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Regina Ward's Complete Thai Massage Progress Notes
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Regina Ward
Detroit, MI
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July 28, 2017 - 4:24 am
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Module 1

I am super excited to begin this course! I think the part I connected to most was that it has to deal with energy and not so much anatomy and physiology. I often get caught up in that part, and I feel like this will help me get connected to the fact that I am not science, I am energy (when it comes to working with clients).  
Another part I was connected to was the first three steps of the "Anatomy of a Move". It resonated very much with me much like the creation of a yoga sequence.  You can know the poses all you want but if you don't know how to put it together, it won't feel right and it's no good.  The second step- ergonomics- also connected because it kinda feels like you are doing a yoga pose as well. I followed along with the positions of the therapist and practiced each one for a few breaths.  It also connects me to practicing yoga because if you are doing poses, you'll want to stay in complete awareness of your body and know when to make an adjustment.  And then the breathing! Wow! So much like yoga! I liked the way you spoke about connecting the technique to the breath You must breathe and connect the movement to the breath so that the energy will flow! Wow! I am going to love this practice My partner had to leave, but I did practice leaning into a cushion and breathing out and leaning away and breathing in just to feel my breath and feel how it differs between using muscle and body weight. 
I also practiced one of the client positions- side position- just to see how that felt and to just be mindful of it for when I guide a client there.  
I think this is the perfect course for me.  I have always been interested in Western massage, but it never seemed to work out for me.  I have always enjoyed "stretching" people and applying pressure (fully clothed! I also love that concept as well!) and now I know that it has a name and it is an actual practice! I have a habit of buying courses and not following through with them because it is overwhelming to receive all information at once, but I really like how this comes.  Even though I am excited and want more info, I think this is the best thing for me!  I already learned enough to last me a few days.  I am going to work on the therapist positions again and keep those as a practice.  I already have two clients that are open to helping me practice as well as my partner (whom I already "stretch" on a regular basis so he will love this!)

I am very excited about tomorrow's lesson! 

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Shama
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July 28, 2017 - 11:46 am
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Hi Regina, welcome to our community and the Complete Thai Massage certification program. 

Indeed it seems that you and this course are a perfect match made in yoga-massage heaven. Smile

You will hear a lot more about the Anatomy of a Move throughout this course. I put it in there because of my own yoga background as well as my Qigong work. This is not something which is taught in traditional Thai Massage, but it is essential in my style. It seems to attract exactly those people who resonate with this approach. It is what distinguishes my style from the often rather mechanical approach which is taught in most Thai Massage schools.

Also, just for initial 'housekeeping', please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure it is all correctly organized:

Certification Check List

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Regina Ward
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July 30, 2017 - 3:09 am
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Module 2

The Chi Machine! I was a little up in my head when practicing this with my partner today. Thinking about the video and how Shama you said it was a simple movement, but it has to be done right- and that is exactly what I did- I thought too much at first.  I practiced on my friend today (whom it was not my intention to practice on) and I want to start with her thoughts because I feel it was very pertinent.  She said that in the beginning when I started to do it, it was distracting because it felt like the focus was more on me trying to do the movement.  This was very true because I had my notes next to me, making sure that I did it step by step the way it was explained, which now I'm seeing wasn't necessary.  When I started, I thought I was going to do it wrong (she is a little larger in size and I don't know why I thought I was going to have to work harder or somethingFrown) but when I started to move my hips, I actually saw her whole body moving! Just like in the video! So then, I got excited and started thinking about myself (which again is totally not the point! lol!) and that is the energy she felt in the beginning.  After a few moments she said that she began to feel the energy moving through her.  Her words: She said she felt discomfort because the movement in her spine didn't feel natural; it was something she wasn't used to because she is tight and she has the extra weight.  For me, I felt I was focusing on the movement and then when I saw it was "working" and I got out of my head, I relaxed myself. 
I did it a 2nd time for a little longer, using my breath this time and focusing on the movement in my body. For her, she said her whole body was vibrating, she felt more relaxed and didn't have the same discomfort.  She noticed the vibrations moving up her body all the way to her shoulders.  The only thing is that I don't have an adequate mat yet (just a yoga mat) and her being on the floor got uncomfortable for her.  
The big point that you talk about- Energy does feed energy and even though I knew that, it was really good to experience it first hand so that I know that's something I need to work on.  When I was in my head, she felt it and was uncomfortable; when I relaxed, everything worked out fine! 

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Shama
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July 30, 2017 - 11:09 pm
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You had a pretty good realization there! Smile

Definitely a yoga mat is not comfortable enough for the Chi Machine or any Thai Massage.

That's the secret - we have to get out of our head and into our body. Feel more, think less. That will make Thai Massage excellent.

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Regina Ward
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July 30, 2017 - 11:26 pm
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I know that you mentioned before that a thicker mat would do better than a yoga mat- maybe if they were stacked on top of each other would allow for enough cushion?  I looked up Thai mats and they are a little more expensive than I'd like to spend right now, but I'd like to make those that I practice with comfortable! 🙂 
Also , just would like to say how thankful I am for the program and your dedication with it! I am totally not a traditionalist, so I like the way you spoke about that in your talk this morning.  It is definitely the program for me and I know that as I practice, I will be successful in it! 
I look forward to the next lesson!

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Shama
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July 30, 2017 - 11:52 pm
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You could buy a couple of good exercise mats in a sporting goods store and velcro them together. Cover them with a sheet or blanket, and you are good to go. I used to have exactly this kind of setup for a few years and it worked great - much better than yoga mats. Those exercise mats are not expensive, and certainly much cheaper than "real" Thai Massage mats.

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Regina Ward
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August 2, 2017 - 1:15 am
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Module 3

Foot Massage! I have to say I was a little intimidated by this module as I watched it as it was a lot to go over!  I took a lot of notes and watched the video several times and practiced the movements with an invisible partner (at first). As I mentioned with the Chi machine, (and with lots of other things in my life) I tend to get up in my head, especially while I'm learning new things.  I almost feel that I have to get it right away or something.  So with this, I decided to turn the video off and put my notes away and just kinda give myself a moment to go over what I remember and if I forgot something, then oh well! 
My friend didn't come for practice for a while so that gave me a chance to just take everything in.  I again decided not to look at my notes, but just feel the moves and do what I remembered so that it would feel natural and she would receive energy and not feel uncomfortable.  I started with the Chi Machine and then I just went right into each movement.  For her, she said that overall it was very therapeutic and very relaxing; the pressure was just right and there was no pain.  She said that even though I was at the feet, she could feel the rotation of the hips and even felt it in her lower back; She also became very aware of certain parts of her body that may have been tight.  For the move with the compression and traction, she felt a stretch in the entire body.  She even fell asleep! 
For myself, I noticed very much that I need to practice the therapist positions because my toes got really tired as I balanced on them for the first move.  I also need to practice not using my muscles- for the movement towards the end where you said to make sure not to rotate your wrist but rotate your body- was challenging because I'm not used to using my body weight.  After that one, I really felt my wrists although I was trying hard to keep them neutral.  I think for the circular foot bending and twisting technique, each of those moves actually worked separately even though you're supposed to do them at the same time.  When I did them separately at first, my friend said she could feel something different with each "stage".  She could also feel the circular motions! Oh! and the hand positions- 1,2,3,2,1 for her she said changed the intensity. So that was cool!

I think it's going to be very interesting learning or feeling my way through a session (once the course is complete)! I really liked this foot massage module and so does my friend; I'm going to practice on my partner today (but I feel he is biased! Smile) Again, as overwhelming as this module seemed for me, I am glad that this course is not all given at once! This is something that I really want to finish!
Looking forward to the next module and next live chat!

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Shama
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August 2, 2017 - 7:01 pm
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It's perfectly normal to feel a little overwhelmed in the beginning of the course. That will last for several modules until it all sinks in. After that it will all become second nature.

I am pretty sure that the second foot massage module will make things a lot easier for you since I introduce a concept which makes it easier to tie it all together.

In spite of your overwhelm challenge it sounds like you did a good job implementing it. So in my book that counts as a success story! Smile

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Regina Ward
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August 4, 2017 - 8:19 pm
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Module 4

I've been taking every opportunity to practice on everyone I can! And it's so interesting how each person feels different things!  For this module, I really like the concept of how to make the foot massage a little bit easier and not mechanical.  For me, the focus was on making sure I got all of the moves in just for practice and the "order" of the moves.  I felt more at ease when you said that it's not about all of that or even getting all the moves in in one session! If you forget some, it's okay!  I felt that kinda happen naturally today when I was practicing on one of my personal training clients. It was like I didn't have to remember anything, it was like I went to whatever move felt natural after I did a move.  And this time, I didn't do every single move, only because it just didn't seem like I had to and she still enjoyed it.  I did make sure to work in the new moves from this module and the one I liked the best was the move where you use the thumb and circle the inner side of the heel and then pull the thumb on the inner edge of the foot.  I like it because I like my clients description of how she said it felt: she said it felt like I was finding the tension and then pulling it up and out!  I just thought that was a cool description of energy.  She also enjoyed the circling at the top of the ankle and felt like I was pulling bad stuff out of her toes!! The one technique that I'm not sure if I got right (and I realize it's not supposed to happen "right" at first Smile I just felt like I need to watch the technique again) was when the knee is bent and you knead the sole of the foot with the thumbs.  I think I may have been using more muscle than body weight and I think I was in my head about it too much.  She said it was her least favorite, and I know we are not looking as to whether or not the client "likes" it or not, I guess it just made me think I wasn't doing it right. 
As I said, I've been getting to as many different people as I can to practice.  It's so cool how energy is felt in different places and it helps me to get out of my head as to "where" someone is "supposed" to feel something or "what" a particular move is "supposed" to help;  I have one lady in one of my yoga class who pretty much said that the feeling in her feet and hips wasn't really there (because of injuries and surgeries) She said she felt her feet "wake up" and she said she felt releases all the way up to her shoulders! A friend of mine said that she only felt energy up to her tailbone and then it just "stopped"' which made me feel that her hips needed releasing; My partner just fell asleep! Laugh So I'm just really enjoying all the different feelings and reactions! 
Looking forward to the next steps!

On a different note: I watched the video about velcro-ing 2 mats together. Should they be on top of each other to make them thicker or side by side for width?  Since the last time we spoke about it, I got a thick mat (not yoga mat) and after the 15 or so minutes of me doing the foot massage, clients backs hurt! On one hand, I'm wondering if it's "Western" (although I don't want to stereotype) and the way we sit or stand may have something to do with it, or it's just that I need more padding!  Is this an issue in Thailand? I feel I may want to invest in the ideal thai mat.
Thank you!  

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August 4, 2017 - 9:21 pm
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This so great that you are getting into the flow of it so early on. And the feedback you have been getting sounds pretty amazing too. You must be a natural at this! Yes, you don't need to get stuck in the mechanical sequence, although after a while you will easily remember every single move.

Regarding the mats, they should be side by side so that you have a larger surface. However this means that the mats have to be thick and comfortable enough for the client. A better mat will be very useful.

Here in Thailand people don't require very comfortable mats. That's never an issue here. Asians are used to sitting on hard floors and sleeping on hard mattrasses. Actually here in Thailand the mattrasses in guest houses are often so hard that I can't sleep on them. The Thais however don't have a problem with this.

Bottom line is that westerners need a little more comfort than Thais.

There is a supplemental video in this course coming up which deals exclusively with the mat issue.

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Regina Ward
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August 5, 2017 - 12:24 am
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Thank you, Shama! I actually think that's the one I watched (unless you are doing another one) I think it is as you said, we just need a little more comfort! Smile I will probably get another for underneath and another for making the mat wider!
Thank you and I am really enjoying this!

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Regina Ward
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August 7, 2017 - 8:13 pm
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Module 5

Really great stuff in this module! 
With each module, I feel like I am getting out of my head a little more and moving through the bodies that I am working on intuitively as opposed to mechanically. 
I actually watched the video yesterday and took notes, but didn't have a chance to practice on anyone until this morning where I had a chance to practice on 2 of my seasoned clients that I had not yet practiced on.  For both of them, I incorporated a bit of everything I've learned so far, continuing to layer on for practice.  My first client, I didn't really ask anything like I have with everyone else I have practiced on, I just did the session and waited for input after.  I practiced the new leg warm up moves, which I really enjoyed doing! At first (again) I wasn't using my body weight and I think that I wasn't in the right position when I was doing the inner thigh thumb rolling move; it caused my back to hurt a little bit (and wrist).  I feel like if I incorporate the two at the same time (using body weight and the thumb rolling movement), I won't feel either one as much as I did.  My first client said that it was perfect and it was better than some of the actual massages that she's had! What I learned from that comment was that it's all about energy as you said.  Clearly I'm not a trained massage therapist, and I'm not sure if it was better, but I think that the energy that was put into it was flowing beautifully through the both of us.  She also liked the quad press because it felt like the foam rolling that she dreaded doing herself because it hurts so much!
My second client, I actually started with the leg moves because most of the attention she needed was in the legs and hips. I got lots of verbal feedback from her (lots of ow! and ouch! sounds! Laugh) She said the song "Hurts So Good" came to mind! All the leg warm up moves caused some kind of sensation in her body. She like the quad press and the inner thigh thumb roll and mostly the IT band roll. With her, I really used my body to roll the outside of the thighs and it felt really natural.  She also gave some energetic feedback since she is familiar with chinese medicine and meridian lines, etc. The easiest way to describe her session (in her words) is that the whole practice I did today moved some things around on a cellular level, definitely opened up her chakras (she said she could feel a clear path from her root to her crown) and brought things together for her.  She also gave some feedback on how I can package Yoga, Reiki, and Thai Massage in my yoga space.
I am really enjoying this course and I'm glad that I made the investment. A few years back, a friend/colleague of mine who is a massage therapist said that I was good with my hands (I did a Reiki session with her) and that's when I kept trying to get into massage school for the 3rd time and things just didn't work out with timing/funds/etc. I think I connect with this much better! 

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Shama
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August 7, 2017 - 11:43 pm
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That's all really good news! This energetic feedback you got is quite fascinating with the chakras opening. It sounds like you have good practice partners. 

Interestingly enough I started my massage career in a similar way. I had friends who told me that I was good with my hands when I gave them a little neck rub. And I had already practiced some energy work. So from there it was an obvious jump to massage. In my case it started in Thailand. I liked Thai Massage more than western massage because of the similarity with yoga which I was practicing. 

Sometimes things just come together in the right way. Your massage school didn't work, but something else showed up that does work. Smile

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Regina Ward
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August 24, 2017 - 6:23 am
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Module 6

I've been on vacation so I'm kinda trying to play catch up! I actually viewed module 6 a couple of weeks ago, but didn't get a chance to really work on the move until the following week. I am just now getting a chance to post now that I am back. This leg warm up was kinda hard for me to get into because it didn't flow like the others did for me.  With this one, I think I got more caught up in the transitions than anything.  I do need to watch this one again after I get caught up with my lessons because I'm not quite sure I "got it" all that well.  I only got a chance to try it on one person and she pretty much said she could feel the "physical" movements that I was "trying" to do rather than any energy coming from it.  I did do the move where you lean back with the elbows on the IT band and she felt that one pretty well.  I think the main one with this one is that I need to practice on more people and watch the video again.  Also, I need to get my mind off of transitioning and figure a way to transition that feels natural and easy for me and for the client.  I know that it's not necessary to do all the moves all the time, but I at least want to get a feel for it! 

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Regina Ward
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August 24, 2017 - 6:34 am
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Module 7

Feels like we are getting into some deep stuff now! I really like where it's going!  It was hard to come back from vacation and see all the modules waiting.  It was kinda overwhelming to get back into.  I watched module 7 yesterday and have gotten a chance to practice on 3 people so far! I love all the moves in this module and I felt like I wasn't in my head trying to remember them.  I really like the foot move on the leg and so did each of my helpers! That move was a bit challenging on all of them because I am am at least a foot taller than a couple of them, so to hold the straight leg under the knee was hard to do.  I practiced on my personal trainer, who lifts very heavy but seldom stretches.  Needless to say, a few of these moves hurt her- in a good way!  My yoga client was very tight and some of her muscles were very tender and really hurt!  But after she said it felt like a release had occurred in her body which I thought was really amazing!  My trainer actually told me that if I hadn't told her, she would have thought I had been doing this for a long time! 
I still have 3 modules to catch up on, but it's easing up a bit because I get to practice everything together.  I am really enjoying this! 🙂

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Shama
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August 24, 2017 - 9:48 am
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That's a really encouraging comment from your trainer! Imagine how many such comments you will get when you are really good at the entire system! 

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Regina Ward
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August 25, 2017 - 7:31 pm
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Module 9

Really loving getting into the nitty gritty with these leg stretches!  I feel like I am meant for this work because I really am enjoying it! It's really amazing to see all of this come together for me (looking forward to Module 11 to actually see it) and I'm finding it cool to see and work with all the different bodies that I am working with.  Being able to use the modifications say, for example a person with a tight hip and not being able to do a certain move on it.  I just finished working on my client this morning and one of her hips was tighter than the other so the 90 degree adductor move wasn't too feasible on that side so I modified it.  I have practiced this module about 3 times on 2 different people.  My trainer, who was screaming with the stuff from module 8, actually said it felt better and was able to take more when I added on the new moves from module 9.  I really like the hip pie stretches and they really seem to be enjoyable for those that I practice on. From what I've been noticing, I'm not sure if folks in my area are really familiar with it and once it gets known more, it could really be of benefit.  I already feel like this is a part of me...like I can already call myself a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist! 
I'm getting ready to watch module 10 and will most likely get to practice today! When I'm practicing on folks, when there's time, I piece together everything from module 1 to present as if I'm doing a session, just to keep everything fresh! 
Really enjoying this course!! 

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Shama
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August 25, 2017 - 8:38 pm
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I am so happy to hear that you are enjoying this course! It seems to me that in your heart you are already a Thai Yoga therapist. The techniques will catch up with you! Smile

Even if the folks in your area would be familiar with Thai Massage, then you are still way ahead of it all, since you are now practicing a refined version of it, which incorporates elements of yoga like breathing, which is not known in traditional Thai Massage. This stems from my own yoga background.

Oh, and go easy on your trainer... LaughLaugh

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Regina Ward
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August 30, 2017 - 9:56 pm
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Module 10

I can't really say enough about module 10! I really enjoyed learning the last few leg poses and had fun putting them together with everything else I have learned. I think mostly I liked the adductor stretch where you move the heel and inch the foot for a deeper stretch.  I don't like to post until I've actually practiced the module and I got a chance to practice yesterday with my partner.  He is a bit biased and enjoys all the stretches, but he did give me one piece of feedback that meant alot.  He said that my transitions have gotten alot more "flowly"; He said it feels like I know more of what I'm doing now and it's easier to flow from one movement to another, whereas before, he said it was a bit awkward as I transitioned and was trying to figure out what goes where! Lol!  That meant alot because as I said before, when I watch the videos, I focus too much on how you say to transition, kinda step by step. Where that may be good for some, that kinda screwed me up a little.  So when I practice, I feel my way through the transitions while still keeping the client save and myself safe. 
It is totally starting to feel like a dance or a yoga flow! Smile

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August 31, 2017 - 3:43 pm
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You are catching on quite early in the course! That's a good sign! Smile

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