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Raechel McBride's Complete Thai Massage course notes
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RaechelMcBride
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August 3, 2019 - 4:26 am
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Module 1 notes:

That was a great opening.  I really connected to the material.  It got a little difficult towards the end because my son woke up, but I hope he got something out of it too.

As a yoga instructor for many years, I definitely connected to the breath synchronization.  I have innately known about the breath connection when doing massage for years, but now I see it spelled out very explicity and completely understand!  

The material covered was about the technique used, tools, body positions.  I feel I will be fine with the body positions from years of yoga training.  Some other massage therapists have told me that this modality is not for them because of the kneeling involved.  But I have great knees!  

The end talked about technique, ergonomics, and breath connection.  Breathe in when you lean out and breathe out when you lean in. 

I can't wait to learn more!

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Shama Kern
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August 3, 2019 - 9:41 am
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Hi Raechel, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program - in the right forum, with all the parts in the right place! Smile

I always love to see yoga teachers in here, because many elements of Thai Massage are a natural for them already. Actually a high percentage of our course students are yoga teachers.

Also, I always post a reference to our certification checklist in the beginning of each thread, to make sure it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

It's great to see your enthusiasm, and I am looking forward to observe your Thai Massage journey.

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RaechelMcBride
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August 4, 2019 - 6:26 am
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Module 2:

I enjoyed learning about the Chi Machine and look forward to using it on a friend coming over on Wednesday night to let me practice on her.  I have 3 different people coming over next week to work with me on what I am learning.  

A while back, a friend did a Western style massage on me and did a rocking motion on me on a table.  It was one of my favorite parts of the massage!  It reminds me of the Chi Machine.  I didn't notice the energetics of it, per se, but I did feel as though it rocked my spine into alignment.  

I did not know that thai massage comes out of the yoga tradition.  

I like the idea of using body weight over muscle power to do the massage.

I look forward to learning more about proper ergonomics and making the massage a beautiful flow.

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Shama Kern
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August 4, 2019 - 10:01 am
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You like and are looking forward to all the things that make Thai Massage so unique. Regarding the rocking motions, you are in for a treat with this course. There are lots of them taught, since we pioneered the rocking elements for Thai Massage 20 years ago at a time when traditional Thai Massage did not include any rocking at all. We even have a separate course only for rocking techniques. 

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RaechelMcBride
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August 9, 2019 - 7:03 am
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Module 3 notes:

I had my first practice session on Wednesday.  Module 3 opened for me on Tuesday and I watched it through once that night, then another time on Wednesday before my subject arrived.  I thought maybe I could do it without the video, and realized there was just too much and I wanted to practice all the moves.  

We started with the chi machine.  Since I'm generally not a massage therapist, I'm a yoga instructor, I'm used to people lifting themselves.  This was a new one.  We went into the foot massage and my subject seemed to enjoy herself, she did tell me I could use more pressure, so I'm experimenting with that.

The circular bending and twisting technique is going to take a few more tries to get used to!  That was a lot.  

The subject said when I pushed down on her feet, she felt her lower back adjust in a good way.

I have two more practice sessions scheduled for this weekend.  They will be different people so I'm hoping for more varied feedback.  

This subject scheduled another practice session with me for next Wednesday, so I did something right!

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Shama Kern
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August 9, 2019 - 1:43 pm
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You will find that it is very beneficial to re-watch the videos several times. Many of our students told me that every time they re-watch a video, they find something that they had missed before. There is no way to watch 50 videos once and remember everything that's in them. Laugh

That's great that your subject wants to experience more of your new skills!

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RaechelMcBride
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August 16, 2019 - 6:28 pm
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Module 4 notes:

I can appreciate the first time being awkward.  I didn't realize a few things.  1) How heavy human bodies are!  2) How much muscle power of my own is required for these hard, firm human bodies.  

I have since upped my yoga practice to prepare my body better for the body work on client and practitioner.  Is that the correct terms?

The first time was very awkward, it was good to see this 4th module to understand about technique vs flowing.  I feel better about not getting to every position.  It reminds me of when I was a new yoga teacher.  I would focus on a couple every class, study it myself more to teach it more fully.  Then I was able to do more, quickly.  

I have another practice session with the same woman, today.  I have been over modules 3,4, and 5 but I feel better about perhaps doing it without the video and just do what I remember this session.

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Shama Kern
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August 17, 2019 - 12:57 am
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The goal is to use as little muscle power as possible. You will be amazed after a while how much can be done just by shifting your body in the correct way. This is a topic throughout this course, and it will gradually all fall into place and come together. That being said, there really are some bodies that are very heavy, and that's why we don't do every technique on every client.

It's not about applying a one-size-fits-all sequence to everyone, but about learning what works for us and the client in each session. Of course that's a skill that doesn't fall into our laps - it takes time to develop. It's the same with yoga. New practitioners feel anything but graceful until they have done it for a while. 

Towards the second half of this course it starts to feel more coordinated and fluid for most students. It is perfectly normal that it feels a bit clumsy in the beginning. Smile 

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RaechelMcBride
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August 22, 2019 - 12:06 am
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Module 5 Notes:

I've gotten great feedback on the warmups.  The two people I've practiced on have said more pressure is good.  I've practiced on a large body and small body, and I'm glad to have the variety.  The warming up has gotten more comfortable and fluid.  The flowing circle, pressure, twist move has gotten more comfortable, it comes in fits and spurts.

Question:  How long will I have access to this library?

I'm looking forward to building my flow.  Not only for the client, but for myself.

Butterfly technique:

It was hard to not get a handful of crotch when doing this.

I didn't press enough I think.  I have a session today and will try to settle in here.

Calf rolling:

Need to put more squeezing into it.

I'm switching in between just using my muscles, and putting my body into it.  I need to remember to put my body into it.

the thigh both hand roll needs more work to make fluid and comfortable.

When doing thai massage, should I do everything on one leg/foot and then the other or jump back in forth foot foot/ leg leg...?

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Shama Kern
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August 22, 2019 - 1:37 am
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Your access to the members portal does not expire.

Regarding the butterfly technique - remember, you are not pressing, but you are leaning into it with your body weight.

Don't jump back and forth a lot between legs. That can feel strange. Work on one leg, and when that's done, work on the other one. Soon there will be a summary module where you see the entire flow in action. That will clear up this question very well.

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RaechelMcBride
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August 26, 2019 - 5:57 pm
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Module 6 notes:

I had a great session last week.  It was my 4th practice session and it really came together perfectly.  The client was very happy and relaxed.  She said I hit the muscle every time.  She said everything was perfect and flow was very nice.  It didn't feel choppy.  I really felt connected.

I did have to go back and watch the videos to see when her leg was on top of me and when i was just kneeling next to her during the leg warmups.

I have had now 3 different people and 2 different body types, one bigger, one smaller.  So that has been good.

I got to practice the forearm thigh work.  

At one point I had one knee up (not sure if that was correct) and I was stretching my own hip while working on my client and it felt great!  

I love the elephant walking.  I think that was my first favorite thing about thai massage.  I didn't know the name before so called it "kitty happy feet" because it feels like when cats are kneading my body and purring.  

I forgot the beginning rocking, I would like to remember it next time.  

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Shama Kern
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August 26, 2019 - 6:43 pm
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That's to be expected that you will forget some techniques during practice. With hundreds of possible techniques in Thai Massage it takes a while until they all become second nature. But it doesn't matter if you forget some. As long as what you ARE doing feels good to you and your client, you are doing great. And that seems to be the case from what you wrote! Smile

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RaechelMcBride
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August 27, 2019 - 6:50 pm
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Module 7 notes:

Today is leg stretches!  I've already watched it, this is the second time.  This time I paid attention better.  I really like that I can go back and refresh if I wasn't particularly attentive one day.  I really feel like I'm absorbing more information this way.  

This was a good refresher, though on different body parts.  There was the butterfly stretch again, the elephant walking again.  And the stretch at the end with the rotation was similar to the foot rotation a couple modules ago.

This seems like it will stick in my brain faster because of the similarities to the other ones.  Except for the hip rocking.  

I appreciated the hip evaluation at the beginning.  I imagine as with yoga, one could continually observe bodies and eventually come to the understanding you bestowed upon us early on, along with the solution.

I also appreciated the traction talk with the thigh.  That seems nicer to the client to lengthen the leg rather than shove it into the hip.  

I found a friend who has 200 hrs of thai massage and we are going to practice on each other!!  

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August 28, 2019 - 12:19 am
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Great that you have such a practice partner. Is this friend an active Thai Massage therapist or just starting out with it professionally?

You are right, the ability to go back and re-watch the videos, even years from now, is probably the biggest advantage of an online program. The second advantage is that we keep improving our courses and adding to them over the years. Smile

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RaechelMcBride
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September 3, 2019 - 7:07 am
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Module 8 Notes:

My friend is a licensed massage therapist who says she has 200 hours in thai yoga massage training.  So she is not an active thai massage therapist, but wants to practice on me as a swap for me practicing on her!  I've also found another person who wants to swap, he is an active thai massage therapist as well as yoga instructor.  The swap has not come to pass yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

I have been working on not jumping back and forth between legs.  It's hard to remember all the things done on one side for the other.  I get a little caught up in that and when I don't do exactly the same thing I accidentally say something but then I remember when I was a piano student, during recitals they would say "If you mess up, keep going, no one notices until you stop and make a thing about it."  So I'm working on that.

I remember getting the feet presses on the hamstring done to me and LOVED it.  I forgot it during my last session and glad to be rewatching this video to remember it for tomorrow's session.

I also forgot the first calf warm up, but remembered the 2nd and 3rd.  I was drawing a blank on the first, so glad to watch this again and remember.

Everyone has really been enjoying the hip stretches.  I feel like as a yoga instructor, I extra understand how amazing the stretch is, I can feel their joy and relief intensely.  I also enjoy my hip stretch during theirs!  I have to remember about the other support hand, sometimes I have been forgetting and just doing the stretch without the hand work.  

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Shama Kern
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September 3, 2019 - 10:08 am
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Even in my case, after so many years of doing Thai Massage, I sometimes forget to do every single technique that I did on one side on the other side as well. It's true, clients have no idea that you 'skipped' something. After all, if we can't remember to duplicate all the moves on both sides perfectly, the client has zero chance of remembering all those moves and wondering why we skipped something on one side. Laugh

It's not about mathematical perfection, but about providing a great experience for the client, about creating more wellness and balance, about sensing and connecting. That's not an issue at all if you don't work both sides in exactly the same way sometimes.

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RaechelMcBride
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September 4, 2019 - 5:03 am
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Module 9 notes:

Working on the hip pie.  Stretching out to the side.  I need to remember to use my hands during this stretch.  I am reviewing now before one of my practice partners arrives.  I am opening up thai yoga for many people that have never heard of it, or something very vague.  They're like wow you keep your clothes on?

Staying in the stretch and doing some elephant walking.  I've gotten great feedback on the elephant walking.  I like all the many places to do it!

The 90 degrees out and 45 degrees out I think I was doing at the same time.  Tonight I will chop it up more.

Nice wide hip circles.  I get good feedback from pressing on the opposite hip.

I have not asked about the stretch in terms of scaling 1-10.  I'll do that tonight.

Hip rocking and pretty much any rocking has been enjoyed.

Powerful hamstring stretch and it looks like almost it band because it's moving to the outside of the thigh.  One practice partner really loved the it band stretches.  As a yoga instructor, that has always been a highly requested area to stretch.

The twist was enjoyed.  

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Shama Kern
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September 4, 2019 - 11:24 am
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LOL, wow, what a concept - keeping your clothes on during a massage! Laugh

That's what had attracted me in the beginning to Thai Massage - similar to yoga, no oil, keep the clothes on - so convenient!

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RaechelMcBride
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September 5, 2019 - 1:44 am
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Module 10 Notes:

My practice partner last night said she really liked my breathing.  She found it very relaxing.

hara:  area just behind the navel where the subtle energy is concentrated.  put attention there. *this is a new word

always use the whole body

different variations on the twist.  using the knee instead of the hand

spinal twist with extended leg, pulling sideways.

adductor stretch, i need to remember to hold the opposite hip

interesting blood stop last night.  interesting feelings.  I felt the blood stop pulsing in one leg, and in the other i felt it pulsing all around me but not where i was pushing.

calf and ankle stretch.  forgot that one last night.  going to try it in a half an hour when one of my practice partners gets here.

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Shama Kern
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September 5, 2019 - 11:21 pm
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You know, this is one of those things we need to pay attention to. Many times we get a different feeling when working on one side than when we work on the other side. Often this means that the body is telling us something. There might be an imbalance in the client's energy. Or it could also mean that we have less sensitivity in one hands and need to work on feeling more with it. Or it could tell us that the client has an issue on one side but not on the other. In either case, these are signals that we need to pay attention to.

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