though it was a fabulous compression technique, powerful yet zero effort, yeah!

The next position where she is more on her side hip is super good too. It really gets in the groove where you cant normally reach.

Its always funny when trying the prone leg triangle stretch on different people and notice how flexy or not at all flexible some people are. This guinea is very flexible so thats handy. She found the kneecap massage very “spot on” and the Glutes triangle stretch strong but good. All rocking moves are very nice as usual:)

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July 11, 2021 - 6:43 am
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Like always, not everything works equally well on everyone, so you just have to go with the flow and see what works for a particular client. The good thing is that we always have more techniques available to us than we have time to do in a session. Smile

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July 11, 2021 - 5:42 pm
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yes that is very true:)

Module 22 – Prone legs 3

I did the heel to buttock stretches on 2 people, one flexible one, she really liked the heel to the side with the hand compressing into the thigh. The other guinea was a long legged tight construction man, and oh my he could hardly even get the heel to 90degree so that was quite a shock, but also funny to then have to work around that.

I found it a bit daunting sitting on my guineas hip (the flexible one) but it was fine and a very good stretch for her too. Indeed the pressure on the hip made a massive difference in the stretch. And also in this module: the knee work into the Glutes definitely woke my guinea up, and as Ive mentioned before, Im so amazed how easy it is to add more pressure without making it harder for me:)

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July 11, 2021 - 10:35 pm
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That's one of my favorite aspects of Thai Massage - to be able to do deep work without much effort and without killing your hands.

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July 12, 2021 - 6:40 pm
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Module 23 – Sacrum and Glutes

Such a small area with some many things to do! Guinea really liked the percussion and the karate chopping. I also quite like doing the thumb rocking and leaning in and out. I struggled a bit with the knees in the buttocks shake at first so that was a very bizarre moment. Yes there are indeed many people out there with tight pelvis's so found this module very useful and good.

Add on- Just did this module on a new guinea pig and she felt swollen in the sacrum and Glutes! She really liked all the different techniques and the buttock-knee-shake went a lot better this time too. I spend close to half an hour just on her Glutes and sacrum, incredible 🙂

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July 12, 2021 - 11:12 pm
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Impressive - I am happy to hear that. I know, it is quite amazing what you can do in this area, and most therapists don't even touch it at all!

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