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Taylor Langston Thai Massage Hip Therapy Notes
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Taylor Langston
Murfreesboro, TN
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April 26, 2023 - 4:15 am
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Module 1:

I believe I remember this being mentioned in the full Thai course but I am glad to get a refresher! My partner had a stiff left hip I believe, because the foot on the left side was sticking up straighter and didn't fall to a 45 degree angle like the opposite hip. Even pushing on his left foot I also found more resistance than his right foot when pushing down to point the feet outward. Looking further up at the hips themselves when I feel around I can somewhat feel the height difference on the right side showing me a rotation. After doing a few gentle movements of rocking, once I moved his leg around to check rotation the right leg was restricted in the quads as well as external rotation. However, after the rotation movement it did loosen enough to move more comfortably he said, but obviously still had restriction compared to the left side. Trying the second movement with the foot between the thigh and abdomen, his leg didn't fully drop and yes, he absolutely had some tight adductors preventing that movement. I look forward to the next module, we had fun comparing male and female hip sways for comparison (gave us a good laugh and comparison in hip movement), thanks for the information and fun learning modules!

A question: If you have a larger client and it is hard to feel or see a height difference in the hips, is there another way to verify a hip sitting higher or could we just rely on the foot rotation or lack of rotation in a foot to determine if a hip is higher? 

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Shama Kern
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April 26, 2023 - 6:12 am
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Hi Taylor, welcome to the Thai Massage Hip Therapy certification program. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all correctly organized:

Certification Checklist

Regarding your question - you can use both methods, whichever works best. Anyway, one confirms the other. If one hip is higher, it will most likely show up in the feet and vice versa. Sure, if you have a hard time doing the visual verification in the height of the hip, then just rely on what you see and feel in the feet.

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Taylor Langston
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May 2, 2023 - 5:18 am
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Module 2

The rocking is definitely helpful in relaxing and prepping of the leg. His leg rhythm was a little slower just because my partner has a higher mass but obviously, it still helped to rock his leg beforehand. The opposing side took me a moment to figure out the heel sit comfortably, but it is really just about getting used to the positioning. I appreciate the hand placement mentioned near the adverse muscles and quads as well since this helped me to stay consistent in my placement. I think knee rocking will be one I definitely need to practice to make sure I can properly balance. I do appreciate the flexibility of the moves and how to complete the same task on both legs with different methods depending on therapist placement as well. Also, the insight into the variable pressure is good information to keep in mind as we work. I will also work on fluidity, as I know this is something I am still working on when I create a sequence with Thai massage. Also, I really enjoy the beginning/ending rocking and we did use fingertips since my partner was a male, but they let me try the hands-on-hips afterward after they said they were comfortable and agreed the hip hand placement was more relaxing.

Taylor

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Shama Kern
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May 2, 2023 - 6:53 am
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I am glad you appreciate the rocking. Without that, the hip work would be a bit more rough around the edges, so to say.

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Taylor Langston
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May 5, 2023 - 5:08 am
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Module 3

I use forearm techniques a lot in my practice and this gave me a different technique to use on legs in a more relaxing way. Another great module to help me practice my knee techniques and I do feel more comfortable holding my body in place as I use them. Luckily I was able to practice that move with a good bit of pressure so we could get deeper into his muscle since he had more mass. I had to use the lesser angle for my male practice model and turned his foot in to work his outer hip and worked on sinking in softly some more. I feel like because I am a little bonier, I have to be careful not to pinpoint too often when using my forearm. When you speak about the sen energy lines, it makes me wonder if what Thai massage does with energy through movement, has a similar outcome as one would get from having energy work done without touch, like reiki. Just one thought this module had me thinking about. 

Taylor

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Shama Kern
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May 5, 2023 - 7:07 am
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"When you speak about the sen energy lines, it makes me wonder if what Thai massage does with energy through movement, has a similar outcome as one would get from having energy work done without touch, like reiki. Just one thought this module had me thinking about."

There are many kinds of energy work - Thai Massage sen lines, Reiki, Quantum Touch, Qi Gong, and many others. They can all work under the right conditions and provided the practitioner is in tune with this kind of work. Personally, I have received all of these types of energy work. In some cases I felt absolutely nothing, and in some cases I felt that they were very effective. It depends on the practitioner and also on one's own mindset, i.e. one's receptivity or sensitivity when it comes to this kind of work.

The one advantage that Thai Massage has over these other energy modalities is that the energy work is combined with physical touch, pressure, and manipulations. This means that you get results from the energy work and from the physical work. They work in tandem. This is also one reason that I have often heard from Reiki practitioners who add Thai Massage to their skill set because they like this feature of combining energy work with physical techniques.

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Taylor Langston
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May 23, 2023 - 3:25 am
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Module 4

I appreciate the hip pie concept myself because I am a very visual person. This keeps me on track with our treatment or stretch for the day and makes sure I don't miss any of the eight pieces of pie. 45 degrees is also easy to remember and makes the process of working the entire hip seamless.

For my client, I like the idea of working the hip in all directions due to overall tightness. However, we worked on the restriction he had when letting the leg fall outward and so we focused on his outer pie to find his restrictions that we found from the initial check-in. The traction when used was very pleasant to my client. He said he felt almost lighter when he stood up and that it was almost a soothing movement to have his hips tractioned.

It was also comfortable for me and felt pretty effortless compared to other Western stretching techniques that I have tried. I enjoy the reminder to use body weight to help transfer pressure for these stretches. They feel more fluid and relaxing and if we still had a hard time getting through; the rocking was a nice break. It also helped us get farther once we got back to working the pie half that was stiff and we even got a better stretch without as much tension.

Going back through this on the opposite leg, we worked on a different portion of the pie which gave me a little extra practice and a better feel for the hip as a whole. It was pretty incredible to see the difference in just that small amount of work and how his areas of pain and flexibility changed quite a bit.

Taylor

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Shama Kern
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May 23, 2023 - 6:54 am
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" It was pretty incredible to see the difference in just that small amount of work and how his areas of pain and flexibility changed quite a bit."  -  You are obviously doing something right here! Smile

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Taylor Langston
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May 26, 2023 - 5:31 am
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Module 5

The rolling is still something I'm getting used to. It isn't difficult but it does take some rhythm and I have noticed that the rhythm changes for each client and how tight their muscles are and how big or small they are. The forearm on adductors is something I have been practicing since you mentioned this at the start of the program and I have gotten a better grasp of the swaying for this move to make sure it doesn't feel forced or painful. I think adding in the back and forth helps me find that rhythm faster and easier. I do appreciate how you emphasize the fluidity of these moves and how impactful that is to how it feels for the client. When I asked my practice partner, they said it felt more fluid and less painful and forced when I finally found that rhythm and my breath. My client did notice the warmth and tingling from the slow of the femoral artery blood and said it was a good sensation but it did take me a second to find placement with him obviously being a male. The pulsing is something I will need to get used to using as it was something I was instructed to avoid pressing directly but I can definitely see the benefit of this technique once I get used to it. Very interesting technique and good to know to avoid varicose veins.

Do any of your clients wear tennis shoes or any shoe while doing this? Some of my clients have and I wonder if this affects it at all. I know it makes placement slightly more difficult for me so I was curious if you work around it or if you just request that they take them off.

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May 26, 2023 - 8:14 am
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"Do any of your clients wear tennis shoes or any shoes while doing this?"  -  I have never done a Thai Massage on anyone with shoes on, and I would never do that. I just tell everyone to take their shoes off, and I have never had anyone who objected. After all, nobody would even dream of getting a Swedish massage with their shoes on either.

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Taylor Langston
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June 1, 2023 - 6:17 am
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Module 6

I appreciate this method of working the groin area with the scooping and circling in this position. This can be a difficult spot to get to in western massage just because of the location. With this angle and gentle yet firm movements, it feels more intentional and "safe" from a boundaries standpoint. I also hear the comment often during stretching about the groin hurting when going across the upper body and moving and this was a great reminder to a nice warm-up to avoid that all together b arming it up first.

As usual, the rocking seemed to be a good way to warm up my client as his hips were pretty tight to begin. I definitely think it made the "wave motion" easier to actually accomplish rather than fighting his muscle. The wiggling I felt a little awkward at first keeping it all in place but I just need to be more conscious of client foot placement and once I got the hand placement down the flow improved. I did have to use the forearm modification for the stretch since my client was bigger than I and stiff. Using my body weight definitely made a difference in how much stretch/pressure was necessary for him. Using the legs for the movements was a nice way to reach each pie slice seamlessly and a good way to wrap up a session. Again, I had to adjust with his long legs a little to maintain placement but it was easy and quick to fix, especially once I helped the motion with my hands on his knees.

 

Taylor

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Shama Kern
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June 1, 2023 - 7:27 am
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You are right, the rocking eliminates the need to 'fight' stiff muscles. It is a wonderful alternative. I could not even imagine doing Thai Massage without those rocking moves.

It sounds like you are figuring out how to modify the techniques to compensate for differences in size and weight of the clients. That's something you will learn through experience.

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Taylor Langston
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June 9, 2023 - 6:43 am
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Module 7

My partner and I worked on the rocking and the gentler method for pie slice 6. With the sideways rocking of the knee, we had to start very slow because it was still intense on his hip, and he said there was slight tightness around the knee. We did gradually get some progressive movement but it took some time to ease into it. Moving to slice 7, I had to adjust myself to make sure I was balanced for his larger frame. Once we got into position, we were able to get him stretched at the "easiest" foot position and didn't move the foot up too much this time.

I will definitely be using the foot in front of the knee for one of my clients, who is very flexible that I have to work a little harder for with western stretches. This is an excellent alternative to what I have been using primarily! My partner liked the ending for slice eight but preferred the forearm and rocking-type techniques.

We were able to get some nice movement in the slow, complex move that incorporated several pie slices. I had to make sure to be careful not to put too much of my body weight into the downward half of the circle because he is a little stiff still, but overall, this was another move I really enjoyed practicing for my hips.

Taylor

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June 9, 2023 - 7:34 am
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Of course you don't have to use all these 7-slice techniques on every client, but just having them in your repertoire is a huge plus.

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Taylor Langston
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June 10, 2023 - 8:45 pm
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Module 8

For this module, getting proper pillows really made a difference compared to some of the similar western stretches in this same starting point but without pillows. it really does feel like a more stable base. The butterfly was also similar to techniques I have used before, but this way allows for a firmer pressure and more fluid movement, whereas my other Western methods seem a little jerkier than the Thai flow.

The gallop rhythm did somewhat remind me of cat paws, but like you said, with a different tempo. Again, this felt more fluid and relaxing for both me and my client. I am really amazed at how effortless some of these techniques feel compared to my other similar Western methods. Rolling the muscle seemed a little tricky on my male client, and this may not be something I use on my larger male clients; as you mentioned, I will use a different method for this type of client.

I had to start lighter with the thumbs, but as we got into the motion, he was able to receive deeper thumb pressure, and it did begin to feel like the muscle lost some resistance and became looser in the area. The various rocking movements on the hip between palms, fingers, and knuckle joint allowed us to go from gentle to therapeutic easily and was preferable as he stated it was a more bearable way to work through the stretching and left him feeling "lighter" in the hip once we finished—very fun module.

Taylor

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June 10, 2023 - 9:37 pm
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It sounds like you are getting more into the flow of it now.Smile

I agree - the Thai style of working is ergonomically better for the therapist compared to western styles.

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Taylor Langston
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June 13, 2023 - 1:51 am
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Module 9

This was the ideal method to use for my larger framed male client. I had to check placement a few times to avoid bone, but once we found it, it was easy to stick to, especially after warming and loosening it up with the rolling technique. Rolling down the glute was a nice way to warm the area overall; however, I do know I need to be aware of my clientele, who are not as big as my partner now. He can take and likes deeper pressure, whereas one of my regular stretch clients requests no "pointy" pressure. For him though, the elbow point and rocking motion felt great to my partner. He was a little sensitive with the roll up, but I also believe I need to change elbow placement slightly to use more of the flat portion of the forearm. I am still working on my knee work, and the sensitivity to better use my body weight, but it is getting easier each time as my balance gets better. I appreciate seeing the work from the back to get a full understanding of the techniques being used. As a visual learner, that helped me get a complete idea of what I am doing, what it should look like, and how the client should move as I was doing my own practice. Lifting the leg and working from an elevated hip position was an easy way to get good pressure on his hip and I thought easier to get a rhythm with my rocking as well.

Taylor

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June 14, 2023 - 11:32 pm
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Excellent detailed observations. I feel like I am sitting in the room watching you practice. Smile

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Taylor Langston
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June 15, 2023 - 5:23 am
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Module 10

Once my partner and I got into position and began the circular hip stretch, I was surprised by how little effort it actually took to move the hip in a circle with my body weight. Speeding the move-up was fun, but I did have to readjust to get a good angle for the leg's stability. It is definitely advantageous to be able to work with a client with little resistance and I really got an understanding of this once we started practicing. He usually resists unknowingly at times during stretching but this circular rocking/traction really did make a difference in how he responded to the hip stretch.

Very interesting! In the prone stretching, we couldn't get too terribly far moving the legs out, and small movements from heel to glute but it did improve as we continued this move and tried moving out and back in with the stretch. The first leg lift is one that took some effort trying to lift and hold because his leg was a little longer, but once I got my grip in place, we didn't have to lift too terribly much before he felt a good stretch in his hip. Most likely, I think I will have to use a different method for my clients who have a larger frame than I in this situation if they require a deeper stretch.

With the prone opposite leg lift, it was easier to maneuver my partner with this method and it allowed me to give a nice stretch with much less effort than the other where I was actively lifting more. The knee seems like a small addition to this move, but it really intensified the stretch, my partner stated. With the prone straight leg lift I note that I need to be aware of my posture as I realized I had hunched and lifting was difficult. Once I remembered to correct and straighten my back, it really did make a difference! I could feel the body weight helping me pull back vs using force to pull the leg back. Another fun module!

Taylor

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June 15, 2023 - 7:12 am
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That's the whole trick - to adjust your work according to your and your client's body type and weight. And yes, the body weight makes all the difference between a struggle and an easy stretch.

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