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Rachel Toll's Complete Thai Healing Massage Course Notes
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Rachel Toll
Simi Valley, CA USA
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May 17, 2017 - 5:23 am
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Mod. 1

I practiced the Chi Machine technique on my husband today. At first I forgot to place his feet in the middle of my thigh instead closer to my knee. When I adjusted the position, the swaying seemed easier. I also forgot to stop slowly and just stopped instead. I realized immediately that was too abrupt and did it again. I alway give my husband a small pillow because otherwise his chin points up and he is uncomfortable. However I noticed that with the pillow, the swaying up to his head was less than without the pillow. Does this matter?

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Shama
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May 17, 2017 - 9:27 am
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Hi Rachel, welcome to our forum and the Complete Thai Massage course. One question: Your post looks like you are going for a certificate, however I have not  seen a certification registration from you. If you are just sharing, you don’t need to do anything. However if you want a certificate, you need to fill out the registration form. You can find the link to it in the certification section of your course manual.

Yes, the pillow will inhibit the movement of the head, unless you use a quite firm pillow. However this doesn’t matter. It is useful for you to see if the nose is moving to gauge the correct execution of the technique, but this is not necessary as far as the intended effect it concerned. And the pillow support is definitely necessary if the chin points up.

From what you wrote, I can tell that your husband has a structural problem with his spine. There is a lot you can do with Thai Massage to help him with this and improve this. I am jumping the gun a little here, but it is a preview of coming attractions! Smile

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Rachel Toll
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May 22, 2017 - 8:56 am
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Mod. 2

Hi Shama,

I registered and hopefully am on tract now.

Practiced the awesome foot techniques on my husband. 

#1 & #2 Techniques I picked up pretty easily and my husband loved both.

# 3 (Inward press) was fine with my husband, but I have several clients who are extremely outwardly rotated and I anticipate having to slightly force (not the right choice of word) to bring them into an inward rotation.  Is this ok?

# 4 Alternating Pressing foot down and flexing – I needed to move my hand higher up on the foot for the downward press to be comfortable.  My guess is that this will vary for each client.

#6 Twisting the foot – Definitely need to remind myself not to let the wrist bend.  I realized that I was trying to hold the heel stationary, which made the twist difficult.  When I watched the video again, I noticed that you allowed the whole foot to twist, making the straight wrist easier.

# 7 Squeezing the top of foot down and shaking was easy and hubby loved it.  But I have to remember to move my whole body when shaking.  Makes a world of difference!

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Shama
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May 22, 2017 - 12:44 pm
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If someone is extremely outward rotated, this means that they have a severe medial restriction in the hip. You cannot correct this by forcing the foot, but you have to work on this by creating more range of motion in the hip joint. This brings us into the area of Thai Massage and rocking techniques (which is what you need for that).

In the absence of this hip joint work, don’t  force the inward pressure as it will only create discomfort. Only press as much as you can do without causing any discomfort or pain.

Yes, using your whole body makes all the difference. That’s one of the “secrets” of Thai Massage.

Since you are “on track” now, here is our certification check  list to make sure you stay on track: Laugh

Certification Check List

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Rachel Toll
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May 27, 2017 - 8:48 pm
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Mod 4

After watching this video, I repeated the above foot work and found a stumbling block in the rotating of ankle and hip in which you turn the foot inward and press the foot into the leg and then turn the foot outward and rotate and pull the leg.  The problem I was having is that I was sitting at an angle so that when I used my right inner hand (that was supporting his inner heel) to push the foot into the leg it caused a very awkward bend of my wrist.  After watching the second foot video, I noticed that how you were sitting (directly in front of her foot).  I adjusted my seated position, and then was able make the hand exchange of push and pull comfortably without that awkward bend in my wrist.  This made all the difference, because it is a very lovely and pleasing technique. 

Then you showed three new techniques in which the thumb and index fingers circle the inner and outer heel. And then the circling of the top of the foot with thumb circles.  In my training with Deon de Wet, we never did any rubbing (only pressing), so this was new.  However, my husband loved it, and I loved giving it 🙂

I really enjoy the way you break down the 8 ways to work the feet. The techniques make more sense to me that way.  I am absolutely loving the training, Shama!!!!!

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Shama
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May 27, 2017 - 9:21 pm
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Deon and I have a very compatible and similar view on Thai Massage. However we still developed our own individual styles, so you will find quite a few techniques and modifications in my course which are different from what he does. Especially I added a lot of rocking techniques throughout the course, as you will find out.

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Rachel Toll
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June 5, 2017 - 7:11 pm
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Mod 5

I practiced again with my husband who experiences pain when the leg is at a 90 degree angle, so I need to support with a good size pillow underneath his knee.  This made all of the techniques a little more difficult.

When I did the “Push/Pull” technique, I forgot that I needed to stabilize the lower leg with my knee and his leg just kept lifting up.  When I realized this and lightly placed my knee on his calf, his foot began to slide down.  I need to learn how to adapt my position in this circumstance, as many of my existing clients have similar issues.

Later, I practiced on my more flexible son, and everything worked 🙂

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Rachel Toll
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June 5, 2017 - 7:20 pm
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Mod 6

It took a few times to get this one down, but I love it!

Because my husband isn’t always available, I have been sneakily practicing on clients after watching the video’s over and over again.  The subtleties of moving your position make all the difference!  My client especially loved the horizontal placement of my forearm in the grove of her inner thigh.  At first I forgot, that my forearm needed to be horizontal and something wasn’t right!  But I immediately realized, fixed the position of my arm and she, loved it!  This series of techniques really do flow perfectly in a sequence!

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Rachel Toll
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June 5, 2017 - 7:28 pm
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Mod 7

Again I am practicing with my husband.  He couldn’t take his leg in the 90 degree position, so I used the pillow underneath for the warm ups.

For the actual Stretch, I removed the pillow to do the “Rocking” technique (one hand on straight leg hip, one hand on bent leg knee).  I rocked very gently.  He couldn’t take it at all!  I had to replace the pillow underneath again and then it was OK.  He was very adamant about not liking his leg in that position.  This teaches me to be very sensitive to make sure my tight clients are comfortably supported.  I don’t want people experiencing pain!

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Shama
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June 5, 2017 - 11:50 pm
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Yes, it’s not “no-pain-no-gain”, but “pain-no-good”. A little releasing discomfort is ok, but not real pain. It seems that your husband really needs the Thai Massage, even though it might take him a while to be able to open up. You got your work cut out for you! Smile

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Rachel Toll
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June 13, 2017 - 7:06 am
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Mod. 8

Hi Shama,

Still practicing on my husband.  Good feedback from all the bent knee calf work!  He especially liked the rubbing of my hands on the sides of his knee.  Also, no problem with me lunging to stretch his knee towards his chest.  Even though he didn’t really need the rocking motion to bring his knee in, it was enjoyable so I did that technique a lot.

I love the hip pie analogy.  It helps me to really understand that these stretches are degrees of rotation in the hip. 

Thank you, thank you!!!Confused

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Rachel Toll
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June 13, 2017 - 7:21 am
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Mod 9

Hi Shama,

I will be adding several Mods feedback today.  I don’t always have the time to come to this forum after practice.

Mod 9 leg stretches were surprisingly much easier for my husband.  He really didn’t like the Mod 8 stretches when his leg was in the Tree pose!  But with his foot in my groin, the stretches were very pleasant for him.  I was actually able to go much deeper that I expected.

However, I had to be very careful doing the hamstring stretch.  As expected, he was tight as a drum so I did gentle rocking.

Bringing his leg across and placing his foot against his far knee was challenging at first.  I had to really stabilize his foot with my heel.  He was OK once I brought my hand under his low back and did the rocking.

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Rachel Toll
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June 13, 2017 - 7:39 am
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Mod. 10

Ok, your Anatomy of a Thai Massage Move REALLY resonated with me, particularly #5 Focus on the Hara.  After watching your video I ordered a book “Hara” The Vital Center of Man.  I teach yoga as well, and have brought this concept into my classes this week 🙂

My husband is considerably larger than I, so doing the Knee crossed over opposite leg technique, I tried your alternative so that I could reach and press down on his shoulder.  It didn’t work.  His foot kept slipping when I just used my leg to stabilize it.  I found my own way, by bringing my foot under the back of his knee.  That seemed to keep him in place so that I could reach his shoulder. But then, he liked it!

Bringing his straight leg across the mid line and placing his ankle in my groin was great.  The other technique I learned had his foot on the floor, which was too deep and uncomfortable.  This was the perfect resolution!

The Adductor stretch was ok, but his leg didn’t go very far out at all.  So I kept it a very gentle stretch and did some rocking.

Lastly, he enjoyed the Blood Stop, but I couldn’t do it very long.  I guess that is something that will be different for each person.

Once, again, awesome learning, Shama!

Thank you, thank you!

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Rachel Toll
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June 13, 2017 - 7:46 am
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Mod. 11

I LOVE that we get to see you pull it all together.  This was a great lesson!  I have been creating my owe sequences, adding these new techniques in with others that I learned with Deon.  I really appreciate you reiterating that we will find our owe style and that the most important thing is the calming pace, the breath and the movement of our bodies.  To be intuitive and present. I am getting such wonderful feedback with my clients! I am loving this training so much, Shama.  With all my heart, THANK YOU!

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Shama
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June 13, 2017 - 4:55 pm
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Thank you, Rachel, for this wonderful feedback. It is interesting that although Deon and I both teach Thai Massage, you still find enough new and different material in my course. It just shows how much leeway we have to develop our own style and ways of doing things. And it shows that Thai Massage is a creative process, not a fixed sequence of techniques. And it shows that there never is a point where we know it all. Smile

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Rachel Toll
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July 7, 2017 - 9:49 am
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Mod. 12

Hi Shama,

I got behind with posting on this forum, but not in practicing and watching the videos over and over.

I practiced this video with both my very tight husband, and a client who is very flexible.  Stark differences and good learning!  I used both variations of the calf stretch (leg over my lunging knee, and the leg against my shoulder) and for both my husband and my client it was good.

Love the transition of feet on chest to knees into chest. Fortunately (in this regard at least) I am quite flat chested 🙂 so no problem.  It was a bit hard to control my husbands legs in the transition, but I worked it out.  However, I could barely bring his knees towards his chest without pain in the groin.  I had to be very gentle.  One the other hand, my flexible client’s knees came right to her chest, so I spread her knees a bit as you demonstrated.

Wasn’t sure how much pressure you apply for the sacrum massage. 

Also found that I hadn’t brought my feet high enough under the shoulders for the Happy Baby stretch.  When I change my position, it was great for the flexible client.  No way for my husband 🙂

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Rachel Toll
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July 7, 2017 - 10:01 am
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Mod. 13

I had the exact issue with a client doing the hip stretch (bringing the knee into chest) that you mentioned in the video.  I’ve worked with her before, and didn’t know how to help, so I just stopped and when on to the next stretch.  This time, placed her straight leg against my shoulder and did the finger scooping.  She said it felt great! I was very happy to have a solution for her.

Question:  Do you every do something different on one side than the other?  As with my client, her left leg had no issue with the above stretch, so I was able to do it on the left, but not the right.

Your repeated mantra that we are not mechanics but artists, really resonates with me, Shama!  And I appreciate that this video helped us the problem solvers more than just following a sequence!

Namaste 🙂

Rachel

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Rachel Toll
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July 7, 2017 - 10:33 am
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Mod 14

So I watched the first part of this video about the hip rocking while I was waiting for my client to arrive. I’ve been looking forward to learning the rocking methods and was very excited to practice on him.  So I inserted the hip rocking at a good place in the massage, and my client (who I have a good repore with) gave me a funny look. I said, “this is called “hip rocking” and his reply way, “call it whatever you want ;)” After a good laugh, I moved on and he relaxed back.  When I got back to watching the video, you then explained the way do do the technique on a man!  I was belly laughing in the car!!! Maybe you should say that at the beginning 🙂

Slow Hip rocking:  I had a little difficulty getting the rhythm with my hands and the rocking.  It was a little choppy.  Also, with my husband, I couldn’t do this technique because he was too heavy. 

Great detailed instruction for crossing over the body seamlessly.  I have to admit that up to this point, I was walking around my clients body to get to the other side 🙁  Never again!!!

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Rachel Toll
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July 7, 2017 - 10:48 am
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Mod. 15

When I learned the abdominal series with Deon de Wet, he had us sitting between the clients legs and doing a similar technique. This position and the whole idea of massaging a person’s belly made me uncomfortable!  Especially when the client has a large belly, my fear is that they would be self conscious.  I much prefer the sitting beside the client, and since I’ve gotten over the belly worry.  Nobody has ever seemed uncomfortable with it. 

Question:  Many of my female clients have large breasts.  I was hesitant to bring my hands between them do to the sternum massage.  I haven’t done it yet.  If feels too intimate.  I have done the finger circles below the collar bone, and everyone loves that as well as the Elephant Shoulder Walking!

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Rachel Toll
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July 7, 2017 - 11:09 am
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Mod. 16

I have sometimes find it difficult to feel the hollow place in the shoulder for the heel of the hand to cup when my client is broad chested.  It feels so nice when you feel that dip and the heel of the hand slides into it, but I can feel when it’s not quite in and I don’t want to press on bone.

Another issue I have is when my client has a pillow under their head.  I only use a pillow with the back of the neck is so contracted that their chin points up.  But it makes a lot of the shoulder work a little less efficient.

Question:  Why do you bring your knee under their shoulder for the first shoulder pull with one hand, but then move it out, with the second shoulder circling with two hands? 

The arm triangle scares me!  So far, I’ve only done it with my husband and it was touchy getting his hand to come to the floor.  I practiced a couple of times and finally figured it out and then it felt good for him.  Have you found that some people can’t do this one?

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