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Valerie White Complete Thai Massage Course Progress Notes
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Valerie White
Moreno Valley, CA USA
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August 15, 2016 - 8:26 am
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Module 1

I watched the video twice and noticed some similarities between what Shama teaches and what my massage teachers taught when I was in school 8 years ago.  While my massage instruction was anatomy based, energy was a huge part of it also, if we chose to go that route.  I don't do the energy work most massage therapists do, but I do feel that we need to connect emotionally with our clients and do the work that they need.  One way to figure this out is to simply ask them to describe how they're feeling before and during the session.  Another way is to palpate the muscles to see or feel where there is tension or restriction.  

I noticed I use a lot of the Thai Massage movements already in my work at the chiropractor's office, with the exception of twisting and percussion.  I think that's what attracted me to this massage course - the value I see in the comforting moves like rocking, holding, and traction, and the relaxation you feel after stretching.  I also use most of the tools, with the exception of knees and feet - can't wait to try those out!  

I agree that  the breathing is important In remaining relaxed and keeping the massage flowing smoothly.  I've held my breath or breathed shallowly during a massage and it was noticeable, I think.  A natural breath = a more natural massage.  I do yoga along with various types of exercise, so it's helping me with the correct breathing during massage.  

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Shama
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August 15, 2016 - 10:01 pm
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Hi Valerie, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage course and our forum. It sounds like you have a good foundation on which to build with Thai Massage.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our certification check list:

Certification Check List

So far I just noticed that there is nothing in your bio section of your forum profile. Please write something in there so that I have an idea who you are, where you are from and what your massage background or experience is. Then I can reply in a more meaningful and informed way. Smile

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Valerie White
Moreno Valley, CA USA
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August 18, 2016 - 12:29 pm
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Module 2

I practiced the Chi Machine on my kids and they both felt it was really relaxing.  They both laughed for a little while as I was holding their feet and shifting from side to side, but then they calmed down.  They aren't little either - they're 16 and 21.  I had my daughter try it on me and it felt a little strange, but then relaxing.  I laughed too!  We all really enjoyed it.  When practicing this move, I did notice that I wasn't relaxed at some point and had to breathe properly and allow my arms to relax.  I'm so in tune with applying deep pressure during massage, so I'll be working on this.  I enjoyed doing this unique technique.  I love the idea of not doing something just because it's tradition.  If it works, don't fix it, but if it can be improved upon then let's try something new.

 

Questions:  1.  What's the difference between a mindset and an attitude?

                 2.  Can a small person practice this on a much larger person?

Thank you!

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Shama
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August 19, 2016 - 12:21 am
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What's the difference between a mindset and an attitude?
These two terms are commonly used interchangeably, meaning the same thing. However to me, mindset is a bit more specific. Attitude can be anything - good, bad, etc. It tends to be something more general.

Mindset however refers to your pattern of thinking. It is something that can be learned and controlled, and it is something more specific than an "attitude". It is something which can be used as part of our therapeutic work, both in our own mindset and in effecting our client's mindset. 

Can a small person practice this on a much larger person?
That's easy to answer: YES!! How can I be so sure about that? Because there are tens of thousands of very small female Thai Massage therapists here in Thailand who are working on often much larger clients, and they are very effective! I happen to be married to just such a therapist. Smile

Once you learn how to use your body weight correctly, work with your entire body, and use many different body parts besides your hands, you will have tremendous leverage and will be able to work on larger clients with relatively little effort.

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Valerie White
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August 24, 2016 - 10:24 am
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Module 3

I practiced the foot massage on two people (my daughter and son) and noticed that one was easier to work on than the other.  As with other massage modalities, I think this just has to do with their body type. 

I thought the foot massage was going to be easy, but quickly discovered that there's more to it than meets the eye.  In general, I have a fear of hurting my clients' ankles, so I wasn't rotating them or pressing on the feet properly.  I caught this and became more mindful of what I was doing.  My client said it felt better when I bent and twisted her feet properly, so that is encouragement for me to continue and not be afraid of hurting her ankles.  I checked in with both clients to make sure it didn't hurt.  

The most challenging move for me was making the counter-clockwise circular move with my body.  It just seemed awkward at first and took a while to get it right.  I noticed that when it felt physically correct for me, I was able to relax and the whole "circular foot bending and twisting technique" move went more smoothly. 

With the "push, pull rotate" technique I could see how when I was doing it correctly I could see the thigh rotate laterally, so there is much more going on with other parts of the body - not just the feet. 

I am truly enjoying this course!  It's just the beginning, but I love how it feels to do the Thai massage moves.  It's very relaxing for me as the therapist and so far I have two happy "clients."  I ask them for their honest opinions, and they don't hold back which is great because they're helping me to improve.

Question:  How much thumb pressure do I apply to the feet?  Light, medium, deep? How much pressure when squeezing the feet?

Thank you!

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Shama
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August 25, 2016 - 12:43 am
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It's true, the circular foot technique is not an easy one to learn. But when you "get it", it's a wonderfully flowing experience for both therapist and client.

Yes, working on the feet can affect the hips, as you noticed! Smile

Feet are often quite sensitive when you start working on them. Therefore it is better to not start with deep pressure. However you can quickly build up to more pressure if the client seems to enjoy it. You can gauge this by asking the client how the pressure is. Later on in the course you will learn a method to gauge this much more accurately.

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Valerie White
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September 6, 2016 - 11:28 am
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Module 4

My confession:  I've been falling behind in my lessons and not managing my time wisely, so I need to make a concerted effort to rearrange my priorities. Embarassed

I've practiced the foot massage only a little but feel it is getting easier. Some of the moves feel more comfortable to me and some are more awkward, like the twists.  I'm sure it will take some time to get more comfortable with it. Practice, practice, practice.

The circles on the inner and outer heels were a top relaxing move on my client.  The thumb circles on the top of the foot going down between the bones of each toe are something I already do in my massages, and it's encouraging to see that other people are using that move also.

The ankle circles are getting easier for me and I will definitely incorporate them more often when I notice stiff ankles in my clients.  I loved the "foot wiggle" from side to side, too.  They are something I normally wouldn't do, but when I tried it, I could see how relaxing it was.

Question:  I signed up for the CEU certificate and I registered for the test.  Does the test have to be completed all at once or can I answer questions at my own pace - a little here, a little there?

Thank you for your answers and encouragement.Smile

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Shama
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September 6, 2016 - 10:02 pm
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There are no rules for how fast or how slow you should go through the course. You work at your own pace. Of course it helps if you don't go so slowly that you forget a lot of it in the process. 

Actually the recommended method for the CE test questions is that you do them simultaneously with each video module. The reason is simple: all the answers are in the videos, and when it is fresh in your memory, they are easier to answer. Otherwise you will have to go again through all the videos at a later time to make sure you got the right answers.

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Valerie White
Moreno Valley, CA USA
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September 9, 2016 - 12:08 pm
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Module 5

Thank you for your reply on the CE test questions.  I'll begin that soon now that I know I should already be working on it.

Before I did the leg warmup I let my clients know that the work would be on their thighs and calves and (especially for my son) to tell me if the personal space was okay.  I did the leg warmup and they were surprised how tight their legs were.  My son said he felt some pain/discomfort but that he felt like the quadriceps needed it.  I checked in with him to make sure I was working at his comfort level. My daughter is more used to getting massages and felt that she also needed the work on the thigh area.  She said it felt good, and I got a thumbs up from my son.

I felt really comfortable with the butterfly technique and with some of the foot blocking.  The foot blocking is something for me to work on though.  I think it's just getting my body at the correct angle to their body.  I noticed the thigh is an easier area for me to work than the calf just because of its size.  The work on the inner thigh is a bit of a challenge for me because I don't want to get in someone's personal space and make them uncomfortable.  I'm experienced in working the inner thigh, but I tend to be cautious with it.  I'd like to get to the point where I'm very comfortable with it, careful, but not overly cautious.  This is great practice for that!

I'm continuing to pay attention to body mechanics.  In some areas like keeping the back straight, rocking, and breathing, I feel like I'm doing the right thing.  In other areas like positioning myself and keeping my arms and wrists at the correct angle, that will take more experience.

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Shama
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September 9, 2016 - 9:33 pm
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I think you will find the video on this page interesting and relevant in regards to touching people:

Controversial Touch Issues In Thai Massage

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Valerie White
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October 18, 2016 - 11:34 am
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Module 6

I used the techniques in module 6 on my son and my husband.  I could easily move my son's legs around but had more difficulty with my husband's legs just because of the size.  I wasn't very graceful, and i noticed that there will be times when I have to transition in a different way than you are showing us in the video, because legs can be very heavy for me to move.

It was pretty easy to find the groove between the quads and adductors, and my husband could feel the muscles separating and being stretched.  I used lighter pressure on my son's thigh due to pain he was feeling. I used the pulling, lifting technique on my husband's calf because the compression was too much for him.  My husband is not a fan of any type of massage, but tonight he actually said he enjoyed Thai massage and enjoyed the relaxation of rocking the legs.

Thank you so much for the video on controversial touch issues.  It made sense and I think keeping it in mind will be of use to me and my clients as we enjoy Thai massage together without all the hangups.

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Shama
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October 18, 2016 - 11:32 pm
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I am glad you appreciated the video!

Regarding modifying techniques - ultimately every good Thai Massage therapist has to learn how to do such modifications, and you will see many of them throughout this course. One-size-fits-all solutions don't work well with Thai Massage. It's all about being intuitive and creative. What works easily on one person or body type might not work very well on a totally different body type/size/weight.

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Valerie White
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November 8, 2016 - 1:04 pm
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Module 7

I did a hip evaluation on my client and noticed his feet were pointing outward which would indicate open hips.  Question:  Is there such thing as hips being too open?  When would I know if the hips are restricted in the closing motion?  Would it have to be uncomfortable for the client's feet to be pushed inward/downward?  

I'm glad I bought a Thai massage mat and pillows because they've been very useful.  I use them each time I practice and the pillows have become a necessary tool as I use them to prop up my client's knee when it's bent at any angle.  Without the pillow it's painful for him in the thigh and groin areas.

My client informed me that I needed to disburse my weight properly across my entire hand when doing the elephant walk.  Before I made the change, all he could feel was the bones in the heel of my hand, and I was feeling pain.  After I shifted the weight in my hands we both felt better.  He enjoyed the traction on the knee when we did the hip lift cross pull stretch.

I used the supplemental video massage moves with no hands, using both feet on the hamstrings, and my client said that was more comfortable for him, allowing his knee and upper leg to drop to the side and relax.  It alleviated the tension he was feeling in the leg when I was holding his foot. 

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Shama
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November 8, 2016 - 8:22 pm
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Normally there is no such thing as a hip which is too open, but there is such a thing as a hip which is open in one direction and totally locked up in the other direction. If the hip is truly open, the feet will not fold out flat outwards, but resist the inwards rotation. That's a sign of hip problems. A healthy hip will move easily in both directions.

The only way how a hip could be too open is in the case of hyper mobility where knees and elbows are hanging through and arms pop out of the shoulder socket. You see this condition with contortionists who can totally twist themselves into a pretzel.

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