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Samantha Simons - Thai Foot Massage
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SamanthaW Simons
Poulsbo, WA, USA
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September 17, 2016 - 1:30 am
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Module 1

The complete thai massage course laid a good foundation for this course which is so indepth. I appreciate the level of detail delivered.

 

Separating out the course into the 3 components: energy lines, foot manipulation, and oil foot massage helps to keep a clear view in mind of the benefits and the uses. Ive found both giving and receiving that one of the best feelings is having hands wrapped around the feet…it signifies safety, grounding, warming, energy moving. I really appreciate the level to which this is included.

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SamanthaW Simons
Poulsbo, WA, USA
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September 17, 2016 - 1:34 am
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Module 2

The transitions feel a bit fussy…which I know simply means I need to continue practicing (and adapting) them until they feel fluid in my body. One thing that’s quickly becoming apparent in the foot course is just how much lies in the minute details. That is likely why I feel a bit overwhelmed and must remember to listen to my intuition as well.

Love love love the emphasis on moving artistically…such a powerful visual that encompasses the practice in general. 

I will say that the idea of my body being a support for the clients’ body feels so much more natural now that I’ve been practicing for a few months. It no longer feels foreign or invasive (on either giver or receiver). 

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 17, 2016 - 1:40 am
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Module 3

Yay…you started with the foot circling technique! I LOVE this one and find that it really sets a lovely tone for a full body session for both giver and receiver…it embodies that idea of artistic, flowing movement. I’m sure you’ll broach this later but I can imagine this technique feeling good with oil as well.

There is a LOT of detail in this module so I appreciate the reminder to not wait until you feel like you’ve got it down before practicing, but rather to just dive in and get comfortable with it as you go. The more body region concentrated courses are such an educational way to really dig into the details of those specific areas and provide a deeper level of therapeutic work for clients as opposed to always relying on full body massage. 

While the details of the sides of ankles and feet are so in depth, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to sit and focus on one part of the body and really feel a difference from start to finish in the anatomy and the energy.

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Shama
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September 18, 2016 - 1:49 pm
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Your comment reflects my feelings. If you only do full body sessions, you never really get to experience how it feels to do a “deep dive” into one specific area of the body. Also from the perspective of the receiver, it is a very powerful feeling to have someone pay so much attention to an area which really needs it.

This applies to working on the feet, or the hands, or the neck, or the shoulders, etc. Sure, full body sessions are great, but I feel strongly that a good therapist also has to be able to do an excellent in depth job on specific areas.

The truth is that this is where most typical Thai Massage sessions fall short. They are more often than not a standardized full body routine. That’s why I have developed all those specialized courses to add some more depth to it.

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SamanthaW Simons
Poulsbo, WA, USA
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September 21, 2016 - 12:27 am
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Module 4

One of the biggest takeaways I’m getting in the foot course is learning more and more how to work with different body parts for delivery (ie: forearm and elbow in the sole of the foot). I love working on the feet and have traditionally used the method of standing on the feet and rocking. It feels good…sometimes better and provides more control to use knees and fists. For me it also makes transitioning more fluid. 

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SamanthaW Simons
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September 21, 2016 - 12:30 am
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Module 5

Thanks for the reminder to look closely at the ankle / foot angle to get an indicator of hip flexibility. It’s something I try to stay aware of but repetition is key to burning it into the brain. Knees are one joint I am very careful with in yoga and thai massage and, as a runner / cyclist, know just how awful it can feel if the knee joint gets torqued.

Most of the module felt like a review of this technique series from the complete thai massage course. It was nice to revisit! 

The addition of the foot crossing and leaning in technique is interesting. I initially cringed when trying it out, it felt awkward and potentially painful. But the feedback I got was positive so I kept on with it. 

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SamanthaW Simons
Poulsbo, WA, USA
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September 21, 2016 - 12:34 am
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Module 6

Question for you on the addressing of cracking in the joints…I was originally taught in anatomy and physiology that most cracking sounds in the joint are a result of gas bubbles that have been trapped and are popping…and not harmful unless accompanied by pain. Obviously the logical answer is play it safe and go with the modifications. However, would love to hear your thoughts on the above mentioned theory and whether or not it’s feasible to move forward in a technique where you hear some joint cracking but the client notes there is no pain or discomfort in association.

 

And thank you for offering that modification when necessary.

 

Interesting you’d bring up the topic of the snapping of the toes. It’s something I’ve always learned in various modalities but, like you, am not a fan of. It can feel abrupt for lack of a better word. I often use a kneading (almost like milking a cows udders) technique but think I prefer your inchworm wiggling instead. 

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Shama
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September 21, 2016 - 1:15 am
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I have always heard the same theory about the cracking noises as well. To be honest, I don’t pay much attention to why the cracking happens or what the exact mechanism is. I do pay attention to my own experience and client feedback.

I know that some cracking feels good and releasing. One example is spinal cracks during twisting techniques, provided the therapist is skilled and sensitive at doing it. Also cracking when pulling fingers and toes generally feels releasing.

Cracking from bending fingers and toes downward or inwards is not advised and is potentially harmful. Cracking of the spine which is being forced instead of letting it happen naturally is potentially harmful.

Then there are cracking noises in the ankle which are not really cracking noises at all, but sound like marbles rolling around in the ankle. Those generally don’t feel good, even dangerous, and should be avoided.

Then there is involuntary cracking in knee, ankle and shoulder joints which happens without any massage techniques even. This type of cracking feels like something is slightly out of place and if it happens repeatedly, can be a little unnerving.

Then there is neck cracking like Chiropractors are doing. Thai Massage therapists should stay away from this unless they are trained in Chiropractic or Osteopathic techniques. FYI, in India, most barbers crack your neck after a hair cut. They are quite good at it, too.

There are some Thai Massage therapists who are good at cracking the spine even without twisting it. There are several techniques for this. I am personally quite skilled in one of them and my clients love those adjustments. However I don’t teach it since it is too easy to do harm if it is not done just right.

Although this is not the final word on cracking, those are some thoughts I can offer. My final words of advice with cracking is this:

  • If in doubt, stay out!
  • Never try to force cracking.
  • Accept naturally occurring and non-forced cracks during Thai Massage work as a harmless and often releasing phenomenon.
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Sara Mayer McKernan
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September 24, 2016 - 12:00 pm
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Samantha that is GREAT advice and a great explanation of why it is important not to bite the lure of “just cracking (someone’s) back” for them.  I personally will never do that as it is both illegal for NYS LMTs to do so, also because I’d rather not accidentally hurt a client! Imagine all the time it takes for chiropractors to learn how to “crack” backs and necks.  They wouldn’t have to go for as long if it was safe to just allow everyone who felt the urge to get out there and snap other people’s spinal columns around. Yikes!

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SamanthaW Simons
Poulsbo, WA, USA
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October 17, 2016 - 12:50 am
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Sara Mayer McKernan said
Samantha that is GREAT advice and a great explanation of why it is important not to bite the lure of “just cracking (someone’s) back” for them.  I personally will never do that as it is both illegal for NYS LMTs to do so, also because I’d rather not accidentally hurt a client! Imagine all the time it takes for chiropractors to learn how to “crack” backs and necks.  They wouldn’t have to go for as long if it was safe to just allow everyone who felt the urge to get out there and snap other people’s spinal columns around. Yikes!  

Sara-Yes! That’s a great comparison! I have a very marked pelvic imbalance that only improves with regular chiropractic adjustments and while none of my adjustments are painful, there is marked shifting with each one. I cannot fathom someone without extensive anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics education even attempting that kind of work. 

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