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valerie kemplin-complete thai massage course
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Valerie Kemplin
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September 22, 2016 - 12:51 am
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I have been reviewing the initial videos & love how easy it is to understand the information & how well you explain how the technique & ergonomics should be done.  I did have a question about using the Chi Machine technique- Are there any contraindications for using this (or really any technique that will be shown), such as spinal fusion, bulging discs or pregnancy?  And can this be used on larger clients successfully?  

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Shama
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September 22, 2016 - 2:58 am
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Hi Valerie, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our certification check list as there are some elements which are not quite set up right:
Certification Check List

Now to your questions. A contraindication for the Chi Machine would be hyper mobility. You can easily recognize this when the knees are hanging through when the feet are elevated.

The topic of contraindications is covered in detail later on in the course in one of the support modules. None of the conditions which you mentioned are contraindications, however they do require modification of your work. In other words, most contraindications are not black and white issues, but they are somewhere in between and require adjustments rather than a decision to not do Thai Massage. 

Thai Massage can be used very successfully on larger clients. Actually this is the case in Thailand where tens of thousands of typically very small Asian female therapists are working on often much larger clients. This course includes many tips for how to work on larger and heavier clients.

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Valerie Kemplin
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September 26, 2016 - 8:25 am
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Hi!  I’ve been working on videos 2 & 3.  I am doing much better at the Chi Machine technique.  It definitely takes some getting used to!  I’m still having problems with rotating my body in a circular motion while compressing the feet in the right way-my coordination is just not right haha!  I plan to practice more though & maybe find someone else to practice with so I can get a feel for a different body & see if that helps.  The teachings have been great!  I’m used to doing things one way with western massage, so this is taking me out of my comfort zone & I love it!

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Shama
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September 27, 2016 - 2:42 am
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Working with more than one person is not only useful, but essential. Many techniques feel very different if done on people with different degrees of flexibility, size and weight, especially when you get into the stretches of Thai Massage. There are techniques which work great on one person, and not at all on another person. When working with different people, you figure those things out by practice. When you only work with one practice partner, you get something like tunnel vision. Smile

==> Please read the certification check list which I referenced in my previous post and look at sections 4 and 5. Posts need to be labeled individually and cannot be combined.

I am glad that you like being taken out of your comfort zone. That will happen a few times during this course, for sure! Smile

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Valerie Kemplin
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September 28, 2016 - 12:58 am
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Module 4:

I enjoyed the intro to this video when you spoke about ‘not getting it right away’ haha!  I am still struggling with my fluidity from one motion to the next.  I have been practicing on my son and a client who is willing to suffer through my training 🙂  They both enjoy the foot massage so far.  My son says the twisting of the feet feels a lot like compression instead of the pressure point therapy he is used to & he said it is a lot more relaxing for him.  My client says he enjoys the movements but still notices I am a bit rigid in my motion from one technique to the next-so I will have to continue working on that.  My next guinea pig is going to be my mom-which will be a true test haha!  I’m also getting better at the circular motion by my body while using the 1-2-3-2-1 technique.  It’s still a work in progress though…  Would you recommend rotating the ankles towards the end of working on the feet?  Like after they have been warmed up a little?

Thanks!

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Shama
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September 28, 2016 - 9:51 pm
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Don’t put yourself under performance pressure – you are just in the very beginning of this course, and you haven’t even reached the part yet where you really learn whole body movements with all the many body manipulations in Thai Massage. If you were totally fluid already, I would have to call you the Mozart of Thai Massage! Laugh

Maybe now your guinea pigs are “suffering” through your practice sessions, but soon they will look forward to them and not want them to stop! Smile

Yes, rotating the ankles after a good foot warm up is definitely a good thing to do.

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Valerie Kemplin
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October 4, 2016 - 10:43 pm
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Module 5:

I really enjoyed this video!  I have been practicing all the techniques you showed but I really enjoy utilizing the rolling compression using the heals of the hands.  I also liked the part where you push with one hand and pull up with the other.  I feel very comfortable using these 2 techniques.  If I go a bit slower then I can really focus on making sure that I use my body as the weight instead of my muscles like I have been doing in Western massage techniques.  The client I practiced this on really liked it too.  She said she felt very relaxed and the movements were not rigid (like when I did the feet haha).  I am going to continue practicing using my thumb to roll up the muscles, but it’s not as fluid as when I use the heal of my hands.  I tend to expect perfection out of myself so this is teaching me to slow down and be patient with myself when I don’t get it the first few times.  I appreciate your breaking the studies down into sections.

Thanks! 

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Shama
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October 5, 2016 - 2:00 pm
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I guess the perfection is something that will never come. It is a work in progress and we can always get better. That’s really the beauty of it. Even after so many years of practicing Thai Massage, it can still get better, more refined, more intuitive, more effective. That’s not a fixed goal, but a process of never ending improvement. So don’t feel bad about not being ‘perfect’ yet! Laugh

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Valerie Kemplin
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October 6, 2016 - 11:29 pm
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Module 6:

Okay, so I like this technique even better than I did the last one!  I love being able to use my forearms to work instead of my hands.  Having used western massage techniques for years now, my fingers are starting to suffer… I especially liked the elephant walking technique.  This felt great on my body!  Like I was actually working on myself instead of my client.  He enjoyed this too & said it was very calming.  He suffers from tight calves & hamstrings as a runner, so this was very helpful in aiding his relaxation instead of using the western techniques like I have in the past.  Going a bit slower helped as well, because he was able to breathe in sync with my movements which helped me get into the muscle deeper without any pain.  

Typically in western massage, we spend a certain amount of time on each area in order to work a full body in a certain amount time.  Do you recommend spending certain amounts of time on each area?  Do you always try to do a full body?

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Shama
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October 7, 2016 - 1:33 am
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This depends on your style and on your clientele. In my case, most of my clients needed therapeutic work to help them with their issues. So more often than not I did not do full body sessions, but focused on specific areas of the body where they needed it most. 

Even when I do full body sessions, I don’t have a rule regarding the length of time I spend on a particular area of the body. I prefer to feel my way through the session rather than following a fixed sequence of technique and timing.

In the beginning the sequence is a helpful way of learning Thai Massage. The more you progress, the more you can modify and adjust and focus on specific areas. This will probably develop naturally over time.

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Valerie Kemplin
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October 15, 2016 - 5:14 am
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Module 7:

I really enjoyed practicing this module.  I practiced the foot walking technique on my son & he said it really did a good job of loosening the tight muscles in his thighs without causing pain & discomfort.  I also like that the stretches keep following the 1-2-3-2-1 positions- this makes it easier for me to remember!  But I still need to practice the hip lifting & pulling stretch…I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate you reminding us to use our body weight- I still tend to just use my arm muscles and pull without using my body & it’s good to hear the reminder each time.  I am practicing the hip lifting & pulling in a circular motion but I haven’t been able to do it very quickly yet.  Is it still effective when I am doing it slowly?  My son said it still felt good, but I didn’t know if it was doing any real stretch work at the slower rate.

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Shama
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October 15, 2016 - 11:06 pm
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There will still be a benefit when you do it slowly, but it feels better and is more effective when you get into the fast rhythm.

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Valerie Kemplin
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October 17, 2016 - 10:00 pm
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Module 8:

I love how you address issues & every day concerns with these sessions.  I feel like the questions I have come up with in the past modules always get answered in the next haha!  Dealing with different body types and other things like whether that individual is flexible or not has been a concern of mine but the way you explain how to adapt in each session is great!  Sometimes in western massage I see the ‘one size fits all’ mentality & I’m glad you stress that Thai bodywork is not that way.  Throughout the years I have injured myself several times trying to do something on individual that I just could not do because I was under the thinking that I had to do certain things instead of changing what I do to fit the individual.  

I practiced the techniques from this module with another massage therapist friend of mine.  I had her do them back to me after I did them so I could see how it feels.  I really enjoyed the knee warm up.  My knees tend to ‘give out’ on occasion due to sports injury & this movement (both circular & lateral) felt very good. The movement of doing circles with the knee to open the hip joint felt great too!  I am going to try practice and receive so I can feel what it is I’m doing to someone else.  I can’t believe I haven’t gotten this training sooner than now-it’s awesome!

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Shama
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October 18, 2016 - 1:40 am
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Thanks for this great post and your words of appreciation, Valerie. It means a lot to me!

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Valerie Kemplin
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October 21, 2016 - 1:33 am
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Module 9:

I like the idea of doing the circular motion with the leg while doing compressions.  I feel this will give quite a bit of stretching to someone who isn’t very flexible.  I am still having to work on this movement though because I haven’t been able to get the movement down very fluidly while still holding the knee and not allowing the leg to fall.  Work in progress!  

I already use the technique of pushing the leg down & stretching by holding the hip on the opposite side. I also use the technique of compressing the hamstrings while moving the lower leg in order to add depth to the hamstring stretch.  I tend to use these 2  lot on my clients who run quite a bit and it seems to help them in their performance.  I am glad to see these are good thai bodywork technique. 

I was able to do the gentle rocking technique without having any coordination problems & it worked out really good – my colleague said it was very relaxing.  I absolutely LOVE the spinal twist technique!  I completely agree with you about making sure to pay attention to the persons facial expressions etc to see how they are accepting the pressure & stretching.  Thank you for the reminders 🙂

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October 21, 2016 - 11:07 am
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The fluidity does take some time, but when you “get it”, Thai Massage will be a beautiful and graceful dance. Most of the course students report that towards the end of this course they can feel that it all starts to flow naturally. Smile

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Valerie Kemplin
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October 24, 2016 - 5:17 am
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Module 10:

I appreciate you reminding us to be gentle and at ease while giving a massage.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed by other things & I tend to forget that this can come across to my client.  I try to remember, but not always successful…  I really liked the calf stretch you showed in this video.  I do something very similar now but usually while they are in prone position.  I find doing this stretching on the calf is very effective and even helps relax the rest of the leg.  I did wonder about the effect this has on the knee.  When I do this now the client is in prone position and the leg is bent 90 degrees.  Is there a possibility of hyper extension while doing this supine?  Or I guess what I’m wondering is should I be more careful in doing this with someone who has previous knee injuries or problems? 

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Shama
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October 24, 2016 - 2:02 pm
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The same stretch which you are already doing in the prone position is also used in Thai Massage and will be covered later in this course (but you already know it).

The stretch in the supine position as shown at the end of module 10 will not cause hyper extension in the knee unless the person is hyper mobile already. You would have noticed this already when doing the Chi Machine. That’s where it is very obvious if the knee is “hanging through” as in hyper mobility. If this would be the case, then you will have to be more careful or more gentle with stretches which affect the knee.

If someone has previous knee problems or injuries, but nothing severe, then this calf stretch should be no problem. This technique does not put a lot of stress on the knee, especially if you support your clients lower leg with your leg in the middle of the calf. The more your support moves to the ankle, the more the knee could be impacted.

If someone has serious knee issues, then certain stretches cannot be done. Instead there is an entire knee therapy protocol which is covered in detail in a separate course. This is a 5 module training course which is highly specialized and uses non-stretch therapeutic techniques for the knee.

We have many such therapeutic training courses which are for those students who want to specialize in therapeutic work. But first you need the foundation of Thai Massage before getting into “post graduate” work.

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Valerie Kemplin
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October 31, 2016 - 8:20 pm
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Thank you-I will make sure to study that when the time comes.

Module 11:

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE that you put all the techniques we have worked on so far together in this video!  I am a visual learner, so being able to see how it all fits together in a fluid session helps me tremendously.  I also like that you reiterated that if we forget to do something to just keep doing what we know.  It is also a great reminder to make sure that I am comfortable so that my client will be comfortable too & modify where needed.  This was an awesome refresher video!

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Shama
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November 1, 2016 - 12:11 am
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Glad to hear that! Smile

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