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Rachael Warren’s Complete Thai Massage course notes
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Rachael Warren
Hot Springs, Arkansas USA
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December 31, 2017 - 8:52 pm
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Module 1: The thorough detailed introduction to the quality of movement left me feeling inspired and motivated to learn the healing art of Thai Massage. I have acquired a practice partner and we have arranged a dedicated practice schedule for the duration of the course. I have also incorporated the therapist positions into a daily stretch routine for myself to build strength and flexibility. I greatly appreciate Shama’s encouragement to keep practicing, don’t give up, it will get easier! I am in complete agreement that Western massage schools have so much of an overemphasis on A&P vs developing a quality touch and connecting with your clients. I’m very excited that Thai Massage is an energy-based modality as my interest in energy work is what originally led to my decision to become a licensed massage therapist. The phrase ‘reestablishing energy flow in the body, freeing up energy’ is an excellent description of how receiving Thai Massage leaves me feeling. It is my goal to have a quality touch with smooth transitions and to be able to connect with my clients energetically.

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Shama
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January 1, 2018 - 10:28 am
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Hi Rachael, welcome to our community and the Complete Thai Massage certification program. It sounds like you chose this course for all the right reasons. Smile

“It is my goal to have a quality touch with smooth transitions and to be able to connect with my clients energetically.” There is an entire course about creating a better quality of touch in this program, the “Magic Touch Secrets” bonus course. And throughout this course you will learn how be a ‘healing artist’ instead of a ‘massage mechanic’.

For your reference here is a link to our certification check list, to make sure that everything is correctly organized:

Certification Check List

I am looking forward to assisting you in your progress with Thai Massage.

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Rachael Warren
Hot Springs, Arkansas USA
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January 2, 2018 - 9:07 pm
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Module 2

While I have yet to feel like I’ve really got this move down, I love it! While working in a salon as a hairdresser many years ago, I got to experience the actual Chi machine. The salon owner had bought one and offered it as a mini service to our clients for a small fee. I first tried this move with my oldest daughter (my practice partner) and got fair results. Making slight changes such as the speed at which I was rocking side to side and ensuring my arms remained relaxed, I began to see the full body moving. We will definitely continue to practice this move as an opening to each practice session. When I tried the Chi machine on my husband the results weren’t as good. He is much less flexible and I suspect doesn’t ‘let go’ as easily as my practice partner. Nonetheless, I plan to continue practicing this move with him. He is my weekend practice partner. As I continue a daily stretching routine to increase my flexibility of toes, ankles, quads and knees, It is my hope that my technique will improve as well.

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Shama
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January 2, 2018 - 10:36 pm
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It is quite common that men have less flexibility and also more resistance to letting go. You will probably find that with other techniques as well. The fact that he is your husband should make it easier, though.

The speed can make a big difference in the Chi Machine. If you do it too slowly, you won’t get into the flow of it. Also if the lateral hip movement is too big, it turns into a muscle effort instead of a graceful dance.

No doubt your own flexibility along with your techniques will improve greatly. Don’t expect too much from yourself in the beginning. That’s always the hardest time. It’s like starting a yoga practice – in the beginning you can’t even imagine to be so flexible and graceful, but it does happen over time. Smile

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Rachael Warren
Hot Springs, Arkansas USA
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January 4, 2018 - 2:20 am
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Module 3

Today I practiced foot massage with my practice partner. I purposefully experimented with doing some of the moves the wrong way (muscling through it) and the right way (leaning, using body weight, etc.) so I could get verbal feedback as to the difference in how it felt to the receiver. Each time my practice partner described feeling deeper and farther reaching stretches when correct techniques were used. 

I feel that I have to be constantly aware of my body mechanics. I find myself fighting the temptation to knead with my hands more than need be. I’m still struggling with some of the therapist’s positions and suspect I will for quite some time as I work towards greater flexibility with my daily stretches.

These are great techniques for the feet and I have found myself already incorporating some of them into my table massage. You are right, almost everyone loves having their feet worked on! 

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Shama
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January 4, 2018 - 10:25 am
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There are several supplemental modules coming up in this course which will help you with your flexibility and your positioning.

That’s good that you tested the right and the wrong way with some techniques. I have done that many times in live classes as well, and the reaction always confirms that doing it the right way makes a big difference in how it feels to the client.

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Rachael Warren
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January 11, 2018 - 2:24 pm
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Module 4

While viewing module 4 with my practice partner I repeated the moves learned in module 3, this time from a conceptual viewpoint. Keeping the concept of the eight ways in which to work the foot in mind as well as paying attention to your entire body position and movement (not just your hands) helped tremendously. I continued with the new moves presented in this module and then repeated all of the foot massage moves once again for more practice. With each practice session I am noticing improvements in my body mechanics, quality of touch and a more graceful flowing feel to my movements.

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Shama
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January 11, 2018 - 8:26 pm
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Since you appreciated the conceptual approach, you will be glad to know that there are more such conceptual approaches coming up when you get to the hip work.

It seems that you are improving in all the right areas! Smile

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Rachael Warren
Hot Springs, Arkansas USA
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January 14, 2018 - 5:52 pm
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Module 5

During the leg warm up I was forced to experiment with adjusting my body position to accommodate my practice partner’s severe lack of mobility and range of motion of their hips. We definitely had to incorporate bolstering with a small pillow under the knees. I tried using both my knees and foot as a brace against my partner’s foot to stabilize the leg. Using my foot for stabilization seemed to provide an easier transition of shifting my body as I moved from working on the lower leg towards the upper leg/thigh. 

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Shama
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January 14, 2018 - 9:39 pm
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Improvisation due to physical conditions is something you will have to do regularly. That’s a good thing to learn early on. Those stretches are definitely not a one-size-fits-all affair.

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Rachael Warren
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January 15, 2018 - 1:10 am
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I am working on adding two more practice partners so as to experience different body types, limitations, etc. 

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Shama
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January 15, 2018 - 1:18 am
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Excellent idea!

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Rachael Warren
Hot Springs, Arkansas USA
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January 17, 2018 - 12:26 am
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Module 6

My practice partners really enjoyed the rocking movement of the entire leg. With a little practice it became fairly  easy to alternate hands/push-pull directions. Just watching the free flowing back and forth movement of the leg I imagined the hip joints opening up as well. The leaning in of the forearm work felt good once I positioned myself properly. Both receivers described their legs feeling more relaxed with improved range of motion after this work. I am continuing to work on my flexibility and focus on using my body weight rather than shear force. 

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Shama
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January 17, 2018 - 12:36 am
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Congratulations! Sounds like good progress to me. Those rocking moves and the fluid back and forth movements often work so much better than just linear one-directional stretches.

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Rachael Warren
Hot Springs, Arkansas USA
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January 22, 2018 - 8:50 pm
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Module 7

 I much appreciated the variations presented for different body types and physical limitations. The simple hip assessment helped me to understand my practice partner’s extreme limited mobility and range of motion of their right hip and leg. Your detailed description of exactly where to place my hands (and subsequently where to hold while leaning back) while straightening my leg pushing into the recipients inner thigh made this move so much easier. Before, when learning this movement it seemed so mechanical, abrupt and jarring to the client.  Incorporating rocking movements, circular motions and pulling towards my left shoulder enabled us to open up my partners hips much more than before.  The gentle and rhythmic work on the calves left them soft and supple afterwards. 

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Rachael Warren
Hot Springs, Arkansas USA
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January 22, 2018 - 9:05 pm
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Module 8

The hip pie concept ensures that the bent leg/hip is moved into each 45 degree increment for maximum stretch/benefit. When I met a restriction I began to employ a gentle back and forth rocking motion which seemed to allow the hips to open more readily than a forceable static stretch. The additional calf techniques were easy to perform and enjoyable to my client. The knee work was interesting and once again when I made the motion into a more circular pattern it felt better to give as well as to receive. The rocking movements are really resonating with me and my style. They seem to somewhat disarm the nervous system allowing the client to more fully relax and receive the beneficial stretch in a more gentle way.

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Shama
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January 22, 2018 - 11:08 pm
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“The rocking movements seem to somewhat disarm the nervous system allowing the client to more fully relax and receive the beneficial stretch in a more gentle way.”

Great way of putting it. I might have to borrow that from you! Smile

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Rachael Warren
Hot Springs, Arkansas USA
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January 23, 2018 - 10:26 am
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Thank you and of course! ?

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Rachael Warren
Hot Springs, Arkansas USA
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January 29, 2018 - 2:36 am
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Module 9

I continued with the ‘hip pie’ stretches of the legs so as to bring the leg into each section of the pie (direction). I used rotation and rocking techniques to soften the stretch making it more comfortable for my practice partner when resistance was felt. The rotation and rocking helped deepen the stretches comfortably for my partner. I like the elephant walking technique, slow and flowing and bringing it all together after stronger stretching. The gentle rocking spinal twist is very tolerable for my least flexible practice partner. Very nice to have so many options and adaptations to accommodate different body types and levels of flexibility. The 1-10 scale is a great way to keep the lines of communication open with the client about their level of comfort during the massage regardless of the differences in the way each person interprets and rates pain on a scale. The art of combining power and softness with a smooth flow are the keys to effective, enjoyable and relaxing Thai Massage.

Rachael Warren, LMT

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Rachael Warren
Hot Springs, Arkansas USA
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January 29, 2018 - 2:53 am
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Module 10

I am continuing my practice to consciously combine power and softness gracefully, using proper breath and moving from my center (hara). Enjoyed the modifications shown for a short therapist working on a taller client. It’s nice to know that there are multiple ways to do each technique to allow for height, flexibility and pain threshold differences. I haven’t bought a new mat just yet so am still working on the ribbed kapok filled mat that I e-mailed you about. Once I get a new mat I think I will be more comfortable and able to balance more efficiently. Love the blood stop and calf stretch (with client’s foot on my forearm) techniques. I had to modify most of the techniques in this module today as I was working with my least flexible client. Of course I will practice these with a more flexible partner as well. You’re teaching us the moves (and adaptations) and we get to put the final dance together. It’s a relief to know that we aren’t expected to remember and incorporate every single technique you are showing us in a rigid specific order. 

Rachael Warren, LMT

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