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Ti-Fanny Trát Quân's Complete Thai Massage course notes
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Tifanny Trát Quân
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July 20, 2016 - 4:14 am
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Module 1 – Introduction

 

I really liked the comparison with two dancers, one guides the other. Maybe it is because I am a dancer that this image appeals a lot to me.

The principles that are teached in this Module remind me the 10 day Thai Massage Course I took and also two basic Ohashitsu courses. In Ohashiatsu they put a lot of attention to transition and fluidity.

I totaly agree that transitions are really important.

But I have a question about the breathing. Shama, you said that when you lean in, you breath out and when you lean in, you inhale…I actually try to just breath normally in a fluid way and not to force me to breath in a certain manner. I certainly use your breathing technique if I want to stay on a certain body part longer and if I need more body weight/attention/concentraition, but I wonder how to use this breathing technique the whole way through a massage?

Tifanny

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Shama
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July 20, 2016 - 6:03 pm
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Hi Ti-Fanny, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage course and our forum. 

The breathing serves two purposes:

1. When you have slow, sustained moves, like leaning in and out, then it synchronizes your energy with the client. It’s like you, and the technique, and your client become one, instead of your body just doing something to someone. It produces a feeling of harmony and flow.

2. The focus on breathing prevents you from focusing just on your hands and working mostly from the shoulder on down, instead of using whole body movement. It reconnects you with your entire energy instead of just using your hands to do something.

You don’t have to watch your breath every second throughout the entire massage. There are certain techniques which lend themselves to the breath synchronization, and others just do not.

The main reason why I talk about the breath is because a lot of therapists are so used to just working with their hands, using muscle power, and bad ergonomics on top of it, that they need a mechanism to help them change their habits, and the breath is perfect for that. 

In actual practice, when you are used to working with your whole body, your body weight, and you are in flow, you don’t need to try to control your breath – this will be natural by then. It’s not meant to be an effort and a breathing routine for you.

Also please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure we are on the same wave length:

Certification Check List

Please take note of the first item on the list: using your full name as display name (there might be several Tiffanys in the forum) and completing the bio section in the profile so that we have an idea who you are, where you are, and what your background/experience is.

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Tifanny Trát Quân
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July 28, 2016 - 10:29 pm
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Module 2 – Chi Machine

First thank you for your answers concerning breathing during massage, Shama.

The “Chi Machine” is a familiar technique to me, I used it regularly in my practice. Since it has been over two years now that I haven’t been massaging, I had some minor difficulties in finding the right rhythm immediately. But after a few minutes the movement just flew as always. I like the fact that you point out to give the receiver a little rest after the “Chi Machine”. I think most of the time I moved on to quickly with other techniques. This time I really gave the receiver some rest time and he said “I’m feeling like flying”. That was a really beautiful and rewarding moment for both of us.

Thanks a lot for this precious advice.

Tifanny

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Tifanny Trát Quân
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July 28, 2016 - 10:36 pm
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Module 3 – Foot Work 1

I love this combination. Much more fluid than the one I knew already.

I appreciate the way you help me/us to remind the foot techniques, bending in, bending out…etc. This makes it so much easier to remember the many techniques that exist to treat the feet.

When I was working on the foot I felt that I need more time to practice my own placement. I didn’t feel at ease in my body and I got a little bit stressed about remembering all the techniques (I want to do everything until perfection and doing it right the firs time, SO WEIRD I KNOW RIGHT 😀 !!!). Fact is that this is not the most important thing. As you stressed out it is far more important to give attention to touch, fluidity, being aware and present for the receiver. When I remembered that during working on the feet I felt more relaxed and just did what I knew. I will have to come back to review foot work again.

Tifanny

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Tifanny Trát Quân
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July 28, 2016 - 10:42 pm
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Module 4 – Foot Work 2

After the first techniques on the foot I also did those in the second video.

My main problem is/was my own position. I do not feel completely at ease in my body. Due to two pregnancies in the last two years I don’t really feel myself yet…so when I massage I feel a little bit awkward. I need to get in shape, so I am doing a 30 to 45 minutes workout 4 times a week.

When I massaged the foot I felt that I used arm muscles and not my body weight, so I need to work on that.

The transition to the other leg could be a little bit more fluid.

My partner has very stiff hips and the inner thigh muscles are very tight. I needed to put two pillows under the leg. Because of that the leg wasn’t very stable and I needed to block the foot with mine to prevent the foot from gliding down. Do you see what I mean?

Tifanny

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Tifanny Trát Quân
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July 28, 2016 - 10:54 pm
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Module 5 – Leg Work 1

So I just watched this video one time and tried it later on. Unfortunately I didn’t remember all the techniques. I will have to re do it.

I really love to work on the upper leg with the butterfly technique and understood the handposition, indeed very useful ;). It wasn’t so easy for me to fix the leg with my foot so I will have to work on that.

When I did the push and pull technique on the upper leg my partner said that the push was good but the pull was very light. He said it was nice but he would like the pull to be more firm. I tried but I had difficulties. Since his leg had to rest on a pillow (tight adductors, spelling??) the pillow was in my way and when I wanted to use more amplitude, the pillow got in my way. Next time I will try to use another leg support and see if it changes something.

I am so impatient to see module 6 to the end. I just saw the beginning and I know that we are going to use the forearms !! I love that and I am so curious.

Everyday I give a massage to my children, but they are so small I can’t use Thai massage on them 🙁 😀

Tifanny

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July 29, 2016 - 12:29 am
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I think you are the first person ever to tell me that you were familiar with the Chi Machine already. Regarding allowing a little time after this move, isn’t it amazing how a tiny little adjustment can make such a difference!

This is fairly typical that course students don’t feel so comfortable and relaxed in their bodies initially. However this almost always resolves itself over time. Exercise definitely helps as well. There are quite a few tips regarding this in the supplementary videos.

If someone has super tight inner thigh muscles, then I often start with a leg rocking technique which you will learn later.

If the pillows get in your way, then this is not so useful. In such a case it is better to switch to a technique where you don’t need the pillows, but this kind of creative adaptation takes a while to learn. So in the beginning of the program you will need to learn the material sequentially, but later you can mix and match and adapt. Then Thai Massage becomes intuitive, creative and much more fun as well. Something to look forward to! Smile

How old are your kids, by the way?

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Tifanny Trát Quân
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July 29, 2016 - 8:22 pm
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Hi Shama,

I learned the “Chi Machine” in the Ohashiatsu Course in Paris. Ohashiatsu is a type of Shiatsu which is different from the traditional one. Ohashi is a native Japanese but he had to move to USA (I don’t remember why). He had to deal with different problems and so he “re”invented or evolved the traditional Shiatsu Practice to make it more suitable to his needs in treating american people (bigger and heavier than japanese people). So he called it Ohashiatsu to point out the difference.

His type of Shiatsu is really great. I could imagine that you would appreciate his style. Unfortunately I could not complete the course because I moved back to Germany at that time. His Shiatsu is so gentle and fluid. His style pays attention to ergonomics of the practitioner and transitions between the moves to make a session like a dance, it’s beautiful. His style is particular, he uses a lot of circles and figure 8 in his logic. In his course I learned to lean and not to press and to use my body weight.

But I don’t know so much about it because I just did the Beginner Level, it’s like 4 days full time and some additional practice with supervison.

When I do thai massage I often use the techniques I learned in this Basic course because they just blend in perfectly.

But I prefer Thai Massage because I don’t feel at ease with the chinese (japanese) 5 elements and meridian system. All the time I start working with meridians I get lost although I did study them for a while. When I do thai massage I feel at home, I don’t know it’s something I just feel inside of me.

After the chi machine (in Ohashiatsu) you can push the feet a little bit (direction of the head) to make a kind of compression and then you pull them to make a traction. Do you see what I mean? It’s nice, too. This is what I meant I did to quickly. It is better to let the receiver rest.

My son is nearly 18 months old and my daughter just turned 6 months old. They are only 11,5months apart. Yes, this was like a high speed Marathon 😀

Tifanny

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July 29, 2016 - 11:05 pm
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Yes, I agree, your children are too young to practice Thai Massage on them. We have many course students who practice on their kids, but they are generally at least 6 years old or more.

This Ohashiatsu sounds similar in spirit to what I teach. I studied some Zen Shiatsu, however for my taste there was a bit too much complicated theory in it. Kind of what you mentioned, the elements and the meridians. I prefer a more intuitive approach personally. So it seems you and I see eye-to-eye on this.

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Tifanny Trát Quân
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August 22, 2016 - 8:43 pm
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MODULE 6 – Leg Warm Up with the forearm.

Hi Shama,

very intense module, a lot of information.

I really love those techniques. The problem I have with these techniques is that my companion has so tight adductor muscles. I can’t put his leg in an open bend position without putting a very big pillow or two pillows normal size under his leg. So when I put his bend leg on my bend leg to do the warm up it doesn’t work well. I could perform it but it wasn’t very comfortable for him. I don’t really know how to warm up his inner thigh muscles…

Today I just remembered different techniques I learned and I will try them first to loosen the muscles up and see if I can do the warm up you propose.

Normally my companion is not that stiff but he had stop working out since January when our daughter was born. Before that he was able to do this kind of stretches.

For the calf muscles’ warm up I need to put his foot on the floor, knee is bend and points up to the ceiling. In this position I do techniques I learned in another basic course. The techniques you propose requiers the leg to be in an open hip position but if the knee is too high because of a stiff hip, I can’t properly work on the calf muscles and its putting too much pressure on the outer feet aswell. My companion has problems with his ankles so he can’t stand the pressure on the outer feet.

Do you have an idea how I could cope differently with this problem?

Greetings,

Tifanny

Tifanny

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Tifanny Trát Quân
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August 22, 2016 - 8:50 pm
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MODULE 7 – Leg stretches

Hi again,

so same problem here, hips are very stiff. I actually could not do the elephant walking, way to much pressure even with pillow. Of course the butterfly triangle stretch was to intense, too. I tried the rocking hip strech but it was also intense, less intense but still too much

I could do the 90°angle leg pull stretch and the walking feet. Though I had to pay attention to be very careful.

No problem with the leg cross pull stretch. Gentle and nice stretch. In rocking mode my companion told me it gave him a slight dizziness. Why could that be??

LG

Tifanny

Tifanny

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Tifanny Trát Quân
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August 22, 2016 - 8:53 pm
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P.S

What does open hip exactly mean? Does it mean some specific type of muscles are relaxed?
My companion has both feet turned out a lot in lying position, the right one a little bit more and the left one a little bit less. Adductor muscles are very tight and his knee points up when bending his leg, nearly 40° to 45° from the ground. The left hip is stiffer then the other one.

This is not an open hip, is it? Could it not be, that the feet point out because the external rotators of the hips are too tight (glutes) ?

Tifanny

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Shama
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August 24, 2016 - 10:03 am
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Re: module 6 – When your partner’s bent leg is on your bent leg, you can adjust your sitting position in such a way that there should not be too much stress on the adductors. Just experiment with sitting a little bit lower, or sitting further back, and bending his leg a little bit less. If you do that, there is no way that you would overstretch the adductors even on people with lots of tightness.

For the calf muscle technique this will be more of an issue. If someone is so stiff  that this doesn’t work, then just skip this technique and use another one. The techniques in this course are not meant to be fixed sequences, but options to choose from. Not every technique will work on every person. Sometimes you can modify the technique, and sometimes you just need to replace it with another one.

For example for the adductors you could use an “elephant walking” technique where you just lean on them by rolling your hands up a  little while your partner’s leg is fully extended. There are several other alternatives, and when you are further along in the course, some of these will become clear to you.

The calf muscle warm up can be done with your partner’s leg fully extended by using your foot very effectively while you are standing. That’s also something which you will learn later on in the course.

Another important point is to practice all the techniques not only on one person. Another body type can feel totally different. If you only work on one person, you won’t experience the range of possibilities of Thai Massage. Some techniques work great on one person, and not at all on another one.

Re: module 7 – Try to replace all the techniques with gentle rocking moves instead of using the direct stretch version.

Open hip means that there is a good range of motion in all directions in the hip joint. Sure, one muscle can restrict a movement in a particular direction, and then the hip would not be open, but restricted.

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Tifanny Trát Quân
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August 24, 2016 - 8:21 pm
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Ok thanks for the advice Shama

I am aware about practicing on different persons is very important and I have planned to practice on another person in septembre. It is very difficult for me to have practice time because I am keeping my children. They are very small so they need a lot of attention, I can’t really practice while they are awake. In septembre they will go to the crib and I will have more time to practice on other persons. Right now I only sometimes have my companion available in the evening at 20pm when the kids are in bed. 

When I first learned Thai Massage I had the possibilty to practice on several persons so I have an idea of the whole range of possibilities with thai massage. I also did perform a whole thai massage several times and have been paid for it. I actually had very good feedback. But it has been a long time now and I lost a little bit my feeling for all that. After two pregnancies my body doesn’t feel the same, it’s very weird.

Tifanny

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Shama
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August 25, 2016 - 12:50 am
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Well, our bodies do change – it might be pregnancy, aging, or life style habits. The first two we can’t do much about, but we have a lot of control over the third one, the life style habits. I have been trying throughout this course to encourage students to develop good habits which make Thai Massage easy on them. This worked for me as well! Smile

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Tifanny Trát Quân
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August 25, 2016 - 9:12 pm
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I totally agree with you Shama. Thank you for reminding me !

Sometimes I have a hard time to accept the changes that occurred when I became a mother, including all the physical, social and emotional changes. But I learned so many things as well like letting go of consuming alcohol on a regular basis, improving my cooking, being able to change my diet to gluten- and animal-free, learning how to socialize in different ways, learning how to let go….

Your course is a real challenge for me and it is very exciting. I am really happy that you did open that online academy and how you run your business.

I really appreciate your way to see things. Having lived in Vietnam for three years I find there is something vietnamese (asian) in it. Hmmm, why could that be ? ;D

Tifanny

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August 26, 2016 - 8:12 pm
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I definitely have one foot in the Asian world and one foot in the western world. After living in Asia for 17 years there are some things which have become second nature to me (as you noticed). On the other hand there are many western elements which will always be part of me. I guess you know what I mean since you are also a cross between two cultures.

These cross cultural elements are clearly reflected in the way how I teach Thai Massage. Smile

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