April 26, 2012
First, I just want to say how much I appreciate what you are saying about Thai Healing massage. I love how you express that the sessions are not meant to be some mechanical movements that we just jump right into, but that we should enter each session relaxed and ready to provide an experience that delivers a good first impression. I agree that if we enter a session feeling tense, the client will pick up on that energy.
Secondly, I have observed others giving a thai massage and some people are rough in their movements and very mechanical. I love how gentle, meaningful and intentional your movements are. Also the correct use of body mechanics and clear instructions make practicing it easy...with no questions so far about the techniques.
Which then leads me to say that I have practiced modules 2 and 3 and absolutely love the Chi machine and foot massage. I put my sister to sleep just by practicing these 2 techniques. She has been a good partner as well, providing me with valuable feedback on the comfort level of pressure and her impressions of how things feel overall.
I had taken another thai massage course earlier this year and I am excited to add the Chi machine as a warm up to treatment.
Welcome to the forum and the Thai Massage course. I am always so happy when my work helps people in their massage practice. You pointed out some of the essence of what I am trying to convey - "gentle, meaningful, intentional movements with good body mechanics." There is just a world of difference between a mechanical Thai Massage session and a healing session. This is one topic that you will see throughout the entire course with even more refinements in later modules.
Glad to have you on board!
April 26, 2012
I have been a little behind, but enjoyed practicing the foot techniques. I have been practicing the leg techniques with different partners and love the ease of transitioning from one technique to another. The positions are also very comfortable for me and allows my partner to relax. I am glad that you clarified in #5 that it was not necessary to perform all of the different techniques in a treatment session! I was trying to figure out how to get through them all.
Again, I am learning a lot and look forward to practicing all that I am learning.
That's the good thing about this home study program - even if you get behind, the course will always be there. And if you forget something, you can always go back to a prior module.
The longer you go through the course, the more you will see that there is no way to use all the techniques in one session. They are meant to build up your inventory of possible moves, and then you choose what you want to do on a client based on how much time you have, the needs of the client and your personal preferences.
To have a lot of techniques in your repertoire gives you more confidence and more flexibility to deal with whatever comes up in a session. We don't want to just mechanically follow the same sequence forever with everyone, but we want to work intuitively and creatively.
Of course in the beginning it is useful to practice the sequences shown in the videos as they flow in a natural way, but once you know the techniques well, you can become more creative and adapt, change and modify depending on the situation and the client.
April 26, 2012
Practiced all of the leg work these past 2 weeks and will review and get practice of session #11 (flow) this weekend. Really anticipating seeing how you put it all together. I have had to use different partners and with one partner who had severe restrictions of the knee joints, it was very difficult to performing some of the leg stretches without causing discomfort in the knees, so I had to modified some of the stretches. For instance, instead of cradling her foot into my groin area in performing the lunge stretch for the hamstrings, I had to allow the foot to lie across the top of my thigh so as not to create too much flexion of the knee. This seemed to work and still pretty much allowed for me to be able to create a fairly good stretch. I would guess this is o.k. with you considering your emphasis on not being mechanical, but more conceptual and artistic with the techniques. Any additional advice would be appreciated.
You can certainly modify stretches according to the needs of the client. I do it all the time. However in the situation which you described, my approach would be a little different. If someone has tight hamstrings, and won't be stretched easily due to knee problems, I would not do the stretching for the time being and just focus on working the hamstrings without stretching them. Then I would do a lot of specific knee work to improve that condition and loosen it up. Only then would I introduce some gentle stretching.
Knee issues can cause severe pain if you do too much stretching which affects the knee. In such cases it is more effective to work on the muscles with pressure/leaning/rocking techniques instead of doing the stretches.
There are many such techniques demonstrated in the Complete Thai Massage course. If you ever want to learn more about this type of approach, you can go deeper with some of my special therapy courses which are designed to deal with specific problem areas.
April 26, 2012
Thanks Shama for that advice as this was exactly the approach I took when I worked with this partner again. Interestingly enough it just seemed intuitive to work more with the pressure and rocking. Sometimes it can seem like one has to just get in there and make things happen, but I am learning to be patient, settle in to my breath work, and just allow for the motions to flow. Speaking of flow, I practiced that this weekend and really liked your ways better. As I had mentioned before, I had taken a previous class, but prefer your style of teaching and techniques. I especially enjoy using the Chi machine as a warm up to each practice session.
I am looking forward to learning more and getting involved in the other courses once I complete this one.
Have a nice day!
Great, your intuition is at work, and you are feeling the flow. That's the way to do it. The more you feel the flow, the more you experience the magic of it. Sometimes when I am doing a session, a perfect technique for this particular client just comes to me, although I had never done this move before. Generally after the session I cannot even remember how I did it anymore. That's what happens when you focus on breath, energy, intuition and flow. If you just focus on technique, you will get stuck, it feels mechanical, and you won't have the knowing and the confidence that what you are doing is really working at its highest level.
Sure we need to learn the techniques first, but we can never lose sight of where we ultimately want to go with this work. Can you imagine a gifted musician just mechanically following the sheet music notes, or a a talented dancer just following a mechanical sequence? Massage works the same way, there is a soul in it that we have to discover and connect with.
April 26, 2012
I have finished the hip work and thinking about the pie concept has been very helpful. Now working to get caught up and just finished practice on the abdomen and first part of the shoulder. Thinking of the hand as a tool for listening and not just for working allowed me to really try to tune in more to my client. My practice partner wasn't exactly excited about the abdomen work at the beginning, but did enjoy it once I eased up on the pressure and slowed down with the push and pull method. I found the work on the rib cage easy to perform and could literally feel the resistance in my partners rib cage from one side to the other.
My biggest problem has been not having a permanent practice partner. Recently I spoke with a friend that may be interested in working with me. Will she need to sign up separately to be eligible to get a certificate at the end?
That's why I call my abdominal work "Dancing Hands Abdominal Massage". I think that this is a good description since it really has to feel to you like your hands are dancing on the abdomen, lightly and gracefully. Anything heavy handed will feel terrible on the abdomen. But this takes some time to develop. If you get plenty of feedback from your partner, it will turn into "dancing hands".
Regarding the certificate, yes, they are only issued to the original buyer who demonstrated participation through regular forum posts as outlined in the course manual.
August 28, 2012
I am working on Module 6 and have noticed that as soon as we start to work on forearms as a tool for massage I am slowed up. very at home iwth hands and palms. Will have to relax into this to allow the flow from these moves. The other morning I wanted to see how some of the techniques felt as I usually work on my slightly build daughter. She usually receives each move without any sign of discomfort etc. I practiced on my 6 ft, strong yoga teacher friend the other evening and he gave me the feedback that the butterfly warming technique was INTENSE and also the feedback for the squeeze, pull and roll move on the calves. I learnt that I need to be more sensitive and start light- not that I felt I was working heavily. The friend has had knee injury in his past and perhaps this is why his thigh was a bit tense and he rides a bike a lot which could explain tense calf muscles.
By feeling into it more I will become more able to assess what parts of each person's body is under more stress and needs more careful attention.
So to gain a better understanding I used an Ayurvedic concept of self massage and tried some of the foot moves on myself. Surprisingly it was a great indicator of how it would feel to receive. Some of the moves are not suitable, difficult to maintain an ergonomic posture and flow. But interesting none the less. will experiment further as the modules progress.
Still enjoying, but feeling a bit more challenged than previously.
Now you are hitting a very important learning spot in your training. Instead of just doing the techniques, you notice that you have to develop more sensitivity and intuition for your techniques and for different bodies. That's where the art of it really begins to develop, where the wheat is separated from the chaff.
This is a great place to be, because now you enter a new level of learning. The secret is to learn how to listen with your various body parts instead of just doing something with them. And yes, you can develop such intuitive listening ability in your hands, forearms, elbows, knees and feet.
You will learn more, a lot more, in this course about developing this sensitivity and refining your touch through the concept of the "Anatomy of a Thai Massage Move".