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Shelly Werts Complete Thai Massage notes
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shelly werts
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
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September 8, 2019 - 7:14 am
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Module 1:

I watched and read the contents for module one.  I learned that breath is important when leaning in and leaning out of positions.  This made me more aware of how I use breath when practicing and teaching yoga in a class and how I can incorporate this in Thai massage.  Body mechanics is very important in general and for me especially.  I suffer from  chronic pain from various injuries.  It is going to be vitally important to pay attention to how I will be moving when working with clients so I do not injure myself further.  I have received Thai massage from three different practitioners, one of which was entirely on the table.  I agree that better body mechanics can be establish entirely on the floor and could see how using a table could cause injury to the practitioner.  One point that brought a question to my mind:  is it typical to stand entirely on a person?  (this happened to me in one of my sessions and I did not like it at all;  I didn't feel safe and it triggered my fight-flight response)

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Shama Kern
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September 8, 2019 - 10:21 pm
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Hi Shelly, welcome to our forum and the Complete Thai Massage certification program! Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

The one thing which seems to be missing is your certification registration. Could you please complete the form and submit it to us. You can find the link to it in the certification tutorial which you can access from the certification tab in the sidebar of your membership portal.

No, it is not typical to entirely stand on a person. In fact, I very much advise against it and don't teach it either. It tends to be a wobbly affair and the therapist cannot control the amount of weight which is put on you. Not a good thing to do in my opinion!

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shelly werts
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September 9, 2019 - 2:21 am
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I have read through the certification checklist, completed all the tasks, and submitted the certification registration.  

Thank you for letting me know it is not typical or advisable to stand on clients.  I didn't think this felt right.

Namaste

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shelly werts
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
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September 9, 2019 - 2:24 am
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Module 2

I practiced the chi machine with my friend, who has graciously volunteered to be my practice partner for the entire training, and my 9 y/o son.  I noticed a difference in how much shifting side to side was between them to obtain maximum benefit.  Both expressed they enjoyed the chi machine and my friend voiced that it helped to loosen her back.  My friend practiced on me so I could get the feeling of what it was like.  This simple technique is amazingly relaxing.  

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shelly werts
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September 9, 2019 - 2:31 am
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Module 3

I practiced the foot massage along with the video as I could not remember the steps by myself.  I practiced with both my friend and my son.  Both oooed and awwwed about how great it was!! I noticed that I definitely need to practice this over and over to gain a better feel for the flow.  I found the motion of circling my body while pressing the feet down at the same time to be challenging and feel like I am doing something wrong.  The rest of the  foot massage techniques flowed well and I was easily able to follow the video instructions.  I really like how much detail was put into the foot massage sequence.  (Now, if I could only get my husband to do this for me.....Wink)

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September 9, 2019 - 12:04 pm
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It's a fact that the one technique that you found challenging is the most difficult one of the foot techniques. It will take more practice than the others to get it to flow. But the Chi Machine is also challenging. Since you got that one right apparently, I am sure that with time you will also figure out the circular foot technique.

Yes, it would be nice if you could get your husband, or at least someone, to do this for you! Smile I know that's easier said than done.

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shelly werts
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April 17, 2021 - 3:46 pm
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Module 4

Catching up again....the pandemic has changed many things in my life.  

I reviewed modules 1-3 and just completed module 4 with a client of mine.  She is 42 and recovering from uterine and ovarian cancer, related surgeries, as well as chemo and radiation.  

She expressed feeling tingling in her body during the chi machine, she liked the push/pull on her entire leg during foot massage 1 which took the pressure off her lower back; and her feedback to me was that I needed to be further down on her heel when doing the three positions on her foot.

In module 4, I appreciated the review of module 2 and 3, and of your comment that we don't have to remember to do all the techniques and to flow naturally in the moment.  Sometimes I can get caught up in trying to perfectly perform.  Kneading the bottom of the foot was a little challenging as I couldn't figure out if I should roll upwards or downwards, or if that even mattered.  I found that slowing the process down when focusing on going between the metatarsals in the foot was better for me as I couldn't feel the grooves when going faster.  She expressed module 4 was a weird combo of relaxing and energizing.  I also incorporated a short reiki session right before practicing with her as she expressed feeling some anxiety.

I appreciate your dedication to teaching this beautiful modality and for your patience with me.

Namaste

Shelly

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Shama Kern
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April 18, 2021 - 1:07 am
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Welcome back, Shelly. Yes, the pandemic has changed the lives of so many. I am glad that you are still with us! Smile

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shelly werts
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October 29, 2021 - 5:04 pm
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Module 5

Same client:  42 y/o recovering from cancer

The client stated she loved the butterfly compression on the thigh.  I had some challenges with the push-pull massage of the thigh, however when alternating the hand movements this was much easier for me.  I need more practice on working the calves using the roll and squeeze method.  I like that you provide a short review of what we have covered.

Module 6

The session flowed well.  Client voiced calf at the end felt really good and relaxing.  This calf technique seemed easier.  I'm not sure if any parts are supposed to be sort of fun, but I found it quite playful to do the push-pull leg rocking motion.  🙂   Working on the IT bands on the outside with the elbow was difficult for me because I have a smaller frame than the client.  Client offered feedback about knee placement when my entire leg is under hers to avoid direct contact of my knee against her leg.

Module 7

I noticed the client trying to help more and encouraged her to let go.  The rocking knee/hip helped relieve strain in the low back.  I liked offering the elephant walking on the calf and thigh.  Client voiced this was relaxing for her.  We did use a blanket as her hips are tight.  I have practiced the technique with having one leg straight, the other in an l-shape and using the foot/let to push on the hamstrings by straightening the leg in a yoga training.  Your technique was slightly different, however I like the hand placement as being a shorter person this makes it easier.  Client voiced the pull at the end felt good on her back.  

Module 8

Client was receptive to the calf massage.  The hip felxion was her favorite.  I noticed her ROM has improved on both sides.  Transitioning from one leg to the other is challenging for me.  

Module 9

The technique (hip pie??) in which you kneel with their foot in your hip increase and rocking forward 45 degrees down the arm is amazing!  I love this and so did she.  I wish I could have someone do this for me.  🙁    The push-pull massage in this position is easy as well.  I felt like I had a good amount of control on the leg as this position feels more contained.  The hamstring stretch was too intense for her so I modified by back off the full stretch.  It was challenging for her to cross over her leg to place her foot on the other side of the opposite leg/knee, so I assisted her in laying a little more on her side to accomplish this technique.  

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shelly werts
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October 29, 2021 - 8:25 pm
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Module 10

The breath with movement is like a dance.  We dance with the movements of the techniques using the breath.  This is similar to yoga; how breath moves the body from pose to pose.  Where attention and breath goes, energy flows.  I like that we use our entire bodies as my arms, and especially my wrists, are weak.  I have tendonitis, so using my body to move with the technique helps.  Do you have a suggestion for individuals who are not flexible enough to cross the foot over the leg in the supine position?  The abductor stretch was easier than I thought and she seemed to be positively responsive to this.  I couldn't do the blood stop method due to her medical condition.  She had major surgery to her arteries in her legs that were part of the cancer surgery.  

Module 11

I reviewed the videos and created a flowed sequence for her.  It truly was like a dance.  I enjoyed it just as much as she did and I could feel the energy flow freely.  She was very relaxed at end, almost falling asleep, and voiced it was an amazing experience!

Module 12

Completed today with her.  She and I both thought it was interesting and challenging.  LOL  

I appreciate the different versions of the Achilles tendon and calf stretch.  She and I both liked version 2 and 4 the best as it was gentle and easier to do.  I'm not so sure I got the right angling for version 1 and it feels awkward to me.  Version 3 was too intense for her and I was unable to practice this but watched it.  I really liked the contraction-traction movement in version 4.  She expressed that when having her knees together (with me using my body weight to gently push down) felt good.  When moving onto leaning forward with the bent knees she could feel it more in her back than other places.  Stepping through with her legs straight behind my legs was interesting.  I felt this technique was very beneficial.  We could no practice her folding her legs around mine due to lack of flexibility.  I'm not particularly comfortable with doing this technique, especially sitting down on the person with the person's legs wrapped around mine.

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Shama Kern
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October 29, 2021 - 11:48 pm
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Clearly, not every technique works well on every client. Keep the motto in mind that 'the techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences'.

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shelly werts
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December 3, 2021 - 7:40 pm
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Thank you for the feedback!

Module 13

Today my client attended session with complaints of tight hips, which was perfect for today's lesson.  I appreciated the review, learning about limitations and possibilities, and discussed with her the differences about pain.  I assigned her to use a foam roller at home on her hips and hip flexors.  She tends to sit a lot and has tenderness still from the surgeries related to her cancer.  I slowed down the pace on the scooping action with her leg raised over my shoulder and although this was uncomfortable for her she expressed it was the good pain.  The final hip pie 315 degree stretch was also uncomfortable for her however again described as the good pain.  I was slow and gentle with her throughout the session and she appreciated this.  I also incorporated some of the earlier techniques from previous modules to add to this flow.  

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shelly werts
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December 17, 2021 - 10:54 pm
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Module 14

I'm getting into more of a flow using poses that work well with this client.  I was unable to practice the hip rocking due to her surgeries related to the cancer.  She has quite a bit of tenderness around the psoas and illacus muscle region, and notable retraction before approaching this area.  I encouraged her to do gentle self massage every night with affirmations and positive self talk letting her nervous system know she is safe.  I re-assigned use of a foam roller which she has not been practicing, as well as supine twists.  I can see how this pose would be valuable for her in the future.  I had significant difficulty with the half back arch stretch as my legs are not long enough to reach over her thighs.  It was quite comical and we both laughed about being short.  Is is possible to offer modifications for poses for short practitioners working on larger bodied people? It was much easier to do the half back arch stretch with quad and hip flexor stretch in the kneeling position.  The only challenge with this was that I have weak wrists and it was difficult for me to pull her weight toward me.  I have tendonitis in both wrists.  Is there a modification for this?

Thank you,

Shelly

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Shama Kern
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December 19, 2021 - 3:39 am
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Actually yes, there are modifications for many techniques. Especially once you get to the 'Advanced Thai Massage Skills' bonus course, there are several modules about such modifications, including one entire module with modifications for the half-back-arch stretch.

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shelly werts
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January 14, 2022 - 7:02 pm
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Module 15

Great to hear there are lessons for modifications!  Thank you!

Today we did not have time to go through a flow and only focused on the module due to her time constraints.

The abdomen exercises were great!  I thought this would be nice for someone to do this for me.  🙂

She enjoyed the comfort, however expressed it felt weird for someone to touch her stomach.  She especially benefitted from the diagonal push-pull.  I found this and the clockwise circle to be quite easy and somewhat meditative.  

It was challenging for me to do some of the other exercises only because my legs are too short to comfortably kneel with one foot on the other side of the body.  She expressed tenderness on her sides and I explained this may be due to blocked lymph near the armpits and down the sides.  The sternum shake felt awkward for me.   She stated the distribution of weight when doing the elephant walk on the shoulders was uneven; most likely due to the positioning of my body and challenges with short legs.  

She has tenderness under the collar bones due to a port being removed just one month ago, so I didn't spend as much time there.  

Thank you,

Shelly

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Shama Kern
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January 15, 2022 - 8:52 am
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Well, a lot of Thai Massage initially feels weird for both the client and the practitioner. It is quite different from other modalities. But those weird feelings will resolve themselves with practice, and clients will get used to having their abdomen touched after a while.

If you feel that a client doesn't let go easily and is a bit apprehensive of what you are doing, you can always skip the abdomen in a first session. If you work on the client again, they are more used to the whole thing and will probably not find anything weird anymore.

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