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Robert Rohlmeier's Thai Back Massage CEU forum notes
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Rob Rohlmeier
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September 20, 2016 - 8:46 am
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Module 10

 

I'm glad you keep emphasizing ergonomics because it's easy to forget about that when learning new techniques.  Also using phrases like 'sinking into the muscle" and "feel softness" help to set the stage for focused work - instead of 'shoving' or 'pressing'. I definitely appreciate the elbow techniques, not only because they are effective, but also because they are great wrist savers.  My fingers and thumbs still feel strong, but after 30 years of massage my wrists are just starting to stay sore through my massage work.  That is why I officially gave up table massage in August. So far Thai massage is a different story and I hope you continue to show 'hand alternate techniques.  

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Shama Kern
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September 20, 2016 - 1:32 pm
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I have a Qigong background like you and it is definitely very helpful for learning Thai Massage in a more refined way.

'shoving' or 'pressing' - that's not even in my vocabulary! Laugh

You know, after many years of doing often intense therapeutic Thai Massage, my wrists can't handle a lot of stress anymore either. That's why I kind of wrote the book on hands free work and hand alternate techniques. I needed to create a more therapist-friendly system for my own sake and that of my students. The way how traditional Thai Massage is mostly taught is a thumb and wrist killer. I have modified this considerably.

There is plenty of such material in the Thai Back Massage course, and I have two other courses which are all about that: Body Mastery For Massage and Hands Free Massage.

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Rob Rohlmeier
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September 24, 2016 - 11:25 pm
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Module 11

 

Mid back emphasis!

 

I greatly appreciated this set and so did my wrists!  Up till now, I haven't used knuckles much, but I like how they can be penetrating and also how they can be used with a relatively straight wrist.  My son loved the knuckles on the sacrum and now also loves them on the erectors.  Forearm work has really been enjoyable to my body.  I used to think they were too bulking and lacked the sensitivity to notice tissue changes, but now I'm feeling much more through them and feeling awesome tissue responses - so they'll be used a lot more often.  The technique of placing the clients shoulder over the seated therapists upper leg went well.  It was easier getting into that position than getting out of it.  It was a bit awkward sliding the leg back out, but the forearm along the two sen lines felt very good - the leverage was there with little effort.  That will be another favorite.  Emphasis on the mid back is great, that's where many of my most rope-like muscles are and that is also true for many of my clients.  It is good to have more treatment options there.

At this point it is hard to remember the many techniques in this routine.  They get jumbled together in my mind, so I am glad you emphasize that this isn't a rote routine, but we can pick and choose to make a nice dance-like rhythmic flowing treatment session.  I am transcribing the videos making a nice written flow chart that I use while working on someone.  Thanks for adding so many great tools to my toolbox.

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September 25, 2016 - 10:54 pm
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There is obviously no way to remember all the techniques after watching the videos once or twice. That's the big advantage of an online course over a live one. You can always go back and watch the material again until you really do remember them all. That can take months or years - it doesn't matter.

At some point I will get all the videos transcribed. I did that for my Complete Thai Massage course, and I created very nice, edited and illustrated transcripts. But it was a huge amount of work and took me about half a year to complete along with my regular work.

Knuckles and forearms are great on the back and I cannot even imagine doing a serious back session just with my hands, especially on larger clients.

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September 27, 2016 - 1:01 am
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Module 12

 

What a relief to have more knee and feet techniques.  These power techniques worked very well on my practice partner - who is a 200 pound muscle knot.  I was surprised at how easy it was to use the knee in the low back area and how effective it was too.  I like how I get to practice 'sensing' with body areas other than my fingers and thumbs.  As a qi practitioner, it is good practice to be able to emit qi out of these other body areas.  I like to think of my whole body as a radiant qi emitting source - this helps keep areas in my own body from becoming stagnant!  The upper back work I plan on using on all my clients, including my acupuncture patients who are treated on a table.  I am gaining a fond appreciation for the forearm and elbow techniques and am using them so much more since starting this course.  It is kind of like playing the guitar with your feet - at first it seems awkward then one day it feels so natural and easy to play or (work) this way.  The forearms and elbows are starting to feel like thisSurprised!

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September 27, 2016 - 3:04 am
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Great energy visualization!

Without those power techniques it would be very difficult to work on 200 pound muscle guys. I don't even know how small female therapists manage to work on large clients if they only use their hands. This is an area where Thai Massage really shines!

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Rob Rohlmeier
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September 30, 2016 - 10:09 pm
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Module 13

Sidelying!

I appreciated seeing you perform a Thai "session".  It helped me get a sense of flow so instead of thinking in terms of combined individual techniques, the treatment itself is one form - like Tai Chi!

The Thai techniques done in the sidelying position felt great to perform!  I thought they might feel more awkward, but it was easy to get 'in there' especially with using leverage of the arm against the knee.  In some ways it was more comfortable to me than with the client prone.

Although I didn't get much arching movement on my big, inflexible partner, I think the power technique of 'arching the back around the knee' was very effective.

I have been using many of these techniques on my acupuncture clients - right after the needles come out. Although the moves are modified slightly because of using a table, my clients are loving being my guinea pigsCool!

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October 1, 2016 - 12:12 am
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Interesting combination - acupuncture followed by Thai Massage. It seems like you are doing some trail blazing here! Smile

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Rob Rohlmeier
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October 6, 2016 - 12:23 am
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Module 14

 

Sidelying and back bends:

I found the sidelying position for scapula work very effective!  Why didn't I think of this?  The mobility of the shoulder girdle while in this position allows you to reach many angles of tissue surface especially reaching under the blade - love it!

I have to confess that some of the stretches observed during module 14 and 15 will take a little getting used to.  Not so much for the technical difficultly, but for the close proximity of the client in the different positions.  Having worked on a table for many years has naturally created a range of accepted boundaries with the client.  I know it is probably a culture thing, but having a client rest their hips on your knees will take some adjusting - mentally for both me and my clients.  I know intention and trust should be developed from the start, but time will tell if clients will allow some of these stretches.  I might be making a bigger deal of it than is necessary because I haven't actually tried them on a paying client who isn't a relative.Embarassed

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Rob Rohlmeier
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October 6, 2016 - 12:37 am
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Module 15

 

Spinal Extension (back bends)

 

I love the idea of these stretches and how they can be part of the seamless flow of the Thai massage dance.  In the past, I have incorporated some 'Active isolated stretching' into my table massage, but it didn't have the kind of flow that makes Thai massage so compelling.  It was also harder on me (the therapist) to stretch the client while on the table.  The leverage obtained and the moving and stretching that the therapist participates in while doing the 'Thai version' of stretching makes it therapeutic for both parties - I really like that aspect of it.

Trying the cobra stretches on my practice partner, who as you know is my muscle bound son, was entertaining - I barely got him off the ground in extension.  He did like the stretch where I reached under low back from other side (back bend #4).  All in all an amusing but educational session.  The stretching aspect will take the most practice, but will be very worth time spent learning.

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Shama Kern
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October 7, 2016 - 1:19 am
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Some time ago I sent a video around which addresses the touch issue which you brought up. Not sure if you saw that one, but you might want to watch it to get my take on this:

Touch Issues in Thai Massage

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Rob Rohlmeier
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October 12, 2016 - 2:59 am
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Module 16

 

More back bends and some forward bends.

 

I liked the "Pull back into Knees" stretch because it was fairly simple to execute. The "back over knees" wouldn't work on my practice partner, but it is one I would like to experience myselfYellSmile.  My partner said the "Pull back into feet" felt amazing and I liked doing that one too. I like when we can simultaneously stretch and massage - like with the first forward bend.  It felt both effective and efficient.

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October 12, 2016 - 3:13 am
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Module 17

 

These stretches are so cool...It truly is an art to watch how you obtain the best mechanical advantage for each stretch.  This is where Thai massage really outshines other massage modalities.  Even my shiatsu training didn't approach the stretches with such elegance.  Even though this aspect of TM takes more time to learn, I am definitely going practice these until it comes natural.  The side bend stretch was a big hit for my partner and I love the spinal twists especially the "hip-shoulder side twist".  What a significant contribution to the massage world to have these.  

I am going to get my first Thai massage tomorrow - a full two hour session.  I will let you know my impressions and what is similar and different from what you are teaching. 

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October 13, 2016 - 1:49 am
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I am looking forward to hearing about your Thai Massage session experience - I hope it will be a good one!

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Rob Rohlmeier
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October 16, 2016 - 8:28 am
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Module 18

 

Spinal twists are the bomb!  My practice partner loved all of them!  I realize that because I'm learning focused work on the back that it'll be more challenging knowing where to throw the stretches in to keep a nice flow.  I presume that in the full body Thai massage the client will assume the prone, sidelying and supine positions which will then set up an opportunity to throw in a stretch from that position.  The back protocol is mostly done prone with a little bit of sidelying so it won't quite flow as well to perform all the stretching at the end.  I guess I'll have to learn the full body Thai massage nextWink!

Receiving my first Thai Massage (2 hour) was a great experience.  The woman therapist gracefully moved me around and used quite penetrating, but tolerable compression techniques.  She used her feet a lot and shifted around maximizing leverage and ease to her own body.  She did some thumbing down the energy lines because she first learned the Northern Thailand version, but she prefers more of the southern (peasant) style which allowed me to experience a lot of stretching.  She spent a great bit of time on my hips, thighs and hamstrings and also on my shoulders.  I would've like a little more time on the back, but it all felt great, except on some of the stretches where she pulled from my wrists - the skin felt overstretched, pinchy and a bit nervey (not a real word).  So I like how you emphasize the hand locks with your stretches, where the client also holds on to the therapists arms, wrists, hands to lessen that uncomfortable pulling feeling.  Overall, it was a great experience and has made me even more motivated to learn more...

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October 16, 2016 - 8:56 pm
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I am glad to hear that you had a good experience with the session!

You are right, the back massage course is not meant to be a sequence by itself. It is just a total focus on the back. If you want to put it all into the perspective of a whole body session, then the Complete Thai Massage course would be perfect for that.

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Rob Rohlmeier
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October 20, 2016 - 2:12 am
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Module 19

 

I'm really fascinated with these stretches!  I just love the elegance and efficiency of their execution.  It's a science and an art - science of engineering by using leverage and optimal biomechanics and the art of gracefully getting in and out of the positions in a rhythmic flow.  The first combo stretch in this module is a great example of the elegance/efficiency I mentioned.  My client loved how great it felt and really helped lessen his back pain.  

The prone spinal twist I actually prefer to the supine version - it was just less awkward and more easily fits in to the back protocol because the client is already prone for most of the back work.  Combining it with the rocking and circling made it very relaxing and well tolerated by my practice partner.  Very good stuff!  Now to practice, practice, practice...

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Shama Kern
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October 20, 2016 - 3:54 am
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It is good to hear that you realize and appreciate the elegance and efficiency of the moves. This shows that you are on the right track and have figured out the spirit of the techniques. Smile

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Rob Rohlmeier
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October 22, 2016 - 3:50 am
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Module 20

 

More traction!

 

I have always appreciated the value of traction and have used it through the years with my table massage.  I like it's opening, circulation promoting action,both for nerve and blood flow, especially on the cervical spine, shoulders and hip joints.  Now with what you have shown us, I can effectively traction the low back and the entire spine with all the Thai massage trimmings like good leverage, ergonomics and flow.  It is more difficult to accomplish that doing table massage so thank you for these great techniques.  I'll probably use the seated traction techniques over the supine inverted traction just because they are easier.  So nice to have more tools for the toolbox!

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October 22, 2016 - 10:47 pm
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Yes, Thai Massage makes it much easier to do traction stretches. It's amazing what you can do when you can get on top of clients, under clients, easily move around them, and sit them up. No way to replicate all that on a table unless you are a real acrobat.

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