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Shannon Price Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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Shannon Price
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March 18, 2016 - 9:08 am
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Module 1 - Introduction 

 

As a Registered Advanced Remedial Massage Therapist - brought up/learnt everything (massage) in the Western world I had to give my head a good shake and clear my mind ... and invite this new(ish) way of learning - Eastern. With an open (and excited) mind I watched the introduction video! 

I love the fact that most of this work (if not all) is done on the floor! Such a great way to use your whole body, better body mechanics and I can see how your energy can flow so much better than working on a massage table. I am not a large girl, so being able to use my whole body and not just muscle strength will be beneficial! 

At first, when you were talking about anatomy, I was ready for another anatomy lesson - but nope! I understand now that Thai Massage is about energy flow (where it all starts in the Hara), listening to the body. In my practice I do already listen to the tissues, let them tell me where to work, how deep etc.... but with Thai Massage, I will allow the energy to flow and understand it more. 

I am familiar with all the techniques and tools you have described. I am excited to learn how to use them in different ways (ex. on the floor, whole body use etc.) and in the Thai Massage ways! The one thing I do not use in my current practice are my feet. I am particularly excited to learn the ways I can incorporate my feet! 

As for the different positions of the therapist I may need to practice that a bit more - especially for the toes! I have started yoga - still a little shaky in some poses but I am getting there. I am sure that will help alot!  

Ergonomics is extremely important! I try to be aware of the position my body is in at all times! I want the massage to be as relaxing and fluid as possible. I will be aware of my body mechanics during practice of Thai Massage! Using my whole body, not just my muscles. 

Using my breath to connect will be another new thing to practice. Again, yoga is helping with this as I can really notice a difference in just doing a pose vs. doing a pose and breathing to connect and complete the pose. I will practice my breathing to complement the massage and each move. 

I am looking forward to using those 3 steps in each massage move! 

 

Thank you for making in this course - particularly how interactive it is! Having us write what we have learn from each module really does help to remember and think about what we have learnt! Thanks! I look forward to every module!!! 

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Shama
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March 18, 2016 - 11:51 pm
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Hi Shannon, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage course and to our community! Smile

I can tell that some concepts will be new for you, but you clearly are open-minded and enthusiastic, plus you practice yoga, so everything will quickly fall into place for you.

You already listed and appreciated many essential elements of Thai Massage, including working on the floor, so you are off to a good start.

Just one thing: Your post looks like a certification post. However I did not receive a certification registration  form from you, so I am not sure if you are posting to share or if you want a certificate. Could you please clarify this.

If you are going for the certificate, please send me the certification  registration form. The link is in your course manual in the certification section. If you are just posting to share, then everything is fine as it is. Smile

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Shannon Price
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March 19, 2016 - 12:14 am
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Oops! I would like a certificate (international)!  

I have sent the form! Thanks for letting me know! 

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Shama
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March 19, 2016 - 12:35 am
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Thanks, now we cleared that one up! While we are at it, please take a few  minutes to familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure we have all the bases covered:

Certification Check List

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Shannon Price
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March 21, 2016 - 12:13 am
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Module 2 - Chi Machine 

During this module I learnt more about introductory concepts - Right mindset, proper body mechanics,right attitude and breathing.

I know that the right mindset is a huge part of a great Thai Massage. If I don't focus and don't know what is going on with my body (breathing, body mechanics) while working on someone else - they will also feel the disconnect.

The right body posture/ergonomics is another key point to make sure you are giving a proper massage - and to avoid unnecessary stress on our bodies.

I definitely have the right attitude. I try to practice with a clear head (not worrying about stresses from home, etc). Our attitudes do affect others - if I am happy and positive, I notice it in the ones around me. If I am angry or sad, it can put one the ones around me in a bad mood as well.

I know that breathing is important to connect with the clients during a massage. Breathing into the move or connecting the breath while performing a technique is a newer concept for me. I have been practicing breathing while practicing my yoga -  hopefully it will help with Thai massage. 

 

My partner is my husband. He is 6ft tall and approximately 250lbs - his legs are like tree trunks!!

The first time I tried the Chi Machine it just didn't feel right, and did not look right. Right away I stopped and reassessed. I went through the steps. I had the right attitude, then I looked at my positioning - I forgot to have a space in between my legs, once I fixed this my body mechanics were proper. I tried again - it was almost effort less. I was so surprised how easy it was to have him wiggle all the way from his feet, through his hips and all the way up to his nose! I focused on moving the hips and the rest just followed. He said he felt relaxed, but no tingles. I also practiced on my sister - did everything proper this time! She felt relaxed and a bit taller (looser) - however, her lower back was uncomfortable and she felt like she would need a pillow - as she usually does use a pillow under her lumbar spine. I do not think a pillow will benefit this technique. If a client had this problem (or any ankle or knee problems) and it was too uncomfortable I would choose not to do this technique. 

I will continue to practice the Chi Machine and look forward to the upcoming techniques! 

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Shama
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March 21, 2016 - 12:28 am
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I am glad that you do not only practice on your husband since this would be a limiting experience. If someone is so large and heavy, there are some techniques that you just won't be able to do. There are hundreds of techniques in Thai Massage, and it is perfectly okay to skip some.

Keep in mind that the techniques in this course are not meant to be a fixed sequence but options to chose from, depending on whom you are working on. Throughout this course there are many options for modifications for different bodies, sizes and weights. 

So whenever you come across a technique which is just too hard to do on your husband, just practice that on your sister.

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Shannon Price
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March 21, 2016 - 12:32 am
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Yes indeed! Same with my previous massage experience. Different techniques and different body position for different folks! I have a number of different body shapes and sizes to work with! No shortage in that area! 

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Shama
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March 21, 2016 - 1:39 am
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Excellent, that's good news! Smile

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Shannon Price
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March 23, 2016 - 10:21 pm
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Module 3 - Foot Massage 

 

For this module I needed to watch the video a few times as well as take notes for all the different techniques and positioning of the body. I will need to watch a few more times to get a fluid foot massage down. 

While practicing these techniques I have found most of them quite easy and relaxing for myself. Using my whole body and remembering to not muscle through the different moves.

The circular foot bending & twisting technique I found to be quite easy and natural for me. I am good at multitasking - pro at the patting head while rubbing tummy thing :). Using my whole body (circular motion) really does help, especially to get the strength that I need to with big feet! I did try it without doing the circular motion and it did not feel good at all, there was no connection, all muscle power, and weird body positioning. 

The rest of the techniques I found quit easy. The main difference from this foot massage and the regular ones I give - would be working on the ground, and using whole body - which I love!! 

The only thing that is working against me is my tiny hands vs a large foot. I have found ways to hold the foot, using my legs for support. 

As for my husband who has received the massages, he loves them. We found some sore spots during the pushing and pulling, but the general massage was very relaxing for him and gave his feet a good stretch! 

Off to practice some more! 

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Shama
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March 23, 2016 - 11:44 pm
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You will find that the next foot massage module will bring it all together for you.

I am glad to hear that your husbands loves your work!

You are quite unique in one respect: Most new course students find the circular foot bending and twisting technique quite challenging. I think this is the first time that someone told me that they figured this one out easily! Smile

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Shannon Price
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March 23, 2016 - 11:49 pm
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I was quite surprised how easily it came together for me.. I even stopped and analyzed what I was doing, referring back to the video! And ..... I was doing it correctly! I'm not at the full speed you are able to do it at. But hopefully soon! 

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Shannon Price
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March 27, 2016 - 10:50 am
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Module 4 - Foot Massage 2 

 

This video did bring everything together. The conceptual thinking really does work the best - much easier than just memorizing each technique. Following a natural flow with working the feet makes for a smooth massage! 

My sense of feeling has been developed, and helps greatly with working the different parts of the feet, especially when working/moving the ankle. 

Once again, I love how using the whole body really does make each technique so much easier to perform. I try to be conscious of my body position, while also listening to my client and quality of touch. 

These last few techniques were quite nice and easy! My husband loves the little circles on the inside and outside of the heel and the nice pull up the edges of the foot! I really wish I could experience these techniques on myself!! 

Can these techniques be done with socks on? I understand the touch will be different - But i know some clients are shy to show their feet. 

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Shama
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March 27, 2016 - 10:01 pm
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Well - here in Thailand it is always hot and most people don't wear socks anyway. So here nobody ever gets a Thai foot massage with their socks on. However it can be done, and I have done it. It doesn't feel as good to me as the giver doing it over socks, but it is not a big problem either. 

I have very rarely encountered people who would not want to take their socks off. After all, when you get a Swedish massage, you are close to naked and I cannot imagine a Swedish massage client keeping their socks on. So why would a Thai Massage client not want to take their socks off?

One way how this is being dealt with is that in the better Thai Massage establishments, the therapist or someone else first washes the feet of the client which eliminates smelly feet issues.

I understand that there can be cases where people have an issue with showing their feet, like if they have bad toe nail fungal infections with ugly looking toe nails for example. But such cases are very rare in my experience. If they do occur, just work through the socks.

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Shannon Price
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March 27, 2016 - 10:06 pm
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Thanks Sharma, 

That was my general thoughts. I have had a couple clients who would keep their socks on. 

I will practice the foot routine with socks off and socks on! 

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Shannon Price
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March 31, 2016 - 5:08 am
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Module 5 - leg warmup

 

In this module you showed how to lock the leg to do a warm up. I had to play around with this a bit, as my mat is not thick and the locking position was hurting my husbands heel, so I locked his leg by going up a bit higher on his ankle, this seemed to work. 

As for the different techniques- I really loved the butterfly technique, I was able to provide a smooth rocking motion, using my whole body and really sinking in to the tissue. The breathing in and out with the technique really allowed me to slow down and really listen to the tissues. 

The other techniques are quite similar to what I already know - using the thumbs are not my favorite things to use (trying to avoid stress on the thumbs), I much prefer to use the heels of hands- especially on larger muscle areas and larger legs! 

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Shama
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March 31, 2016 - 10:50 pm
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Whenever possible, it is always a good idea to replace the thumbs with another body part. I know some therapists who seem to have indestructible gorilla thumbs, but most of us folks need to preserve our thumbs as much as possible in order to last in this profession.

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Shannon Price
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April 3, 2016 - 1:25 am
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Module 6 - Leg warmup - forearms

 

I really liked this module. Practicing this module felt better on my hands/body than module 5. I'm really enjoying working on the floor to include my whole body! 

My partner also preferred these techniques over module 5 techniques. Since these techniques are more broad they were easier to work on his large thighs! I was quite relaxed and it felt natural!  My favorite technique is the elephant walk! I can take it really slow, breathe with the moment and sink in and really listen to the tissues!! A lot of these techniques allowed me to really sink in and let the tissue warm up! 

I look forward to learning more about the sen lines! 

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Shama
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April 3, 2016 - 2:14 pm
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That's one big advantage of Thai Massage: There are literally hundreds of techniques you can choose from. Some you will like more than others, that's normal. Over time you will develop your own style based on your preferences. It should never be a fixed system of sequences which you do on everyone.

Adaptation, intuition, and creativity are more important than following sequences. And yes, there will be more about sen lines.  I have my own take on those, i.e. I don't follow the traditional approach. You can find out why by reading the following article:

Thai Massage And Traditional Sen Lines

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Shannon Price
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April 6, 2016 - 5:26 am
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Module 7 - leg stretches 1

 

Everytime I practice I start with the chi machine, practice a few different foot techniques, go over the leg warm up techniques (particularly the forearm ones). Starting to get into a nice routine! 

As you said in the video these leg stretches are harder with small hands and large legs - indeed they are. I was so glad to see the other video that showed an alternative (I understand, there is nothing set in stone on how to perform one technique or have to follow a set routine). The alternative method was sooo much easier on myself and my husband. I also think the rocking is a good idea before the leg stretches! 

I look forward to working on my other subjects to get a different feel for each technique. 

Also, great article about the sen lines! 

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Shama
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April 6, 2016 - 10:11 am
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You will find that throughout this course I present many alternatives which make it easier to adjust to working on different body types. Once you get to the bonus modules at the end of this course, there are several videos which deal exclusively with this topic. Being flexible and being able to modify and adjust is an important element of Thai Massage.

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