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Rebeca Torres-Rose - Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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July 3, 2019 - 4:11 am
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Module 1

I enjoyed the review (for me) of the techniques, tools and positions and principles of Thai massage.  Even when I already know about these, a reminder keeps options fresh in my mind.  For example, I had not been using percussion much lately, but after watching the module today I incorporated it into a massage with a client. 

One principle I am always coming back to is my comfort and use of my whole body weight.  One of the realizations I had when watching the video is that not every technique or position might be for every client.  I practice a lot on my husband who is tall and thin, but my most regular client is much larger and muscular than my husband.  Things that I am comfortable doing with my husband are harder to do on on him. 

Right now, as a beginner, I do think a lot about applying a specific technique to work on a specific muscle group (as I don't yet know the sen lines).  It is good for me to remember that there are many paths up the mountain and I can focus on the sensation/quality of touch that I am attempting to achieve vs. a specific technique that might not be the best choice for to use on a client. At least not until I am more comfortable and adept at it. One of the reasons I like Thai massage is the explicit connection between breath and movement. 

I also encourage my clients to follow what we are doing with their breath and I listen to their breath to guide the depth and pace of my work.  When I am feeling comfortable with a move, I am able to synchronize my breath to the moves and to the client's breath.  I love when that happens.  And I realize that when my breath goes out of sync it is because I am in my head, worrying or planning my next move.  I think this will change as I become more familiar with the technique and can "make music" with it.  Right now I'm often just "playing scales" as I incorporate new things.

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Shama Kern
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July 4, 2019 - 1:13 am
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Welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

You will find that this course encourages a more creative and intuitive approach to Thai Massage over a more mechanical and strictly sequential one-size-fits-all approach. Yes, not every technique works well on every client. The art is to choose the right techniques for every client. This course teaches how to do that.

You will also find that there are many modifications and adjustments offered for the techniques to better fit them to your own body and to the client's requirements. You will definitely progress from the scales to the music! Smile

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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July 5, 2019 - 6:17 am
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Module 2

Chi-machine: I felt comfortable in the kneeling position and putting my partner into the position.  It felt natural to wiggle my hips and it was easy to get his body to wobble all the way to his nose.  We tried it a different speeds as well to see the different effects.  My partner expressed that the one thing that was not comfortable was the feeling of his knees hyperextending/not having support.  He wondered if it was just a matter of not being used to the move and felt it would be uncomfortable to stay in this position for more than minute.  I tried lowering my hands off my thighs so his legs would be closer to the ground, which he felt was a bit more comfortable but was not as ergonomic for me.  We also played with how I held his heels without gripping and yet without having his feet slide off my hands.  He said he did not feel a rush of energy at the end of the rocking.  We will try it again tomorrow.

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Shama Kern
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July 6, 2019 - 6:29 pm
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If someone has hyper-extended knee joints, that's a contraindication for the Chi Machine. However we have some students who have experimented with putting a pillow under the knees for such clients. You might want to try if that works for you.

Regarding the rush of energy - if someone is focused on knee issues, giving you feedback, and watching what you are doing, it is almost impossible to feel the energy rush because there is too much mental activity going on. I suggest you practice this until you feel comfortable with it, and then try it on someone who does not have knee issues and who can relax more easily without watching everything you do. Then ask about the feeling of it.

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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July 10, 2019 - 6:46 pm
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I did try it on a client who enjoyed it but did not mention a rush of energy either.  I also used it at the beginning of another session, but did not request specific feedback on it and the client didn't volunteer it.  Will keep practicing.

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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July 10, 2019 - 7:06 pm
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Module 3 - Foot Massage 1

I was familiar with the simpler moves from my previous training and yet I really appreciated the specificity of instruction on how and where to apply pressure on the feet.  The circular move was new to me and I appreciated the clear instructions and the recommendation to practice one element at a time and then putting them together incrementally.  While we were using the music analogy previously, this module made me think more of learning to dance, incorporating different steps seamlessly.  The dance-like quality of Thai massage is part of what attracts me to it.  Just like dance, practice will bring confidence and fluidity so that I can do it without thinking.  I have practiced a few times and sometimes I get in a groove it feels right and then suddenly, maybe because I get back in my head to check in that I'm not missing anything or "doing it right", rather than focus on the feel of it, I get off track and have to regain the rhythm.  I definitely have to practice the transition to holding one leg so I can do it smoothly.  I really like how my extended leg provides some support/contact below the knee.  I have done this leg rotation movement many times  before and really like giving and receiving it, both on the floor and the table, but it has always been without any support under the leg.  This is a nice change and comforting way to make contact with the client.  I look forward to practicing all these moves and transitions more this week.

 

Re: Module 2 feedback My husband is my most accessible practice partner and he is definitely very cerebral so it is hard for him not to be analyzing and wanting to give feedback when I am learning techniques with him.  It was like this when I was in massage school too.  It can be both useful and frustrating.  To be fair, I can be that way as well.  When he practiced the chi machine on me later so I could feel it, I did not notice a rush of energy either, but I enjoyed the full body rock nonetheless and felt it was a nice way to start a massage session by "shaking out" whatever came before in the day.  A client experiencing an energy rush will just be a possible bonus and that's OK with me.

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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July 10, 2019 - 7:50 pm
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Module 4 - Foot Massage 2

I appreciate the regular reminders of the process of learning and incremental improvement.  The wisdom of releasing the modules incrementally is also becoming really plain as there is a lot in each module to practice until it becomes natural and we are ready to take on new information without being overwhelmed.

I really like the approach of being about the feel of the move as well as the techniques.  The conceptual approach to learning the work helps with that.  It makes it easier to improvise later.  In addition to the logic of the ways a body part can move, I wonder if there are also different physiological/energetic/psychological effects for different moves so that we can use that information/those concepts as well to put together a session.  In this regard, I found having an understanding of the 5 elements an their correspondences in Shiatsu gave me a framework to approach a client's concerns.

It was also really clear to me after watching your movements in this module that by shifting our body weight in order to apply pressure we can get into a trance like rhythm that adds to the meditative quality of the massage for both us and the client.  The resulting bowing and rocking reminds me of some prayer/meditation traditions, and of course the instinct to rock babies to sleep, or sway in a hammock for relaxation, or even the instinct to rock for self-soothing in traumatic situations.  (I can't wait to take the rocking massage course next!)

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Shama Kern
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July 11, 2019 - 1:24 am
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Regarding the Chi Machine - the secret here is that the easier the move feels to you, the better effect you get with a client. The harder it feels for you when you do it, the less effective it becomes. Just keep playing with it and try to feel the dance in it and get rid of all effort. That's the secret really.

I appreciate that you recognize the benefit of the gradual delivery schedule. Often in the beginning of the course students are quite impatient, and some request that they get access to everything immediately (which we don't do, and can't do anyway the way how it's set up). 

I am pretty sure that the gradual delivery is the only way how we can get students to practice regularly and without overwhelm, and also to learn the more subtle details instead of just copying techniques. 

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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September 13, 2019 - 1:21 am
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Module 5 - Leg warm-up

It's been a long time since I posted on the forum.  I have been watching the videos (although I have fallen behind) and practicing on clients, but I have not been keeping up with the posts. 

In this module, I especially appreciated the detailed explanation on how to block the leg from moving with our foot or leg when doing these techniques. With the blocking technique I and the client feel that the moves are more secure which always feels nicer.  I also like how it becomes another "mother" point of contact between giver and receiver.  The lift/roll technique was also a good reminder for me, as I generally have been using compression and broad rocking "kembiki" style techniques that I learned in shiatsu.  The lift/roll reminds me of the kind of petrissage we would do on clothed athletes at an event warm up.

I have to practice the push/pull move on the quads a bit more to more quickly/comfortably/naturally get into the rhythm, like I had to with the two foot circles in module 3.  

I've been practicing chi machine as well and got some good feedback from a friend without any prompting on how she felt the wiggling up to her chest and then from there up it felt like tingling all the way up her head.  The feeling continued even after I stopped and we were talking about it.  I timed it for 2 minutes, but checking in with her after she thought she could start to feel that tingling effect pretty shortly after I started.  I want to time my breaths so that I can time the technique by breath, not by the clock.

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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September 13, 2019 - 1:53 am
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Module 6 - Leg warm-up w/ forearms

With the first rocking technique, I tried it both keeping the lower hand in place below the knee, but also moving it down the leg away from the upper hand and the upper hand moved up the leg towards the hip and asked my friend if they felt any difference.  She said she liked it both ways.  I'm curious what the reason is for keeping the lower hand in the same place the way you teach it.

The rolling forearms was something we also learned in our shiatsu class and that was familiar, but hooking the outer thigh was new for me and I liked that.

When working on the outer calf my friend felt some discomfort in her ankle as I got farther down the leg.  It was not to much on the other leg.  I think maybe I went too close to the bone at the bottom on the first leg and was more conscious of it on the second leg.  But also, I may have misunderstood what the hand placement should be.  You referenced a bone, but it looked like you were pointing to the tibia and you talked about calf muscles, but it looked to me like you were working on the peroneals between the tibia and the fibula.  Perhaps I misunderstood the placement of my hand and should have been more lateral/posterior the fibula to work on the calf muscles.  Could you clarify that placement?

When elephant walking on the inner calf, I forgot to move my hand along the inside of the foot so I have made a note to myself to add that back in next practice session.

Although I have been practicing leaning vs pressing since I got my license, I still have to check in with myself at times to see if I haven't started tensing up and pressing vs. leaning, so I love the many reminders to lean instead of press.  Just the other day I got nice feedback from a client on just that issue.  He said I work in a deep way that still feels soft and unforced.  I think that is what you have been getting at so it was good to hear.

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Shama Kern
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September 14, 2019 - 12:46 am
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That's excellent that you got the tingling effect with your friend - you are obviously doing it right!

The reason why I keep my lower hand in the same place during the rocking is because in this way I have better leverage and control over how the leg moves. This works best for me. If you can keep the leg nicely centered on your thigh while moving both hands away from the knee, there is nothing wrong with this either, but I get better control in the way I show it. This control is necessary to prevent the knee from sliding too close to your body or moving away from you. The knee should stay centered on your thigh.

Regarding the hand placement on the lower leg, the heel of your hand is right next (lateral) to the tibia. Remember that in Thai Massage we are not working on muscles, but on the energy lines. In this case the outside energy line #1 runs right along or parallel to the tibia.

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