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Stephanie's Complete Thai Massage Course
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Stephanie
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March 20, 2014 - 9:16 am
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Lesson #17 - Arms and hands

 

The technique of squeezing and rolling forward,  clients LOVE it!! My practice partner said I needed more practice, but later confessed she just wanted me to do it again ;)  There have been multiple times where some of the carpal bones have adjusted when using this technique.  I have massage therapists who practice reflexology and I've had them watch this video with me to pick up some extra tidbits.  

I have watched this video at least 3 times, taken notes, practiced and have picked up additional information each time.

 

Lesson #18 - Transitions and spinal twists

 

When I first saw this spinal twist, I thought it looked so cool and straight forward.  I have yet to feel comfortable enough to practice this one with clients!!  I'll keep trying at home for a while longer and revisit later.  The practice sessions are fine, but I may be just lacking confidence to maneuver around someone with whom I'm not as familiar as my practice partners.  The technique is great, I'll just have to circle back around and get more comfortable with it.  

 

 

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Shama Kern
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March 20, 2014 - 9:50 am
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It's great that you are watching the videos repeatedly - actually that's the only way to really "get it" all. The spinal twists do require some practice time to get comfortable with. You really have to feel how far you can go so that you get a good stretch without causing any discomfort.

I had to chuckle when you said that your practice partner "tricked you" into doing it again. Smile

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Stephanie
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March 24, 2014 - 9:43 am
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Lesson 17 - Arms and hands

 

Interesting while working on the arms.  As a massage therapist, we use our thumbs often for Trigger Point work.  With Thai, the technique seems more balanced, using the thumbs while squeezing and compression in circular motion.  It was challenging to back off of the thumb pressure to equalize the pressure.  The circular motion helped distribute the effort evenly.  

 

Lesson # 18 Transitions and spinal twists

 

Oh, Shama...you make it look so easy!!   I had to watch this 5 times!!! Hahah...oh my gosh.  Okay...the simplest of transitions. My practice partner is shorter than I am, so it didn't feel great on my lower back to bend over and traction the arms, plus the added natural clumsiness of new things. 

We both loved the spinal twist moves!  Those felt great in the lower back and hips :)

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Stephanie
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March 24, 2014 - 10:04 am
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Lesson #19 - Summary

 

I love these!! They are so helpful. Watching the flow helps connect the movement into a sequence.  The reminders to work with your whole body are also needed.  I've found that when I'm "thinking" about what I'm doing now or what I want to do next, there's a disconnect.  It's nice to hear your gentle reminders :)

 

Lesson #20 - Prone legs

 

The introduction of the elbows:  I have been practicing massage for 6 years and learned some great techniques for using the elbows in a new way.  Also, when I have clients on the table, prior to this video, I used a bolster underneath their ankles.  Since watching this video, I allow more and more clients to just keep their feet flat on the table for the foot and ankle massage.  It helps keep the Achilles tendon shorter and allows the work to be more effective. Clients have given lots of positive feedback. (How gratifying is a massage career?!?!)  

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Shama Kern
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March 24, 2014 - 11:32 am
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Positive client feedback is what makes our massage career all worth it, isn't it? I could have never made it through 15 years of massage therapy if it would have only been for the money. That's what I love about this career - all the positive feedback, actually helping people, and making a difference in their lives.

I don't make it look easy, it really is so easy - once you have done it enough times. Laugh

I have often found it challenging to help massage therapists unlearn certain habits, like using their thumbs too much or working with muscle effort instead of body weight, but these are huge advantages of Thai Massage since they help us preserve our hands and our health.

One of the most important advantages of Thai Massage is that we can replace our hands with so many other body parts like forearms, elbows, knees and feet. So there is much less risk of wearing out our hands. You will see more about that in the Body Mastery For Massage bonus module.

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Stephanie
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March 25, 2014 - 12:28 am
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Thank you for your reply.  I agree wholeheartedly about this career path!  It is challenging to unlearn habits...I've been really mindful throughout my career to recognize when something doesn't feel good to me or my body, to stop doing it!!  Lots of folks end up injuring there wrists, shoulders, backs etc... My intention is to eventually switch all of my clients over to Thai massage.  I think that it is something I can maintain longer term than deep tissue, swedish, etc, which tend to be tougher on the practitioner's body, even with strong body mechanics and a daily yoga practice.

Onto my blogging:

 

Lesson #21 - Legs prone position

I never thought about positioning the foot turned slightly in so the leg isn't resting on the knee cap! Such simple changes with such a significant impact.  If someone has SI compression issues, would this same position work? (The position where your legs are underneath their one leg.  @ the 8 minute mark of the video.)  I have a client later in the week who I may be able to try this on, they have a dysfunction in the left SI joint (a little loose in the joint, sometimes goes out of alignment which creates compression in the lower lumbar spine.)  

Anyway, I had an easier time with their leg being bent than their leg being straight.  With my practice partner, I kept bumping their leg into my chest! I'll keep the leg bent with clients for now.  

 

Lesson #22 - Prone leg stretches

 

I am reviewing each video each time I reread my notes and when revisiting this one in particular, my first client of the day came in asking for quad stretches.  Haha!!  Synchronicity!  I'm really beginning to see an evolution in my level of confidence when folks come in and I am beginning to rely (and trust!) the Thai massage I have learned.  It's especially empowering when someone asks me to work on something specifically and my Thai massage "vocabulary" or tool box is filling up so quickly that I'm somewhat surprised to say..."Oh, I know several different things we can do to address that."  I am transitioning into more and more Thai techniques, it was very gradual and intermittent at first, but now is leaning more heavily towards Thai. How interesting!

 Practicing the stretches has been fun!  I have been practicing with my partner, with my yoga students, with my clients.  🙂

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Stephanie
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March 25, 2014 - 12:44 am
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Lesson #23 Sacrum and Glutes

 

This was a great one!  So many people have sciatic issues.   The compression has been a great way to alleviate that.  As a massage practitioner and instructor, I always loved using and teaching percussion techniques!  Glad to see it making an appearance here, too!  Also, glad to see the work directly on the sacrum.  I loved the specificity of the work,  small movements with big results.  The rocking of the sacrum has officially been added to every client :)

 

Lesson #24 Back

 

Thank you for talking about the wrists and thumbs! This is how I had learned Thai massage in the past and was never comfortable putting that pressure and body weight onto my wrists and thumbs. The slow circles on the erectors felt so cool to do!  It's nice when some of the moves come somewhat naturally!  I have also worked on the spine in a compartmentalized way (working both sides, then each side individually, then both sides to finish).  

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Stephanie
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March 25, 2014 - 9:12 am
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Lesson # 25 The Back 2

 

Enjoyed the move where you press into the trapezius muscle while using your leg for leverage, that helped me to get some more strength behind the move.  Leaning in with the elbows and rocking back and forth has been great, too  I've noticed when my energy is aligned behind the movement, more adjustments seem to happen in the spine.  Not applying more effort, but relaxing into the space of effortless.  Very cool!

 

Lesson #26 The Back 3

 

My practice partner is small and bony, not a gorilla back Wink...  I had to recruit a different partner to practice the forearm/leaning in technique.  One of my colleagues graciously volunteered to help.  It was much easier practicing on him first and then trying again with my usual partner.  It was still harder to manage on a someone with a smaller frame.  

 

 

 

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Shama Kern
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March 25, 2014 - 9:49 am
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You brought up several points. One is that you are leaning more and more towards Thai Massage work. I have to tell you that I spent my entire massage career doing exclusively Thai Massage and nothing else. That's why I became very good at it. And that's why I created many unique adaptations and variations which you won't find anywhere else. Many times I came across a client who needed something very specific, and if it was not in my repertoire, I had to create it.

For example, the typical Thai Massage which is taught is weak in certain areas. It is generally just a sequence of techniques which covers the entire body, However there is almost nothing in it for good sacrum work, good abdominal work, or good knee work. And the back work consists mostly of thumbing up and down next to the erectors.

So it became my focus to go deep into those areas and create techniques which really work in great depth for all those specific areas. And then I modified the entire Thai Massage style with my rocking techniques. From what I hear from you, you are so interested in specifics that I really feel that you would benefit very much from some of my specialty courses, like my Thai Rocking Massage course, or the Thai Back Massage course which deals with the sacrum in much more detail, or the Sciatica course which also deals with the lower spine and sacrum for those who have issues there.

It is not only possible to shift all your massage work to Thai Massage, but in my experience it is an excellent move provided that you are so good at it that you have literally no competition. That was always the case with me, and that's why I had never any problem getting booked even without any advertising. 

Thai Massage has so much to offer, and there is so much specific detailed work, it is amazing what you can do with it.

 

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Stephanie
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March 26, 2014 - 2:18 am
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Thank you for your reply and vote of confidence!  This course has been great, I'm sure once I finish, I'll look into the other courses as well.  I have already completed the Hip Therapy Training and am certain I will find the others equally as beneficial!

 

Lesson #27 Prone Upper Back

 

And here we are with cobra pose!!!  YAY!!! Yoga!!   :)

My yoga students reaped the benefit of this one. We workshopped Bhujangasana, backbends and heart openers!  Then I practiced on them.  We really had a lot of fun with it. I liked the variations you included for different levels of depth of the stretch.  As always, some students were more flexible than others.  I was able to practice all three variations on most of them.

 

 

 

 

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Shama Kern
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March 26, 2014 - 1:40 pm
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Now you are in your territory with those stretches and your students. Smile Latest at this point is is abundantly obvious that yoga and Thai Massage are like brothers and sisters!

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Stephanie
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March 27, 2014 - 12:50 am
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Lesson # 28 Summary

 

These are so beneficial for me!  It's great to see the ease of the transitions from one position to the next.   It's also helpful to see how you position yourself around the body as you begin preparing yourself to move.  Love how you tie it together.  Of course, it's helpful to have reminders of what I might have missed.  When we are practicing, after I have already the video once, taken the notes and answered the test questions, I play the video again, but this time with the sound down.  It helps me mimic the motions but also allows me some freedom to be able to work my own rhythm and begin to develop my own transitions.

 

Lesson # 29 Side position 1

 

This was a fun one.  We use similar techniques for side-lying position with our pre-natal clients, pillows, bolsters, etc.  I love the tapotement/percussion on the hip especially with the hip externally rotated.  Feels so good!!  The sitting on my partner's leg was an adventure.  As I've mentioned, there's a size differential between us.  She is a little bit smaller than me and I REALLY had to be careful.  It took some time to get the position right, but once we figured it out, she said it was really soothing. 

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Shama Kern
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March 27, 2014 - 1:35 pm
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I know the sitting on the leg is an interesting one. Actually it is good to practice it on someone who is not so big, because then, as you say, you have to be REALLY careful to get it right. Practicing it on big muscular legs is easy then. If done right, I have never seen anyone who did not find this technique very soothing, as you found out from your partner.

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Stephanie
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March 31, 2014 - 2:54 am
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Lesson #30 - Side Lying position #2

 

The spinal twists were cool!  You are right, they weren't like an intense stretch, it was a soothing and rhythmic stretch that really helped create some good release of holding patterns.   My brother volunteered to be my study partner this weekend.  He is much taller than me and outweighs me by quite a bit.  It was a little more difficult to move his shoulder, but after some practice, it was more about the positioning of my hips to counterbalance the size differential.  It's very helpful to work on different sized people because it really can change the mechanics of how things work or if they need to be adjusted and how.

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Shama Kern
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March 31, 2014 - 2:51 pm
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"It's very helpful to work on different sized people because it really can change the mechanics of how things work or if they need to be adjusted and how."

That's exactly right and so important. If you only ever work on one practice partner, you can go through the entire course thinking that you are fine, but then when you work on someone with a very different body you can find out that suddenly a lot of your techniques don't work anymore the way you got used to do them.

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Stephanie
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April 28, 2014 - 5:34 pm
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Lesson #31 - Side position - shoulder

Again, these techniques have been incorporated into almost every massage session! The circling of the shoulder in particular, taking the clients' shoulders into full rotation is a wonderful addition. Feedback has been positive, increased range of motion, soothing movements, etc.

Typically, I would use the side lying position in special cases, such as prenatal massage or if someone had a particular issue in the hip, but this lesson has added another layer to my practice! Smile

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Stephanie
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April 28, 2014 - 6:08 pm
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Lesson #32 - Side position, shoulder

Adding/improving techniques for extending range of motion and improving flexibility in the shoulder are pretty valuable resources for massage therapy.   Loving the stretching and the traction moves!  In "regular" massage, there isn't as much movement with the positioning of the clients body, this course has helped add an extra dimension to my practice. 

The positioning of the arm, my body continues to be a little awkward, but my confidence level continues to grow, so the recovery time required from being or feeling awkward to getting the client comfortable is taking less and less time. :)

Really liked the technique for getting underneath the scapula (hooking the fingers and pulling back).  When I was originally in massage school, the techniques shown to us were often uncomfortable and sometimes painful, so most of us avoided the area of the rhomboids because of it.  The side lying position alleviates the tension on the trapezius and the rhomboids allowing better, more appropriate access to the shoulder.  Cool

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Stephanie
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April 28, 2014 - 6:35 pm
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#33 Sitting position

The shoulder/back stretch is so nice!  My practice partner and I are both massage therapists and yoga instructors/practitioners, so this particular stretch gets the pectorals muscles, too.  Thankfully!! :)    It took some maneuvering to figure out where to place the feet.

Then you added in that spinal twist....hahah!!!  WHAT?!?  Just when I was starting to feel comfortable!!  We laughed and struggled and bumped into each other.  It was hilarious!  I am pretty comfortable moving around people's bodies, with yoga and massage, but for some reason, there was a mental block with doing this, what seemed to be, very simple spinal twist.  It was like a game of twister!  Put your hands here, my legs there...

I will say that eventually, there was some twisting going on Cool 

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Stephanie
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April 28, 2014 - 7:40 pm
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#34 - Sitting position #2

Loved the traction move for the back, although, I would love an adjustment for female practitioners.  Even with clear intentions and a professional mindset, it was a little uncomfortable trying to position her arms and shoulders without bumping into my chest.  I liked what you said about positioning your legs to the side, I'll practice the stretches this way, but had a hard time with my lower back. 

When I first learned Shiatsu massage, we learned it from the client being in a seated position.  I thought it was unusual to place downward pressure on the upper back because the downward movement would compress the spine and even the hips.  I liked the positioning of resting the head on your thigh. That seemed to alleviate the downward pressure.

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Stephanie
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April 28, 2014 - 8:39 pm
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Lesson #35 Client Communication

Thank you for including this information in the course.  It was nice to see the interaction and the communication between both parties.  It was helpful to hear the exchange and the information given to the client was informative.  It was broad and yet specific and opened the lines of communication between the client and the therapist.

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