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Roland's THM - course/experiences
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Roland
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February 11, 2013 - 3:30 pm
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hello again and thank you for the opportunity to get this education by online training (and a lot of private practice, of course)! for every video I get I will leave here a short comment to show my progress (or small problems, which could appear). Thanx for reading and for every comment in advance.

Video 1 – Introduction: I was glad, that terminology was very simple, as I started my “career” by learning the “massage therapist” in Austria, which includes a lot of theory about anatomy, I can tell you. A nice, gentle beginning of the course – like a good massage …

Video 2 – chi machine: my girl-friend is my “victim”, so it was surprisingly very easy to move her in the right way. of course, shamas hint of focusing on the hips of the client is essential, but, no problem. funny!

Video 3 – foot massage, part 1: I started to write down a manual, because you can’t just memorize all those techniques. so I give memorable names to the techniques and use the printed out paper to have a look from time to time when massaging, this helps a lot, especially in the beginning, I think. Laugh

good enough for my first entry. cu soon! roland

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Shama
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February 11, 2013 - 4:18 pm
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That was great for your first entry! Smile

You must have a natural talent. Most people find it challenging to get the Chi Machine right in the beginning. Did your “victim” find the Chi Machine enjoyable? If she did, you definitely did it right.

There are literally hundreds of techniques in Thai Massage. I never counted them, but I know that my Ultimate Shoulder Course alone has over 80 techniques, and that’s just for the shoulders. So the entire system has a huge amount of techniques.

It is a very good idea to write them down and name them in some memorable way. I have tried to do the naming thing in some of my courses, but sometimes I just run out of ideas with the names. Like the example I mentioned before, my Ultimate Shoulder Massage course with 80 techniques – how do you come up with 80 distinct names for all those shoulder moves.

You can come up with your own names in your own language, this will help you. And then you don’t have to worry if the names sound funny. Once you get good at Thai Massage, it will all become second nature and you won’t need the names anymore, but in the beginning this is definitely quite useful.

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February 12, 2013 - 9:00 pm
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thank you for the flowers, shama! but I have no talent at all. all I know at this point of my life I got through exercise and repetition. I was just lucky Laugh.

my girl-friend liked it very much! but I have to say, that this will only work, if somebody is able to relax completely, so this is not for everyone. even when people come to “normal” massage to me, some of them are like rocks in the desert; they have no idea, how to relax, even if you explain them how to do.

with the “technique naming game” I have very good experience. the more funny your ideas are, the better you remember the techniques. for example in video 3 (foot massage 1) there is a technique where you turn the foot of the client outside and push the leg slightly towards the hip, then turn it to the inside and pull the leg slightly towards yourself: I call it “corkscrew”

 bye for now,

roland Smile

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Shama
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February 13, 2013 - 5:17 pm
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I like the “corkscrew” Smile. You are right, funny and outrageous ideas are much easier to remember than more boring descriptions. 

And I do know the “rocks in the desert” too well. Some of them we will never be able to get them to the point of total relaxation. After all, it is not just the muscles that need to relax, it is also the mind. And some people are just not willing to relax their minds. 

That’s where we as therapists have to learn not to become too attached to receiving certain results. We can only try our best, but we have to realize that we are not the captains of the ships of our clients. 

What works best for the “rocks in the desert” types in my experience are rocking techniques since they are very difficult to resist. There is a lot more about that coming up in the course, and I even created a separate course just about rocking techniques. I use them a lot personally.

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Roland
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February 13, 2013 - 8:58 pm
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shama, thank you for your answer – there is a lot of wisdom in it, if I may say so!

your thoughts are my experience, too! – you cannot force a client to relax Laugh, and in the beginning I was a little bit sad about that (I always want to help people crossing my way). in the meantime I accepted it – you can only try do to your best. I offer a helping hand, but the client has to be willing to grab it.

to be honest, i am very courious about the rocking techniques, but one after the other – I am just in the beginning of a new part in my life. Smile

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February 14, 2013 - 12:16 am
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No rush with the Rocking course, there are quite a few rocking techniques in the THM course already.

This will always be a challenge for us – our sincere desire to help while not being attached to the results. That can be a lot harder to learn than the massage techniques. Smile

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February 18, 2013 - 2:53 am
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Video 4 – Foot massage 2

hint of Shama, that it is not important to follow exactly the course structure when practizing THM. I just have to stay creative, having a concept is necessary, so that I can do all stretch movements to work up and down the whole body, but I don’t have to do all the techniques in exactly the given order. that helps a lot and gives you a good feeling of being free in what you are doing!

 

Video 5 – Leg warm up

the techniques up to now are very easy, especially when you are already working as a masseur for years (like me). I am sure there are some techniques to come which will challenge me more. the biggest challenge always is to stay in a good mood and inner calm all the time when you are working on clients, giving them the feeling, that you can stretch time for them … Smile

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Roland
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February 18, 2013 - 2:55 am
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Shama said
No rush with the Rocking course, there are quite a few rocking techniques in the THM course already.

This will always be a challenge for us – our sincere desire to help while not being attached to the results. That can be a lot harder to learn than the massage techniques. Smile

that’s true, shama. there are some people I worked with, I would really like to know what’s going on in their minds and lifes after spending a massage session with me …

 

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February 18, 2013 - 12:32 pm
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That’s the right description – feeling free while you work. I have seen this in many massage schools here in Thailand, students have their eyes glued to their workbooks, and they try to memorize the exact sequence. If they skip one step, they are lost.

Actually when I teach live classes I do not allow my students to look at their workbooks all the time. Instead I talk them through the sequence so that they don’t develop a “have to follow the book” mentality. Anyway, if you skip or forget a technique, who cares and who knows? It is more important that you do the ones that you do remember correctly.

Over time and with practice you will remember them all. But there is no need to obsess about that in the beginning. Better to be playful and creative than mechanical.

Talking about easy techniques – the most challenging section is coming up very soon which is all the leg stretches. In general the challenge with Thai Massage is that there are hundreds of techniques in the entire system. It will take quite some time to learn them and especially to learn how to combine them correctly, how to know which techniques work best for particular clients, and how to modify them. 

That’ s why I am using this “one video every three day” system. I want it to feel easy and manageable in the beginning, not overwhelming and difficult, so that people stay with it and maintain their enthusiasm. The opposite approach would be to sell one huge DVD with 150 techniques all at once, and then leave people to figure it out by themselves.

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Roland
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March 17, 2013 - 6:43 pm
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Video 6 – Leg Warmup Forearm

for me, as an educated massage therapist, not the massage techniques itself are difficult, as most of them I know in a little bit different way; if you know about anatomy (and, to be honest, this should be basic knowledge to an ongoing masseur), it’s not hard at all to imagine, on which point of the body you are working exactly in your videos, shama. in fact, I can really “see” the muscles under the clothes and skin you are working on.

for me the difficult thing is – as I am used to work on a table – to work on the ground and get into the right position! this video is a good example: I am not used at all to get that close to the client (here: in between the legs) and find the right position to be as much comfortable for me (the working part) and as much comfortable for the client (the relaxing, enjoying part). the solution is  – to exercise (as always in life, in any direction).

(note: when you are working at the adductors in this video, it seems to me, that you are working on the hamstrings, too, shama, but you don’t mention it.)

 

greetz, roland Laugh

 

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March 17, 2013 - 7:25 pm
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Video 7 – Leg stretches 1

this was quite interesting, shama, as in the beginning you are talking about “body reading”, which is a fascinating part of massage from a therapeutic sight. I hope to hear more of it in coming sessions. In fact, I always use pillows to support the knee of a client, as I had nearly nobody who doesn’t need it at all. For reason of comfort its always better to use one, I think (gives the client a nice feeling that you take care of him, who doesn’t love that?)

roland Wink

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March 17, 2013 - 8:13 pm
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Video 8 – Leg stretches 2

for me, the important message of the video is, not to force any movement on the client. take your time. if the client is a stiffy one, maybe overweigthed, too – okay, let’s loose him up, use a rocking technique to warm-up the joint, give him time to get familiar with the position, don’t override him. make movements to the side, up and down, not only stretch the client, “stretch the time” he has to get used to the movement. you don’t need to hurry (in fact, you are not “allowed” to hurry, right shama?). not the number of techniques you used in the session is of importance (it’s not a competition!), the grade of good feeling the client shows in the end is telling you, that you gave a ray of light to somebody else).

I see it like this: I will spend one or two hours of my life together with a stranger now, so, in fact, he is a part of my life, isn’t it? This is the reason why I try to get out the most of this time of “togetherness”. If he is happy, I’m happy, that’s it.

 

roland

 

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Shama
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March 17, 2013 - 10:15 pm
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Re: video 6

It is interesting what you mention about anatomy. Here in Thailand practically no massage therapist knows much if anything about anatomy. Traditionally anatomy was never taught in Thai Massage training in Thailand. Instead the training focused on working with energy lines. This is changing now and the bigger schools are including some basic anatomy in their Thai Massage curriculum.

I have largely avoided anatomical language in this course since I have students from all over the world and I did not want to use words which some might not understand. I assumed that western trained massage students have enough anatomical knowledge already.

At the same time I did not want to push the anatomy too much since there is a tendency to look at the body through the “glasses” of anatomy and physiology. However Thai Massage is really built on a different concept of working with energy lines and energy flow. Anatomical knowledge is easy to acquire, however knowledge about energy flow, intuition, and sensitivity is not as easy, and yet they are the foundation of good Thai Massage. Ideally you would be well versed in both, the anatomy and the energy concepts.

Re: video 7

Body reading is an important skill to develop, and you will hear a lot more about it during this training. There is the “anatomy of a massage move” which you will be gradually introduced to. In session 35 you will learn some very useful communication tools, and in one of the bonus courses you will learn a lot more about developing your intuitive faculties.

Re: video 8

Good analysis of the module. And yes, you are right, hurry is a total massage session killer. It is a real letdown for the client if it feels that you are rushing through lots of techniques, and the client never really gets to experience one of them profoundly. Better use fewer techniques, and turn them all into a piece of art, with full awareness, sensitivity and attention.

In a hurried Thai Massage session the client feels that he or she is getting a massage, and nothing else. In a slow, attentive, profound session, the client feels like going to massage heaven while experiencing a major energy shift. That’s the difference.

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August 22, 2013 - 4:35 pm
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Video 9 – Leg stretches 3

It’s always amazing again, how much time shama expends to explain the correct position of a technique, including breath and how to use bodyweight to create strength.

One position – but a dozen of possibilities to move the client’s leg and give him a lot of different impressions of thai massage.

As you can hurt the client when giving him a stretch it’s really important to be aware of what the client’s body is ready to do – also an information, shama mentions a few times, and  I like that, as in Austria I took some thai massages, but it seldom was a really relaxing time for me, as most of the masseurs work in a very rough way …

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August 22, 2013 - 10:42 pm
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Video 10 – Leg stretches 4

First time it looks a little bit complicated to see all the stretches, but if you are interested in “stretching” in common (for sports) you get familiar with the possibilities to stretch your muscles very fast. so for this “leg stretch” videos you can prepare by giving yourself a trial for some stretch positions in standing and on the ground. the difference here is only, that you stretch someone else than yourself and you have to think about, how to manage that best. shama helps you by telling the best positions and what you have to take care about.

I had a little bit respect for the “blood stop” as it seems not quite natural to reduce bloodflow. as I tried this sometimes as a client myself, I know, it’s not dangerous, but by doing it the first time on a client I used to do it only for a few seconds. In the meantime I am relaxed when doing this technique: nobody complains about, in the opposite: it’s an interesting experience for the most of them.

so, don’t be afraid of some techniques – we have a trustful teacher, who knows what to do and how to handle it!

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August 22, 2013 - 11:04 pm
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I have heard this so many times, that Thai Massage therapists in the western world often work in very rough and insensitive ways. This is very unfortunate, since this is just not how Thai Massage should feel. At least you are learning a better way with this course. So you will be the one to prove that it can be done in a way that feels truly wonderful.

The “Blood stop” sounds horrible but feels great. Smile Once you know how to find the right spot and apply the right pressure, the client will experience a delightful tingling throughout the entire leg. However this effect only happens if you hold it for at least 30 seconds or even longer. In general clients love this effect. The only thing is that it can be a bit tricky to lean into the exact right spot with just the right pressure. Practice makes perfect!

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Roland
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August 23, 2013 - 11:40 pm
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Video 11 – Summary 1

although we saw all of the techniques in single videos, it’s good to see, how we can put this together to a massage session.

one of my problems in the beginning was a relaxed position change, not really the single massage techniques. but, at this point, I only can repeat my teacher: exercise, exercise …

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August 24, 2013 - 1:42 am
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Video 12 – Hip stretches

in this video, besides of the demonstrated techniques, another part is appearing to me very clearly: the intensity of body contact between therapist and client.

I know, when I finished this course and offering it to my clients, the following sentence will appear at my website: “thai massage – please note that, compared to classic (swedish) massage, the therapist will work with you in a very close distance. please don’t choose this option, if you prefer a less personal contact between you and your therapist”.

I am often surprised how close you will get to your client by using thai massage. this is, on one site, a very beautiful, natural way to take care of somebody ; but only, if “chemistry” between both of you is okay.

A very interesting aspect of thai massage, I think! This is very close to several kinds of therapeutic massage.

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August 24, 2013 - 2:13 am
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I would not notify clients that there will be lots of body contact! Because if you do that, they will think that it is a big deal and something they really have to make a decision about. I have done Thai Massage for 15 years now and I have never “warned” my clients about close body contact, and I never had anyone complain about it. I have been living in Thailand for all this time and no therapist in Thailand ever issues such a warning to clients.

If it is an issue in your mind, it will be an issue in your client’s minds. If you don’t make it an issue in your mind, then your clients won’t have an issue with it either. This is based on my 15 years of doing Thai Massage sessions with countless clients.

I would advise you not to place this warning on your website, because first you will lose lots of potential business, and second you won’t give people a chance to experience an amazing modality because now they are afraid of it. 

Don’t forget that people remain fully dressed during Thai Massage, whereas in Swedish Massage they have to undress. You wouldn’t put a warning on your website telling people that they have to get naked and if they don’t like that, they better not show up.

People understand that massage requires physical contact. In Swedish Massage they have to get naked, and in Thai Massage they can keep their clothes on but there is more physical contact.

You don’t have to use the most ‘intimate’ techniques with a brand new client. You can choose how you conduct your sessions. I can tell you with certainty that if you create an issue in your mind about this, you will create it in your client’s minds as well. Communication is not only verbal.

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August 25, 2013 - 4:52 pm
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before give feedback for the next video, I want to thank you, Shama. this is a really important point we “touched” here!

I know, of course, that the inner state of mind is a big part of a massage session. if you can’t create an atmosphere of trust between you and your client, the session won’t be good at all.

I know, that you are right, because you certainly have a lot of more experience than me in working with clients. I am used to it to deal with great care, when working on a client, but I clearly understand what you are talking about, shama: if you don’t let problems appear from the beginning on, they are not important any more – they are even not existing.

I will not “warn” clients in advance. Laugh

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