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Samantha Simons - Heavenly Head Massage
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SamanthaW Simons
Poulsbo, WA, USA
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September 13, 2016 - 6:04 am
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This course really excites me! I fully agree that when we approach the practice with grace and intention, we’re providing the opportunity for a really healing and euphoric experience. (I may have noted this in complete thai healing massage). One of my teachers says when we assist or work on a student/client we are either altering or creating their experience. That helps remind us just how powerful and impactful we can be.

Thanks for the reminder to put a blanket in our props stash. I realized last week, as fall is rolling in, that it’s good to have a blanket nearby if needed or requested.

In a few weeks I’ll be getting certified in DoTerra’s aromatouch technique using specific essential oils in a calculated manner on the back and feet for optimal parasympathetic support. I can see that technique combined with heavenly head massage for a lovely experience.

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 13, 2016 - 6:40 am
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Module 2

The sternum work is an edge for sure. The positioning makes sense and I can feel the “between the ribs” area. I’m just nervous to apply too much pressure. Consequently, this is an important area to focus on since the thymus lives there and triggers immune function. It’s something to keep practicing, and a variety of partner genders and builds will be imperative in getting compfortable here. 

As I’ve learned in complete thai massage, plentiful practices makes everything feel better.

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Shama
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September 13, 2016 - 4:40 pm
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Welcome back Samantha! You are right, the sternum work is a sensitive issue and you definitely have to be careful about not applying more than light pressure. It is also a great technique to improve the subtlety of your touch and learn how to combine the movement with your and your client’s breath. If you learn how to make the sternum work feel good, then everything else will follow easily for the rest of the course.

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 16, 2016 - 11:49 pm
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Module 3

I’m so pleasantly surprised by how much beyond just the head this course is going. There’s so much that can be worked with here.

 

The chest work is really lovely. The soft attention to the clavicle area…above/below/inside and out was a nice addition for my practice partner. I still need to practice some of the gender specifics on women but the male enjoyed the grounding effects and general loosening of the entire upper body region. 

Elephant walking is probably my favorite overall technique to use across the entire body. It feels very grounding, safe, held, warms the body…general positive vibes there.

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 16, 2016 - 11:54 pm
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Module 4

The neck region might be one of the ones I’m most excited to learn more about. Working with the cervical spine is such a delicate dance of comfort, safety, and sensation that need to come together.

My chiropractor does a similar, table based version of the wave…obviously omitting the lifting with the feet, but the general motion of the head and neck are the same. It feels amazing so to learn the mechanics of it was exciting to me. I’m enjoying passing that sensation along to my pratice partners and can really feel the energy buzz in my hands when it happens. The addition of the lift with the feel feels so natural and really adds another layer to the sensation (I would guess…I haven’t felt that myself). The opportunity to work on a space that feeds the vagus nerve is a big focal point for me, as it’s always a primary piece to all of my practice and teachings.

The added techniques of working the fingers in a variety of ways on the back of the neck just feels good. Obviously the benefits extend beyond physical sensation but that’s such a treat for clients and, as I’ve said ad nauseum, also a bonus for yoga students receiving assists during savasana. 

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Shama
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September 18, 2016 - 1:34 pm
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It sounds like Heavenly Head Massage is a perfect fit for you. And yes, this course goes way beyond just working on the head. You will be amazed how much neck work there is in it. You can use this course to do exclusive neck sessions – I have done that many times.

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 20, 2016 - 10:06 pm
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Shama-

This might be putting the cart before the horse but I’d love any tips on doing head massage in a public setting in a short time frame. I’ve been asked to have a booth in November at a “fair” that supports work at home parents. It’s mostly goods for sale (oils, handmade crafts, network marketing items) and I WILL be selling my handmade drygoods, but my main focus will be 15 minute , no charge, head massages. While a big piece of your teaching is to get away from rote sequencing and be intuitive, I know it might be nice to have a few tricks up my sleeve for working on people all day long in short increments.

I’m not asking for specific sequencing, but rather a few techniques that maybe you’d suggest as universally loved (such as the wave) and any non technique specific tips that could help enhance the experience.

Thank you!

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Shama
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September 20, 2016 - 10:57 pm
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That will be easy. Actually I have always included a few HHM techniques in my sessions, right at the end. I do a couple of simple neck moves, a bunch of nice head moves, and two or three face moves. You will find plenty of choices in this course and you can come up with your own mini sequence easily.

I would not include the wave since this is something which is first of all a little harder to execute on some people, and second some stiff or tight people tend to resist this move sometimes. So better to stick with simple techniques. The simple techniques feel great and they are a hit with everyone. If you include some of the more involved neck techniques, people’s ability to relax, their neck flexibility, and their tolerance to stretching all come into play.

For a public setting I would chose simple feel-good techniques which are easy to do and pretty much guaranteed to work on everyone. You will find lots of those in this course. 

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 20, 2016 - 11:00 pm
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Module 5

I was (pleasantly) surprised to see such a detailed technique for moving hair out of the way. It’s such a common sense thing that we contend with often. For me personally, if i’m trying to offer a savasana assist and there’s a large number of students in the room, time saving is key and sometimes getting hair safely out of the way feels fumbly. This helps, a lot! Thank you!

Good to know on many of these techniques that unless the head is being cradled in the hands, keep the back of the head connected to the mat. I’ve always been very mindful of the head position and stability in savasana assists but this feels like a news lens I’m looking through with added benefit.

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 20, 2016 - 11:05 pm
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Module 6

I’m really digging into this neck material! As mentioned for feedback on module 5, much of this is similar to savasana assists I’ve been doing for years…with much more attention to detail. You weren’t kidding when you said it’s easy to do full sessions on the neck alone! There’s something about the delivery of these modules that even evokes a calming response in me as I watch and learn. The Big and Small neck rolls are a bit awkward in practice. You noted in the video that once the technique makes sense, the rolling comes into play, so I’m confident it will begin to flow with more practice.

Part of the challenge for me is the fear that using fingers/fingertips will feel pokey or uncomfortable to the client. 

This module’s techniques feed into what I mentioned at the beginning of HHM…that my chiropractor spends a small slice of time doing similar on me and it’s really the icing on the cake…the most lovely way for me to climb off the table and leave the session. It’s so exciting for me to begin learning the same!

PS-Thanks for the tips on the booth situation. I plan to have a sign up sheet so people aren’t necessarily standing in line but can circle their way back around. I’ve worked (as a yoga teacher) at a small health fair where a LMT does chair massage that way and it seems to flow well with little interruption. I’ll be honest…I love virtual learning but I was a bit skeptical on learning thai largely from a distance. It’s absolutely a commitment to practicing and being self-motivated but I love and am grateful for this format!

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Shama
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September 20, 2016 - 11:35 pm
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I am glad that this format is working for you. There are pros and cons to online learning, of course. But in my experience (based on the feedback of many hundreds of students) the pros far outweigh the cons, at least as far as my courses are concerned. And in the case of Heavenly Head Massage, since I created this material, it is literally the only way to learn it. Smile

So far nobody ever told me that they could not learn or benefit from this training – knock on wood! Smile

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 29, 2016 - 11:09 pm
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Module 7

I feel like a broken record but so much of what’s happening in the heavenly head course are techniques I’ve “sort of” been doing as savasana assists in yoga but without the detail oriented focus and the understanding of the physiology. Thus, the myriad of views and modifications are a big help.

The detail in working in the occiput/occipital ridge also has an energy medicine effect. (I’m sure you know this!) The occiput is the plug in location for the electrics system. I often show clients how to plug in on themselves with their first two fingers and hold to create an energizing effect. This is a nice marriage of creating that activation FOR them, then following up post-session with teaching them how to do that hold themselves.

The rolling and traction moves have gotten great feedback. It’s taken some time to become more adept at support the head with minimal movement, especially transitioning from move to move. It now feels more natural and, more importantly, safe for the client.

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 29, 2016 - 11:14 pm
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Module 8

The first techique baffled me until I carefully studied the video. It appears as if it’s somewhat of a serpentine type movement. The visual was crucial for me in practicing this one.

The 180* figure 8 type move (second technique) is not comfortable at all for me to perform. It might be my fear of triggering the sea sick response but I’ve chosen (for now, at least) to use the gentler, simpler alternative you provided following. It’s been well received and one of the best tidbits I heard from one partner (my husband) was feeling more length/space in the neck. He’s recently taken a deeper interest in the comfort and health of his spine so this is good news!

Love the half moon! Partners say it feels like a nice touch without being such a stretch…so much in the details. It takes some time to seamlessly switch from thumb to middle finger (my pointer finger keeps wanting to join the party! 

The circling of the occipital ridge is almost hypnotizing. I can FEEL a buzz of energy in my fingers when the client begins to give over to the bodywork. As I mentioned in Module 7, this is also an activation point for the electrics system, and the traction (post circle) is essentially that particular move! Love it when modalities form a matrix!

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 29, 2016 - 11:23 pm
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Module 9

Hmmm, the ear work is perplexing. The lobe circling is well received and the circling behind the lobe. But the working IN the ear, partners were not a fan. That could be me, that could be their triggers. Also, I’ve been practicing technique by technique with this. My guess would be, if you were doing an entire session (full body OR just heavenly head), they might be a bit more relaxed by the time you get to ear work.

 

Interesting point about the rolling of the index finger. Previously when I’ve worked behind the ears down to the jawline, I’ve simply circled and swept but not really rolled. There is a difference and although I’ve not felt it on myself, I can imagine it feeling preferable to direct or circling pressure.

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 29, 2016 - 11:48 pm
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Module 10

Thank you for the visual of using a circle and varying the pressure to keep it more dynamic. That really helps me when practicing and finding a rhythm. It helps prevent the movements from becoming rote. 

At the onset of the video I thought “yup…I do that, and that, and that already.” And much of it I do. But your breakdown of the techniques and really highlighting the variety lends a deeper level of awareness to it. 

Just watching and practicing makes ME feel relaxed and the people I’ve practiced on echo that. They are very slowly to get up…or ask “Is that it? are you done?” ha ha!

Definitely have challenges when it comes to the hair being in the way. I had a client with a ponytail on Monday and during some of the varying techniques, found hair getting wound in my fingers and need to extract without breaking the chain of movement or making it apaprent to her that I was wound up!

Question on the invigorating rubbing…since it’s less of a tranquil technique, would you suggest not using this technique when working the head at the end of a long relaxing massage session, or in yoga savasana? Would it be more appropriate for a shorter session or a head specific session? I’m thinking it might work perfectly for that vendor fair in November where I’ll be doing short session massages. The more invigorated and happy they feel, the more money they’ll spend with other vendors?! 🙂

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Shama
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September 30, 2016 - 1:49 am
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I have put many, many clients to sleep, or in a trance as I prefer to label it, with Heavenly Head Massage. Some of them were hard to wake up, and in many cases it took 5 or 10 minutes for clients to come back to waking consciousness.

Your reaction to working inside the ear is fairly common, and I think that it was not well received because of your resistance to it. I have received many positive comments about this technique, but then again, when you do a practice session and your partner is watching and analyzing, it is much harder to generate the “heavenly” feeling. So give it some more time and try to not judge the technique, and it might turn around for you. And if it doesn’t, just skip that one.

Regarding the invigorating rubbing – there are lots of head techniques in this course. You can always pick and choose what works best for you in a given situation. You can also tone down the intensity of the invigorating rubbing and turn it into a more mellow move. The techniques are options to choose from, not fixed sequences.

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SamanthaW Simons
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October 17, 2016 - 12:57 am
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Module 11

There’s a lot of subtley in these recent modules with similar techniques that can be done rubbing or with friction. OR only doing one, avoiding the other to prevent irritation or discomfort. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said how important it is to vary what you do to provide different sensations. That’s (in my opinion) what really makes HHM stand out. 

I appreciate the lack of necessity in sequencing but attention to alternating between more vigorous techniques and gentler, softer technqiues. If only I had someone to practice them on ME! Ha ha!

I’ve been running into frequent situations where tangling hair is a concern. Do what we can, where and how we can, yes?

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SamanthaW Simons
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October 17, 2016 - 12:59 am
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Module 12

The third eye area is such a beautiful place to focus attention and intention. It feels like such a blessing to be allowed to work with this specific area. Thank you for the specifics on working with and around the nose…some of the cautions are ones I’d never even think of such as ensuring not to pull the skin near the eyes outwards. 

The video model must really love her job! Even with your speaking description and regular movement of her head to show different angles, she looks utterly relaxed. 

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SamanthaW Simons
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October 17, 2016 - 1:05 am
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Module 13

Loving these new-to-me techniques that use the heels of the hands as well and give the fingers a bit of a rest. I can imagine, as the client, these types of bigger movements with the head and face being so encased in the providers’ hands, one must feel really held, at peace, protected. at least that’s the sensation I get from the types of techniques being done. 

I recently got a table, to offer free aromatouch sessions to those who can’t necessarily afford pricey treatments, It’s not massage, it’s just clinical essential oil application. SO many of these techniques will work well on a table, it’s been interesting to practice both on the mat and on the table and feel the difference in ergonomics. Just another added level of practice and experience. 

The technique that’s happening at the 18-19 minute mark might be one of my favorite techniques to practice…the gentle sweeping down on the cheeks to below the jaw and sweeping back up the back of the head and circling down to the forehead. It’s such a big move to promote relaxation at the base of the skull and crown where nerves enervate, and encouraging releasing of the tension in the jaw which in turn releases strain on the temples. LOVE!!!

Thanks for recapping the flow of face massage. So much of what we’ve learned in your courses encourages mixing and matching of technqiues. It was nice to have a reminder that this one is a little different.

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SamanthaW Simons
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October 17, 2016 - 1:17 am
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Module 14

This might be the module I’ve felt most comfortable and connected to. I’m a big believer in energy and the simple aspect of holding space (literally or figuratively) for a client so they can find processing and healing. I’ve noticed in yoga, how powerful it can be to simply be in a students’ energetic space without touching them, maybe hovering a hand over their back in childs pose or down dog and sending loving energy to them.

Thus, these holds I really believe in. As you said, it’s nurturing and supportive…like an infusion of whatever your intention is. We often think of massage as almost constant movement in some way for the duration of the session but sometimes there’s healing and release in the pauses. 

Thank you so much for all your expertise and willingness to share virtually so that some of us who can’t travel for education might still get the chance to learn and to serve others. I won’t bore you here with the details but I’m in the midst of some frustrating and challenging decision making with my life work plans. Although I don’t quite know WHAT is in store for me professionally, I DO know that working and serving with my hands will ALWAYS be a part of my path. Thanks to you, there’s even more tools for me to offer others. <3 Namaste!

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