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Suzanne Harding's Complete Thai Massage Wonderful Progress Notes
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Suzanne Harding
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February 2, 2019 - 10:17 am
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Module 1

I was happy to hear the first module as It aligns with the way I want to do massage, that being working with energy lines and feeling rather than being in my head. I look forward to developing the quality of touch.

The most helpful information in this module was the practitioner positioning. I found it so interesting that I got up from my chair, got down on the floor and squatted in all the positions. I realized that though I am flexible that I will need to get down an stretch those ankles and toes to be more at ease. I look forward to working in my bare feet!

Using the breath makes so much sense and I appreciate the intention of connecting with the client and being in sync. I am excited to take all aspects of this learning and be graceful in my transitions and combining moves.

I too want to get away from the table and on to the floor! 

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Shama
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February 3, 2019 - 12:12 am
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Hi Suzanne, welcome to our community. I assume that you are posting here to get a certificate. I did not see a certification registration from you. We need that to put you into our system with the correct information. Could you please send the registration form in. You will find the link in the certification section of your course manual.

Also please take a minute and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

It seems that this course should be a perfect fit for you! Smile

By the way, there is a video coming up that will help you with the ankle and toe flexibility issue.

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Suzanne Harding
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February 3, 2019 - 9:50 am
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Module 2

(registered now, thanks!)

I like the idea of Thai massage being artistic and beautiful. I want to love what I do and feel connected to it. Clarifying the naming (traditional, yoga etc) helps. As a LMT in the US I have a mix of people wanting relaxation full body massages and those who want to focus therapeutically on a particular trouble spot. I look forward to working both ways and being confident in treating the problem areas along with the whole being.

I can't wait to try the chi machine on a willing friend. I wonder how the hips will move on some of the people that hips seem to be stuck. It looks like it would loosen people and help them to let go. It looks like this comforting technique would also help people gain trust in your touch as well.

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Shama
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February 3, 2019 - 6:22 pm
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Thai Massage is an art, it is creative, intuitive, fun to practice, and rewarding to get good feedback from the clients. It's all coming! Smile

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Suzanne Harding
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February 8, 2019 - 10:10 am
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Module 3

Feet 1. I watched the video twice and then again while actually with my friend and her feet. It was good to be watching the video as I do each move in order to get the nuances of body placement and tips and tricks along the way. I noticed that even a slight adjustment to my posture could make a move flow more easily, and thus passing that ease onto the client. I was initially concerned that what looked like an extreme bend in the ankle and foot would hurt, especially when turning the foot inward, but the feedback was always "oh that feels great" . What I thought might be too much and I went ahead with trepidation turned out to be enjoyable. I am lucky to have someone that I trust to give me honest feedback. I am hoping that my other friend will take this course so I can feel the moves performed on me.

I was able to do the chi-machine on this friend again (she asked me for it) and it comes easily. I want to practice, practice, practice so all the moves flow nicely, I feel the potential of true connecting with the client when using my full body in motion. For a minute I had my friend get on the massage table to see if these moves would transfer easily but the leverage and use of the body on the floor is so much more desirable. I look forward to the next module...and more! 

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Shama
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February 8, 2019 - 9:33 pm
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I hear that a lot that new Thai Massage therapists worry about causing discomfort, but their practice partners or clients are enjoying the techniques. Smile

If you had a friend who could practice on you, that would of course be ideal.

Thai Massage can be done on a massage table to some extent, but as you noticed, it is much more convenient on the floor - not just for the therapist, but it feels safer and more supportive for the client as well.

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Suzanne Harding
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February 14, 2019 - 7:37 pm
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Module 4

i appreciate the conceptual method of learning the foot, as not only logical but makes me think of how to best look at the foot as a complex and complete structure that does many things besides keeping one upright. I was able to work with a partner that gave good feedback and enjoyed the footwork. I found that the circling on the top of the foot, though not a hard move somewhat awkward. I am wondering if going back and forth instead of circles would suffice? Also I wonder what pressure I would use on this move. Do I just feel it out depending on the client or keep it light? 

The transitioning from one foot to another wasn't as complicated as it looked as long as I slow down the move seemed part of the flow. It seems that as long as I am in some form of motion then the engagement is there in these exercises.

though I would like to get a repertoire and sequence in the foot work and the rest of the upcoming moves I am really focusing on learning in a different way. I don't want my massage to be wrote. I want to be flexible and accommodating to customize.

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Suzanne Harding
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February 14, 2019 - 7:49 pm
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Module 5

Leg warm up. I again was lucky to have a partner to work on.we are getting together weekly in order for me to practice what I have learned and since she has previous experience learning Thai massage she is refreshing and trying some moves on me. 

A few things I noticed when doing the leg warm ups was that I did not have to apply much pressure and body weight to be affective. That is so great! The client was about the same weight as me so not a huge challenge. I saw how I could have gone much deeper with little effort. Using the breath comes naturally once I just focus on it in the beginning and set the tone for the session. 

I did the roll ups and she said it was intense on the inside of her leg (of course) but got less intense the more I did it. Warming up is so important...

After I practiced all my current moves on her she offered to give me a 45minute massage so she could refresh herself with moves she was trying to remember. She hardly did any warm-up! I did notice that though a lot of it felt good at the time i felt my body resisting a little and I hurt the next day. I really would have preferred to be warmed up first as I know I would have been ready for the stretches. Ouch!

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Shama
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February 15, 2019 - 11:28 pm
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You are right - Thai Massage should not be a rote system. You will see throughout this course that I always stress that the techniques are options to choose from, not mandatory sequences. 

The sequences are great for learning all the techniques, but they are not an end in themselves. Once you get to the point where you won't have to think about the techniques anymore, then you can be creative and flow and modify everything to fit your client. You will hear a lot about that in this course.

Regarding the 'top of the foot circling', ask your partner how much pressure feels good and feel it out that way. It is always better to start out light and increase pressure, if appropriate. However generally the top of the foot cannot handle much pressure without causing discomfort.

The circling feels fine - better than a back and forth move. There is a back-and-forth move for the top of the foot, but this is part of the Thai Reflexology system (not part of Thai Massage or this course), and you need oil to do that. This is a separate modality and we have a course which teaches that. But for the foot work in Thai Massage we do not use oil, and the circling can be done in a way that feels really good. Play with it some more.

It is NOT GOOD to go straight into the stretches in Thai Massage. I know that many therapists do that, but it is not the right way. It is much easier to cause pain or even injury if there is no warmup before the stretches.

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Suzanne Harding
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February 24, 2019 - 6:47 pm
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Module 6

My usual partner cancelled on me twice and I ended up working on someone new with a different body type and flexibility so that was good short of waiting. Some of the exercises are easy for me like the rocking, it almost feels intuitive. The forearm work on the legs was very thorough but particularly painful for the client on certain parts of the inner thigh. Adjusting my weight was key and again I noticed how effortless this work is using body weight and correct movements. This time it actually took more concentration to work lightly. In table massage I am always feeling I have to muscle through sessions. I just love love love Thai massage! 

I am glad you pointed out the sen lines. Like using the conceptual tools to remember things it help me to keep this knowledge in the back of my mind when working. This combination of using feeling and intuition, concepts and theory, technique and skill really works for me and I am so happy with the program.

My client has particularly small calves and the calf moves were challenging as I had little to hold onto when working the move where the calfs from the side. I probably would have skipped this move if she were a client and done other calf exercises shown in other modules. 

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Suzanne Harding
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February 24, 2019 - 7:00 pm
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Module 7

I am used to doing body assessments when someone is standing and looking at the feet. I find it difficult to evaluate the hips while someone is lying down short of extreme hip rotation or the feet clues. I look forward to seeing how we work with the hip and back. I know that many clients have hip issues and am glad to be able to customize a session for them. 

In this module working with the feet on the thigh was pretty easy to do, but what made it most effective was your guidance on subtle positioning of the client, my hands and angles of their leg. What feedback that started out "yes I can feel that" to "oh yes that is a really great stretch" makes all the difference in quality of the work. I notice that I have to get my head around many things, their body type, flexibility, etc but also to be almost insightful and creative about what I thing is going to be most effective and feel great instead of just ok.

The hip lift makes so much difference when you get that hip to lift. I love that it looks like you are working the quads but also the hips and feels good on both!

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Suzanne Harding
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February 24, 2019 - 7:45 pm
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Module 8

Again the conceptual remembering of the hip pie is very helpful. The hip stretches in general are not difficult to execute and position the client but the most challenging part is getting me into correct positioning and transitioning. I really appreciate you saying "put your left hand here, lift up, put you right leg here etc" . Watching the video and getting into position where it feels like I got the flow down will take practice and time I know but meanwhile it is not smoothFrown

I hear so many teachings and read that you are suppose to start with the feet as the energy flows up...I was willing to go with this idea but it is against my general way of thinking. I do agree with you in customizing the session to what people need and making adjustments instead of making things mechanical and rote. Thank you for that. 

I like the calf muscle moves in this module so much more. I think they see more universal, have variety and could use on different types of bodies. I would like to learn more knee work and the knee move felt good to my partner. I see a lot of people with knee problems. Is this considered a warm up move and would it be good for stiff knees or too harsh? Or would I just take it easy on them with less friction? 

Lastly the power moves are great. Not just because it is a good alternative for those beefy people but also that it comes with such little effort on my part to be effective. I am of medium weight and pretty strong but want to use and save my body. (Im turning 60 this year!)

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Shama
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February 25, 2019 - 2:54 am
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I am not one who insists that there is one right way of doing things in Thai Massage. If it works well for the client and it feels right to you, then go for it. I show you what works best for me, but I know that there many of our students who have come up with their own style and implementation.

Regarding the knee work - this is quite a specialized subject which is normally neither known nor taught in Thai Massage schools. However I have created a specialized knee therapy course which will give you lots of skills for working on the knees therapeutically and effectively. This is only a $47 course, but it contains knowledge and therapy skills for the knee which you won't be able to find in any other Thai Massage school.

So if you see a lot of people with knee problems, then this is a super useful addition to your skill set which I would highly recommend:

Thai Massage Knee Therapy

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Suzanne Harding
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March 4, 2019 - 6:43 pm
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Module 9

I worked with a different partner this time and she was quite small but flexible. It was interesting to focus on th concept of power and softness at the same time. I wanted to give her a good stretch but had to be careful not to break her in half! She asked me specifically what I would do if working on someone larger and I actually showed her a move where more body weight was used. 

Though very flexible in some ways, the adductors always seem tight on people so I appreciate the variations of rocking, bouncing and rotating moves. I am finding that I am starting to naturally "go there" to loosen an area. The hip pie has so many pieces to it and the concept is helpful though I forget the plane I am working on. I want to practice the hip pie more and more as it is a problem area in so many people.

Since I don't have one partner and am working on three different friends I enjoy the variety in flexibility and body type. It's helping me to switch it up and customize even these learning modules. I am still getting my transitions and hand positions sorted out though. The more I practice the more body memory I get and some things are starting to flow. The hip pie positions seem affective and comfortable so far. Sometimes I am amazed at how comfortable the moves are for me...as I'm so used to powering through on the table. Yay!

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Shama
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March 5, 2019 - 1:39 am
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Regarding "breaking someone in half" - this brings up an important point. Thai Massage has the potential to be very strong and even painful, if not applied with lots of sensitivity. I have received my fair share of sessions where I felt like someone tried to break me in half LOL.

Without adapting this work to the individual client, Thai Massage can be a butcher job. With the right sensitivity, it can be a masterful tool to help people and make them feel great.

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Suzanne Harding
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March 9, 2019 - 9:45 am
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Module 10

Thank you for the Anatomy of a move. These little memory tools are helpful. I feel that the moves are getting more complex, or at least now since there are all sorts of adjustment possibilities there is a lot to choose from. This is all good. I had a willing client and she always lets me practice the move for the short person, or tall person, and she is pretty flexible so I can even do some power moves on her. 

Even though she can take the power moves and the bigger stretches she still welcomed the rocking for the spinal twist along with the hip stretches and the lighter touch sometimes. I find getting feedback is so helpful. I suppose in real practice I would check in periodically to see if the stretches are appropriate but after a while I hope to get more of a feel for it.  I am finding that little adjustments to my body posture like bracing my clients foot in place with my foot makes a huge difference in keeping control of slippage. I must remember the postural details for both our benefit.

Though I thought for sure that it would be a challenge to shift my body in the stretch modification for the stronger stretch, it actually was quite easy as I could rely on my body weight more and didn't have to use as much balance.

i am so enjoying this training Shama. More than I even thought I would. Perhaps I just need to get out of my own way!Smile

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Shama
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March 10, 2019 - 2:33 am
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I am happy to hear that you are enjoying the training! Smile

There is no question that Thai Massage is a rather complex system since there are so many techniques, and they all have their own variations and modifications. On the upside, once you get good at it, you will have an awesome skill set and not much competition.

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Suzanne Harding
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March 10, 2019 - 8:37 am
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Module 11

it was so great to have a whole sequence to follow along to. My partner said the flow was so much better than the choppiness (of course! I was watching the video as I did the moves. It was a natural transition from move to move but I felt that I really wanted to do both legs. I will have to see how to put it l together so that works out and when to finish one side and go to the  next. I have been trying to incorporate more and more moves each time I work on someone so it's coming together somehow. Always thinking what's next as well as staying in the present and adapting as I go is certainly an art.

i don't have much to say this module short of that it went well and the "rap up" was very helpful. It was also good to see that this was just one sequence and that there were a lot of moves you didn't do too, and that flexibility is key to the variety in sessions.

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Shama
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March 10, 2019 - 1:37 pm
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There are a few more of these summary modules coming along in the course. They all show you the whole flow and will make it easy to put it all together. Smile

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Suzanne Harding
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March 10, 2019 - 8:51 pm
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Module 12

This was the funniest session yet and luckily my partner was game for me practicing so challenging moves. The calf stretch where you place the feet on the stomach started out ok as she has smallish feet and it seemed to fit well. But no matter how hard I leaned into them and no matter how dramatically I breathed (quite forcefully) she not only didn't feel the stretch but sent us both into a laughing fit! I don't know what the trick is on this one as I gave it my all but I will try it out on another client to see if we get the same result.

She particularly liked the simple move where the knees are together st 90 degrees and you elephant walk for the sacrum. This was very effective and felt so good for her and the move was easy for me. I though the knees would feel more discomfort but they didn't at all. I also had her do this move on me to feel what she was raving about and she was right...it felt great.

The variations on the calf stretches will be great for runners and those people with tight hamstrings (like me,) I get s lot of sport massage clients. Can't wait to try Thai on them in the future.

The move most awkward for me was the one where I step though and put their feet together and sit. Though she is flexible and could take the stretch it was very awkward for me and I felt it in my quads and felt a little unstable. Gotta work on that one. Again a bit of laughter cause it's a funny position in general! I like to keep it light and my various partners that I work on a good sports. Laugh

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