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So excited to start the course!
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Shama Kern
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July 10, 2011 - 10:37 am
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Graceful - that's a really important word. Anyone can learn a Thai Massage technique. But that doesn't mean it will feel good. The real art is to advance from a massage mechanic to a healer, from a massage technician to a massage artist. Thai Massage is not just a collection of stretches, it is a graceful, flowing way of moving around and with a client in perfect harmony. I see it more like a dance where all movements flow from one into the other. Once you get that feeling in your Thai Massage, then it turns from a physical effort into a meditative healing arts form.

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Laura
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July 15, 2011 - 6:15 pm
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Yesterday I had a session with a woman that has touch issues.  I had a brief prior experience with her, but never have I attempted a full Thai Massage on her. Well, this person just could not let go.   The "natural" position of her feet was pointed straight down (like a ballet dancer on point).  The minute I touched her feet her legs stiffened up. I let go and started again, same thing. I urged her to relax, breathe, think of being asleep, or as limp as a rag doll.  I assured her that I was going to be very gentle with her and nothing I would do to her would hurt her.  Although she tried, it was a struggle for her.  I did the best I could with what I had, and she did loosen up slightly after about 45 minutes.

I realize that there are individuals who have this problem being touched.  Usually those people wouldn't venture into a massage therapist's office.  But here was a woman who intuitively knew that this type of massage was the kind that could help her out of her shell.  She faced her fear, booked the massage and did the best she could.  This also made me realize how important it is when describing Thai Massage to relay that it is the least "invasive" to those persons who are apprehensive about touch, but know they need some body work.  So, with this kind of client, we must ease into them over a period of time.  Use the gentlest of techniques and the lightest touch until they start to give.

I have confidence that I can help her relax and eventually release the blockages that exist in her - not only in her lower back where she suffers the most pain, but in her psyche, where she somehow lost the ability to receive the healing power of human touch.

Thai Massage is a beautiful gift of healing for the body, mind and spirit! Laugh

  

Namaste,

Laura

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Laura
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July 15, 2011 - 6:41 pm
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The abdominal massage I just learned is amazing!  I looked up Chi Nei Tsang and found The Tao Garden Health Spa and Resort in Chang Mai.  It looks amazing as well. 

I plan on visiting Chang Mai, and you Shama, this December.  Will you be there at that time? And do you know of the spa? 

This abdominal work has really captured my attention and I want to take it further.  Is the next module on abdominal work as well? 

Something I didn't mention to you is I am going to school for Nursing here in the states. The techniques I am learning now will prove most valuable if I am working as a nurse!

I probably have a long life ahead of me since I am such a late bloomer in the world of healing arts! But it is my calling and I need to be on this earth long enough to touch as many people as possible!

Thank you for being one of my teachers!

Namaste,

Laura

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Shama Kern
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July 16, 2011 - 2:51 pm
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Laura this is a great story about your client. Thanks for posting it! And you are totally correct, Thai Massage can be very gentle. Sometimes when I watch Thai Massage clips on youtube, it amazes me how most of them show some super flexible yogi girl being put through a long sequence of high intensity stretches. In my experience, this is not what my clientele looked like. 

When I encounter such clients, I will normally do gentle rocking techniques. They are the least invasive and the most relaxing. I love rocking and I am just putting the final touches on my new "Thai Rocking Massage" course. It will be released within a week or so.

Regarding abdominal massage, the Thai Massage course does not include more than you have seen in this module. But I have a separate course just for abdominal massage which goes much more into detail. You can check it out here:

/info/abdominal-massage-therapy/

I will be here in December and I do know the Tao Garden Spa. It is a nice place but very expensive. 

I sure hope that you have a long life ahead of you in your healing arts arena as a healer, nurse and massage therapist, and I am very glad that I can assist you in your path.

Shama

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Laura
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July 17, 2011 - 8:26 am
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Just watched (and practiced) the first module on the shoulder.  Nice stretch with the hand on the mat and fingers pointed toward the feet!  My partner is not that flexible in his shoulders, but I managed to perform the stretch on him and he really liked it.  The stretch where the edge of my foot is in the recipient's armpit was a little tricky for me, I had to make sure the heel of my foot was not pushing into him.  That will take a bit more practice!

This is great timing, I have an appointment next Wednesday for a young man with shoulder pain!  I'll make sure to watch next Wednesday's module before I see him!

Thanks for the feedback on the spa.  My friend Lisa who I will be traveling with suggested we go after the new year.  Since she has been to Thailand before so I will trust her judgment.  But taking into consideration the weather, tourism, etc., when is the best time to visit in your opinion? 

I looked at the abdominal massage video link - I will definitely take that course as well! 

Namaste,

Laura

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Shama Kern
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July 25, 2011 - 12:07 am
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Laura, weather wise the best time to visit Thailand is November, December and January. This is our so-called winter. It just means that it is less hot, but it rarely gets really cold. This is also the dry season of the year, meaning it hardly rains at all. That's why it is a good season for doing things, seeing things or traveling around. 

The time that you would want to avoid is March, April and May. That's the hottest and driest season of the year with often unbearable temperatures and high air pollution. After that you get into the rainy season which I personally really like. It generally does not rain that much, but the cloud cover keeps the temperatures down, everything is lush and green and the rain keeps the air fresh and clean. But for traveling around this is not the ideal season.

Hope that helps - any other questions, just ask and I will try to help you pick the right time.

Shama

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Laura
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July 25, 2011 - 7:53 am
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Thank you, Shama, I will take all that you've written into consideration for my trip. And I will certainly let you know when I am coming! 

I just practiced the module (18) for getting around the body from above the head, and the upper and lower spinal twists.  I love the techniques and the stretches I learned in this module!  Shoulder work and spinal twists feel very good and my partner really loved it!  I had a client with shoulder injuries last week, he liked his Thai Massage, and I know he will come back. I can't wait to incorporate these moves on him, I know he will love it as well. He had two surgeries for a torn labrum.  I really hope I can help him.

As usual, looking forward to the next module! 

Namaste,

Laura

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Shama Kern
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July 25, 2011 - 12:15 pm
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Laura, and I am always looking forward to hearing your success stories and how you apply it all. I wish my other students were as active on the forum as you are!

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Laura
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August 2, 2011 - 8:05 am
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I am so happy to be learning how to use my elbows and knees!  I have many larger male clients and I sometimes can't avoid using some muscle, these techniques will surely help!
Was wondering if the course includes a technique I saw where the practitioner stands on the clients feet and walks up and down the foot using the heels to massage the soft part of the foot. I haven't tried it yet, wanted to see if you teach it first.
I love sharing my experiences and my progress with the course.  I feel lucky to be studying with you and I proudly tell everyone who I am learning from!
 
Namaste,
Laura

Namaste,

Laura

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Shama Kern
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August 4, 2011 - 2:08 am
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Hi Laura,

like you say, we have to use some muscle power, that cannot be avoided. The point is to just use as little muscle power as possible. We want to use our body weight primarily and only use muscle strength if it cannot be avoided. That's a good long term self preservation method for massage therapists plus it actually feels much better to the client. I can always tell right away if someone is muscling me, and I don't like the feeling.

Regarding the technique of walking with the heels on the feet, I did not include it in the course for two reasons:

1. It only works if you work on a fairly firm mat, otherwise this is a very wobbly position.

2. The therapist needs a pretty good sense of balance, otherwise it is very easy to put too much weight into the heels and cause pain. I have had several therapists do it on me and they stepped on my feet too hard. Unless you have a good intuitive feeling for how much weight you can use, this is a position that is not so easy to control.

Having said that, there is a very similar position that is a bit safer and easier to use. Instead of facing away from the client with the heel method, you turn around and face the client. Now you step on your client's feet with the soft part of your feet. You can walk up and down the feet a bit. This method is much less likely to cause pain than the heel method.

You should still only do this if your mat is firm enough so that you can easily keep your balance, but this method is quite easy. Try it and let me know how it goes.

Shama

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Laura
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August 22, 2011 - 8:05 am
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Hello! I've been on vacation, but I also have been downloading and practicing the modules! I love the back techniques!  I used to to do the butterfly thing and I am happy to have learned a way or two to save my hands!  I'll be back to work tomorrow and I know my clients will enjoy these new techniques.  I am starting nursing school next Monday and I plan on practicing Thai Massage on the other students.  It is a very demanding and stressful program, so I'm sure they will appreciate it! 

Namaste,

Laura

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Shama Kern
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August 24, 2011 - 1:02 am
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I hope you had a pleasant vacation Laura. So you will be doing massage work and go to nursing school. That should keep you busy and out of trouble:)

I am sure you will get lots of grateful takers of your new skills among the students. Let me know how it goes.

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Laura
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September 2, 2011 - 9:57 am
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I just watched and practiced Module 29, the first in the side lying position.  I got all the techniques except for the hip flexor stretch. I'm not sure if it was because he has very muscular (heavy) legs or it was the length of his limbs, but I couldn't get a good position to hold his leg in my arm and feel comfortable doing the stretch.  I will try it again tomorrow. I love taking this course as I work on real clients as well as my study partner.  Most of them come regularly and I always have something new to bring to the session! 

I had a very nice vacation, a little too short, but relaxing non-the-less.  And yes, I am officially in nursing school.  I am completing my first week tomorrow. I think all of my previous experience, up to and including Thai Massage, will compliment my new career very nicely indeed!

I know there are 35 Modules to this course and I feel the end coming soon, I am both excited and sad about that!  This has become part of my routine for the past months and I love learning new techniques.  When I'm done with this course what do you suggest next??

I have another question, I am trying to find out if I need a license to practice Thai Massage in NY State.  I have a master's in exercise science along with a certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine for Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention. I've been training and stretching people for a long time.  I have looked online but can find no definitive answers.  I think it's one of those ambiguous areas like Reiki.  Do you have any thoughts or information?

Namaste,

Laura

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Shama Kern
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September 2, 2011 - 6:24 pm
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Laura, size differences are often an issue with Thai Massage stretches. Especially small therapist - big and tall client. Sometimes you can modify the move. I am sure you remember that throughout my video series I have often presented the same technique in several ways in order to accommodate those size differences between client and therapist. In some cases it is best to simply skip a move. The idea is not to do every single move in the course on every single client, but to know them all and then choose those that work best for you and that work best on a particular client. But of course you need to practice them all first in order to know how and when they are applicable. Try to practice this particular move on a shorter and lighter person and see how that feels.

Regarding the course coming to an end: actually you will be receiving more than the 35 modules since there are some bonus modules included. So you have more than a month to go still:)

Regarding licencing: yes, Thai Massage can be somewhat ambiguous. For example a yoga instructor could easily use all kinds of Thai Massage techniques as part of their yoga class and it would perfectly blend in since both have the same origin anyway. In that case it would not be considered a massage.

If you have some kind of certification that allows you to touch people in some way, Thai Massage might well fall under that. If you have no licence at all for anything and advertise that you do Thai Massage, you clearly need a licence.

Since regulations vary from state to state, there is no one definitive answer. It also depends what name you use. If a yoga instructor calls it Thai Yoga (a perfectly acceptable and truthful representation) and uses it as part of the class, that would be different from calling it a Thai massage. 

If a Physiotherapist uses Thai Massage stretches, again that would not be a regular massage. So if you inquire about the laws in a particular state, it depends how you are planning to use it and what name you give it. It is not as cut and dry as Swedish Massage for example which is clearly a massage system.

But I think the bottom line is that in almost all states (there are some exceptions) you need some kind of licence that allows you to touch people, although it might not necessarily be a massage licence. Then again, I am not a legal authority on those things and I am only expressing my opinion which might be incorrect.

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Laura
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September 11, 2011 - 9:46 am
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I am downloading Module 32 as I type this, so I haven't yet had the chance to practice it, but I am very excited to learn that the course is not over yet - as I previously thought.  I  never want to stop learning new techniques! 

About the licensure, I'm sure when I am a registered nurse I'll be fine.  Until then, I do not advertise that I am a licensed anything (except physical education teacher)! I list my certifications and other credentials, which are arguably sufficient, so I hope between what I have and this course I am somewhat covered.

I had a client love her session so much, she went home and started googling Thai Massage. She is fascinated with it and claims that it helps her in ways no other modality has ever before.  She tweaked her lower back a couple of days before a bike race and came to me to see if we could work it out. Well it helped.  She was able to race and came back for another massage afterward! 

I love Thai Massage and I love when I get great feedback from my clients.  Thanks, Shama!

Namaste,

Laura

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Shama Kern
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September 11, 2011 - 9:06 pm
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Laura I am really excited to hear that you are having success with the Thai Massage course! You will most likely not run out of material any time soon since I am always producing new and more advanced courses on video.

Also for me it is really gratifying when I know I have helped someone. It is a good feeling to know that you are doing something that helps other's well being. Massage is a great vehicle for that! And Thai massage is such a wonderful, creative and artistic way of working on someone.

I am always looking forward to your posts and I wish you lots of success with your Thai Massage sessions.

Shama

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Laura
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September 24, 2011 - 7:47 am
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I just watched the module on communication, and I really appreciate this. It's actually the missing link in my practice.  Not that I don't explain what Thai Massage is, but the video goes over explaining the energy aspect nicely, and I need to incorporate this into my communication with my clients. I do like to ask how they are feeling since their last massage and if there are any areas they need to work on more than others.  Some people like to just lay there and let me do my work, others are more verbal and will tell me if something feels really nice and then I will spend more time there.  Today I had someone say he loves the fact that I start with the feet, so I spent a little extra time on his feet taking this as a cue that he needed that today!

Namaste,

Laura

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Shama Kern
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September 25, 2011 - 12:02 pm
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Laura, I think most therapists are aware that good communication with clients is important, but most don't have any guidelines how that can be done best. That's what I tried to accomplish with this module. I am glad that you see the value in it. 

When I read about your client who liked the foot work and you spent extra time on them, I was thinking how obvious this should be. But it happened to me quite a few times that I mentioned something like this to a therapist and he or she never took the cue. I am glad that your intuition in this regard is working well!

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Laura
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September 28, 2011 - 9:34 am
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Wow, I just watched the knee therapy module! I cannot wait to use it! It is no coincidence that I know someone that recently injured her knee at the gym - I was just speaking to her yesterday! If she will trust me, I will work on her knee and let you know how it goes.  I am going to practice it on my partner first, he gives me good feedback as to what feels good and what I can be doing differently.  This bonus was truly a bonus, thank you so much!

I saw that someone else just started the video course, I look forward to reading the posts!

Namaste,

Laura

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Shama Kern
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September 28, 2011 - 12:25 pm
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Glad you already found a use for the knee therapy module, Laura. Especially the technique where you continuously rock the knee and the leg will take a little time to get a feeling for. After a while your hands will spontaneously find the right spots to work on. This is one of those techniques which exemplify the fact that Thai Massage is more of an art than a technique. It is important to know the techniques of course, but it is necessary to have a degree of intuition and a good probing touch in order to get the desired effect. 

By the way, for some reason, most of the students who are taking the Thai Massage course never get involved in the forum. The ones that do either want the course certificate (and active forum participation is the requirement for that so that I can see that students are actually applying the material), or they just like to communicate with others (or both).

Personally I think that forum participation is a great thing because it inspires others, and it makes it possible to network and exchange ideas with others. The one aspect that I will have to promote more is that my students can advertise their services and classes for free in the "workshops, classes and events" forum. 

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