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Sabina Magnus ~ Complete Thai Massage Therapy Course Notes
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Sabina Magnus
Quadra Island, BC, Canada
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January 17, 2022 - 1:48 am
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Module 1 

In this intro module I found reassurance that Thai Massage is exactly the kind of healing tool I wanted to learn!  As a yoga teacher I am aware of the connection of body motion and flow of Prana (breath). It was enlightening to experience how the entire physical work (the massage process itself) changes, when the focus is on that connection, rather than just of the mechanics. 

Prior to this introductory session I did a couple of massage techniques (which I found in a random Thai Massage book) on my partner and I have to admit, that I was quickly exhausted. Now I realized that I worked way too much with my hands and arms. I felt how my entire body tensed up and I got pain in my shoulders and in my back. But with the new gained awareness to use my body weight in alignment with the breath the "work" becomes so much more fluid, easy, energizing, nourishing, healing and enjoyable (even for me as the giver).

Overall I experienced the importance of my personal mental, energetic and comfortable physical state (e.g. the way I sit) as a foundation for a beneficial session for my client.....and myself. 

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Sabina Magnus
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January 17, 2022 - 2:06 am
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Module 2 

The Chi Machine! I liked it, but my partner loved it! 🙂

Thanks to the very detailed video explanation I was able to experience the difference in my own sitting position (legs a bit further open compared to have the knees touching together) and the rocking motion of my own entire body, compared to using only my hands and arms. Also focusing on the rocking motion of the client's hips makes all the difference! I could see how my partner's entire upper body including the head where gently rocking and how her body relaxed....including her face! The entire body became wonderfully soft. I can see that the Chi Machine is a perfect "warm up" for following exercises! 

My challenges with Tai Machine is, that lifting up the legs (to increase the rocking in the beginning) is a bit strenuous on my hands and upper arms. But I know it only needs to be done for a short while (to get some kind of momentum). 

I also had some trouble to keep her heels placed in my palms. I always had to adjust after 30 seconds or so, since I had the feeling the heels are slipping out of the hands. Maybe it was also because my palms might have started to sweat a bit?!? 

All in all Chi Machine, does exactly what it is named after......it gently prepares the energy lines that Prana can flow freely. I appreciate this easy, harmless but highly effective and energizing exercise! And so did my partner! 😉 

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Shama Kern
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January 17, 2022 - 5:55 am
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Hi Sabina, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program! I noticed that we did not receive a certification registration from you which we need for our records. You can find the registration form by clicking on the 'Certification Information' banner in the sidebar of your membership portal. This will take you to our 'Certification Tutorial'. If you scroll down, you will find the link to the certification registration form.

Also please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

In your first post you described perfectly why it is not enough to read a book or watch a youtube video to learn Thai Massage. There is more to it than just doing a technique mechanically. There is a whole art to it, and that's what you can only learn in a real in-depth training where it is all connected and explained in depth. Smile

The heels slipping out of your hands a bit is normal in the beginning. It is kind of a balancing act to keep it all perfectly placed, and this will come with time and practice. The sweaty hands will also go away once you feel totally comfortable with the move. Smile

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Sabina Magnus
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January 24, 2022 - 9:58 am
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Module 3

I absolutely love the saying: "You never get a second chance, to make a good first impression!" It helps me to get mentally prepared BEFORE I even start with the session. I feel way more focused, aligned (with my own body posture) as well feeling connected with my client when I take a few deep breath (and encourage my client to do do the same) and gather myself before I even lay may hands GENLTY on the my clients feet. Its like a gentle "Hello". 🙂 . I noticed that in the beginning I was "way too eager to get started" and did stress and overwhelm myself.  But now I have better control over the flow of breath, my own energy and body motion and the entire massage technique benefits from that tremendously! 

So, being aware of the kind of energy work I am performing on my client turns out to be crucial for me and it even gives me more confidence, since I can feel when I am in sync with the motions and with the flow of energy of my own body as well as my client's. So I believe, that I can't really "mess up" the technique, as long as  my client feels good! 

I am aware that I need much more practice to get all those moves down properly, but that is OK! 

My partner also mentioned that she can actually feel, when I am using my ENTIRE body and not only my hands or arm muscles.  She confirmed that it feels so much nicer and better distributed when "the pressure" comes from my entire body weight! 

I can relate to that, since those techniques becomes less forceful, but more powerful and energetic! 

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Shama Kern
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January 25, 2022 - 11:00 am
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Well, you pick up on all the right things to make your Thai Massage practice a success! Smile

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Sabina Magnus
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January 27, 2022 - 6:19 am
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Module 4

Watching this module was quite the relief for me, since I caught myself getting under pressure to remember all those techniques and in what sequence to perform. Thank you, Shama for picking that up! 😉 And I am sure I am speaking for other practitioners as well! 🙂 I also believe in repetitive teachings! It takes the brain (at least mine 😉 a while to catch up on something new. 

I very much appreciated this module and experienced myself, what difference it makes when I am using my entire body, instead of only my arms or hands. It is easier on my back, my shoulders, my joints and especially my hands. I understand now, that it is not only because I am performing the technique in the correct form, it is about the energy flow!!!! I was not aware, that I am cutting the energy flow, when I am not using my whole body!!!!! So Thai Massage is a very holistic treatment!!

And not only I feel the difference, although my partner pointed out, that she can feel the difference as well. She finds it way more enjoyable, relaxing, but at the same time energizing and deeper (not necessarily more forceful) when my entire body is engaged. I found that quite profound, because she could FEEL the difference, since she had her eyes closed the entire session. So it must be the flow of energy she is perceiving! 🙂

I very much enjoy that Thai Massage gives me the freedom to follow my own intuition and feeling what my client needs. 

Of course I understand the importance of the right technique and that they want to be  performed correctly, but I also get a good sense, that it is even more important to connect with the motion I am performing and feel the flow of energy (between giver and receiver). 

I very much appreciate to have those 8 steps on how the foot can move outlined and reviewed in detailed.  I also can confirm that conceptual learning works better for me than mechanical learning.

It is a very logic and easy to understand and to apply concept! - Just the way I like it! Smile THANK YOU, Shama! 

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Sabina Magnus
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January 28, 2022 - 5:42 am
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Module 5

For this second leg warm up I very much appreciated the associating video for loose wrists! I did the loosing exercise for the wrists before and I am happy I did! I will do this exercise on a regular basis, since I have already trouble with Arthritis in my hands and don’t want to aggravate the problem. 

I can totally see, that massage therapists, “don’t last long” In this field, when they are mainly using their hands and fingers.

Having said that, I also found myself “forgetting” about using my whole body and working more with my thumbs and fingers, especially when we have been working on the inner and even more when working on the outer side of the thigh muscle. 

My favourite leg exercise is the butterfly, since it really allows me to sink fully into the move and using my entire body weight!

I don’t find it easy to apply the same 8 step concept the thigh muscle and I have a hard time to envision working on a thigh (medial hamstring) in an athletic or bigger client. Working on the calf muscle is easier, since it is smaller. 😉 

I still need lots of practice to get this big muscle massage without jeopardizing my writs! 

I already noticed, that I am better on with using the heel of my palm for this muscle area to better lean in and roll up. 

And yes, just as you mentioned in the video, the adductor ending can be very sensitive. I have to admit, that my partner let go of a little scream, when I worked on it (although I was still quite gentle, but her adductor tendon was VERY tight). But I got good feedback the next day:  She mentioned that her inner thigh felt much looser and she had no pain whatsoever! So that was good news! 🙂

I also noticed the importance to have a comfortable sitting, kneeling (with fleet feet or on the toes)  or any other position to really be relaxed myself so that my own energy can flow freely!   I am using a little sheep skin, to sit on. It is easy to move around my client (who is laying on the floor). I can also fold it, and put under the wrists of my feet  to give them more support and comfort. So all in all I learned to take care of myself, before I can be of good care of my client! 🙂

The video about how Thais love their festivals with all the food and entertainment brought a smile on my face and of course wants me to go there one day myself! 🙂

Maybe by then I have enough practice to offer Thai Massage at a SPA as well as Heavenly Head Massages, just as Shama did in the past! 🙂 I am actually very intrigued to take the Heavenly Head Massage as well!!!! …..Yes! I am already hooked! Laugh

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Shama Kern
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January 28, 2022 - 10:22 am
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You had some pretty profound realizations about module 4. And you have such an enthusiastic expressive way to write about your practice that it is really fun to read.

You are right, Thai Massage and Heavenly Head Massage are a perfect combination, and I have always used them together by ending my Thai Massage sessions with some Heavenly Head Massage. The other advantage is that HHM can be used as a stand-alone modality. I have used it in this way countless times.

It is great to be able to offer a whole new modality. Also sometimes I had clients who just didn't care so much about whole body Thai Massage but who loved the shoulder/neck/head/face work. The more options we have, the better we can accommodate our clients. Smile 

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Sabina Magnus
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February 7, 2022 - 7:56 am
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Module 6

I noticed, that working with the forearms needs mindfulness,  especially when your “practice partner” is smaller and lighter-boned. But I can totally see the value in using other parts of your body when working on a bigger person. It is also a welcome break for the hands! 

My partner mentioned a few times, that she found it unpleasant, when I (by accident) integrated my elbow. So I really have to be aware of the placement of the elbow. Especially when I work in the groin area. I also noticed, that I have to sink in very slowly to achieve a pleasant result. 

I appreciate that in the pdf  you mentioned also the SEN LINES and refer to the muscles names. Somehow my brain likes to connect the name of the muscles with the area I work on. 

I found it also interesting, that I start seeing my own body in a different light and I wished, that I would have an experienced Thai Massage Therapist close by, who could do all those individual techniques we learn on me! 🙂 That would be a great way to learn through experience how it is supposed to feel like, and than apply it on the other person! But I guess as long as the receiver feels good during and after the massage, all is well! 😉 🙂 

 

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Shama Kern
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February 7, 2022 - 8:36 am
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Elbow work can be excellent for many areas - more about that later in the course. Once you learn how to use your elbows correctly and practice it for a while, you can do elbow work that feels good to your clients and gives you plenty of power with minimal effort. You will see! Smile

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Sabina Magnus
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February 9, 2022 - 4:35 am
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Yes, I am positive that my work will improve!!!! 🙂 Already now my partner is asking me every single day, if I may practice on her! She loves it  brings her in a very peaceful and relaxed state! (She has quite some trouble with Sciatica).Honestly I had no idea, that Thai Massage can do that! So....ways to go! 🙂 

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Sabina Magnus
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February 9, 2022 - 4:36 am
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Module 7

The hip evaluations in this module have been very helpful and such a valuable addition to my yoga practice!  Even in my classes I take the time to watch my student’s foot positioning before we even start with our yoga flow.  When I guide them into relaxation (Shavasana) I commonly encourage them to let their feet and ankles completely relax, so that the feet fall outwards. It is a guide visual indicator for me, if they are listening. 😉 I would say, that in the majority of students, who are not purposefully relaxing their body in Shavasana their feet will be pointed upwards. So it is always good to “remind” the student’s/client’s mind and body to truly relax! With Thai Massage I have now a better understanding about the connection between feet and hip alignment. It is a valuable hands on tool to support students with tight adductors or even hip misalignments to go more relaxed and deeper into a yoga asana.

I found that using my feet for those adductor stretches and walking the hamstrings up and down is a fantastic technique to use, when you have to work with a more muscular (or even bigger) client. It is a great feeling to use my entire body to achieve such pleasant stretches on the client.

Just yesterday I practice on an elderly man, who has severe hip problems (caused by a broken and incorrectly healed ankled……already for 40 years his right hip compensates for that misalignment caused by the ankle). He is now only mobile with a walker and has almost no muscles in his legs any more. 

How do I work with such a boney client? I can’t do an elephant walk on him (not even a baby elephant ;-), since there is no fat tissue or muscles, rather than just bones, tendons and ligaments. 

The only really safe thing at this point for me is to do is the Chi machine, as well as all those foot techniques (which he loves, because it also helps him with his swollen feet). And simple hip opener stretches, which are actually only gentle rocking movements, rather than stretches, where I would bring my body weight into play.

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Shama Kern
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February 9, 2022 - 9:00 am
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If you have such a client, your best bet are rocking movements. We are getting into the area of specific therapy here. There is a lot in the Complete Thai Massage course that you can use. If at some point you want to dive even deeper into rocking movements, you can add the Thai Rocking Massage course to your skillset which works very well for many conditions where other Thai Massage techniques might not work in all cases.

Regarding swollen feet - the foot techniques in the Complete Thai Massage course are definitely helpful. However, if you want to specifically work on serious foot issues, this would be best addressed by our Thai Foot Massage course which adds a much greater variety of skills for all kinds of foot problems.

The Complete Thai Massage course will turn you into a very competent Thai Massage therapist. At the same time, there is no point where you or I can say that we know it all - that there is nothing more to learn. We never plateau in the healing arts - or in yoga. There is no fixed end goal. The idea is to keep on learning and growing.

You already own the hip therapy course and the Heavenly Head Massage course. This will give you a huge amount of skills. And there is a lot more coming up in the Complete Thai Massage course. 

If I were to add another course for the greatest variety of skills, it would be the Thai Foot Massage course. This, like the Heavenly Head Massage course, can be used as an entire stand-alone modality, and it is of huge benefit to many people who suffer from all kinds of foot issues.

At the same time, you have to be aware that there are some things that cannot be 'fixed'. If this man really had a bone fracture that was incorrectly set, and so much deterioration has taken place, you can provide relief and maybe some improvement, but most likely there won't be any significant reversal of the condition.

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Sabina Magnus
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February 10, 2022 - 5:15 am
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Thank you for your detailed reply, Shama!!!!

Yes, I am very excited to create my personal portfolio of Thai Massage Techniques. I will start with the Heavenly Head Massage Course these days......I very much look forward to it, because it will feel most probably quite different to work more with your hands and fingers and maybe even more in tune with the subtle energy flow. But we will see. 

In regards of my elderly client I am quite aware that I only give him some relief, but not be able to help much. BUT I can totally help him from getting even worse!  He emailed me the next day, and mentioned that he was  quite sore, after the "workout". I had to smile, because in the end it was nothing even close to a workout. 😉 I was so grateful, that I had already some Thai Massage knowledge, since he could not even stand without his walker. So doing yoga asanas with him would have been impossible!

Working with clients of different age and with different symptoms and so on, in such a great opportunity to gain hands on experience, while doing something good to them!  And today my client emailed again, telling me that he feels better and that he is very much looking forward to our next session next week! He fired his physiotherapist and told him, that "The Yoga" is helping him much more and he will proceed with doing that! So it must do good to him.... and now I am on the hook! LOL 

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Sabina Magnus
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February 10, 2022 - 5:16 am
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Module 8

What a delicious knowledge and mental picture to have: The hip as a pie, cut in 8 slices, representing 8 angles. Great concept! 

I appreciate how Shama teaches us concepts and tells us to be logical, but at the very same time points out how important it is to be connected with the Hara and keeping your own body gracefully in motion and working with energy. I can see that accepting of those 2 polarities in one unity can create confusion and even non acceptance in the Western World. 

But for all healers and teachers who do any kind of energy work it totally makes sense! 

Having all those different techniques and the option to use as much or little of my own body and my body weight to tailor it to the body of my client is priceless! 

While loosening the calf muscles my partner mentioned, when I work with the entire hand it is more pleasant than only using the fingertips (to separate the calf muscle). She has VERY tight calf muscles. So I put more time into loosening the muscles through wobbling and then “sandwich rotation” and last just a bit of relaxation through separating the calf muscle with my fingertips. When I follow this order she finds it pleasant. 

I really enjoyed working with “The Hip Pie”!!!!! And of course  so did my partner, since the hip openers are really great! Lots of practice needed, as well as different body types to work on to be able to apply all those stretches accordingly. Because: not one size fits it all! 😉 🙂 

 

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Shama Kern
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February 10, 2022 - 9:03 am
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I am glad that "you are on the hook!" with Thai Massage. That's a good place to be. Smile

Yes, the mechanics without the art and the energy of it doesn't do the job.

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Sabina Magnus
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February 10, 2022 - 11:14 pm
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Module 9

I appreciated the reminder to make the client aware of tension which is stored in the body subconsciously. Although Thai Massage is considered a “passive yoga practice” I am pretty positive that active awareness on the clients side, contributes to a positive outcome of a massage session. This awareness will be supportive to future sessions as well as to the client’s life in general. 

My client also confirmed that the bouncing technique to loosen the tight adductors feels pleasant and prepares her will to go into a deeper stretch. In the meanwhile I became a fan of all those rocking motions, since I can see in the face of the client how they trust the process and relax and surrender to the motion performed on them. My client very much enjoys getting rocked into the Spinal Twist.

On a different note: I was wondering, if all those techniques have particular names? For me that would be helpful to make reference to them and pick and choose the right one according to what area I am working on.  I am also wondering, if there is a particular book (with good illustrations) you would recommend. 

I also find the “1 - 10 comfort scale” a simple, but valuable tool.
I had to remind one of my male clients LOL, not to be “such a tough guy”, rather than being truthful! ….for his own sake and my learning experience. 🙂 😉 This statement changed his attitude and the rest of the session became way more softer, enjoyable and effective! 

 

 

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Sabina Magnus
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February 10, 2022 - 11:50 pm
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Module 10

The continuous reminder having a soft touch, being in the flow, breathing and moving with the entire body is appreciated, since it turns out to be essential for Thai Massage! 

This session reminded me, that many years ago I actually did practice Tai Chi (even became a Taoist Tai Chi Instructor 😉 and I always enjoyed the fluid motions and the connectivity to the energy residing in the lower triangle….the Dan Tien.  So Hara is the reservoir of Chi?! Would you say, that also Prana and Apana are mingling in the “Hara”?

I also very much enjoyed learning about the history of Thai Massage! Very interesting!

Also very helpful are those additional training videos (for the therapist’s body) for easy transitioning in the posture. I really does make a difference to put attention on the own body as well! I noticed that my left knee (I had a skiing accident 25 years ago and my ACL was twisted and got a light rip). Unfortunately till today I feel that certain moves give me trouble. So it is good for me to strengthen the muscle area associated. I find that my quads are quite engaged, which is helping with the transition from one side to the other without straining the ligaments in my knee too much. 

Most profound in this Module was experiencing “The Blood Stop”! WOW! I could literally feel the pulsation of the artery and then the flush of blood as well as the energy. And so could my partner! She was actually quite surprised and opened her eyes in disbelieve, what just happened! What an easy to apply technique which is so powerful, refreshing and energizing!!! 

You mentioned that on people with Varicose veins this technique should not be done. 

Other than Varicose veins, when would I NOT apply the Blood stop?!!!!! 

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Shama Kern
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February 11, 2022 - 9:18 am
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"Although Thai Massage is considered a “passive yoga practice” I am pretty positive that active awareness on the clients side, contributes to a positive outcome of a massage session. This awareness will be supportive to future sessions as well as to the client’s life in general."  -  This is absolutely correct! It can be very useful to make clients aware of their holding patterns and restrictions since more often than not they are not aware of those.

There is no official list of names of Thai Massage moves. Some teachers make up names for the moves, and so did I. But there is no official authoritative source of names for the Thai Massage techniques.

Yes, the hara is the reservoir of chi energy. The dantien is a very similar concept, and prana is basically the same as chi. Hara is a Japanese word, and dantien is the Chinese version. The energy is called 'lom' in Thailand, 'chi' in China, and 'prana' in India. So there are different languages, but the concept is similar in all of them.

"Other than Varicose veins, when would I NOT apply the Blood stop? - People with seriously high blood pressure, or a history of blood clotting, for example. 

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Sabina Magnus
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February 17, 2022 - 10:05 am
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Module 12

I found those hip stretches quite enjoyable to perform and my partner agreed, but also mentioned that she can’t handle the deeper stretches well. So I need different people of different body structure to practice on to get the real experience on how those different variations of the same stretch feel. Thai Massage is fascinating and I love the fact that even a petit person can perform deep stretches so effectively!

I also want to mention that the move which works particularly on the Sacrum is like a “miracle”. My partner was in severe lower back pain and I did some “warm ups” but focused on the “sacrum hip stretch” including my body weight or just rocking. I ended with shaking out her straight legs and finished with the side swings. 

She was absolutely thrilled, because she felt amazing and when she stood up her lower back pain was almost completely gone. Yep…..a miracle! 🙂 

 

I appreciated the “contra indication information”. I was never a fan in “generalization”, just like they say: green juice is healthy for everyone and cow milk is bad. 

I agree, taking individuality in consideration is key. I see that on my elderly client, who after 2 sessions of Thai Massage (also I do so very little 😉 ), he tells me, that he is already looking forward to next week, since (although he is in quite a bit of pain after the session…….again I don’t do much with him……;-)), but he keeps confirming, that it is a “Good pain” and he does indeed the “painful stretches”, since the pain resides in a couple of days, but the fact of been more mobile stays. We agreed that with every move I perform he rates it on the “pain-comfort scale” from 1 to 10. This is very helpful for me, to assure I stay beyond a level 8 and I am not forcing anything…  but also not to baby him.  I am also pretty positive, that using this scale is also supportive for him , since he actually creates deeper awareness on the current state of a particular body part. 

It also engages him better in the practice and hinders him to get too passive! 😉 As we learned: Thai Massage is not meant to relax, rather than to heal. And healing is a quite active part, performed by one’s own body intelligence. 

 

In regards of the “Culture Shock” I was wondering what the Yogi’s actually practice was all about. Is it a kind of ritual performed on a special day? The photocopies he was sitting on showed some kind of deity?!?

I would have been interested  to see in what condition the yogi’s legs have been, when standing up. 😉  I assume he was alright! 🙂

Can you please also let me know, if it was a prayer performed by those people (students) sitting and having “something” on their head. Do you have any information of that as well and what they had on their head. (Around 1.05 min.)

I find different cultures highly fascinating!!!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!

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