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Richard Bove Complete Thai Massage Progress Report
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richardbove
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February 12, 2024 - 5:59 pm
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Module 1

This is my first class I have taken on Thai massage. I am very excited to be starting this course and adding this to my list of services once I complete the course. Today in Module 1 I learned the anatomy of a Thai massage move. Using the proper techniques, ergonomics and how important it is to have your breath incorporated into the massage moves.

I live in the USA and a lot of Thai massage I have seen is on the table, but I am now seeing the benefit of doing it primarily on the floor. It seems like it will be better for my body, and the client will get a better experience. Doing Thai massage on the floor allows me to use my body weight and not strain. Thai Massage does not work with the muscles, but uses body weight instead which is why massaging on the floor is preferable. I also learned that Thai massage is not so much anatomy based.

Since I primarily only do western massage at the moment, I am usually basing my massages off of anatomy alone. It will be interesting to try something new. Thai Massage is about letting energy flow. The energy starts in the naval and Thai massage helps free up that energy to allow it to flow better. There are also many different moves that are involved in this type of massage such as compressions, traction, stretching, twisting, rocking, percussion, kneading, thumbing and holding.

Thai Massage also allows the massage therapist to use different body parts to massage. I am used to just using my hands and forearms so it will be a learning experience for me to use my feet and knees. Currently I massage clients in a supine, prone, or side lying position and am excited to learn the techniques of the sitting position. Overall, what I learned from Module 1 is a nice introduction to how this course will go. It was very thorough and I am looking forward to the next module.

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Shama Kern
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February 13, 2024 - 12:54 am
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Hi Richard, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program. First, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our Certification Checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

You wrote an informative and extensive review of module 1. Just from reading it, I get the impression that Thai Massage will work well for you. I am looking forward to following your progress.

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February 13, 2024 - 8:54 pm
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Module 2

Today I learned about ergonomics, the chi machine technique, and what it takes to perform a Thai massage Move. A Thai massage move requires a good mindset, the correct ergonomics for the technique being used, a good attitude, and good breath work. Ergonomics is having the correct body position for the particular technique being utilized. As the massage therapist, you must be totally relaxed and not hold tension in your body while massaging or it can transfer to the client.

The Chi Machine technique helps activate and stimulate energy flow in the client's body. The client lays in a supine position while the Therapist is kneeling. The massage therapist places the client's heals on the center of their thighs a little towards in the inside and rocks side to side. The important component is ensure the client's hips are moving. If the client's hips are moving it will make their whole body move from head to toe. This move will help the chi flow through the body and the client should feel a tingling and warm feeling throughout their body. Since their whole body is rocking back and forth, this technique will also feel great on their back. The Chi Machine Technique should be done for roughly 1-2 minutes and should slowly stop and never have an abrupt stop to the move.

I tried this technique on a fellow massage therapist and they told me that they felt the warm and tingling feeling in their body and it helped them feel relaxed very quickly. I am very excited to learn more moves in the future. 

Lastly, I learned there is no difference in Thai Massage, Thai Traditional massage, and Thai Yoga massage. However, Thai yoga massage is more of a western term and is not used elsewhere. 

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Shama Kern
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February 14, 2024 - 7:43 am
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I am glad that you got the Chi Machine to work right away. This technique is unusual and typically requires a little more time to get it right.

If you work on a floor mat, sometimes it can be hard to sit on your feet for a while if you are not used to it. You can probably get the effect of the Chi Machine with a one minute routine already.

Are you working on the floor or on a table?

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richardbove
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February 14, 2024 - 8:56 pm
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I am currently working on a mattress topper that I place on the floor with a blanket over it, but am going to be purchasing a thai mat this month. 

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February 14, 2024 - 9:42 pm
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Did you see our video about purchasing a Thai Mat? If not, here it is:
How to choose a mat for Thai Massage

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February 17, 2024 - 4:42 pm
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Module 3

Today I started to learn about foot massage in Thai massage. It is important to use your body weight and not your muscles when doing all of these moves. It is better for your body to do it this way. It is good to start at the feet for Thai massage. The foot connects to many organs in the body and from the video, it seems like there are a lot of good starting moves for the feet while having the client in the supine position. The first impression is important too, so when starting the massage at the feet it is super important to have a nice gentle touch and make sure it is not abrupt.

I was able to practice these moves on a friend. I made sure to use my body weight and it took a few times to get that down because my body naturally wanted to use my muscles instead of my body weight. But I am sure with practice it will get easier. The one move I was struggling with was the push-pull rotate technique. I am still not sure what is confusing to me but I am not fully using my body weight and feel my muscles activating when performing the technique.

Overall, my friend stated the foot massage moves were very relaxing and they enjoyed it. I am looking forward to being able to practice these moves more later this week!

I also was very thankful for the Thai massage mat video. I have not bought a mat yet, but this video was very helpful. I assumed the mat was supposed to be very thick but now I am seeing a firm mat a little higher than the floor works best. 

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Shama Kern
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February 18, 2024 - 12:05 am
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"My body 'naturally' wanted to use my muscles instead of my body weight"  -  After a while, your body will 'naturally' want to use body weight instead of muscle power. It's a question of retraining your body and mind. Smile

I am glad that the mat video helped you make the right choices.

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February 20, 2024 - 6:43 pm
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Module 4

Today I learned more methods of foot massage. We used conceptional learning since it better suits Thai massage rather than mechanical learning. Looking at the foot and seeing all the areas to massage and all the ways you can move the foot, I learned 8 ways to work with the feet. After some practice from the last module, these massage moves came a little bit easier to me. Something in the video that I think helped me with this module was was remembering to not just learn the technique, but paying attention to the feeling of my body and the client's. It made Thai massage feel much more intuitive. I am used to western style massage where I am using intuition but also relying heavily on the mechanics of a massage move. This has been a learning experience and I feel it getting a tiny bit easier the more I practice Thai massage.

Practicing with my friend has been very helpful. They stated they noticed the foot massage had more of a smooth flow this time than the last time we worked together. I plan to practice these foot massage moves at least one more time before the next module coms out. 

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February 21, 2024 - 4:39 am
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"I am used to Western-style massage where I am using intuition but also relying heavily on the mechanics of a massage move." - The intuition side is something that is used more in Thai Massage than in Western massage, primarily because Thai Massage uses holistic concepts. You watch the whole body and see how moves on a specific area relate to the whole. Also the sen line therapy, as you will learn, is very much a holistic concept.

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February 24, 2024 - 4:05 pm
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Module 5

Today I learned some leg warm up techniques. Firstly, it was said to just use the techniques that feel right for us or a technique that the client might like instead of trying to do all of them. I got to practice on two friends this week and picked foot and leg techniques that would work best for each of them instead of trying every single one I have learned thus far.

The butterfly technique felt great to both of them. I put their foot over mine and then knelt down, locking their leg into a straight position. I made sure my arms and back were straight and put my palms on their quadriceps in the shape of a butterfly and leaned forward making sure to use my body weight instead of engaging any muscles. I also put one hand over the other and repeated the move. 

It was also nice to see that some of the foot techniques mimic some of the leg warm up techniques. It is helping all of the lessons come together in my mind. Just like we rolled the foot in a previous module, I rolled the leg by blocking their foot to ensure their leg was in a stable position in a 90 degree angle, placed my thumbs on their calf and rolled up, squeezing the muscle between my thumbs and fingers.  when working on the thigh adductor it is important to be aware of the adductor tendon because it can be sensitive. when working on the IT band with the rolling technique, the leg will be in a stable straight position. 

Overall, I feel like I learned a lot this module.

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Shama Kern
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February 24, 2024 - 11:33 pm
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You are right, many techniques will be repeated in a similar way for other areas of the body. It's not that every technique in the course will be something totally new and different.

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March 1, 2024 - 5:03 pm
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Module 6

Today I learned about leg techniques using forearms. I was excited about this because I use my forearms a lot in my current massage work. Thumbs should not be used more that necessary to ensure we are not hurting our own bodies while massaging. 

Putting their left leg on your left leg (or right leg on your right), you can use your forearm at the top of their thigh and slowly and softly sink in with deep pressure while only using body weight and not using any muscles. Moving down the thigh with this move you can get about four or five moves in until getting towards the knee. This is also where sen line 1 is approximately located

Moving on to the inner thigh, move their leg out and pivot it, resting their foot on your inner thigh. This will help work on sen line 2. It is located in the groove between the quads and the adductor muscle group of the inner thigh. Stabilize their leg with your other hand and take your forearm and move down the inner thigh and work down as before.

Sen line 3 is located around the lower edge of adductors. Lean in with your forearm and then roll your forearm. It is important to use your whole body for this movement and not just your arm. 

The next move we put the leg back into the straight position and then rolled it inward. This move took me a little more practice than the others especially working on the IT band by pulling my arm towards myself. 

The gentle calf rotations were great for my friend I practiced on this week because their calf muscles are very sensitive and they stated it was a great way to start before applying more pressure.

Overall, I feel like there was a lot to cover in this module but I learned a lot of valuable techniques

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March 1, 2024 - 5:22 pm
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Module 7

Today I learned about Leg Stretches. something important we talked about were which stretches you can do on a particular client and which ones you cannot. Every body is different and not every body can do every stretch. Some are more flexible than others and certain people have different ways their hips are rotated and different postures. The angle of the feet tell the massage therapist the condition of the hips. 

The first move was something that my co worker I worked on today said felt great. I took their leg and pivoted it, placing their foot against their other leg and elephant walked up and down the thigh and calf and then the opposite way. The points on which to elephant are 1,2,3,2,1. As with most of the moves it is very important to use body weight. 

The Butterfly triangle stretch was similar to another technique I remember learning in another module. My coworker was able to handle this one pretty well, but there was some restriction and the stretch could not go too deep. This is when I started gently rocking. 

I still need some more practice using my feet on the thigh. I am not used to using my feet as a tool yet, but I know the more I practiced the easier it will get. I will be practicing these specific moves again tomorrow so I can better understand them.

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March 1, 2024 - 10:02 pm
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True, if you have never used feet before it feels a little strange in the beginning, but after a while it will feel perfectly normal. Thai Massage is a holistic whole-body system for both the client and the therapist.

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March 6, 2024 - 5:21 pm
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Module 8

At the beginning of this module was a good reminder for me. That we do not have to use everything we are learning in every module. I find myself trying to perfect these techniques too fast. I am working on seeing what techniques work for specific clients/friends. As I have stated in previous posts, I am very used to western massage so figuring out what works on who has been a fun learning experience.

We used conceptual thinking for the hip. If the hip was like a pie it would be split into 8 sections. The Hip pie will help me remember techniques more easily. 

I really enjoyed the calf muscle techniques. The friend I practiced them on stated that they felt great. I also appreciated learning how to stretch the client out as a smaller therapist since I am smaller than a lot of my clients. I sometimes Find myself struggling with some of the Thai massage moves but I am still learning and perfecting the body mechanics of it all. I am trying to constantly remind myself not to engage my muscles but to use my body weight.

Overall I feel like the Hip Pie technique was the easiest for me to remember. I think it is the visual of it all. I am slowly being able to piece everything together and feel myself getting better with every day that I practice.

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March 6, 2024 - 5:32 pm
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Module 9

In this module we learned more about the hip pie techniques. I have a co worker who I practice on that has very tight adductors, and it was helpful to bounce the leg at first rather than just push it down to stretch, as stated in the video it is harder for the muscle to resist the bouncing movement rather than pushing. I notice that most of my clients have very tight adductors, so I think a lot of these Thai massage moves will be perfect for them once I get more practice in. 

I have a few people I practice, and I have been modifying moves for each of them depending on their problem areas, how flexible they are, and what their massage goals are. Working with different body types has been very helpful in understanding these concepts more. And like in the last module, I am glad to see there are alternatives for shorter therapists with taller clients.

The Spinal stretch was something that everyone I practiced on this week loved. I made sure to go gentle, but even with going gentle my co workers stated how it was still a very intense stretch. 

I also learned the proper way to execute these stretches by having full awareness, correct breathing, using my whole body, using correct ergonomics, and ensuring I am working with my body weight.

I also liked the 1 to 10 method when it comes to these techniques. I think it is very important to always communicate so the client gets what they need.

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March 6, 2024 - 11:57 pm
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"I have a few people I practice with, and I have been modifying moves for each of them depending on their problem areas, how flexible they are, and what their massage goals are. Working with different body types has been very helpful in understanding these concepts more."

That's an excellent practice situation and the ideal approach.

"I also learned the proper way to execute these stretches by having full awareness, correct breathing, using my whole body, using correct ergonomics, and ensuring I am working with my body weight."  -  As you see, there is a lot more to a technique than the mechanical movement.

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March 14, 2024 - 3:48 pm
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Module 10

Today we learned about the anatomy of a Thai Move. This involves basic technique, correct body posture, softness of touch, correct breathing, and focus on the hara. The hara is life energy located at the naval of the body. When working on a body part even if it is not the naval, your attention should be on the whole body including the hara since that is where the energy flows from.

I also learned some new leg stretches. The Spinal twist one was a little complicated for me, but I know with more practice it will start to make more sense. The more gentle spinal twist and the adductor stretch was a little easier for me to grasp the concept of. 

We also talked about the effects of blood stop. warming, improving circulation, increases chi flow, and pleasant tingling sensation.

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March 14, 2024 - 3:54 pm
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Module 11

This was the summary of the supine lower body. This module was to help me bring the flow together which I was really excited for. I was able practice on a co worker today after learning a good flow and making it my own and they stated that they really enjoyed it. Some points that I remembered while creating my flow with this client is to always make a good first impression. I made sure to start at the feet and rock their body. I also made sure to have correct body posture. I struggled with this when I was learning specific moves, but once I was in a massage flow it started to come a lot easier to me. 

My client was taller than me and not that flexible so I had to make sure to modify the moves so that they worked for my client's body and so I was not hurting my body by engaging muscles. I really appreciated in prior videos learning how to do certain moves as someone who is smaller because it has come in handy. 

Overall they really enjoyed my massage and I am excited to continue to learn more and create a better flow. 

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