February 4, 2014
I am posting my experiences with the Thai Rocking Massage course and particularly its adaptability to the table. I've been doing massage therapy for several years in southwest Florida, the table I use is hydraulic, and the space I work in is small. Mat work is not even in the range of possible. My clientele are largely in the 60 and above age bracket, some simply not capable of getting down on the floor and back up again anyway.
MODULE 1: INTRO TO ROCKING
Module 1 introduces the five foundation rocking styles -- slow rock, fast rock, wiggling, circling and swinging. All these techniques are quite translatable to table work, particularly with an adjustable height hydraulic table. If one would be doing sustained rocking for more than a few minutes, I can see how the rocking techniques would be much more comfortable for the therapist on a mat, however.
I've done variations of these moves through the years (very Trager like), and I really like the mindfulness Shama brings to these simple yet profound moves. As I mentioned above, I work with an older population, and many times have noted how very restricted their bodies or parts of their bodies are. They can feel very board-like with the first few rocks, then you can see and feel their body's response slowly, sometimes very very slowly, loosen and soften. The body always wants to return to balance. I've never had anyone tell me rocking (appropriate rocking for that particular person) was uncomfortable for them, despite hip and knee replacements, neck rods, spinal fusions, ankle pins, shoulder surgeries, etc.
Interestingly, I used the gentle arm swinging technique yesterday on a woman with chronic lymphedema on her right arm after a double mastectomy. I employed the move both before and after doing some manual lymphatic drainage and other work. She commented after the session her wrist looked and felt "thin", she hadn't actually seen her wrist in a very long time because of the swelling. The arm swinging was the only thing I had done differently in this session.
With your experience it should be very easy for you to use these techniques, or at least the ones that can easily be done on a table (most of them).
These rocking or motion techniques are one of the main features which set my style of Thai Massage apart from standard or traditional Thai Massage, and they are also an essential ingredient to my success as a therapist. For older clients they can be much more useful than direct pressure moves. The older people get, the more restrictions set it, and in my experience rocking techniques are very effective, less intense or painful, and often more enjoyable especially for older clients.
I am glad to hear that you already had positive feedback from what you implemented so far. I think you will get lots of such comments especially from your type of clientele. Rocking techniques can inspire all kinds of creativity. There is so much that can be done with them.
February 4, 2014
MODULE 2: Chi Machine
Nice bit of synchronicity here, I actually purchased a chi machine about a year ago from Amazon after coming home too many days with my lower back barking after a long day of massages. It is a personal use model and was under $100.00 -- of course, the more expensive machines are quieter and have more features, but this little device gets the job done and really gets the chi moving through your body.
What is interesting, is I knew exactly what the chi machine motion Shama teaches in this module feels like and looks like, since I'd been using the purchased chi machine for months. I'd never even considered it a movement that could be duplicated manually.
I was doing the Shama do-it-yourself chi machine within twenty seconds as instructed with the hip movements on the mat. Easy peasy. I noted the motion moved through the entire body of the person I used it on, just as with its electrical counterpart. Amazing.
What wasn't so smooth, was attempting the Shama DIY chi machine while standing at the end of the massage table. It took some finessing and fussing, and it's a great deal more movement and work for the therapist, but I feel I did get an approximation of the move after trying bolsters, pillows, and yoga blocks to support my arms and wrists while holding the ankles of the receiver.
It's quite possible (if one has a short enough client or a long enough and sturdy enough table) to just climb up on the end of the table and execute the action same as if you were on the mat, which is just simply way easier than standing and doing the chi machine. It's what I ended up doing.
The receiver expressed being "chi"-ed on the floor felt much more stable, effective, and preferable, but then I was using a portable massage table for the adapted standing version of the chi, not nearly as solid as my hydraulic table at work. We shall see.
That's indeed quite a coincidence. In general most students have a bit of a challenge figuring out how to do the Chi Machine, but for you it was easy. I can imagine that it is more difficult on a massage table versus on the floor, but if you find a good way to do it while standing, please post it here.