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Raechel McBride's Complete Thai Massage course notes
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RaechelMcBride
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September 8, 2019 - 6:47 am
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Module 11 Notes:

I feel like I've really gotten the beginning feet, warmup legs, and leg stretches down.  It's really coming together!  Today I even asked my partner to rate the stretch level from 1-10.  I feel like aside from getting more familiar with the new stretches, I need to focus now on my own body posture and graceful movements more.  I have a very lazy core so I have to keep reminding myself to use it, but everything changes when I do.

Some people I've done sessions with have even given me donations!

Today I was having some stress from my life, which I normally don't feel so full of.  It was interesting trying to keep myself together, while still delivering on the massage.  My friend after said she did not feel my anxiety, so that's great!  I kept working on coming back to center.  Whenever I spun out in my head, I reminded myself to come back to my breath and slow down.

I've gotten great feedback on the stretches I most love too.  The elephant walking and the one where you grab both legs and push your feet into the hamstring.  Today my friend said it felt like I was opening all her joints with the move.

Great to go through this summary and remember all the little stretches that have slipped through the cracks of my mind.

I'm eager to try the new slice to the hip pie.  I've gone forward to module 13 now where you go further into that, but I see it in the summary of this module as i rewatch it.  Pressing on the top and bottom of the outside of the thigh.  It's interesting to see your sequence as I've been playing around with mine.  

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Shama Kern
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September 8, 2019 - 9:46 pm
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That sounds very encouraging! Not many course students feel so much at ease with the course material so early on in the course. You are on the right track! Smile

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RaechelMcBride
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September 22, 2019 - 5:37 am
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Module 12 Notes:

It's been a long time since my last post!  I had a friend visit and was pretty ill for a week.  But now I'm back on track!  I have a session lined up for tomorrow, and a few more booked going forward.  Everyone is intrigued!

Achilles tendon and calf stretches.  I did the one on my belly for a couple females, I just lifted my own breasts up.  I don't know if that's going to work so well with strangers or men.  

double leg stretch with legs together and apart.  Everyone seems to love those!  I feel my client's feelings through the stretches, not necessarily because I'm an empath or anything, but I just know so well how fantastic they are that I can remember my own joy and feel theirs because of it.  It seems.  

Elephant walking on the knees.  I wonder if that works for people with knee issues.  Will get back with you about that. Or maybe you will me!

Hip stretches coiled around legs.  One lady was SUPER tight and couldn't get into that.  Her right leg just wouldn't go.  I reviewed it just now, as I watched it a while ago and I haven't gone as far you did, so maybe I'll remember that for next time and see if I can go deeper.  

Upon review I recall the leg swinging.  I definitely forgot that and will be putting it into my next flow.

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RaechelMcBride
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September 22, 2019 - 6:22 pm
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Module 13 notes:

Good pain and bad pain!  I have learned and discussed this in yoga classes!  I say there's a difference between uncomfortable and pain.  I teach my students to explore that.  And now I explore that with them through thai yoga massage.

Circles on the hip flexor to relax.  Very strained overused muscle because of weak cores!

Last slice of the hip pie, with elephant walking.  I am so jealous of my clients during this!  I feel this stretch with them so hard.

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RaechelMcBride
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September 22, 2019 - 6:33 pm
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Module 14 notes:

Always maintain connection with your clients.  

Elephant walking on hips inside hip grooves moves faster and becomes a rock.  Not a great thing to do on a man.  Take fingertips to the side of the hip and rock there.

Rocking one side, one hand pushes down and the other pulls up to rock

Both hands pull up, one hand pushes down.

Two hands pulling up, leg pushing down slightly keeping the thigh down.  Stretch for the lower back.

Quad back stretch with the leg bent pressing on the outside of the lower thigh almost to leg.  This one looks interesting and everyone loves a good quad stretch!

Transition moves to go from one side to the other, keep contact.

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RaechelMcBride
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September 22, 2019 - 6:51 pm
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Module 15 Notes:

Abdomen is an area that holds a lot of emotions.  It can cause pain.

Place hand and feel if there's any breath, move gently up and down with it.  Synchronize

Double palm rotations. Very light pressure on the peripheral area of hands.

Double palm push pull in various directions.  Wave like motion

Pressing gently undernear the ribs.

Push rib cage left and right

Circles with fingertips

Elephant walking on chest

Circle in the center of the chest, without going to the extreme

Sternum rocking

Synchornize breath focus on hara

Collarbone circles.  I often tap below my collarbone when feeling extreme stress.  I've read about EFT and apparently that's a reset button for something, emotions maybe.  It helps!  

Elephant walking.

I am about to have a client and will be practicing these moves I just reviewed. 

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Shama Kern
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September 22, 2019 - 11:12 pm
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One observation: Your last couple of posts are mainly a listing of techniques, of the content of the videos. If you re-read the certification checklist which I posted in the beginning of this thread, you will see that this is not supposed to be done for the simple reason that it doesn't tell me if someone actually practiced the material. It only tells me that someone watched the video. The idea is that the posts are experiential with practice experience and observations, client feedback, stories, questions, etc. Please go back to your previous style of posts which were much better! Smile

Now to your questions: The achilles tendon and calf stretch will definitely not work well for female therapists working on male clients with large feet. This is best done on female clients with smaller feet. However there are plenty of calf stretches shown in this course so that you can choose the one that works best for a particular client. Remember that the techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences. The idea is to choose the right technique for a particular client and skip the ones that don't work so well.

Regarding the elephant walking on the knees - knee work is something quite specialized and is only briefly covered in this course. Actually regular Thai Massage does not really include any real knee work at all. However I have created a specialized course only about knee therapy. This is one of our therapy courses which are available to those who want to specialize in therapeutic work.

If someone has serious knee issues, then it would be best to first study this particular knee therapy course in order to increase your chances of success with the treatment.

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RaechelMcBride
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September 23, 2019 - 5:55 am
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Module 16 Notes:

Sorry about listing- I hadn't practiced on anyone for the last two weeks, but I am watching videos, so I wanted to show that I was watching the videos, in their entirety by listing the things I had seen, but also, adding experience and questions as I had them.

Today I had a session.  We went all the way up to the shoulders.  I have seen the new modules, but haven't reviewed them yet, so didn't want to attempt something sort of halfway.  

She enjoyed the sternum shaking very much.  She said it loosened up her shoulders in a very pleasant way.

She previously couldn't do the hip stretch with the legs hooked around mine.  She said her hip wouldn't rotate that way, so we backed off, but today she did and we really got into the stretch!  She LOVED it.

So I'm watching Module 16 now, I've already seen it, but am reviewing in preparation for my Wednesday session.  I haven't attempted these moves yet as I got all the way up to the shoulder elephant walking last session.

Pulling the shoulders forward looks like a good stretch to the back.  My session partner today had her arms high when I was doing the elephant walking on them, then I moved them because I remembered the class, and asked her if it felt any different, she said no.

We did not sync our breathing, I don't think today, I would like to think about that more during session.  Though someone did say that my breathing calmed them.

The one-sided one-shoulder lift looks complicated somehow, I look forward to trying it out.

I wish someone would do that circular motion underneath the shoulder, on me!

Lifiting and pushing down on the shoulders like I did on the hips earlier today.  Session partner enjoyed very much.  She said it felt like a good counterstretch after the big hip stretch with the legs wound around.

The arm foot stretch looks intriguing.  I would very much like to feel it on myself, I don't think I've ever had this move done to me.  Everybody, including myself, loves the thigh version.

The wheel pose stretch (probably not the right name) looks stressful on people with wrist issues, what is the feedback from that?

I would like to focus more on the hara, and synchronizing the breath as I go forward.

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Shama Kern
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September 23, 2019 - 12:37 pm
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I guess that with the 'wheel pose stretch' you are referring to the 'arm triangle stretch'? If so, then the trick is to move the hand closer to the shoulder. This lessens the angle in the wrist and it lessens the intensity of the stretch. That's the version to use for people with stiff wrists and/or stiff shoulders.

If someone has flexible wrists and flexible shoulders, then you need to move the hand farther away from the shoulder which will increase the stretch effect.

I have often wished that someone would do many of these techniques on me. But the issue is that quite a few of the techniques in this course are not taught in traditional Thai Massage schools, and therefore the therapists in Thailand don't know them. That goes especially for the rocking moves which are practically never done in Thailand. This is something I have pioneered in my style of Thai Massage.

As a result I have never received many of the techniques which I teach, although I have done them on countless clients, and I know how well they work from the feedback that I have been getting. So I can relate to how you feel about the receiving issue.

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RaechelMcBride
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September 28, 2019 - 5:45 am
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Module 17 Notes:

Alternating circular elephant walking:  My practice partner loved this today.  I did forget the circular motion.  And speaking of circular motion work, she said I needed to get deeper into that first circular twisting of the foot.  She said (she is a LMT) I seemed to be working too hard for the product, so I need to either do less moving, or make it more effective, perhaps with the hara.

I've been doing well with the arm work, remembering most all the moves.  Except the wrist work at the end.  Alternating thumb stroking towards the fingers.  I did remember the interlacing and swirling around.  Some people have lots of pops and some don't!  There is some extensive wrist work that I missed most of like the interlacing and grabbing.  I completely forgot that and did the swirling only.  I love being able to review!

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Shama Kern
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September 29, 2019 - 2:37 am
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It's true - the goal of Thai Massage is to be more effective with less effort, meaning replacing muscular effort with body weight and good body mechanics. Thai Massage, done correctly, should not take a lot of effort.

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RaechelMcBride
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October 1, 2019 - 4:51 pm
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Module 18 Notes:

The transition around the head has not been very fluid for me!  I need to watch a few times and maybe practice on my own before I have another practice session.

I've been thinking about what you said with the talking and have been trying not to get too chatty with my practice partners.

The upper back stretch I have not found a great place to fit into the flow, I keep forgetting it and then adding it in at the end and it's pretty choppy.  But I mentioned it to my first practice partner and she loved it so much she said add it where you want I don't care it's awesome!  My second practice partner loved it so much too.  I want it done!

I had my friend the LMT give my a trade and she does a more traditional western massage.  I have to say it was nice but I have really been craving a thai massage!  Between learning and practicing my work, and also I started trail running in the woods by myself so my hips could really used a passive stretch!!

I forgot the last move, with grabbing both shoulders and making a figure 8, I'm glad for the review so I can remember it during my next session!

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Shama Kern
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October 2, 2019 - 12:02 am
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Interesting that you couldn't find a good use for a technique, but your practice partners wanted you to use it. I guess you never know... Smile

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RaechelMcBride
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October 3, 2019 - 4:19 pm
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Lesson 19 Module:

I could find a good use, just not a good place in the flow.  So it was chopped up. Like I was already done with one side and had to go back because I hadn't fit it into my flow on that side.  So I need to find a place to flow it into.  I see you put it in right after the figure 8 on the shoulders.  I will try that next time, as I haven't yet done the figure 8.

What my latest challenge is, is trying to not do every single thing I've learned!  So as we move into more upper body and prone positions, the sessions are getting much longer, so I'd like to do less of the beginning stuff, to get into the new things.  But I don't know how to lessen and select which ones will get the job done without doing every single thing.  I go over it in my head, but it's hard to take just a few to do.

The people have liked the sacrum stretch, but as a I review in this module, I see I should have had more of a ninety degree angle and I shouldn't have had their feet on the floor, which is what I was doing.

You talk about holding patterns not allowing the arm to flow freely.  I did experience that with one of my practice partners.  

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Shama Kern
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October 4, 2019 - 1:20 am
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I know, this is a challenge - to select a number of techniques that fit into your time frame for a session, and to leave out the ones that don't fit. That's a big reason why I have never done less than 2 hour Thai Massage sessions, and mostly they ran 2.5 hours (I only charged for 2 hours). I could do that because I only worked for myself, and I didn't mind throwing in the extra time. I never liked squeezing my sessions into a short time frame.

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RaechelMcBride
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October 8, 2019 - 8:53 pm
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Module 20 Notes:

Onto prone position!  How do you move someone to the prone position?  Do you just ask?  I feel like there should be some really smooth move to get them there.

I need to practice more of the pushing and pulling.  Both slow and fast, to make this more natural.

the calf stretch I was doing differently, I need to focus on grabbing from the back of the foot and pressing down.

I got great feedback on the Achilles tendon circular movement.

Elephant walking up the back of the body was very nice.

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Shama Kern
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October 9, 2019 - 2:36 am
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There is an entire video module about moving people from one position to the other in this course. It's in the 'Art of Thai Massage' bonus course, and it will show you exactly how you can move people from supine to prone gracefully and efficiently. 

However this only works if you do Thai Massage on a wide floor mat. If you do it on a table, you have to ask your clients to turn over on their own.

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RaechelMcBride
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October 13, 2019 - 10:42 pm
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Module 21 Notes:

Working on the back of the legs, first hamstrings, then center right, then the outside, and the hip.  This was met with joy though a little tightness for one.  It felt a little odd trying to get the leg into position and find the spot for the lower leg.  

I am still transitioning between using my force, and just leaning in.  The breath helps to center and focus the energy and keep it soft.

The four position I experimented with holding the foot, and putting my knee in front of the shin, just because I couldn't remember which hold was there.  Upon reviewing, I am able to recall the holding off the foot.  The foot definitely wanted to jump down the deeper I get into the hip.

I enjoyed using my knee to press on the lower leg.  I always enjoy giving my wrists and fingers a break.

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RaechelMcBride
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October 20, 2019 - 4:52 am
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Module 22 Notes:

My last practice partner had just run in preparation for a big race, so he enjoyed the quad stretches in the prone position.  I did not need to make the stretch more intense!

I was working on a man, but pulling the quad up while sitting on his glutes did not pose a problem.

I found the quad stretch with the elbow in the armpit went very naturally into that spot.

The knee in the glutes, hip pull went VERY well!  He loved it.

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Shama Kern
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October 20, 2019 - 9:53 pm
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You seem to be doing well with most of the techniques. There are bound to be some techniques that are a bit challenging at first. Typically they get easier after more of the whole Thai Massage system sinks in more. That's feedback I got from several course students.

The main thing is that you do what you enjoy and what you are having success with.

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