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Sandrine Laurent - Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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sandrine laurent
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April 19, 2016 - 3:46 pm
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I am very excited to start this course with you. I have been a massage therapist for 5 years and always wanted to learn Thai massage as I really enjoy receiving it and would like to be able to give it too! Loved the first video, you set up the basics of the practice well, we know exactly what will have to focus on : techniques, ergonomics and breath.

I can really relate to developing the touch and energy flow rather than sticking to anatomy only, makes perfect sense.

I will have to get use to the positions on the floor, for now kneeling on my toes giving me the most trouble ( my left big toe hurts !), I will keep practising everyday Smile

I have a couple of questions :

I will practice with my partner who is very tall and muscly ..Is it better to practice with a smaller body at first ? I do realise I will have to massage any type of bodies but for a start should I find someone smaller ?

Do you recommend to practice yoga regularly to be able to be more supple and move more easily ?

Thank you, looking forward to the rest of the course!

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April 20, 2016 - 1:04 am
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Hi Sandrine, welcome to our forum and the Complete Thai Massage course. Here are the answers to your questions:

It is definitely easier to practice on someone who is not much larger than you are. No question about that. However it is ideal to practice on all kinds of body types – small, large, skinny, muscular…

Not every technique is suited for everyone, and techniques can feel very different on various body types. What I suggest is that you NOT ONLY practice on a tall and muscly partner but also include smaller persons whenever possible. Then your practice will resemble actual experience in a variety of situations.

Practicing only on a smaller person is also not good, since in real life many of our clients will be large and heavy. What feels easy on a small person can be quite challenging on a large person. Throughout this course I will be addressing this issue many times and offer alternative techniques for different body types.

Practicing yoga to be supple and move more easily is a HUGE advantage in Thai Massage, especially since our western bodies are often not used to typical Asian positions like squatting on your toes or sitting on your heels.

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sandrine laurent
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April 21, 2016 - 6:29 pm
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Module 2

I have been practising the Chi machine and the kneeling positions for the last couple of days.

Im very happy with the Chi machine, my partner was very relaxed and I managed to have his all body moving and rocking  without much effort. He really enjoyed it and did feeling the warmth and tingling in his back and arms especially.

I am getting used to the kneeling postures and my left toes is accepting the position better 🙂

I love your approach to massage as an art, knowing the techniques is just not enough.

When I practise other type of massage sequences, I also like to compare it to a song, you put notes together and it becomes a song (flow), your own song …

I totally agree when you say that the giver has to be relaxed and in a good head space to transfer that positive energy to the receiver, its essential !

 

Thank you

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Shama
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April 21, 2016 - 11:56 pm
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I am glad to hear that we are on the same wave length here regarding my approach to Thai Massage! Smile

It’s a good sign that you got the Chi Machine to work – this is normally a technique which students find challenging initially.

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April 27, 2016 - 8:45 pm
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Module 3

This took a bit of practice to get rightSurprised specially the second move when we have to make circular motion with our body and do the grasp and pull at the same time..I practiced the movement separately as recommended and that went well but putting it together is a bit more challenging !

The other moves are coming naturally, just need to practice on my flow .

My partner has very long legs as i mentioned before and at first i struggled a bit with the part where my leg is under his for support : his feet were at my side rather than in front of me..i placed a bolster just above the back of his knee.

The second time, after re watching the videos several times I got it right ! without having to use the bolster.

His feed back is really good except the bend down that he finds a bit too much..I make sure not to pull too much down and pull towards me as well like you are demonstrating.

This practice felt much better and im getting the circular motion better

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sandrine laurent
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April 27, 2016 - 8:57 pm
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Module 4

 

Ok this is so much better, love hearing the conceptual learning techniques..that worked for me !

The whole foot sequence makes more sense and im getting my flow right without checking my notes 

Quick question, when you circle your thumb on top of the foot towards the toes, is it ok to add a gentle stretch/pull on the toes at the end of each moves? I usually like to do this when I do my other massages and think it could be a nice touch ?

The transitions between one leg/foot to the other was very helpful and saw a lot more about our body alignement and positions, its all coming together nicely Smile

Another positive, my partner who was a bit reluctant at first for the daily practice is now asking for it ..always a good sign !

Thank you, 

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Shama
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April 27, 2016 - 9:26 pm
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I am glad to hear that your partner is taking to the practice sessions.

You can certainly add a gentle toe pull to this technique. All the techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences, and they are not meant to be written in stone. Actually I encourage creativity and modifications that work for you. This is much better than mechanically going through the motions. Smile

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sandrine laurent
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May 3, 2016 - 11:08 pm
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Module 5- Leg warming part 1

Hello Shama,

This one was easy for me ( or easier Wink) I do a lot of sport massage pre or post event and this moves are very similar.

The fact that we are on the floor gives so much more ease and range to the moves !

I have been practicing using my breath and that too makes a big difference .

Really enjoyed this sequence, I like how we just lock in a foot or a leg without using any force.

 

My partner ‘s feed back was good, except when i started the butterfly technique…his quads are pretty tight and were flicking out under the pressure of my palms. I readjusted the butterfly technique putting my palms a bit on an angle and pressing slightly in when i pressed down, that did it Smile

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Shama
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May 3, 2016 - 11:30 pm
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Yes, if the quads are “flicking out”, it feels terrible. The trick is to position the hands so that this does not happen. This only works if you sink in slowly so that you have a feeling where to lean in so that no flicking occurs. If you work too quickly, you won’t catch the flicking before it happens. In most cases slow is better than fast in Thai Massage.

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sandrine laurent
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May 3, 2016 - 11:31 pm
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Module 6 – leg warm up part 2

I have only practiced this one once, and I need a lot more !

I have a short torso and my partners leg are quite big, so i could get the feel of the moves but no range of motion to lean it..after a few moments of frustration watching your video over and over, i adjusted my body slightly differently than yours : I bended my outside leg to my side, that gave me a bit more height from the hips and then I could lean in more. My partner felt that was much better and it was comfortable for me too.

Working the It band was also a struggle, I find it really difficult to brace the leg between my arm and my body due to my short torso without my breasts getting in the way …any suggestion ?

I look forward to practice more of that in the next few days to get the transitions right as it wasn’t smooth at all ! It felt like I was wrestling with his leg rather than massaging it !

The elephant walk was great and got that straight away, his calves were sore so I used the gentler technique as well but he did prefer the elephant walk.

Thank you Shama

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sandrine laurent
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May 3, 2016 - 11:39 pm
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Thank you regarding the flicking ! it definitely was better when i slow down and changed the hands position,  i found that the breathing helped to get the right rhythm and slow down

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May 4, 2016 - 12:22 am
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I am glad that you found a way to adjust the technique to fit your body. This is a creative skill which is essential in Thai Massage.. Since there is much more body contact between client and therapist, you often have to make adjustments to your position to make it work.

Regarding your breasts getting in your way – do you mean they physically get in the way as in obstructing the technique, or is the issue that your breasts are touching your partner and you see this as something which could make you uncomfortable?

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sandrine laurent
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May 4, 2016 - 12:29 am
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It’s not making me uncomfortable at all, but they are physically getting in the way … I thought maybe next time, I’ll try to adjust my position so I’m bracing with the side of my body rather than the front? I don’t know, will give it a try tomorrow and will let you know..

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Shama
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May 4, 2016 - 12:42 am
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I think you just figured out the solution. If you adjust your sitting position a bit so that you are more perpendicular to the client’s leg, this should help with this issue. Let me know how it goes.

Of course there are other techniques as well which you could use to work on the IT bands where your breasts wouldn’t be anywhere near the client’s thigh. But let’s first try the above mentioned adjustment.

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sandrine laurent
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May 18, 2016 - 11:40 pm
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Hello Shama, 

Sorry its been 2 weeks since my last post ! I have been very busy at work and although I have managed to visualise and practice, i have ran out of time to write my comments..

Before I start, about our last discussion : I found that if i turn my body slightly more in an angle and work with my side, it is no problem and I now can do that technique without problem Smile

Module 7

Leg stretches part 1- I felt very comfortable with these techniques, my partner really enjoy the elephant walk.

The first time I practiced the stretches with my feet pushing up he mentioned it felt a bit weird on his hamstrings but not the times after that..Although he has rather big foot the first option to hold him by the foot was good for me, I tried the other technique by blocking his leg but i prefer the first one.

He actually prefers the technique where you use both feet pushing up rather than just one, I only have been practising with him so far and will get feed back when I practise on someone else..I have booked in a friend at the end of the week, she’s tiny so it will be a total new experience for me Smile

The last stretch where you pull the knee and lift the hip didn’t feel like a strong stretch but he said it is a very nice feeling in his lower back

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Shama
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May 19, 2016 - 12:22 am
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Good news about your “problem” – sometimes it just takes a little adjustment, and suddenly it works fine. That’s why we always have to be creative with Thai Massage. Smile

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May 20, 2016 - 12:50 am
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module 8 leg stretches part 2

The leg stretches so far feel quite easy, I struggle most with the transition of my body between stretches but the techniques are very similar to the sport massage stretches that I use on my clients, except that it is much easier on a mat. I can use my body better and get much more power in the stretch with very little effort on y part : love it !

Calves techniques were good and felt especially the circular palms.

To be honest I didn’t think much of the knee friction at first but my partner love it and said it was a very feeling Smile

Very comfortable with the hamstring stretch, He did feel a bit uncomfortable in the groin area and as you mentionned I did the rocking first and then the stretch again and that felt good.

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sandrine laurent
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May 20, 2016 - 12:57 am
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Module 9 Leg stretches part 3

Very much like the previous module, I am comfortable with this techniques.

The concept of the hip pie does help with putting the sequence together.

Although my partner is not super flexible, I managed to do all the power versions, I started slowly and pushed it a bit more every time.

his favourite was the lower back stretch , as he is tall I used the version where I moved my body up and used my 2 hands-on his shoulder, that was a very powerful stretch that he enjoyed.

So very little effort for the giver…did i say I love it ?

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Shama
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May 20, 2016 - 1:38 am
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You must be a natural since those stretches are coming to you so easily. And I am happy to hear that you recognize the leverage and the power you get from working on a floor mat. Many budding Thai Massage therapists try desperately to adapt it all to the table because they think that their clients will refuse to lie down on a mat.

First, those therapists don’t know what they are missing since they are making their lives more difficult. And second, in all my years of doing Thai Massage work, I never had a client who complained about lying on a floor mat. Yes, a lot of Thai Massage can be done on a table, but it is definitely easier on a mat, and it is better for your ergonomics and your leverage.

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sandrine laurent
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May 20, 2016 - 7:25 pm
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Funny you say that, the other day I tried to do the lower back stretch on a client – he was presenting very tight QL- He was on the table as I was doing a sport/deep tissue massage…I didn’t get anywhere near the stretch we were looking for and felt very awkward for me ! I have done this for years on the table but now im not happy about the results knowing what I could do on the floor !

Hopefully soon I can do  more sport massages on the mat too, really works for me Laugh

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