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Yoga mom's Thai massage journal
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yogamom5
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January 18, 2013 - 9:33 am
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I just finish watching with great interest the first module. It felt familiar and not intimidating  because of my Yoga Teacher background. I enjoyed the demonstration of the pressure and the ergonomics. It makes sense to be comfortable yourself, to avoid burn out or getting the client agitated, since this energy is felt. I'm looking forward to the next module.Smile

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Shama
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January 18, 2013 - 2:00 pm
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Welcome to the program Ursula. I am looking forward to working with you. We share a similar background. Just like you, I grew up in Germany, but I left there about 35 years ago and moved to the US. When people ask me where I am from, I generally have to ask them if they want to know where I was born, or what my citizenship is, or where I actually live. These three questions have 3 different answers. Smile

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yogamom5
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January 24, 2013 - 5:27 am
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Hi everyone,

Module 2- Chi Machine

I enjoy the Chi Machine. I practiced on 5 different family members, to make it easier I started on my 8 year old daughter and moved up in size, by the time I got to my husband,  I got the move and felt much more relaxed myself. After I was done, I could feel the energy flow and my husband remarked on it as well :)  

Module 3- Foot massage

Wow. that is much harder and after 2 days of practice I don't feel quite that confident with the sequence yet.I enjoyed learning how much the feet, hands and ears affect the body as a whole. It makes sense to use this technique as a starter for the Thai massage session. As I move in a circular motion, I feel getting relaxed myself. Using your body weight versus the muscle power is also much easier on the Massage Therapist! 

Btw. Shama, I enjoy your relaxed method of teaching usSmile

 

 

 

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Shama
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January 24, 2013 - 11:56 am
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What a great learning system - you move up in size within your family members. I love that one! It is perfectly normal that initially some techniques feel strange and difficult to do. It's like learning to drive a stick shift. After you practice for a while, it becomes second nature and you won't even have to think about it anymore.

Many of my students tell me that later on in the course it all flows very nicely for them and they develop a good sense of flow and intuition. Once your body gets into the 'groove', it will get easier and more fun. The beginning is always the hardest, and this is where persistence and lots of practice pays off. You seem to have a ready made clientele with your family - that comes in real handy.

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yogamom5
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January 30, 2013 - 9:27 am
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Hi everyone,

 

I really enjoy this Massage Course. Not only do I have several of my immediate family volunteering each time I receive a new session in my inbox, but it feels so relaxing and rewarding to give a Thai Massage. 

Module 4

thank you Shama for emphasizing on the feeling  and conceptual learning rather than the mechanical order of giving the massage. As a Yoga Teacher I can really relate to this.  All the different ways we can move our feet, amazing, what a beautiful design our creator gave us. You explained the 8 ways and it makes a lot of sense to follow the naturally movement of the foot.

Module 5

First of all, the background music is awesome, any hint, where to download it:)?

What a warm up. wow! Plenty of moves to work on the legs. I like that you show us so many moves and we can pick the once, we feel our client needs at a particular time, not going the mechanical way and just follow a guideline, to fill an hourly session. Yes, it is after all artistic, healing arts and a beautiful flow for the receiver  and the giver, like a duett.

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Shama
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January 31, 2013 - 2:40 am
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Yes, Thai Massage is a perfect companion to yoga. I am sure your family members are enjoying their practice massages!

Regarding the music, I video taped this a long time ago and I did not write down what my source was - sorry about that.

Your post sounds really upbeat, enthusiastic and inspired. I think you caught the Thai Massage bug.Smile

I have a yoga background like you and I got hooked very quickly as well when I first encountered it. The good news is that it will get even a lot better and more inspiring once it all becomes second nature to you.

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yogamom5
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February 5, 2013 - 9:08 am
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Module 6 and 7

I think I'm getting the hang of things :) I worked on my husband's right leg with some of the leg warm ups and he fell asleep, because it made his runner legs relax. Not only that, after working only on one leg, because we run out of time, (soccer game to go) he commended the rest of the afternoon, how he felt the difference. His muscles on the right leg were much more stretched and looser. Well, not bad I thought!

I enjoy how Shama takes his time and gives us a lot of inside, watching/working the breath, observing the whole body and the feet to see how open or tight a client's hips are. I feel I'm learning a lot. Observation is an important part of getting to know a client's needs. The rocking of the hips and thighs is a neat way to start the leg work. Working with bigger people is harder on our own bodies, so using your feet, elbows and forearms makes a lot more sense. Thanks Shama!Smile

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Shama
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February 5, 2013 - 8:53 pm
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Not bad, I am thinking as well! SmileIt was good that you only had time for one leg, since that gave him a chance to notice the difference. I am sure that the results felt as good for you as it felt for him. You are definitely on the right track, it seems.

 

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yogamom5
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February 11, 2013 - 9:12 am
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Module 8

love the wisdom of how to do the techniques as well as how to evaluate the client.Wink

Yep, my hand is too small to do the 90 degree stretch on my husband, so my 14 year old son had to be my client. And sure enough it was a big difference. I like the variety of techniques and the concept of the pie with the 8 slices at 45 degree angle.

 

Module 9

My favorite so far! Using the 1-10 method is a wise thing to do!SmileIt will connect you with the client and make the client also know, you care. The spinal twist is like the yoga pose with the same name.

Breath and touch are very important components of the healing arts. I love the way you said this Shama, "combine the power of a stretch with the softness of your hands".

 

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Shama
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February 11, 2013 - 10:31 am
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That's where many Thai Massage practitioners have developed bad habits. They are under the impression that power and softness are opposites, but they are not. You can combine both, and they go together perfectly well if you work with your body weight and the conscious intention of producing a soft touch. 

Thai Massage is often perceived as a painful modality, but this is only the result of not using the 'power of softness' principle. There is no reason why Thai Massage would be intrinsically painful.

Of course there is such a thing as 'good pain' which is a releasing sensation and it diminishes in intensity. The opposite is 'bad pain' which is generally the result of not applying the techniques correctly.

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yogamom5
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March 8, 2013 - 4:19 am
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Well, I'm back from visiting my home country Germany Smile and ready to work and learn more about my thai massage course!

Module 10

Anatomy of Thai Massage Move was very interesting, flowing like a Thai Chi movement, with grace, softness and from the Hara ( behind the naval, your energy center). Bringing my awareness to this spot, reminded me on Yoga and the many focal points. Beautiful!!! The blood stop technique needs a bit more practice and confidence on my part. Yet I like the effects it will have, when done right, like warming and energizing, improving circulation, increasing the chi flow and the pleasant tingling sensation.

Module 11

Great review and leg/foot sequence. A smooth rhythm and flow in movements thru out the session.

Softly sinking into muscles and using my entire body not force of hands. My focus will be on the flow, softness, breath, artistic feeling, ergonomics and feeling relaxed myself, not memorizing all the moves. Using my awareness in the hara must be key! And of course having a good time doing it. Thanks for showing this summary.

 

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Shama
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March 9, 2013 - 6:30 am
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Welcome back from our birth country. I like that you picked out all those essential elements in your post which make Thai Massage an actual healing art. You are on the right track!

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March 14, 2013 - 9:44 am
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Hello everyone,

for the last couple of days I have been working on Module 12/13. Neat how things are coming together.

Module 12.

As I used two different clients to practice on, I became quickly aware of the size of therapist to client ratio, as a key on which stretches and techniques work for different bodies. Some of the powerful hip stretches, reminded me on Happy Baby Pose in Yoga, which some people have a hard time with, since their hips are not open enough. So I can see the combination between the two arts to work perfectly, in harmony.

Massage and stretching the sacrum/sacroiliac joints seemed very pleasant for both of my clients.

Module 13

wonderful explanations Shama, of all the pain and discomfort levels which can accure during a session. Again, you reminded us on communicating with our clients, using the 1-10 scale to determine between good pain (releasing) and bad pain (sharp, increasing).

Concentrating on our Hara, breath and being relaxed. Working with a client to make him/her comfortable should be our most important interest. Asking again and again to ensure his/her comfort level is key, instead of mechanically doing our stretches to run through! Following the hip pie 45 degree eight segments makes it easier to know which stretches to do. Thinking conception and not mechanic, being a massage artist, flowing, moving as in a dance with my client. Beautiful! Thank you ShamaWink

 

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Shama
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March 14, 2013 - 4:27 pm
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I am always wondering why sacrum massage is so rarely done, yet everyone loves it (myself included). I use it in all my sessions, and I have yet to meet a client who does not love it. I have a separate course which goes more into detail about sacrum work, and I am planning to upgrade this sacrum course even more. I guess that shows how much importance I place on sacrum work.

There is definitely more to Thai Massage than the mechanical sequences: The conceptual thinking, the 1-10 communications method and the 'anatomy of a massage move'. The last module of the Thai Massage course puts all the communication tools together. I think you will really like this one! Smile

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yogamom5
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March 23, 2013 - 12:37 am
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Module 14  Rocking the hips

I did my first massage on a client, outside of my family :) . It went very well, I was a bit nervous, because she is a larger and obese lady. But I started with the foot massage and worked my way uo into the hips. She got a few thai massages before, so she was a bit skeptical. I maintained good body contact and asked her about any discomfort she may feel here and there. She enjoyed the hip rocking techniques and I used some rocking instead of the deeper leg stretches as well, since she is not very flexible. Her comments were good and she was happy with the out come of my massage :) She felt very relaxed and said, she feels stretched and pliable!

I wonder on the technique, crossing over to the other side, the therapist must be rather flexible and in good condition as well. Otherwise it would be a harder thing to do. How do others handle this? Also, in case of this particular client, how would you perform an abdominal massage, since there is a lot of belly fat in the way?? Do you just skip it??

 

Module 15 abdomen, chest, shoulder

I enjoyed practicing this on my husband, who is a athlete with a big muscular chest. He loved the pressure the elephant walk gave him around his chest and front shoulders.

For the abdomen techniques I used my 14 year old son. I could feel the warmth as I laid my hand on his  skinny belly. He liked the moving motion around his belly, massaging all his belly organs, intestines, kidneys, gall blader, liver, spleen and pancreas. I even tried some of the techniques on myself and felt the natural flow of my digestive system. I enjoyed Shama's insight on the hand as a listing tool, beautiful! As a Mom, you do this often, when your kids are small, and in Germany, the healing touch of a Mother's hand is known. As I synchronize my breath with each move and focus my attention unto my hara, I feel the relaxation in myself as well.

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Shama
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March 23, 2013 - 9:53 am
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Congratulations on your first 'outside the family massage'. Working on an obese person is always more difficult. And yes, in order to do the 'crossing over to the other side' move, the therapist has to be in reasonably good shape. If the therapists cannot handle it, then the Thai Massage can still be done, but it might not be as fluid and elegant since the therapist has to disconnect and walk around to the other side in order to continue.

In the case of a lot of belly fat, I generally skip the abdominal work. It is almost never done here in Thailand anyway, so it is not a 'must do'  part of the session. I love abdominal work, both giving and receiving it, but the receiver's body has to be a good match, otherwise it is not much fun doing it.

You are correct, the breathing and the hara attention are meant to focus your own energy so that you feel centered and calm. Then you can transmit this to your client.

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yogamom5
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March 25, 2013 - 5:31 am
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Thanks for the  great feedbackLaugh

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yogamom5
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March 26, 2013 - 4:36 am
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Module 16 Shoulders

I have to say, that I really enjoy this course and I'm learning a lotSmile I found this a bit harder on myself, since my husband has broader heavier shoulders to grab under and release again. I started to sweat and wonder if that could be a hindrance with other clients ( sweaty hands and showing it through the t-shirt?) And yet, he enjoyed it thoroughly. I kept my back straight and used my body. As I focused on the quality of touch rather than memorizing the  exact order of techniques. I could feel the energy flowing. beautiful artistic!

Module 17 arms and hands

I practiced this first laying down on my 14 old son and then again seated on my little daughter.What a neat way of making someone feel good Smile. I could feel the warms and tingling in my own hands and forearms. Just imagine the different pressure points and nerves you activate through this hand massage, pressing, circling and pulling, as well as using your thumbs. fingers, moving through the inside, center and outside of arms to loosen the muscles and getting the circulation going. Wow, a lot going on here.

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Shama
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March 26, 2013 - 9:17 am
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Sure, if you are really sweating, that does not feel so good for you. Although clients generally understand that it takes some energy on your part to move them around, a sweat soaked therapist is not the greatest sight. Laugh

There are two scenarios here:

1. Initially sweating can occur until you have learned to work more easily by using your body weight in the most effective way. Then often the sweating subsides once you become really comfortable with a technique.

2. Some techniques are just too hard to do on large and heavy clients, and there is nothing wrong with skipping a technique. You can't do every single technique on every single client. There are lots of techniques available, and you should choose the ones that you can relatively easily do on a client without straining too much.

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March 30, 2013 - 7:43 am
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Module 18   

Wow, the transitioning was really not an easy thing to do, I need more practice on that one. Yet the other moves and twists went very well. I enjoyed the the figure 8 shoulder move. I practiced on my son and since he is a bit smaller it was better to get the hang of the moves, my hands are smaller  (I'm 5.4) so it was a more difficult to reach down below the shoulder blade on my husband. I like the new moves!

Module 19 - 2nd Summery

very nice flow! I had another client yesterday to work on. More someone in a medium size, not overweight. so that was great. She relaxed as I worked on her feet, legs, hips, belly, shoulders and I finished with an arm/hand massage. I 'm more confident and relaxed the second time around, with someone outside my family. Her comment afterwards:" I feel like a noodle now, not like a bone anymore".Smile Thank you Shama, for being just a great teacher, I never thought it was possible to learn so much via a video!

 

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