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Steven Pass - Complete Thai Massage Notes
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Steven Pass
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August 26, 2020 - 9:32 am
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Module 1 and 2 were very helpful as they provided me with a better understanding of the different positions and how they can be applied to the client. The breathing technique was interesting but made complete sense. I was very interested in the Chi machine and how effective it isSmile.

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Shama Kern
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August 27, 2020 - 8:05 pm
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Welcome to our forum community, Steven. One question for you: Are you posting just to interact and get feedback, or are you posting in order to get a certificate?

In either case I am looking forward to following your progress and answering any questions you may have. Smile

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Steven Pass
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August 31, 2020 - 4:35 am
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Hello Shama, in reply to your question, I am using the forum for feedback and interaction, the Certificate will be great as it will recognise the time and effort I have put into the course and the training you have provided. 

I have been practising the foot massage technique on my wife, she found this very relaxing, a couple of times she did say I was putting a bit too much weight on her foot. Is it best to stop when you first feel some resistance from your "client"?

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Shama Kern
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August 31, 2020 - 10:34 pm
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There is a constant interplay between your pressure and the client's resistance. The idea is that you gently open up stiffness and resistance without ever making it feel heavy or painful. Later on in the course you will hear about a method which helps you to gauge this - it's called the one-to-ten method.

You could express it more clearly by saying that you want to facilitate a gentle opening without ever using force. That's something that comes with experience and you cannot expect that to happen in the very beginning. But it's the goal to work towards.

When you feel resistance you don't stop, but rather lighten up a bit. Maybe that's what you meant, anyway. After some time you will develop the sensitivity and the feeling to listen to someone's body through your hands and intuitively apply just the right amount of pressure. Don't be hard on yourself if that takes you some time - this is normal and to be expected.

Regarding the certificate - if you are just posting for feedback and interaction, then everything is fine as it is. If you would like to get a certificate, then we have a process that you would need to follow. It starts with certification registration (you find that on the Certification Tutorial page which you can access by clicking on the Certification Information banner in the sidebar of your membership portal).

If you want to go that route, then please familiarize yourself with our Certification Checklist with the main steps for the certification process to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

In either case I am looking forward to assisting you in your Thai Massage journey! Smile

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Steven Pass
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September 7, 2020 - 8:11 am
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Module 1

I have been practising the compression technique on my partners legs. I found that i didn't get tired from this technique even after 10 minutes, I was in the half kneeling position whilst doing this massage.  I tried the kneading technique on my partners back which she commented felt good, which is good as she had back surgery 2 years ago and she felt no discomfort. I have tried the different kneeling positions which are OK , the squatting one causes me the most discomfort though. 

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Shama Kern
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September 7, 2020 - 12:12 pm
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Did you see this video which I made a few days ago?

t=7s

This might be helpful for you.

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Steven Pass
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September 14, 2020 - 7:24 am
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Hi Shama,

Yes , I have watched the video and it was very useful. The half kneeling position and the kneeling positions are quite comfortable for me as I studied martial arts for about 5 years. Thanks again.

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Steven Pass
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September 14, 2020 - 7:41 am
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Module 2

I have been practising on my wife once again. The leg stretching technique as shown on your video with me half kneeling is working well, I don't seem to be over doing the stretch as she is not complaining. I followed your tip to watch the client and see if they flinch or show signs of discomfort, and to start to go slightly lighter at the end.

As I mentioned in an earlier post the Chi machine technique is still proving to be a great technique that my wife and I both enjoy trying. I am far from proficient at it but we try to practice it at least once a week, between work and life commitments like everyone else.Smile

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Shama Kern
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September 14, 2020 - 2:03 pm
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I have a martial arts background as well. This has helped me integrate the 'work from your hara' concept which you will learn about later in this course. This is actually a martial arts (Shotokan Karate) concept and not a Thai Massage concept, but I found that it fits great and enhances Thai Massage - so I used it. I did the same with breathing techniques from yoga and some energy concepts from Qigong. This made the Thai Massage system more holistic and actually better since it eliminates the tendency to work mechanically.

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Steven Pass
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September 16, 2020 - 8:38 am
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Module 3

The foot massage technique consisting of the 3 hand  positions on the foot is taking a bit of time to master fluidly. After doing the three positions and with the feet turned out then in, what is the time frame you would normally spend on a client before you moved to another part of the body? Or is the push ,pull turn technique always follow this type of foot massage.

My wife said the massage feels good after about 5 - 10 minutes, I feel this seems about the right time. Shama have you had any feed back from clients that would indicate a shorter or longer foot massage is preferred?  

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Shama Kern
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September 16, 2020 - 9:43 pm
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Most clients are not used to more extensive foot massage, and are pleasantly surprised how good it can feel. Most massage therapists don't spend much time on the feet either. In Thailand, however, foot massage is a big deal. It is taken much more seriously and is much more appreciated. Personally I love getting more time on my feet when I receive a Thai Massage session. So I suggest that you experiment with spending more time on the feet sometimes and see what feedback you are getting. 

The issue is that there are so many techniques in Thai Massage - many more than you are able to do in one session - that your main constraining factor will be the time that you or the client has available.

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Steven Pass
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September 22, 2020 - 7:21 am
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Module 4

I practised the foot massage techniques on a friend instead of my wife just to see how the response was to my feel and technique. My friend made  no complaints about the massage. I thought I would be a bit more tense massaging someone other than my wife, but it felt quite natural once I started.

I am still a bit "clunky" transitioning from one part of the foot to the next, I am hoping with practice I will become a bit more flowing with the technique. I seemed to have been able to sense the right amount of pressure when I have used the folding in and folding out technique as both my wife and my friend have not complained. I followed the same  kneeling technique with straight arms, and found this quite comfortable.

As you mentioned in your post Shama about how much time should you massage feet for, I spent a good amount of time massaging my friends feet, and there were no complaints.Smile

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Shama Kern
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September 22, 2020 - 9:34 pm
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I cannot imagine that you will ever get any complaints if you give someone a good foot massage! Laugh

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Steven Pass
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September 23, 2020 - 7:11 am
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Module 5

Last night I gave the leg warm techniques a try on my wife. PS. she is loving being the person I try the techniques on! I felt very comfortable doing this. I started with a 5 minutes foot massage, then began the leg warm ups. My wife is not too flexible so I used a pillow to support her knee ,and she was unable to get that 90 degree angle, but that's OK. 

I found it easier just keeping relaxed and working on the calf and thigh muscle at a pace I thought, and felt was right. My wife thought the thigh warm up was nice and not uncomfortable. I found the butterfly technique easy to use and remember with hand placement etc.

If a friend or client requests a massage and they don't have appropriate clothing ie very constrictive clothing, is a towel acceptable or should you just arrange another time with them.

I haven't been faced with this dilemma yet as it is early days in my learning, but I thought I would ask.

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Shama Kern
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September 23, 2020 - 9:42 am
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I have been faced with this dilemma many times, and my solution is that I always keep a t-shirt and a pair of loose fitting cotton pants around (pyjama style or exercise pants) that I can give to the client when they show up in the wrong clothes. To prevent that I try to always tell the client in advance to wear loose fitting cotton clothes. 

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Steven Pass
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September 27, 2020 - 9:46 am
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Module 6

Thank you for the advice on having spare clothing available if a client or friend arrive for a massage in inappropriate clothing. I will ask my wife help select some for men and women.Smile

The leg warm ups are going well with the assistance of my wife and other family members. I used the rocking technique with my right hand pulling back slightly and pushing with the left hand.  Using my forearm on her thigh and applying my body weight caused her no pain, I  was able to make 3 points of contact and stopped short of her knee. I found this technique was comfortable for me, and my wife commented that it felt good as well.

I have practised the calf muscle warm up and having my arms at the 45 degrees to her calf, I found this technique a bit more challenging, mainly because I didn't want to go too hard and cause pain or too soft and not have the desired effect. I think I found the happy medium as my wife said it felt OK. I thought I would ask you Shama, have you  had any client request that you not sit between their legs, maybe because of any  perceived sexual connotations ?

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Shama Kern
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September 27, 2020 - 9:26 pm
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In my experience the ones who are worried about this are generally the therapists, not the clients. I have never had a client express any concern about this in my entire massage career. Thai Massage is done with a good amount of body contact. That's what makes it so favorable in terms of good body mechanics. This is just how it is done.

There is a video coming up in the course which talks about this more in detail. And there is a second video in one of the bonus courses which discusses this subject and presents alternatives.

In my experience this is much less of an issue than many new Thai Massage therapists assume. If the therapist is professional, has clean energy, and does a good job, clients will appreciate this and not think of things to criticize or worry about. There might be the odd exception, of course, and in such cases you can simply skip certain techniques.

One important thing is to communicate clearly to the client what Thai Massage is all about and how it differs from the oil massage which they might be more used to. Module 35 goes into this in detail.

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Steven Pass
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October 2, 2020 - 4:15 pm
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Module 7

Thank you Shama for your advice once again. As you say communication prior to the massage and during if needed is a great piece of advice.

In the  video how you were able to observe the persons hips for any restrictions by how their legs are positioned was very informative, and I had  no idea that was possible. I was very impressed when I made similar observations on a person who I had not massaged before after watching the video.

The "elephant walk" technique is working well including the 1,2,3,2,1 method which I am achieving with a bit more fluidity. I have been practising the technique with the client's leg at 90 degrees and "walking" with both feet on the hamstring. I felt comfortable with this stretching technique and the client seemed quite comfortable and did not relay any discomfort from the stretch.

I tried the stretch where the client leg is bent and knee facing upwards. It took a little time to get my legs in the right position, but I believe I can do this stretch to a satisfactory level at the moment. I am sure with a bit more practice it will be a bit smoother when I get into position to do the stretch.Smile

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Shama Kern
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October 2, 2020 - 5:19 pm
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Communication is not just an add-on but can actually be an essential part of the therapy. You will hear a lot more about that throughout this course, including an entire module (#35) exclusively about that.

Regarding the observation of the hips - sometimes obvious things are hiding in plain sight! Laugh

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Steven Pass
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October 5, 2020 - 7:38 am
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Module 8

Today I massaged a different member the family who has not had a massage before. I began with about a 5 minute foot and leg warm up. My "client" was quite relaxed. I then moved on to the "elephant walk" on the legs which I transitioned into quite smoothly.

I spent a few minutes on each leg doing the " walking " stretch technique. After that I explained to my "client" that I was going to practice the "pie" system of stretching which would be beneficial for both of us.  I found this technique was comfortable and I had no complaints from the "client".

I then gave the "client" a calf massage using the finger technique as explained in the video. I gave the rotating the leg by supporting the ankle technique a try. This worked well, and I found the "client hips became a bit looser after a few minutes of using this technique.

I have found that by nor trying to stick to an exact regime, and doing what feels right for the "client" seems to be working well so far.Smile

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