When I first started practicing massage, I was very nervous about working with my elbow around the spine. Now, working as a Deep Tissue therapist, it's my best tool. I use it for clients who are much bigger than me or for someone who just wants very deep work. This is good for me as well as it saves me from straining my muscles and overworking my joints. Im glad this tool is equally as effective and applicable in ™. I have so many clients coming in with LowBack pain and this is a great way to address it. Do you recommend applying these techniques on the table as well or are they specifically suited for Thai?
I found during my practice in this module that it's more comfortable for the client if I instruct them to exhale as I apply pressure and inhale as I release. This puts us in sync again, working together.
I really like the galloping technique. It feels like the motion is more of a flow or circular rather than a direct and straight line. It feels less predictable and a little more interesting than Elephant walking (although I'd be happy with that too ).
Regarding ergonomics, my attention has been turned more towards learning the techniques and I was losing proper posture. I started working in front of a mirror to give myself the opportunity to have reminders to keep alignment. It's working well for now.
I love the option of the pillow propping. It's always good to have as many tricks and alternatives in my toolbox to use when there is a less typical setting.
Good ergonomics is not only good for your body, it is also what makes the techniques feel good. Because good ergonomics take the stress off your body by making the moves easier on you, you can relax more and in turn make your client relax. So make sure you are not neglecting good posture and good ergonomics. It will pay you back in more than one way.
The beginning trap work is nice because it's simple and quite effective. Just a little bit of trap manipulation goes a very long way. You can never go wrong with this basic technique.
The cobra is a nice combination of what a lot of people are used to doing as an active stretch yet this is done as a completely passive stretch. It's familiar to many people which often makes the body more willing to release for.
"Hipnotic" is a very accurate way to describe this percussion. It feels so soothing!
I appreciate the balance in Thai Massage between gentle and soft movement and deep/strong stretches. There's a session that can be perfectly designed for everyone!
You have such elegance in your movements. I know you have years of experience to perfect it but I am far from elegant. I have these videos as a goal of what I would like to look like in my practice. Because I know if it flows well and is smooth on my end, the client feels the fluidity as well. I practice the full routines with the video on mute so it feels like my own session but I still have the visual aid as a guide when I feel unsure. It works well for me in this phase.
Nobody expects you to look elegant in the beginning. That just takes lots of practice and experience. It is something to look forward to once you know the techniques so well that you don't have to think about them anymore. Then you will start to develop the 'flow' feeling, and the 'elegance' is a natural byproduct of this stage.
Ive noticed that this session requires even more thoughtfulness and awareness in my own body, especially when using all of my body weight with my buttocks. Ive gained sensitivity and awareness in my hands, forearms and elbows, but it's a new thing to use my buttocks and still understand what's happening under my pressure.
I have realized that when working in the hip and glute area in Thai Massage, it's not so important to be anatomically specific as it is just to stay within general confines of soft and meaty tissue. This produces the best feeling for the client without the over concern of the therapist.
When doing the final movement of the leg lift while compressing the glutes, is the movement towards the Left AND backwards (as in creating a psoas stretch) or is it just a movement to the left and a straight return back down, towards the right again?
In the first "warm up" move (palming along the erectors), it's hard for me to remember not to push in to create pressure but just to use the natural weight of my body. For some reason in this position I feel like I need to use force to create the right amount of pressure.
The combo of rocking/spinal twist has proven to be really great work for people who are not ready for a deeper twist. It feels good on flexible people as warm up and it feels sufficiently deep enough for a tighter/bigger body.
I like the spinal twist in 3:35- it's like a gentle and controlled back bend and a good way to introduce the body to a movement that is healthy and opposite of what we normally do all day long.
You are right, it is not so important to know every anatomical detail for your Thai Massage sessions since the primary focus of this system is designed to get energy moving. This is a very different approach from western massage systems. Of course it is always a good idea to have an understanding of anatomy, but traditionally this has never been a main focus in the training here in Thailand.
Developing sensitivity in many body parts is one of the secrets of Thai Massage. The use of all those body parts makes the therapist's job much easier and it is the great equalizer for small therapists who are working on larger clients.
Regarding your question regarding the leg lift: Often a slight change in a stretch can affect different muscles. There is nothing wrong with creating variations of a move. If it feels good to your practice partner, then you can use a variation. What I am saying is that the stretches are not written in stone with only one very specific way of doing them. The way how I do this move is that the leg is lifted in alignment with the body, but moving it backwards a bit is a valid way to do it too.
My partner for this proactice is a large and muscular man who has a history of shoulder injuries from over 20 years ago. He broke his clavicle in a motorcycle accident and never has an surgery or medical reparation. The bone is out of alignment still and obviously there is a lot of tightness in the supporting muscles. The 360 shoulder rotation was hard for me to coin the affected side. It was easier on both of us when I engaged my entire body in the roll but still took a lot out of me.
Is this work good for this particular client to begin loosening up the muscles and strengthen the compromised area? Is the intention to create fluidity and ROM good enough for the beginning stages? Or is this one of those times where I would just do gentle rocking moves with little stretching because there is too much resistance?
There is nothing wrong with working against strong resistance of a locked up area in the body. Just make sure that you communicate with your client to find out how it feels. I generally ask questions like:
1. "Does this feel good, bad, or neutral?" Ideally it should feel good. A neutral feeling is ok to work with, a bad feeling means that what you are doing is not right for the condition.
2. If there is pain, I ask if it is good or bad pain. Good pain is diminishing in intensity and feels releasing. Bad pain does not diminish in intensity or gets worse and it often feels sharp and harmful.
3. Use the one-to-ten system to gauge the intensity of your work.
You should always warm up the muscles before doing any stretching. If the client does not respond well to stretching techniques, then use rocking or swinging moves. There will be more shoulder work in module 32.
THis was really helpful work. It's intense shoulder therapy without causing too much of a stretch and avoiding pain or muscle stress. I especially appreciated the scapula work. The counteracting push/pull of the shoulder was very therapeutic for my partner and I felt a good rhythm. This side lying position allows for much better access to the scapulae and the surrounding muscles than when trying to access through supine/prone positions.
In 14:40 ish, is there equal pressure on the anterior shoulder and the scapula or is one hand leading with the pull or the push?
The stretches with the arm above the head were beautiful. It allows for a deep yet very comfortable lat and tricep stretch. Adding the traction takes the stretch to the next level without pushing the body too far. And the massage of the armpit muscles is brilliant - less awkward reach and less tickling - it's all laid out for palpation. Thank you for this module! I will definitely be incorporating these techniques in many sessions.
The beginning of the warm up neck work is reminiscent of being a young girl and massaging my dad's back or doing a trade with my friends at the pool. Not that it's amateur but that it's intuitive and basic techniques that feel good. Although I can definitely see how sitting up and receiving this work is not as fully enjoyable as when the body can relax in a lying position.
There is such a slight difference in how you begin the stretch with the feet on the back. If you start with the back in a 90 degree position, it is less effective. I practiced this technique both the "correct" and "incorrect" ways and there is a noticeable ease and comfort when the client leans forward slightly.
In this stretch, is the pressure coming from the balls of the feet and the toes pushing into the erectors, or are the heels involved as well?
The spinal twist is nice for people who are working on building their flexibility. Monitored to not go too deep but using my body wiehgt allows me to take the stretch deeper for more flexible clients.
This first upper body traction move is so simple and so effective! I know people who have purchased very expensive machines that produce the same effect for the spine (but without the human touch it's not as good). It's a wonderful "good morning" stretch to do for someone and to have done to get the day started feeling awake and muscle/joint healthy.
The 2nd move using the forearm to work on the traps looks like it can compromise the client's neck but maybe if only the client resists?
In the first move using the forearm, is the client's head resting on their own arm?
Although I am very comfortable and confident talking to clients before, during and after session, it's always a good refresher and insight to hear how other therapists communicate. I appreciated the discussion about cell memory and will definitely be borrowing that to explain things to my clients. Having a few talking points related to Thai massage will help me gain more confidence with these specific techniques and knowing how they differ from traditional table massage is important not just to explain to clients but to know how to distinguish the types of services I provide and which one is more suited to the client.
Q: In 14:40 ish, is there equal pressure on the anterior shoulder and the scapula or is one hand leading with the pull or the push?
A: The push on the anterior shoulder is what separates the scapula from the back so that you can get your fingers under it. It also creates a motion which makes this technique much more fluid. The intensity of the anterior push depends on whom you are working on. If someone is light and flexible, you need hardly any push. If is someone is big, muscular and stiff, you need to apply considerable pressure to get the shoulder to move back.
Q: In this stretch, is the pressure coming from the balls of the feet and the toes pushing into the erectors, or are the heels involved as well?
A: There is hardly any pressure with the heels, it is almost all coming from the balls of the feet.
Q: The 2nd move using the forearm to work on the traps looks like it can compromise the client's neck but maybe if only the client resists?
A: Are you referring to the move where the client's head is resting on my thigh? In either case, none of these moves put any stress on the neck. The trick is to adjust the height of your thigh so that your client's head is comfortable and the neck is not stretched. You can accomplish this by
1. lowering your thigh by changing the angle between your lower and upper leg
2. raising your thigh by using a 90 degree angle in your leg and if necessary lifting your heel
3. moving your entire leg along with the client's body sideways
The client should feel like resting comfortably on your thigh. The actual position depends on the size differential between the client and the height of your thigh, so it will vary from client to client.
Q: In the first move using the forearm, is the client's head resting on their own arm?
A: No, the head is cradled in your arm and not touching their own arm.