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Ultimate Shoulder Massage Course
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Cassandra Pickard
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February 5, 2013 - 7:20 am
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Hi!  I've recently started the Ultimate Shoulder Massage course (new & improved).  With the first module I've learned both double shoulder & individual shoulder techniques in the supine position.  So far I really like the techniques that incorporate the rocking (feels nice for me as well as the recipient!).  I have practised all of the techniques, a number of times now, on different people.  I did have a little difficulty doing some of the techniques on one of my friends as she is a big girl, with a large chest.  It was hard to get into her shoulder groove as her chest got in the way.  Not sure if anyone else has encountered this issue? Otherwise, so far so good.  Looking forward to my next module. 

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Shama
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February 5, 2013 - 7:25 pm
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You will find out that not all techniques work well on everyone. People have differences in their anatomy, size, weight and proportions. That's why it is so important to have a wide range of techniques to accommodate all those different bodies. With 80 shoulder techniques to choose from, there are guaranteed enough options available to work on any conceivable body type.

For you as a therapist there is one important principle: Don't use a technique if it strains you too much. Something that works beautifully on a smaller person might be quite difficult to do on a very big or overweight person. Never force yourself to use techniques unless they feel reasonably comfortable to you.

The other thing is that with practice you will learn how to use your body weight and your ergonomics more efficiently. What that means is that techniques which seemed to be difficult and awkward in the beginning, will become easier and more fluid later. It just takes time and practice. Many techniques can be a little challenging initially. My suggestion is to focus on the ones that feel easy to you to boost your confidence and then add the more challenging ones gradually over time.

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Cassandra Pickard
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February 5, 2013 - 9:09 pm
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I applaud you Shama, as those who are new to Thai Massage will find your response most helpful.  After many years as a Thai Massage practitioner, I have found that indeed, not all techniques work for me &/or for certain clients.  Have a great day!

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Shama
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February 5, 2013 - 10:50 pm
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I am glad we are on the same wave length! Smile

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Cassandra Pickard
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February 7, 2013 - 6:48 am
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Module 2:  This module rectified the problems I was having with my heavier girl.  Inserting my knee under her shoulder to elevate it, allowed me to get into the shoulder groove area.  Yea!   

The finger circling on the trapezius area is divine, my practice partners loved that one.  Shama, I really like that you have given instruction on how to adjust many of these techniques to allow more (or less) pressure for those that need it (ie. using double palms, or the bonier edge of the forearm when doing forearm circling on the upper arm).  I had a little difficulty initially when doing the arm above shoulder stretches...just a matter of coordinating myself :) .  Finally got the hang of it though & have used it on a couple of clients too (they really liked it).  Module 3 just arrived in my inbox!!  

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Shama
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February 8, 2013 - 1:25 am
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Many of my students like that I present many different options for doing something. Did you ever hear the saying "If the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail to you." It is pretty difficult to be creative and artistic with Thai Massage if you only have a very limited set of techniques which don't necessarily work for everyone.

Here in Thailand it is sometimes quite sad when you ask for shoulder and trapezius massage, and all the therapist does is to stick her elbow in there and just press twice as hard. That has happened to me quite a lot. So I vowed that I will provide my students enough tools that they will never have to be in such a predicament.

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Cassandra Pickard
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February 9, 2013 - 8:56 pm
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Module 3:  This module was made up of many techniques that I have used before such as the Tractioning Stretch from Behind, Triangle Stretch, Rowboat Shoulder Stretch, the Sideways & Up & Down Shaking of Arm in 1/2 circle.  I liked the Arm Swinging with Shoulder Massage as the swinging of the arm adds a little 'extra' as opposed to just compressing the shoulder groove.  The Therapeutic Arm "Throwing" is kind of fun, although when I did this on one of my practice partners who was very relaxed it did not seem to 'do' much for him...definitely to be used on someone who is more stiff &/or who holds.

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Shama
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February 10, 2013 - 12:48 am
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The therapeutic arm throwing won't do anything for relaxed clients, actually it might be annoying for them. But it will work miracles on clients with severe issues like total inability to relax a muscle, severe stiffness, heavy duty holding patterns etc.

I have used this technique on clients where none of the other techniques worked to get them to relax the shoulder. It is not really a massage technique at all, it is a therapeutic method which overcomes not only frozen muscles, but a frozen mind as well. You won't need this one a lot, but when you do, it is really valuable.

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Cassandra Pickard
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February 11, 2013 - 4:41 am
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Module 4:  This was an exciting module!  Lots of techniques to try.  The first few were good, such as the Scapula Palm Rotations (slow & fast), Scapula Rotations & Rocking with Heel of Hand, Fingertip Circling in Trapezius with 1 & 2 Hands & Rolling the Trapezius Back with Fingertips.  The Squeeze & Circle Combo Move & the Double Squeeze Combo Move got easier with practice Wink.  I really liked the technique of Rolling the Scapula Up with Thumbs (my partner really enjoyed that one as well).  This technique targets an area that usually does not have a lot of attention paid to it.

I found that the Prone Shoulder Rotation & Prone Shoulder Downward Stretch cannot be done on those with limited flexibility as it is too uncomfortable for them to have their arm that far back.  I was able to practice these on someone who had a little more range of motion though.  With my practice partner who is very stiff I was able to modify the technique so that he could benefit from the stretch.  

The Prone Shoulder Backwards Rotation, Prone Shoulder Circles with Spinal Twist (slow & fast) & Prone Upper Body Twist & Shoulder Stretch did not work on people that are bigger than me as I found it very uncomfortable (for me).  Depending on how big/tall the client was (& how flexible they were), I found it awkward for me to do these techniques as my legs are not quite long enough for me to be comfortable.  Did get very positive feedback on those who I was able to practice these on though.   

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Shama
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February 11, 2013 - 10:20 am
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I am glad you found lots of new techniques for your repertoire despite your obvious experience with Thai Massage.

Try doing the Prone Shoulder Circles with spinal twist like this: Use your leg which is across the client's body as a counter weight so that you push your foot down and you can pull against it. Then squat on your toes with your other foot while sitting on your heel. This will  bring your position up higher and give you more leverage when the client is bigger. It will also make it easier to have your other leg across the client's body.

Really interlace your hands completely and get them as deeply under the shoulder as you can. Then keep your arms totally straight and lean back with your entire body while you are using your foot on the other side of the client's body to push against.

Unless the client is substantially bigger, this should be fairly easy to do since it can all be done with body weight.

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Cassandra Pickard
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February 13, 2013 - 7:56 am
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Module 5: The first technique in Module 5 is the Shoulder Circling. Very smart the way that Shama has the arm placed a bit behind the back with my arm blocking it.  The Shoulder Circle with the Trapezius Massage has a nice fluid movement to it.  I changed my hand positions to find what worked best for me as suggested & one way is definitely more comfortable.

I really like the Arm Circling with Shoulder Stretch & have practiced it numerous times to ensure I have the technique down.  I've had very good feedback regarding this one so I'm pleased to be able to add it into my practice.  I found the instructions on the Rotate Shoulder Back While Leaning on Trapezius technique very clear & detailed which made it quite easy to do this technique.  It did take me a couple of tries, as Shama suggested, to get coordinated  on the Shoulder Stretch with Circling Trapezius Muscle.  The final technique of Rotating Shoulder Back While Leaning on Trapezius (Power Stretch) is a good stretch!! 

p.s. thanks for the tip Shama, regarding the Prone Shoulder Circles with Spinal Twist Smile

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Shama
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February 13, 2013 - 5:38 pm
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You seem to be doing very well with these techniques although they are not exactly the easiest ones. I guess it helps that you have lots of experience already.

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Cassandra Pickard
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February 15, 2013 - 8:48 am
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Module 6: I really like doing the Swing Arm Back Behind the Head While Pushing the Shoulder Forward & Loosening Up the Scapula, I find both of these very beneficial for people with tight shoulders & scapulas.  I tried the Lift & Pull Scapula Back straddling my partner however, I found it much easier & more comfortable for me while sitting behind & supporting my hand with my thigh.  I received really good feedback on the Shoulder & Arm Traction technique I'm looking forward to adding this one to my repertoire.  Kneading the Muscle Right Below the Shoulder I really liked as I feel this is an area that does not get near enough attention (have I said that before Wink).  The Shoulder & Arm Traction was very difficult for my partner due to flexibility issues, however I was able to modify it & get favourable results.  Although I do do something similar (without the traction), I really enjoyed the traction aspect & found it very comfortable to carry out.  My partner LOVED the Sandwich Rocking on the Shoulder.

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Shama
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February 15, 2013 - 11:26 am
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Feel free to modify techniques so that they feel right to you. I keep modifying my own techniques all the time depending on who I work on. There are no hard and fast rules that you have to do it in one way only. The more creative you get, the better.

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Cassandra Pickard
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February 17, 2013 - 8:31 am
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Module 7:  This module is all about power techniques using the feet & forearms.  I really found the tip of interlacing my fingers under my knee, while using my foot on the trapezius & deltoid, very helpful.  I could see how your leg would get tired if you were doing this technique for awhile without support.  I currently use my feet on the traps & shoulders when a client is in supine, which everyone I've done this with loves...but I'm happy to have the option to also do this in prone as well.  I try to be very cognizant of not over-using certain body parts especially when a client is bigger, so these techniques are all great!  I agree with you Shama, that you would definitely have to have a good relationship with the client when using your foot on their neck.  The technique of using my forearm to roll the shoulder joint is one that I already use, but it is wonderful to see it demonstrated to ensure I am using good form etc., same with the technique of walking down the upper arm with the forearm.

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Shama
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February 18, 2013 - 12:10 am
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I find working on the traps with the foot in the prone position even easier than in supine, since you can easily roll the foot up without hitting the collar bone.

I am happy to see that you are taking well to this course and that it adds to your existing skills.

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Cassandra Pickard
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February 20, 2013 - 8:45 pm
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Module 8: Sorry for the delay...I have practiced the techniques in Module 8 quite a bit to really get a feel for them.  I must say I never would have thought to use the knee on the shoulder joint & deltoid but am so glad that I have been introduced to it!  It is a perfect way to work on the big guys without any strain on myself.  I found the "push in" technique a little more awkward than the flat of the knee on, perhaps I just need to practice it a little more.  I tried the various variations provided during the knee on deltoid in supine position & found that I quite like the small circles option.  With regards to the using the forearm on the deltoid in supine, I had to play around with this one a bit because of my legs...also getting my leg under far enough took some practice (I kept going a little too shallow).  Once I got the positioning right the techniques themselves (forearm on deltoid & forearm circling on biceps) went quite smoothly.  I REALLY liked the 2 different traction techniques in this position.  The second one which incorporates the stretch down is fantastic.  I had great feedback on this one.  Thanks Shama!!

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Shama
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February 21, 2013 - 1:33 am
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I am happy you are getting lots out of this module. Actually I was literally forced to develop knee and forearm techniques since I had some big and muscular clients with serious shoulder issues. Without those power techniques I would have never been really effective with them, and my hands would not have survived it very well either. With a little practice those techniques will feel perfectly normal.

For me and several of my students they have literally been career savers or extenders. And clients really like those moves once you get good at them. I have had students who were under the impression that clients pay them to primarily use their hands on them, but the fact is that clients pay for results, no matter what body parts you are using.

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Cassandra Pickard
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February 22, 2013 - 5:27 am
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Module 9:  My Ultimate Shoulder Massage Course is now complete Cry.  I found many of the techniques to be quite comfortable for my body & look forward to incorporating most of them into my practice.  I liked that it was re-iterated in this module to be aware of how not only how things will feel for the client (ie. if your knees feel bony to you, they will feel bony to the client also), but also how the techniques feel for the practitioner.  Although not all of the techniques introduced work well for my body, I am very happy that I took this course as it has given me lots of new moves to draw from.  I really enjoyed how the last module focused on a sample flow that you could use during the course of a Thai Massage.  It was nice to see things in this way.  Great job on the course!  

 

 

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Shama
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February 22, 2013 - 2:14 pm
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Congratulations for completing the course, and thanks for your kind words! I am always very happy to know that someone's massage practice is benefiting from the material in my courses. I truly love sharing this wonderful art of Thai Massage. Your certificate is on the way!

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