Creativity is always a good thing. I find myself spontaneously changing and adapting techniques with clients all the time. That is the real art of Thai Massage, to intuitively know what works for a particular client and apply it during your massage.
That's why I always say that Thai Massage is not just about learning some techniques. Those need to be learned, but this is just the beginning. There is no point in knowing a set sequence and using it on everyone in the same way. They don't work on everyone in the same way!
If it feels right to you and your client, then it is right!
The "bridge" technique is demonstrated in my "7 Ways To Move The Spine" course.
Hand Massage is often neglected but it is one of the most delightful feelings. I totally love receiving it and have never met anyone who does not enjoy it tremendously. Plus hand massage has the additional benefit of connecting to many other parts of the body in the same way foot reflexology does.
Actually I am just in the process of completing a separate course for arm and hands massage which covers the hands in much more detail. Watch out for an email in a week or two.
Re: Shoulders & Spinal Twist and Summary 2
I was surprised how easily I picked up the transition technique behind the head as it looked alot harder! For some time I focused on some arm/handwork from previous lessons and kept cycling round with the overhead arm stretches and elephant walking on the ribs in between to get used to it. This formed a nice mini session in itself in which I got into a nice rhythm working in a circle. My client enjoyed the continuity and was able to really let go as he knew what was coming next. The upper body twist and alternately circling the shoulders I am familiar with so focused on the lower body twist. I struggled a little due to the size of my client but understand its dynamics with view to working with it on a lighter bodytype. Watching the summary was very inspiring and a useful recap. The Thymus tapping was very interesting-is this an EFT technique or something which also has its roots in Yoga? I really liked the feel of it on myself and would love to know more! The Quantum Touch technique was really good to use a tool for grounding and preparing to work on the client. I work with Reiki/Pranic healing and look forward to using this method. My hands grew quite warm when experimenting with it-is it similar to Reiki?
Regarding the thymus gland tapping: I actually did study EFT and have used it quite a bit in my massage sessions. When I feel that the physical massage techniques are not getting the results that they should, then I sometimes switch over to EFT techniques, and I have had very good success with this.
However I did not do the sternum tapping because of my EFT knowledge. It is part of a diversification of techniques which I am using. These are best explained in two of my courses:
Thai Rocking Massage and Body Mastery For Massage
Regarding Quantum Touch: This is a type of energy work, but it is actually quite different from Reiki. In Reiki you just let energy flow without specific direction or any manipulation. In Quantum Touch you direct energy very specifically and you are using breath techniques to amplify the results.
Re: Prone Legs 1
PRONE LEGS 1
This was an enjoyable mini session in itself and an effective sequence. I was able to carry out the first technique quite easily using elbows and forearms. There is something very satisfying about leaning into a body part as it creates a rhythm in my own movement which really connects me to the practice. My client really enjoyed having the soles of his feet worked on so I stayed here for some time before moving on. I usually administer foot massage with the client seated but I think I can now do a whole routine on the feet lying down with what I have learnt so far with you and combined with other techniques. The following traction/compression and rocking worked very well as I am now quite confident with these having learnt them earlier on the supine modules and the Rocking course. The calf muscle tendon technique was quite straightforward and I added a bit of work on the calf itself as I continued up from the back of the ankle onto the belly of the calf. This lead on nicely to elephant walking along the back of the legs which I could do all day. I love the dynamics of the movement and pressure. I worked from the calves all the way onto the buttocks. The calves and hamstrings were quite tight from gym work so I stayed longer on these areas-is this ok to do or is it better to work evenly along the whole leg?
Re: Prone Legs 2
I can see myself using these techniques ALOT as many of my clients have either very tight hamstrings/IT Bands from running or want to lengthen and release them to improve their Yoga postures. I feel the forearm technique gives greater control than most other techniques as you are able to a roll and compress more gradually as you are working almost from the side rather than directly over the muscle. The different rotations/leg positions made for a very thorough working of the hamstrings group. I repeated the sequence on each leg 3 times which made a simple and effective hamstring therapy session in itself. On the last three techniques where the leg is bent/foot placed above knee, does this externally rotate the hip and help to stretch the hip outwards? I was trying to figure out the difference if the bent leg was kept straight? My client found the work in this position applied on the calf muscle, very strong so I worked very lightly barely being able to touch him. I alternated massaging gently with hands and then with knees to lessen the intensity. I then tried all the techniques from both Prone Legs 1 & 2 as a single session about half an hour later and am very excited about the prospect of offering it to my students.
You don't have to evenly work along the leg necessarily. I have one client, and he feels tight in his left hamstrings, and I regularly work just his hamstrings on the left leg for about half an hour. If a client feels that they need work in a particular area, I stay on there for quite a while until I feel that something really changed, even if that means that I don't touch the other areas of the leg.
However I generally ask the client if they would prefer that I just stay on a particular problem area instead of doing a more general session where I work a little bit on everything. In almost all cases they want me to stay on the problem area as long as it takes to make some progress.
The technique at the end of the Prone 2 module with the bent leg can definitely affect the hip quite strongly. I say "it can" because it depends on the client's flexibility. A very flexible client won't feel much impact on the hip, and a very stiff client will perceive it as a massive stretch all along the hip and leg.
Re: Prone Legs 3
I now have my sister to work on who is the same height and build as myself. It was strange re-orientating to a much smaller frame but the work much more fluid when I got used to working with her. I also asked my sister to perform a few of the quad stretches on myself as I was curious to feel them. Usually quad work pulls on my knees but the stretches you introduced were actually more effective as the knees were stabilised/blocked and supported on the floor making the work much more comfortable. I found I also needed to apply even more sensitivity as I could not gauge facial expressions in the prone position. More considered progressions into the stretch and continual feedback worked well to identify areas of tightness. My goodness! I was frightened to sit on the sacrum in the leg lifting stretch but of course it was fine! Client also enjoyed the even weight and pressure on the lower back while I sat on her. Could one perhaps sit in this position and bend the leg back for an extra quad stretch?
Re: Sacrum & Glutes
Many of the techniques in this section I think I covered in the Rocking Massage course but of course it was great to refresh on a different type of body. The percussion work was fun and energising and it was good to hack and chop from each side. My sister enjoyed the sacrum and glute work very much as she is a keen horse riding enthusiast and rarely has any body work done. The effects were so immediate and releasing that she is now going to have regular back treatments. She commented that the feeling in her body felt quite unfamiliar which made her realise how much tension she had been holding in the area. I did some short meditation work to explore this sensation so that she fully registered it and connected with it more. This got me thinking about combining meditation/visualisation with repetitive moves-is this something that you do or know of?
Regarding bending the leg back more while sitting on the sacrum area: Yes this can be done. There is also a standing position which makes this easier and gives you better leverage. You stand next to the client, put one foot on the sacrum and pull one leg up by grabbing the foot. That can be a real power stretch, but it requires good balance and only works if the client's leg is not too heavy or too long. I don't think I included it in this course because of those limitations if I remember right. The sitting version is much easier to do and if you lean back enough you should be able to do more stretching than anyone can handle.
Regarding your meditation/visualization question: I have an entire course where I go quite deep into those aspects. It is called Magic Touch Secrets.
Re: Prone Back 1
I have been really looking forward to this part of the course as most of my existing massage work is based on the backs of Yoga students to limber up their spines. My sister is quite small framed and bony so I was able to give an effortless and fluid sequence on the back. Using the heels of my hands was a welcoming technique as I am prone to inflamation in my fingers. I will now never use a massage couch again as working in this way allows me to be much more effective in terms of being able to apply a firmer, even pressure while also opening up the number of techniques that can be applied. I may also experiment with applying hot oils/stones and then working as above through a thin towel. I will be using these techniques ALOT and look forward to the next few back sessions : )
Re: Prone Back 2
Wow elbows, knees and forearms too this time. Loved it! Really enjoyed working along the back and then turning to push into the trapezius. I was unable to practice the stronger knee technique where you stretch the other leg back as my sister is quite delicate. I will practice this on my husband though with no problem I'm sure. Supporting my body with my hands on the client while I did knee work felt more comfortable or should I say stable than when upright without support. The techniques were very powerful but very satisfying for the client who really needed and enjoyed the deeper work. She didn't want me to stop so I went back and combined Prone Back 1 into a sequence-feedback was 'amazing' and a rebook : ) (shame its not paid ; ( ) Would there be any scope to use back techniques in 'Childs pose' or any other prone Yoga pose?
Re: Prone Back 3
Ok, I'm on a roll! Great to elephant walk and Butterfly up the back-some of my favorite techniques and I could do them forever. Interesting how a slight change of angle can be really effective when working up the back. The 'simulated massage bed' was really useful and a clever way to adapt things on the floor. The trapezius/neck massage completed and rounded off the session really well-I have never used these techniques simultaneously but I tell you my client was in heaven! I found the order of grosser moves with the whole hands and forearms followed by more localised thumb/finger work very effective in terms of warm up/preparation. Could one lean into fists on the back or do you think this is too strong?
Regarding using Thai Massage techniques in combination with yoga positions like 'Child's pose' - sure, this is possible. I remember playing around with friends and doing all kinds of combinations like that. There is also a great shoulder stretch that can be done with the client in child's pose.
The only thing is that then you get more into a partner yoga set-up, i.e. the client has to move around, assume positions etc. This can be fun with the right client, but for most clients this is not so practical. It is more relaxing to just lie down and not having to do anything. The therapist takes care of all the manipulations. But since you are so involved with yoga, you might have more clients who like this type of session.
Regarding fists on the back - I have never leaned into my fists, but what I do on big and muscular clients is that I use my knuckles to do a wiggling or a rapid back and forth movement. That works very well for specific tight spots while saving your thumbs from stress. I do use the leaning into the fists technique when I work on the soles of the feet with the client in prone position.
Re: Prone Upper Back & Summary
Very excited to learn Cobra : ) I have been waiting a long time to learn this one! Three variations too. It was good to apply them in succession. I look forward to learning similar dynamic stretches like Bridge in '7 ways to move the spine'. Would you ever consider writing a module just on Yoga stretches? I'l buy it now! I have seen therapists work on the lower back while the client holds the therapists ankles in Child's Pose. Working deeply on the shoulders and trapezius was the icing on the cake after working in a more generalised way on the back. I really enjoyed method 6. where one pulls back the shoulder while holding down the side of the upper back. I was careful to be firm here so as not to let the position turn into a twist. My client found this technique especially effective. The summary was beautiful as ever showing a real depth and flow that really illustrates the art. It made me put pen to paper and think about 'designing'. I now feel I have a wealth of knowledge to draw from and can be very specific in terms of putting a sequence together for various needs. I'm very much looking forward to part 3 but now I have the back covered I feel in a confident place. I love the way you snook in the extra 'bum push technique in the summary! You really have to keep your eyes peeled so you don't miss anything!
Re: a module on yoga stretches
I keep coming up with new ideas and inspirations all the time, so who knows. In the meantime you could go through the entire Complete Thai Massage training course material and pick out lots of stretches that are basically yoga stretches. I have taught live courses to yoga teachers where we focused on the aspects of Thai Massage that are most closely related to yoga. It may turn into a video course one day.
Re: PART 4: Side & seated positions
Side 1 & 2.
As a Yoga teacher, I initially approached this course wanting to learn mostly all the dynamic Yoga stretches. However the technique I have used the most because I LOVE it and because my clients just dribble when I administer it, is the simple but very powerful Elephant Walking/Palming technique. You mention at the beginning of this lesson, that this technique alone can but one in trance. I have found this to be very true-the constant,rhythmic pressure is deep but gentle and if I do it for long enough my clients fall asleep or go into trance, ie half asleep/half awake. I have been doing whole sessions just elephant walking in different restorative positions which relaxes and warms the muscles so that when I put the client in a restorative Yoga position and administer Reiki-they are in heaven. It was very satisfying to give this technique some more attention in Side Lessons 1 & 2.
Sometimes when I get to either an acupressure/marma point or tight spot, I lean into it for an extended period of time-is this ok to do, if it is not too strong as some of my clients have fed back they also like the static pressure?
I picked up the Rocking Spinal Twist quite quickly. Because it looked more complex, I thought it and would take me some time to get right but I was pleasantly surprised how I just clicked into this one. Because my client is relatively heavy and I am light and small, I struggled to get my arms wide enough to pull the leg and shoulder back in the in the final technique (Bow position). I am pretty confident with applying this to smaller clients however and understand the ergonomics and dynamics of it clearly from your teaching.
I have just ordered one of those fold up thai matreses that are joined in three pieces I think (with triangular cusion). They look ribbed and filled with Kapot. Have you or any of your students ever used one of these for what you do?
Nothing wrong with leaning into a particular spot via static pressure for an extended period as long as you do it with body weight and with a feeling of softness. I do that sometimes as well, and if done correctly, you can use a lot of weight in one spot without ever causing any discomfort. Static pressure can feel wonderful. Just be careful not to stress your wrists if you use your palms.
Regarding those mats, yes, I have been on them and I have seen them in use. Personally I use a vinyl covered dense foam mat which is sold here for massage. I like those because they are very easy to clean. The three piece ribbed mats don't last as long here in Thailand because they can get moldy in the humid tropical climate. But if you cover your new mat and take care of it you should be okay.
Re: Side 3 (Shoulders)
Very excited to learn so many techniques for the shoulder and in a more comfortable position. Across the road from my house is a tennis club- I can use many ideas from Side module 3 & 4 and devise a therapy session specifically for their clients. Are there any other areas you would recommend to work on for Tennis players? The side position has made shoulder work much more enjoyable for me. Because of the level of tightness in my clients shoulders from playing guitar, I warmed them up using lots of Rocking techniques that I had learned on the previous course and had to take some of the stretches extremely slowly such as arm circling with shoulder stretch. I would go so far and then go back to rocking to sooth out keep the area warm. With a bit of time and patience, the arms eased back more. Working on the trapezius along with the shoulder got me some excellent feedback-this is one technique I can see myself doing a lot of as so many of my clients have tight upper backs and necks. I usually work on this area with the client seated but can apply more pressure from above in this way. The more extreme stretches with shoulder rotations were a little too strong so I practiced the positioning and verbally told the client what I would do if they were more open so I could at least digest and remember at this stage
Re: Side 4
I really enjoyed working under the scapula when the client was in a prone position so I started with this after some rocking and warming and then put my client on their side and continued with the technique from the side using thumbs and hooking under my fingers-a nice mini routine. This technique seems to be much more direct and I would probably add it in after more general massage work around the area. Rolling the scapula back onto the thumb and fingers respectively was very effective for my client. It felt very deep and satisfying for him though there was some tolerable pain. The elephant walking with crossed hands stretched apart was awesome-one of my favorites. Blocking the arm while overhead and palming down was again very strong but I approached it gently and performed a much milder version with less stretch and pressure. I was also wondering if you cover working on the side position with the feet in any other module?
For tennis players the hand, arm and shoulder where they hold the racket would be the most beneficial I would imagine. Upper back and scapula as well. For those who really want to go deeper into the therapeutic aspects, I produced in depth therapy courses for shoulders and for arms/hands. Not sure if you have them or not.
You wrote: "I was also wondering if you cover working on the side position with the feet in any other module?" I am not quite sure what you mean. Are you referring to showing how to work with your feet on someone in the side position, or do you mean showing how to work on the feet of a client who is lying on the side?