May 24, 2011
I've been browsing the website for a few months now and finally decided to take the video course. I have also watched many of Shama Kern's YouTube videos and I feel I have learned so much already! Can't wait to delve into the course and share my experience on the forum.
It is my dream to visit Shama Kern in Thailand when I am finished!
I always feel honored when people trust me and decide to learn Thai Massage from me. I have invested a huge amount of work, energy and time to create all my video courses, and I constantly add new material and improve the old. For me it is a labor of love and a passion. I really love sharing my knowledge and this is a great way to reach many people.
Thanks again for joining us Laura. I am totally committed to providing the best support possible. I want to see all my students succeed!
May 24, 2011
I finished Module 1 and just watched the Module 2 video. My approach will be to watch the video once before I practice on my partner.
What I take from Module 1 is that it is so important to not use my muscles (as I tend to) during a Thai Massage. This is called good ergonomics. I must refine my technique to utilize my entire body. I have been breathing properly thanks to my Yoga experience and am familiar with all of the terminology thanks to my education. Although I feel I want to jump ahead, I know that this will be a wonderful learning experience and it is exactly what I need.
Will report how I did with the Chi Machine shortly!
Laura, whenever I teach live classes, this is one of the biggest issues every time: How to get my students to not use their muscles so much and instead use body weight and good ergonomics. It does make a big difference. I just read a facebook post from a student of mine who took a class with me in 2004. The one thing that he remembers very clearly as a major benefit for him was that I got thim to stop muscling people. Muscling feels clumsy and using body weight, working with your entire body and having good ergonomics makes a huge difference in how a massage feels, and it will preserve your health.
I am glad you 'got' that right in the beginning. I will talk a lot more about this throughout the course. Your yoga experience will be very helpful, I am sure. Be patient with the chi machine. Once you get it, it is a really great technique.
May 24, 2011
Shama, you are so right about how muscling feels opposed to the leaning method. I just know intuitively that when I am muscling someone it doesn't feel good to them! My partner loved the Chi Machine- I got it right away! Although he didn't feel tingling, he could see how it warms a person simply by moving their energy.
Tonight, I practiced the foot massage. I was already familiar with the technique of "3"s, but again, you are right, it will take some time to master the foot massage techniques! I know it will happen, I can feel it.
I am thoroughly enjoying learning the techniques, this course is going to refine my skills and make quite a practioner out of me!
You are off to a flying start Laura. It takes most students quite a while to figure out the Chi Machine. The trick is if you see the nose moving, you are doing it right 🙂
In every single live class I ever taught I aways did the muscle versus leaning test. I ask the students what feels better. I don't tell them what I am doing. I just press first and then I lean. Without exception they always said the leaning feels much better. I guess it is time to retire the concept of muscling our clients!
Laura, you are going to love the series, I've just finished myself and the only bad thing I could say is that it is over, at least the video course part. I would also suggest the Heavenly Head Massage series, which I have also taken. Each step is a journey and now it is on to furthering that journey.
Enjoy and have fun!
Michael P. Barnes LMBT 8913, RMT
May 24, 2011
Michael, thank you for the response and support! I am sure will take the Heavenly Head Massage course when I am done. I am enjoying this so much!
Shama, I watched and practiced Module 5 today. As you know, the anterior thigh contains the distal bifurcation of the sciatic nerve just above the knee, which I managed to hit a few times on my partner!
Obviously, I wasn't trying to hurt him, but it didn't take alot of pressure to elicit the pain response. Do you find you are using a much lighter touch in this area because of the nerve? I am so ready to give up the muscling! I fear I may be doing it subconsciously. I have a client tomorrow that I will practice on also, I'll let you know how that goes!
Laura, the secret is what I call the "power of softness". Many people think that softness means a lighter touch with less intensity or power. But actually it has nothing to do with strong or light, it is a quality of touch. If you imagine your hands doing a dance, or doing Tai Chi-like movements instead of pressing, that will change the quality of your touch. Practice floating your hands down towards your partner's body and sinking into the muscles with the feeling of softness while only using your bodyweight.
And yes, the closer you get to the knee, the more sensitive it becomes. It is not only the sciatic nerve, it is the fact that there is much less muscle mass around the knee than further up the thigh. It is best to avoid working strongly around the knee. (The same applies to the elbow.) However I have created an entire therapy course that deals exclusively with working on the knee. You might want to check that out at some point. In there I use mostly rocking techniques that make it easy to eliminate any pain in and around the knee area.
May 24, 2011
Thank you Shama, I am glad I read this before I am off to see my client! I do need to let the healer come out in me and trust my intuition rather than worrying about whether the client thinks I give a good massage or not!
I feel I am moving towards a new dimension of my practice - which I have tapped into thanks to you! I am very happy I chose this course and to learn from you! It's a sign that my intuition is right - and when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
May 24, 2011
May 24, 2011
Ok, I just finished practicing the leg warm up using the forearm technique. I found that when working on the upper thigh, we are very close to the groin/genital area. Now on my partner (my boyfriend) that is ok, but will it make a client uncomfortable? Just a thought.
Also, I need to practice getting into and out of the positions and find what works best for me, I wasn't very graceful and even got a little frustrated with myself for not "getting it" right away! I had some trouble with the I.T. Band area, I couldn't quite get my body position right. I will practice this module again later!
Laura, regarding getting close to a man's genital area: You are right, this is an issue to be aware of. But it does not only apply to Thai Massage, but to all kinds of massages. Here in Thailand they have an easy solution - they just don't care.
Every therapist knows that the genital is designed for expansion, and this can easily happen during a massage session. Unless the man gets a raging erection and starts groping the female therapist, they simply disregard movement in the genitals. In the vast majority of cases, there is no sexual intent or feeling involved - it is just a biological function. Actually, often the man feels much more embarrassed by this involuntary movement than the therapist.
Naturally you need to use common sense and not get too close to the genital area. Throughout my videos you will find repeated references to this issue when there are techniques that are close to the genital area. But you can never totally eliminate this issue, it is just the way how a man's body is designed.
Regarding "not getting it right away", don't expect too much from yourself. It is totally normal to not get it right away. Imagine giving a music student a violin and some sheet music and expecting that it will instantly sound heavenly. It will first sound scratchy and terrible, but with practice it will sound beautiful. That's just how it works when you learn something. Nobody "gets it" right away perfectly. Don't be hard on yourself.
It will never be enough to practice a module of the course only one time. You need to rewatch them several times and keep practicing and get a lot of feedback from your practice partner.
Soon you will get a module that shows the flow of everything you have learned so far. There won't be much explanation in it since you have had that in previous modules already, but it will look more like a real session in flow. That will help you put the pieces together.
May 24, 2011
Shama, thanks for all of your sound advice! I have been busy with clients and feeling a bit more confident with my new techniques. Definitely have a long way to go, but I have been getting some awesome feedback. Can't wait for tomorrow's Module! I love the fact that I can go back and watch previous modules whenever I want. The course is worth every penny, and I let everyone know how great it is! I hope to refer some people!
May 24, 2011
Hello! I just finished with Module 12 for hip stretches. The girl in the video must be very, very flexible. Neither I nor my partner could get our feet to go below knees like she did in that last hip stretch (after you walked through the legs, moved your feet up near the armpits, brought the knees out to the sides and put her feet together below your knees). It's a great stretch, even when my feet were just resting on the tops of my partner's thighs. Is this okay to do instead? He couldn't get into that position either when I tried it on him, and he's pretty flexible!
I am really loving the course, I'm practicing the lower body stretches, and I'm looking forward to the upper body work! My clients love what I'm doing and it's only getting better.
two tips to get into that position:
1. When you are standing and step forward until your feet end up below your partner's shoulders, use your knees and thighs to push your partners knees outwards as much as possible. When you bring your partner's feet down below your knees, make sure that your knees are straight and not bent. This requires the least initial stretch.
2. Make sure that your partner's hip is coming up. You cannot just do this stretch only by bending the legs forward. It only works because the entire back is curving and that allows the legs to go down. This stretch effects the hamstrings, hips and entire back, and all those parts have to move. Often you have to gently maneuver the legs in place first if you feel resistance. This stretch does not work if your partner stiffens up or resists in any way.
But anyway, this is a real yogi stretch, and I rarely do it on regular clients unless they are quite flexible and enjoy stretching. I show you a wide range of stretches, but the idea is not that you use all of them all the time. Only use the ones that are suitable for a particular client and skip the others.
And yes, you can modify stretches to accommodate clients who are not so flexible, but actually it is more advisable to work on stiff muscles directly with pressure or rocking techniques rather than trying to get someone into an uncomfortable stretch which they cannot handle easily.
I am so happy that you are progressing nicely and that you are getting good feedback from your clients.
May 24, 2011
Hi Shama, thanks for the response. Yesterday I tried the technique on my friend who is much more flexible and it worked beautifully! 🙂 It's very helpful to know how to modify the stretch for those who are less flexible!
I just watched Module 14 and practiced the hip rocking techniques. Some of them I was already doing intuitively - but I certainly was not moving so gracefully across my client! After a few times, I felt pretty comfortable moving over the body gracefully and almost invisibly.
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