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Robert Rohlmeier's Thai Back Massage CEU forum notes
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Rob Rohlmeier
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August 28, 2016 - 4:04 am
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Module 1

 

Great introduction to the course stating treating with a purpose.  Most spa type massage work is done by therapist’s going on ‘autopilot”, I like how you emphasized that we should make an effort to assess first and therefore have some idea of a specific treatment plan.  Treating both sides of the spine (since this is a course on back massage) the exact same way may not be in the client’s best interest especially if they have a rotational or scoliotic type of postural distortion – specific stretches to one side at a greater ratio over the other, may be indicated.  You brought out the 4 main postural distortions well in the video (exaggerated lordosis, kyphosis, scoliosis and rotation).  I like how you simplified the assessment techniques that reveal valuable information without performing time consuming or complicated orthopedic testing.  Looking forward to getting my hands, (feet, knees and elbows) on some live bodies…

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Rob Rohlmeier
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August 28, 2016 - 4:16 am
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Module 2

 

May as well comment on this one as well since I just watched the video…First off, the written transcript was most appreciated Laugh.  I enjoyed the review of the basic structures of the spine and the basic indications for Thai Massage.  Personally, I needed to hear your important point that we can’t fix everything and that clients have a personal responsibility to care for themselves.  As a long time acupuncturist, I still have a knack for being hard on myself if clients aren’t miraculously healed.   wondering if I could’ve done something better, or used a different combination of points etc…

I’m finally learning to step back and not get so attached to the outcome and just give what I can from the heart and let go….

I’m glad Thai massage acknowledges the energetic anatomy model as I feel it is a crucial aspect of our being to know about especially to affect people at deeper levels.  I realize you have a ton of stuff to read Shama – must occupy much of your day.  So I’m working on writing more succinctly…

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Shama
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August 29, 2016 - 12:07 am
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Hi Rob, welcome to the Thai Back Massage course and our forum community! Just to make sure that everything is nicely organized, please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list here:

Certification Check List

I already made one change for you – I added your last name to your display name to make you easier to find, since we have several Rob’s here in the forum.

Don’t worry about writing more succinctly – I actually enjoy reading all the progress reports.

As you noticed, I try to present a useful, but simple assessment system. Thai Massage is not based on the western anatomical and scientific model, but on the energy line model which you are obviously very familiar with as an acupuncturist. However the Thai sen lines are not identical with the acupuncture lines and points. Also Thai Massage includes sen line work, but it is not exclusively an energy line based approach.

I am looking forward to watching you progress with this course! Smile

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Rob Rohlmeier
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August 30, 2016 - 5:38 am
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Module 3

Hi Shama,

A couple of questions came to me while watching module 3.  Have you ever heard of the Egoscue method for relieving pain, realigning and strengthening the body?  Many of his exercises are borrowed from yoga, which I know you endorse.   His method is good at finding causal relationships to postural distortions and then performing the exercises in a specific sequence that fits the individual’s unique pattern of imbalance.  I won’t belabor the point, but just wanted to make you aware of him should you feel inclined to investigate… http://www.egoscue.com 

 
The other question is  -would a “body cushion” work ok for the pillow under chest and face support?  I already use one on my treatment table and think they would sit well on the massage mat for floor work. http://www.bodysupport.com/

I wanted to let you know that i found a vhs copy in my library of a guy name Rick Gold narrating a complete routine of Thai massage.  Looks very cool!  Don’t worry I won’t get mixed up with what you are teaching and that vhs, I just wanted to see some examples of what Thai Massage looks likeLaugh.

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Shama
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August 30, 2016 - 2:14 pm
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I am very familiar with the Egoscue method and I have two books about it. I have personally used it and have even integrated a few of his concepts into my Thai Massage training.

I am aware of several students who use body cushions. I have never used one myself, so I cannot give a qualified answer as to the practicality for Thai Massage. Just try it and ask for feedback how it feels. The one potential issue in my mind would be that the body cushion was designed for a static position whereas in Thai Massage you move people all over the place. That’s what you have to determine if the body cushion works well when you do stretches and body manipulations.

I know Rick Gold via our facebook connection. There are many good teachers out there and we all have our own styles and approaches and philosophies. You can certainly find nuggets from many teachers, and then you just have to see what you feel comfortable with and what works best for you personally. Ultimately you will have your own Thai Massage style as well! Smile

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Rob Rohlmeier
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September 1, 2016 - 4:11 am
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Module 4

 

Hello,

I can tell I’m going to love this type of work!  I have had some prior experience with rocking when I learned Chinese Tui Na from the rolling school.  They referred to the techniques as ‘oscillating’ and they also emphasized the importance of keeping that rocking rhythm throughout the session as much as possible.  It apparently has a parasympathetic activating effect and also beneficially stimulates body mechanoreceptors thereby inhibiting pain – LIKE YOU SAID in a few words:  “It feels good”!  I’m waiting for my Thai massage mat to get here in a few days, so I will try these 5 back opener techniques on all my acupuncture clients tomorrow, albeit on a table, and then report back with their feedback.  When my mat gets here then I’ll do the appropriate Thai floor form and work on my wife.  I like your thoroughness of explanation.  We CAN really get this without having to fly to ThailandWink!

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Shama
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September 1, 2016 - 10:58 pm
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Yes, that’s the idea – that course students really GET this without having to fly half way around the world. And on a side note, in depth Thai Back massage training as presented in this course is very difficult if not impossible to find in Thailand. Most Thai Massage training here is rather general in nature and designed for whole body routines. Our Thai Back massage course goes way beyond typical Thai Massage training.

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Rob Rohlmeier
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September 4, 2016 - 1:37 am
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module 4 continued…

 

Just wanted to check in and say I have now done the back warm up technique both on the massage table and on my new massage mat and can already notice a big difference in ease of application on the mat over doing it on the table.  Body weight does the work and it feels good to give it.  I thought crawling around and bending with more body parts would feel awkward, but so far it feels very natural…Looking forward to adding more – module 5 comes today – yahoo!

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Shama
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September 4, 2016 - 1:58 am
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I am glad you feel like that. Once you get used to working on the floor it becomes obvious that you have more power with less effort and better ergonomics since you can get right on top of people.

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Rob Rohlmeier
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September 6, 2016 - 10:55 am
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Module 5  Sacral work!

 

I have been working on my 24 year old son with these Thai back techniques and he is a beefy military guy who isn’t very flexible.  I went through the back warm up (module 4) and the introductory sacrum work and he was surprised by how many sore spots he had on his sacrum and SI joint line.  He also commented on how relaxing the rhythmic rocking motions felt.  He almost fell asleep both times I did this and he is pretty high strung.  He mentioned that his sacrum had a very pleasant, relaxed and warm feeling.  He is as eager as I am for the next modules to come…

I know it is early in the work so I’m not being too critical of my technique, but I will be glad when the techniques feel less mechanical and more synchronous – you know coordinating the variable pressure with the breathing and rhythm.  It’s coming along, but there is room for improvement.  Overall, I feel this work has made me excited about massage again – keep it coming…

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Shama
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September 6, 2016 - 9:55 pm
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I am happy to hear that! Smile 

The real synchronization does take some time to develop, so don’t feel that there is something wrong with not being perfect right away.Laugh

Almost putting a high strung military guy to sleep and him looking forward to new sessions is quite an accomplishment, I would say, especially so early on in the course!

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Rob Rohlmeier
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September 8, 2016 - 1:57 am
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Module 6 (sacrum continued…)

Hi Shama, I have a quick question which you probably will cover later when putting the routine all together, but here it is:  Do you perform the multiple sacral techniques on one side consecutively and then transition to the other side or do you do one then cross to other side or maybe a couple moves before changing sides?

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September 8, 2016 - 11:39 pm
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I do as many as I can comfortably do from one side, and then I switch to the other side. I try to avoid switching sides more than really necessary.

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September 9, 2016 - 10:59 pm
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Module 6 continued…

 

I really love this sacrum work and think it is a very important and usually neglected part of massage treatment.  I treat it often with acupuncture especially for pelvic area problems (reproductive, gynecological, urinary, etc…) because there are many reflexive effects.  So I suspect that in addition to sacroiliac pain and dysfunction, Thai massage can help the internal functional area as well. 

I really want to feel this done on me – That’s the downside to online training – no one to reciprocate.  I am scheduled to receive a 2 hour Thai massage in a neighboring town, but not until October. I personally have never had any Thai work.

I was a little confused about the difference between the first two elbow techniques – the first one is done with the ‘lower arm’ of the therapist so upper arm can rock the low back and the second one follows the edge of the sacrum with the ‘upper arm’, but I’m not sure what is different regarding therapeutic affect? 

I’ll watch the video again more carefully for clarification.  Module 7 comes todaySmileSmileSmile!

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Shama
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September 10, 2016 - 12:45 am
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So true, sacrum work is often very much neglected in massage in general, and that includes Thai Massage! In that sense I diverge from the traditional system with my style. I have added elements in several of my courses which you can normally not learn in typical Thai Massage training, like the sacrum therapy work.

You know, there are many techniques which I am teaching which I also never receive since I am the one who created those particular techniques. Going to a Thai Massage shop here in Thailand won’t help since they don’t know all the techniques which I am teaching. So that’s not just a dilemma for online learning, but it is a dilemma if you know something which is rather unique. Now that’s not really a bad problem to have! Smile

But in my experience the only way to receive some of those techniques which I am teaching is to train someone else in them. It is quite possible that the 2 hour session which you booked won’t include any sacrum work for example. This is not a standard set of techniques which every Thai Massage therapist is doing. I hope you will let me know how this 2 hour session turns out for you.

Regarding the therapeutic effect of various techniques – many times I am presenting various ways to do something. This does not necessarily mean that there is a distinct difference in therapeutic effects. It is just an advantage to have several options available in this work.

Not every technique works well on every client. It often depends on bone structure, muscle mass, size and similar factors when it comes to deciding which technique you will use. Look at the techniques as options to choose from, not as mandatory and rigid sequences.

The therapeutic effect in Thai Massage is different from the western anatomical concept of effecting a very specific part of someone’s anatomy. Instead Thai Massage is meant to re-establish the energy flow in a certain part of the body, like the sacrum for example.

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Rob Rohlmeier
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September 13, 2016 - 9:08 am
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Module 7

 

This is good stuff for mobilizing the SI joint and when combined with the rocking doesn’t feel too intense on my practice person.  The forearm work on the glutes felt great to my stiff, musclebound son.  He said that his legs moved much more freely when he walked around after the practice session.  Again, I am envious to have this done on me – I have to resort to leaning on a tennis ballCry.  I like how you cover the areas in the hips that typically harbor the most triggerpoints.  Rocking takes much of the ouch intensity out of the trigger point work.  Very thorough, and effective.

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Shama
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September 13, 2016 - 4:46 pm
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If you find someone who can do all these techniques effectively on you, let me know and send that person my way! Laugh

Yes, the rocking is a great way to diffuse the intensity of direct linear pressure techniques. Rocking, wiggling, vibrating, swinging, anything that creates more motion instead of linear pressure. Of course linear pressure has it’s place as well, so you need both.

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Rob Rohlmeier
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September 18, 2016 - 7:46 am
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Module 8

 

Using knees!

I really like using the knees in the glutes – it was so easy to get the penetrating pressure that some seriously tight bum muscles need.  Both knees into the glutes was easier to do than I expected and I could easily control the amount of lean pressure with my arms, while the alternating knee pressure with circular rocking was a bit harder to coordinate than expected.  Thankfully my practice partner can take deep work.  Also, the knee power technique went well and felt very effective to my practice partner and I liked the flow of doing that one too!

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Shama
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September 18, 2016 - 2:23 pm
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That’s what I love about Thai Massage – you can easily do very deep work without overstressing your own body. I have had large, muscular, heavy clients who needed or wanted strong work, and I did maybe 70 percent of the work with forearms, elbows, knees and feet. This can be a career saver because we will never run the risk of burning out our hands.

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Rob Rohlmeier
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September 20, 2016 - 8:32 am
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Module 9

Back work!

I appreciated your blurb on sensing with the fingers and thumbs.  I’ve been practicing qigong most of my adult life and developing heightened sensitivity appeals to me very much.  I hope you talk more about that in relation to the energy lines.  

I realize that a few techniques you show are ones I’ve already been doing, but on the massage table.  Palm rocking on the erectors ,for example, is a great one for openers to deeper work.  My practice partner raved about the double forearms to the low back and felt it was quite effective and penetrating on the quadratus lumborum which isn’t always so easy to get to, being deep to the erectors.

I will say more in the very next post, where I give my two cents about module 10 – I did these two modules back to back (no pun intended Wink)

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