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Tracy River's Complete Thai Massage Course notes
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Tracy River
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July 31, 2020 - 9:07 pm
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Module 17

This was the easiest module for me so far since the foot work. More along the lines of massage work I've done in the past. The shoulder work I was having a harder time with felt a lot more natural, I think because I remembered to use my whole body for the moves this time!

I practiced on Denise again today and I'm always interested in listening to which techniques she takes from our session to use on her private clients. Today she had a really good reminder of how good it feels when each finger is focused on and given a little TLC.

Her hips are both really locked open but with the regular gentle stretching, I'm starting to notice an increased range of motion for her. She has started walking a few miles a day and she said it makes a huge difference on the days I work on her compared to the days that I don't. She said the days I work on her after a walk she doesn't really notice much after the massage but on the days I don't work on her, she says everything hurts when she wakes up in the morning the next day. 

I have been thinking I may end up pursuing an athletic clientele and renting space near or in a fitness center. It seems to really go hand in hand with Thai and would probably be better in the long run than introducing Thai massage at the spa I was working at, assuming they ever reopen!

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Shama Kern
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August 1, 2020 - 12:26 pm
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You might be on to something there with the athletic clientele. Thai Massage is definitely a good fit for them, and many really need this kind of work. And you are already getting good feedback based on this type of work!

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August 2, 2020 - 10:25 pm
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Module 18

Finally practiced some of the upper body work on Chris yesterday. It's amazing that we live together and I have so little chance some weeks to work on him. The kids keep us busy in the evenings when he gets home from work.

I was surprised how tired my hands got working on his arms compared to working on Denise. Not doing massage on a regular basis for almost 5 months has definitely decreased my hand strength! It really made me realize how I'm using my body differently with Thai Massage than the Swedish and Deep Tissue work I usually do. I always used good body mechanics but it's nice to actually be able to use my whole body for so many techniques and to use more compressions instead of kneading everything.

It was awkward for me to try to move around him instead of going over him. I kept just standing up and stepping to his head while holding his arm. Finally, I asked him to just ignore me while I practiced different ways of moving to his other arm. Funny how hard it was to make myself stay on the floor to move. I'm afraid I may be developing bad habits already! 

Denise is coming over on Monday and I'm looking forward to practicing some of the spinal twists on her. They seemed like they may be too intense for Chris's back so I didn't attempt them. I did try the Shoulder Figure 8 on him just to feel how it went. I won't normally choose this move for someone so much heavier than I am but I LOVE it! Fun to do and I'm sure it must be devine to recieve! 

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Shama Kern
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August 3, 2020 - 10:49 am
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Agreed - the figure 8 is hard to do on someone much heavier than you. Regarding arm work, you can actually do really good arm work by using your forearms, knees and feet. That will relieve your hands. We have that covered in detail in our Thai Massage For Arms And Hands course, but you can also just play with it based on what you know from the Complete Thai Massage course. 

Try to do rolling and circling with your forearms, and gentle leaning or circling with your knees. The knees work best on the forearms, and your forearms work on the entire arm of your partner. Your feet work on the entire arm as well.

If I work on someone with big arms, I primarily use forearms, knees and feet because otherwise it is just too much work for my hands.

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Tracy River
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August 3, 2020 - 6:59 pm
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Thanks! I am very excited to take all of the courses you offer but thought it best to get really comfortable with all of the information in the Complete Thai Massage course first. Have you had much feedback from your other students on this approach or are they able to integrate multiple courses at once?

Also, I meant to ask, do you usually remove a pillow from under your client's head when doing shoulder work? I am still trying to get a good feel for some of the techniques and wondering if the pillow makes a difference.

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August 3, 2020 - 11:12 pm
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I think the best approach is to take the courses one after another. We have some 'super achievers' who took several courses at once, but I don't know if they actually managed to follow and integrate it all. 

A big pillow can definitely get in the way of shoulder work. If the client is comfortable with removing it, fine. But my preference is to use such a small pillow that does not get in the way.

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Tracy River
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August 4, 2020 - 3:41 am
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Thank you, that is what I was thinking about trying to learn too much at one time. 

I'll definitely downsize the pillows. I was thinking about trying folded towels because they would be easier to wash and dry. I'll have to try it, it may not be comfortable enough for long periods of time. The pandemic has me rethinking all bolsters, mats, and pillows. 

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August 6, 2020 - 12:54 am
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Module 19

Starting to get a really nice flow, finally! Sessions with Denise are getting longer, she wants and needs a lot of leg work but I am also practicing many of the newer techniques I'm learning on her. I was able to try the Leg Triangle Spinal Twist on her but it was very strong so I may stick to the Lower back spinal twist and the Upper Spinal Twist #1 until her flexibility increases. I thought I would focus less on hip opening stretches like the 90 degree leg stretch but she enjoys it so much, I keep doing them anyway!Smile I think I may cut back on some of the anterior footwork and stretches instead. Trying to find the balance between giving a complete massage (with the information I have) and spending the time to really feel out new techniques. I can see how it would be easy to do a 3 hour Thai massage and not actually over-work the client.

Also, I realized I may not want to work directly out of a fitness center unless there is an air-conditioned room, I'm working up a sweat by the time I get to the shoulders! It is so nice to use my whole body for massage though, I'm not worrying about how many more years my thumbs have anymore.

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August 6, 2020 - 5:14 pm
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Good news - happy to hear that! Yes, a 3 hour Thai Massage is not only doable, but not too much at all. Most of the sessions that I ever did in my professional Thai Massage life were around 2.5 hours. But I have to admit that I only ever charged for 2 hours, but could never end on time. Smile

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August 7, 2020 - 3:19 am
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Module 20

The first time I practiced this module, I had watched the video only two times. I thought the techniques seemed similar to ones I already use or that I have learned in earlier modules. HaHa, I keep being fooled by your experience and flow! It all went really well except for the Compress and Contract Heel technique. I had to go back, watch the video again and still I don't have the flow yet. I'm going to have to practice it a while longer before it becomes smooth.

Do you know of anyone who has tried using a support pillow under the chest and a face cradle pillow? I was wondering if this works or if there is some drawback that makes it too difficult to use?

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