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Rebeca Torres-Rose - Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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December 10, 2019 - 12:33 am
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Module 25 - prone back 3

For me, the palm elephant walking techniques in this module are still too hard on my wrists with a client that wants deeper pressure.  I would limit it to clients who want lighter pressure.  The forearm techniques work much better for me, although I find that I like to break those techniques where my scapula are really protracted with something where I can have my chest a bit more open.  That is why I really like the knee techniques in the prior module.

A suggestion for this video when you next update the course would be to have a close up of your hands and your friend's back for the galloping thumb roll work because I'm not seeing the rolling so I'm just trying to figure it out with the description and feedback from my partner, but I'm not sure I'm really doing what you are.

The squeeze/lift combined with trap or shoulder circling does feel wonderful and is fun to do, but it's amazing how much variation there is clients neck length and even space between the neck and shoulders.  With some clients I can get in easily and with others it feels like a fight to get in so I tend to address those areas in other ways.

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Shama Kern
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December 10, 2019 - 11:32 am
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That's amazing that you are so comfortable with elbow and knee work! Many course students struggle with those initially. This is a great skill to have!!

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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January 16, 2020 - 6:38 am
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Module 26 - prone back 3

 

I definitely stay away from direct thumb pressure as much as possible and will use a relaxed thumb below with the other palm pressing on the thumb when I want to apply that kind of focused pressure.  I have also been moving away from butterfly hands (as I first learned in shiatsu)  because I was definitely feeling it hurt my wrists.  

I have not seen most of my regular Thai massage clients since the holidays, so I have been incorporating a lot of these techniques into my table massage, working through the blanket.  Everyone loves these techniques and comments on them and it gives me a chance to introduce them to Thai massage and invite them to book a Thai session next time they come in.

I have been incorporating the forearm on sen line 1 after rocking my elbows along the lamina groove and doing some vibrating lever action with my forearms across the erectors.  It's a nice way to move up to the scapula where I the hold the scap and move in around in circles.  I have also incorporated the neck/trap and neck/infraspinatus circling into my "basic" back massage.  I am doing it as much as I can because I want the alternating motion to become fluid and I know it feels good.  It flows much more naturally now than it did at first, especially with my left hand on the outside.  

I must make an effort to incorporate the "galloping" elephant walk.  I usually have ocean waves in the background and often adopt the rhythm of the waves with some of those moves, but I haven't gotten comfortable with the gallop per se.

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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January 16, 2020 - 6:42 am
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Oh, I wish I could edit a post after submitting.  I just realized that my last two posts had the wrong heading.  They were both for Module 26 - prone back 3.  I don't know how I didn't see the wrong numbering before.  Sorry about that!

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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January 16, 2020 - 6:53 am
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Module 27 - prone upper back

 

I find that kneading the traps with larger clients is very tiring for my fingers and especially my thumbs, so I limit it to smaller clients. 

I love wiggling my fingers in the lamina groove and I know it feels so good.  The wiggling really helps to get in deep without having to use too much pressure.

I also love lifting the scapula and drawing it away from the back.  Resting the shoulder between my knees is very comfortable for both me and my clients and puts the scap at a very accessible angle for most of my clients.

Depending on the client I have some trouble getting a secure hold around the shoulder to do the stretch with backward rotation, but when it works they say it feels great.  The spinal twist, where I can interlace my hands, is much easier for me.

I have practiced all three cobras, but my favorite is the power version as it is easier for me to hold on to hands or forearms that to grasp the traps firmly and lean my body weight back.  Luckily all of my clients have been flexible enough to do this.

Funny thing about "turning everyone into a pretzel":  one of my clients gave me a fridge magnet in the shape of a pretzel for Christmas and said that's how my clients feel after a session.  I think he meant it as a good thing based on the rest of the card, but I was a bit worried!Confused

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January 16, 2020 - 11:18 am
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Actually you can edit a post after you submit it. If you click on the pencil icon in the top right corner of the post box, you can edit it. However this works only for the post which you had just written. If you write another post, you can't edit previous posts anymore. Anyway, I fixed it for you and changed the post from 23 to 26. Smile

We will give you the special title of 'pretzel master'. Laugh I assume that the client meant it as a compliment.

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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January 17, 2020 - 7:52 am
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Thanks, Shama! I thought there must be a way, but I couldn't figure it out.  

- The pretzel masterWink

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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January 17, 2020 - 7:54 am
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Actually, there doesn't seem to be a pencil icon on my latest post.  I see one on your post where I can view the edit history, but not on mine.  Is it something I have to change in my settings?

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Shama Kern
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January 17, 2020 - 11:14 am
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You don't have to change the settings. Many of our course students edit their posts all the time. However the pencil icon is only visible when you are logged in. Here is a screenshot how it looks like:

forum edit pencilImage Enlarger

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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January 17, 2020 - 10:43 pm
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Funny, I thought about sending you a screenshot to show how the icon doesn't show on my screen, but I also can't seem to attach an image to my posts.  The insert/edit image icon doesn't let me upload files from my computer...

I'm using Chrome as my browser, would that make a difference?  I would be surprised since it's so mainstream...

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Shama Kern
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January 18, 2020 - 12:23 am
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I used a different system for my screenshot via a link. I had also experienced trouble with inserting images. That's something I will have to look into.

Regarding the editing function, I created a new account and tested it, and I see the edit icon. However the editing only works for the last post, not for previous ones. 

I sent you an email about this.

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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January 24, 2020 - 11:14 pm
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Module 28 - prone review

Great to review the techniques and note where I have been doing things a bit differently.  For example, I don't usually drape the client's arm over my thigh when I work on their back with  my forearm.  I was wondering why that is and I think that might be because so many of the clients prefer to have their arms, palms down over their heads so their arm is already out of the way. 

The bit of back percussion made me laugh a bit because in school they were so adamant that we not do percussion below the level of the scapula so as to protect the kidneys.  At the time my thought was, "good thing I didn't kill all the people in my life that I did this to for the last 30 years of giving back rubs, and good thing I'm still alive!" I thought it was a bit of a ridiculous prohibition because the percussion should be loose and light enough that no kidney bruising is going to happen, but I didn't do it while I was in school and I got out of the habit.  This course has reminded me that it's OK an safe to incorporate and I know from a lifetime of receiving this kind of percussion in amateur back rub trades that it feels lovely.

Again, I am amazed at how much we have covered in this course!

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Shama Kern
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January 24, 2020 - 11:48 pm
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That's funny that they assume that everyone would approach the percussion with a sledge hammer! Smile  Did they ever hear about sensitivity?

I have never bruised anyone with my percussion. I am sure you haven't either and never will! And I have received a lot of positive feedback from my clients about percussion moves.

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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January 29, 2020 - 10:48 pm
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MODULE 29 – SIDE POSITION 1

 

I almost always incorporate side position to work on the neck and shoulders as I was introduced to this work through Shiatsu.  I also really like it for working the inner thigh and the hip and IT band, also from my prior training.  

I have tried working on the hamstrings and adductors with my buttocks, but because it's not a body part I work with often, I don't have a great sense of what I am feeling below me.  I find I prefer using my feet or knees for deeper pressure in this area.

I love working around the greater trochanter (what we used to call jumping circle in shiatsu) with palms, elbow, forearms and percussion.

Next time I trade with my friend who does Thai massage I want to experience the inner thigh and hip stretch as the client because I'm having some trouble doing it as the therapist and I think part of it is not having the receiving experience.  It could also be the size differences with my clients.  She is smaller than me so when I try it on her that might make a difference too.

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January 30, 2020 - 9:44 pm
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Definitely it would be very helpful to experience it on your own body. There are quite a few techniques that you think might feel uncomfortable, but when you (or your clients) experience them, they feel really good. And also, when you experience them yourself, you find out how NOT to do them, and what does  NOT feel right - especially if the person doing it to you is not so good at it. That can be helpful too. If have learned a lot from receiving bad sessions. Smile

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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March 4, 2020 - 11:02 pm
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Module 30- side lying 2

When I bolstered my clients in side lying position I usually use two stacked pillows so that the bent leg is closer to parallel to the mat and the torso is perpendicular to the mat.  That is what I learned from my shiatsu instructors. In the video, however, it looks like the bent leg remains more or less at 45 degrees to the mat and the front of the torso is angled towards the mat.  The angling makes the elephant walking, spinal thumbing and erector lean possible and more comfortable for the giver. Before this module, my work on the erectors was done with the body at 90 degrees and using my feet to walk up and down the back.  I like how adjusting the bolstering gives me more options to the client who can only lie on their side.

I have been practicing my galloping rhythm when compressing erectors on a prone client and also when doing a spinal wave where the client starts supine and I draw them into twist by tractioning their arm across their body.  The rhythm feels much more natural now so it was not as hard to implement into this side lying spinal twist & rock.  

The final move is one that feels great and I can do comfortable with my smaller/lighter clients, but is so far a bit awkward with my larger clients.  In particular it's hard for me lean over them to grab their leg comfortably at the beginning. It's just a bit of a strain on my back which I don't like.  I also might need to strengthen my arms because although I'm not using them to pull, the weight of a heavy leg tires my arm out.

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Shama Kern
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March 5, 2020 - 11:05 pm
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True, some techniques are harder to do on heavier clients, and there is nothing wrong with skipping them in such cases, or exchanging them for a different technique. By the way, later on, in the bonus modules, I show a different version of this last stretch which is easier when working on heavier client.

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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March 14, 2020 - 2:05 am
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Module 31 - Side position 3

Regarding the first moves, I find that instead of blocking the client's arm alongside their body (which makes me have to lean towards their body and can get uncomfortable) I prefer to drape their arm over mine to support it while I am circling the shoulder.  I have not had a chance to practice the circling on a smaller client, but so far my hands have not been big enough to have the heel of my hand on the shoulder and the fingers on the traps.  So this technique is on the back burner for me.

I had a client come in who always likes shoulder work so I was able to use all of these techniques on him in addition to what I have from shiatsu and get great feedback from him.  Because that was the focus of the session I estimate we spent about 1.5 hrs of the 2hr session in the side position using all of the techniques in these three modules. It was great to build up the intensity of the work a little at a time.  He really enjoyed the whole arm circling stretch and having practiced the move a few times beforehand I didn't find it difficult to coordinate the shifts in body weight, pulling and circling, and anchoring my arm on my leg really made it easy lean in with power.

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Rebeca Torres-Rose
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March 14, 2020 - 2:18 am
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Module 32 - Side position 4

The thumbing of the medial border of the scapula is something that already learned in Shiatsu and am accustomed to doing.  I sometimes anchor the thumbing arm against my leg to be able to lean into the thumbing.  I also like to use my toes to hook under the scapula and stretch the pecs at the same time. It's a great stretch for the client and for me too!

The way you teach the shoulder arm traction is different from what I had learned so I had the opportunity to practice both what I already knew from shiatsu (where hand pulls the arm above the head and the other anchors on the hip to give a nice side body stretch as well) and your version, where the second hand leans right below the arm.  They both felt differently to my client and so I ended up walking the second hand up and down the side from the hip to the underarm to see how he liked and that worked too!  It was a nice transition to kneading the lats and teres.   We both also enjoyed adding the traction behind the back while stabilizing the torso.  With the pulling back of the shoulder I went back to shiatsu and also included a second hand moving along the occiput to get a nice neck stretch.

All in all, I really enjoyed these 4 side modules and all the new shoulder techniques I was able to add to my "tool box."

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Shama Kern
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March 14, 2020 - 11:40 am
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Good to hear - now you can combine your Shiatsu toolbox with the Thai Massage toolbox. This should make a powerful repertoire for really good shoulder work.

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