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Renee Gerber's Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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Renee Gerber
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July 12, 2016 - 9:51 am
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Module 1-Introduction

Here I am again!  I just couldn't resist taking another one of your courses--this time, the big one!!  I want to tell you I recently completed an in-person 60+ hour course locally.  Although the course covered many different techniques and the basic sequences of Thai massage in supine, prone, side lying, inverted and seated, it lacked something.  The instructor is very experienced and is a wonderful Thai massage therapist, and I learned a lot. But I seem to learn more easily though from your style of teaching.  You break everything down into simple steps and address things that other teachers don't even bother with. With you, it seems more like a one on one session.  And I love that we now have the transcripts for every module.  I'll still make my own notes though, especially keeping track of my practice experiences on my various partners.

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Shama
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July 12, 2016 - 11:37 am
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I am really happy and excited to see you back in the forum. I think you are on course number six now! This time you have THE BIG ONE, for sure! Laugh

I sooo appreciate your comment and your appreciation of my work!!

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Renee Gerber
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July 14, 2016 - 9:34 am
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Module 2 Chi Machine

I've been dying to find out what Chi Machine is.  So now I know!!!  Since I can't sit back on my knees, I tried kneeling and sitting back on 2 duct-taped yoga blocks under my sit bones which is ok for about 30 seconds.  Then I tried sitting on the 2 blocks with my knees wide and feet on the floor.  That seemed a little better.  Today I worked on my dear friend who is VERY heavy.  The Chi Machine worked pretty well up to her shoulders, but her head was not moving at all.  Also without proper support for my arms, it was very tiring.  She said it felt really good though.  She took a picture of me in the second position, but I don't know how to attach a picture to this post.  I see there is an "insert/edit image" feature, but I can't figure it out.

Later today I tried Chi Machine on my husband on the massage table.  He is really uncomfortable in supine because of his spinal stenosis so I just did it a few seconds.  I was able to get his entire body to move at least.  Then I had him do it to me.  WOW!!  that really does feel great.  I definitely felt a buzzing throughout my body when he stopped.

I'm determined to practice Thai massage on the floor and even though I thought I wouldn't be able to, I can adjust many of the positions to accommodate my cranky knees.  

Renee

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Renee Gerber
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July 14, 2016 - 9:45 am
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Support Material Lesson 1- toes, ankles, quads stretch

This came at just the right time.  I am hoping that if I follow your suggestions, I might just be able to sit back on my heels again.  My toes and ankles are flexible and pain free, but my darn knees hurt so much when I try to bend them deeply.  🙁  I'll try kneeling with the yoga blocks as I described in the previous post a little bit longer each day.  When I practice child's pose (I have been practicing yoga) I put a rolled up blanket behind my knees to give me more space in the joints.  That really seems to help.  I'll try that when sitting back on my heels.  But I really have to move slowly.  Gradually.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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Shama
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July 14, 2016 - 9:42 pm
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This is a very common issue when people start practicing Thai Massage on the floor. Our western bodies are not used to these positions whereas in Asia they grow up sitting like that. The good news is that I have had many students who thought they couldn't do it, but when they practiced the kneeling and squatting positions for a while, even people with cranky knees could get comfortable with it. You just have to get used to it slowly. If you try to push it, you will injure yourself. That's why I have a whole bunch of these support videos in the course to help you with this adjustment.

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Renee Gerber
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July 19, 2016 - 7:38 am
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Module 3 - Foot 1

These techniques were very similar to the ones I learned in the "in person" TM course I recently completed--only much better!  For example, the alternate out bending of the feet is much more pleasant than doing it on both feet at the same time.  You also stress going easy at first.  By the way, the first Thai massage I got was not a pleasant one--the first thing the therapist did was the out bending of both feet simultaneously and it was shocking and downright painful.  

Since I can't sit back on my heels, I sit cross legged for the first 5 techniques and that works pretty well.  I'm having a bit of trouble with circular foot bending, squeezing, twisting technique, just as you said we would.  But I feel competent doing the other techniques.  

The supportive sitting position for push, pull, rotate and inversion/eversion is very comfortable for me.  I'm sure I need to practice more, because I didn't get ANY feedback from my partner.  I want this to feel amazing for the receiver.  She just said it was "ok."  At least I didn't hurt her.  haha!  Tomorrow I get to practice with an experienced Thai massage therapist.  He always gives me the best constructive feedback.    And he also likes learning the moves he's never experienced before, especially those from the HHM series, i.e. the specific neck work.

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Shama
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July 19, 2016 - 10:54 pm
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It always pains me to hear that Thai Massage therapists work in an insensitive and painful way. It's not the Thai Massage - it's the therapist! That person who worked on you obviously couldn't FEEL what was going on in your body. And this simultaneous bending out of the feet can be dangerous, especially for people with tight hips and bad knees.

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Renee Gerber
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July 25, 2016 - 7:18 pm
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Module 4 - Foot 2

That was so helpful--to remember the 8 ways that we move the foot!  Then the techniques make sense.  The additional techniques on the sole, top and edges of the feet were easy to do and I got good feedback. I needed a pillow to support my partner's knee for the bent knee sole work.  Making sure the client can relax in each position makes all the difference in their experience.

I'd like to go back and comment on Chi machine.  Because I can't sit back on my heels (yet!), I modify and sit back on 2 yoga blocks.  It seems that I'm too high and the client's knees hyperextend.  I tried just jostling the client's feet as their heels rest on the mat.  I sit cross legged comfortably and jostle the feet back and forth.  I am able to get the client's hips moving and even the shoulders if I get a good rhythm going.  It's pretty effortless on my part.  I love this move and feel it's really important to get the energy moving even if I can't do it the official "Shama" way.  What do you think?

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Renee Gerber
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July 25, 2016 - 7:33 pm
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Support Material Lesson 5

Unfortunately I am unable to squat the way you demonstrate in this video. It's been about 10 years since I've been able to squat or sit back on my heels or even come into child's pose in yoga.  I'm afraid it will take 10 years to get this ability back.  🙁  I've been regularly sitting back on 2 yoga blocks--maybe I'll eventually sit on one block, then NO block!  I wouldn't push it normally, but so many of the Thai techniques would be easier to do if only I could sit back on my heels.  I try not to stress about this and just go with the flow.

I was just wondering is this what you'd like us to do about the support material lessons?  Just comment in this thread?

I don't know what happened to Lessons 2, 3 & 4!!!  I'll have to look for them again.  

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Shama
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July 25, 2016 - 11:32 pm
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If you get the Chi Machine to work in a modified version, that's fine. You won't quite get the same effect, but it still might be good. You can also do the Chi Machine while sitting cross legged.  You might try that one too.

For certification purposes, you don't need to comment on the support lessons. Only the 35 main training modules are required. However you are free to comment and even welcome to do so if you have questions or want to share something.

You can see if the flexibility of your ankles and legs improves with gentle and regular practice. If this does not happen, then you either need to improvise, like you are doing already, or if all else fails, adapt Thai Massage to the table.

If you are missing modules, let me know and I can re-send them.

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Renee Gerber
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July 26, 2016 - 8:41 am
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Module 5 - Leg Warm up

Hi Shama!

First, I just want to let you know I found support lessons 2 and 4 (massage mats and loose wrists), but do not find lesson 3.  Maybe I inadvertently deleted it.  What was the topic?  I usually read every email as soon as I get it.  I don't recall receiving any other support lesson. I know I'm doing too much and my mind is on 20 different things at the same time.  I'm going away on vacation next week for 2 weeks.  This takes a lot of planning.  I am struggling with caring for BOTH of my parents who have Alzheimer's Disease. 🙁  My son, his wife & baby will stay in my house to care for them so I can have a nice vacation with my husband.  By the way, my mom loves when I give her some gentle massage or holds (which I learned in your HHM course).

Ok back to Module 5.  These techniques went over very well and I got some good feedback.  I need to remember to keep my arms straight when doing the butterfly technique and only lean in SLOWLY.  It is really uncomfortable for the receiver otherwise. And for the squeeze & roll on the calf, I need to make sure not to squeeze with my fingers on the tibia bone.  The fingers need to go on the tibialis anterior muscle. Right?

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Shama
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July 26, 2016 - 10:28 am
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I re-sent support module 2 - there are two reminder videos in there about backing up the videos and certification.

If you go on vacation, I could put the course delivery on hold for you, or you just keep the emails in a separate folder and open them whenever you get to them. It doesn't matter if it takes you longer to complete the course - you own it for life. So don't stress yourself about keeping up with the course materials.

You are right on both counts: You need to lean in slowly so that you can feel what's going on under your hands, and you definitely don't want to squeeze with the fingers on the bone.

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Renee Gerber
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July 26, 2016 - 6:23 pm
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Thanks for sending the support module about backing up the videos.  I have been backing them up as I download them.

I think it would be a good idea to put the course delivery on hold actually.  Let's say until September 1st, ok?  Thank you so much for always responding so quickly and for being so accommodating.  

Warm regards,

Renee

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Shama
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July 26, 2016 - 9:18 pm
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I am happy to help. So if I understand you correctly, you want to stop the course delivery as of today, is that correct? 

As far as the resumption is concerned, you would need to send me a message to start it up again. I cannot automate this. I have to do it manually, and if I rely on my memory or on notes, chances are that I might forget. So I can easily stop and start delivery as long as I get notice on the same day when it is supposed to happen.

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Renee Gerber
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July 27, 2016 - 8:29 am
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Dear Shama,

Yes, let's stop as of today.  I received and watched Module 6 and will practice and post in the forum about my experience in a few days.  Then I'll email you when I'm ready to begin again.  Auf wiedersehen! 

Renee

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Renee Gerber
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July 27, 2016 - 6:26 pm
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Wait!  I received Module 7!  I'll view the video and will have a chance to practice the techniques tomorrow.  So I will be able to report my progress/difficulties before my vacation.  So we'll start with Module 8 when I am ready to begin again in September.  🙂

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Shama
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July 28, 2016 - 1:38 am
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Now it's definitely on hold. 

I hope you have a good, relaxing vacation. It seems like you really need one!

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Renee Gerber
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July 30, 2016 - 8:29 am
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Module 6-Leg warm up with forearms

I am so happy I got to practice these techniques with a massage therapist instead of a family member or friend.  What was great about this particular session was that I was able to position myself the way you demonstrated with my annoying knees getting in the way.  I had all the moves done to me first, and then I practiced on my partner.  He said it all felt so good.  I remembered to work with my whole body and then it becomes quite effortless.  Actually my partner had to remind me a few times to use my whole body.  That's why he's such a good partner--he gives constructive feedback.  I had trouble remembering how to transition between the different areas of the thigh.  I had to keep referring to the video over and over.  I have to say it is very helpful to have the transcripts printed out.  Next time I practice these moves I'll refer to the transcript and not on the video.

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Renee Gerber
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July 30, 2016 - 7:41 pm
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Module 7 - leg stretches

I really appreciate the hip evaluation via the feet, which is a review for me being a physical therapist.  It is a good reminder to evaluate first before diving in (which is what normally happens when I receive a massage).

I was able to practice these techniques the other day on my massage therapist partner, and also on my daughter and husband.  I was able to do these stretches comfortably and my partners loved the stretches as well.  For my husband I used the rocking alternatives and he was actually able to tolerate being in supine for more than 5 minutes.  I appreciate that you provide alternatives for not so flexible people.  I also learned that if hubby is on a well padded, softer mat, he can tolerate supine better.  I usually practice with my various partners on a fairly firm mat on the floor.  It didn't even occur to me that the firmness of the mat contributed to his discomfort. 

The only issue I had was with my daughter.  During the stretches with one leg held in 90 degrees and I hold the foot of the bent leg, my daughter complained I stretched the skin on the top of the foot too much.  I couldn't find a comfortable hand hold.  Any suggestions?

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Shama
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July 31, 2016 - 9:04 pm
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The very next supplemental video will show you an alternate way of doing this stretch where you don't have to hold the foot like that.

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