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Walter Schmeck`s Complete Thai Massage Course
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walter.schmeck
Hillsboro, Oregon USA
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January 22, 2015 - 11:54 am
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Module 12

Doing the calf stretch using abdomen was a huge hit with both my partner and I.  It’s usually a battle of strength as to who is going to let go first.  This way it felt that there was less guarding when moving the calves into a deeper stretch.  I actually managed to perform the movement from sitting on my legs and rise to do the double leg stretch.  She liked the elephant walking on knees to provide movement in the hips.  However, when I have to do movements that place my wrists in that position, there is considerable discomfort on my part.  Is it a practice thing or is there something that will allow for less pain?

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Shama Kern
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January 23, 2015 - 2:11 am
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Flexibility and sensitivity or vulnerability of the wrist joint varies a lot. The best rule of thumb is that if a technique stresses you or causes discomfort or pain, don't do it. There are always plenty of other ways of achieving the same outcome by using different techniques.

However sometimes pain can be experienced because the hand is not positioned properly. The angle in the wrist joint should never be 90 degrees (i.e. a right angle), but something more in the vicinity of a 45 degree angle in order to not stress the joint.

Try to position your hand in such a way that the angle is nowhere near 90 degrees. In the case of this particular technique it means positioning your hands more on the outer edge of the knee cap and leaning in with the heel of the hand instead of with the entire palm.

If that doesn't prevent wrist pain, then skip this technique.

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walter.schmeck
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January 29, 2015 - 9:35 am
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Module 13:

Fortunately for my partner, she is fairly limber.  Every once in a while, she does let me know if I’m at that point when the sensations go from “productive” pain to “destructive” pain.  In those circumstances, I have her point to the place that is hurting and then we deal with what is happening.  You talk about discussing discomfort and not pain.  When I was in school, I used the term sensational.  It seemed to relax those clients in clinic that were new to massage.

Options are always good!  I believe that whatever is done, it needs to be done with the three I’s.  Using Information, performing the technique with Intention, and with Invitation.   

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walter.schmeck
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January 29, 2015 - 9:58 am
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Module 14:

Ah, the fine art of seamless movement without the client noticing.  So much easier when working on the table.  You are correct!  My wife said that I could do the hip rocking all day if I wanted to…  The back arch stretch is going to take some practice and / or some weight loss around the middle section  ConfusedGood thing you provided an alternative. 

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Shama Kern
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January 29, 2015 - 2:54 pm
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I suggest you tell your practice partner to use the one-to-ten method to let you know when it's getting too intense for her. Numbers 8 or higher indicate that you need to back off. The advantage of this system is that it makes it very easy and logical for your partner to give you specific feedback, not only when it's too much, but also when you can go further or deeper.

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walter.schmeck
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February 6, 2015 - 3:13 am
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Module 15

Yes, the abdomen is a forgotten territory in just about every massage modality.  When done with care, it can do wonders.  I do have to say that the techniques are the same.  It is unfortunate that the rib compressions can’t be done on a female.  So many people could benefit with the entire rib cage getting some extra movement.

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walter.schmeck
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February 6, 2015 - 3:25 am
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Module 16

I noticed that in the video, your partner is wearing a top where the shoulder skin is exposed.  Have you found that it is easier to perform the techniques that way?  My partner during the session was wearing a shirt covering them and I felt that it was more difficult that it should have been.  It was like I was fighting the cloth trying to get a good enough grip to lift the shoulder.  Next time, I’ll have her wear a top similar to the one in the video.

By the time we got done with all the shoulder work in this video, she was like putty!  What a great feeling to have being able to help others.

Laugh

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walter.schmeck
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February 6, 2015 - 3:35 am
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Module 17

Sorry, not too much to say about this module.  The only difference between this and what I normally do on the table is that I’m on my knees.  You’d be amazed on how grateful someone can be when you make their hands feels better after they’ve been using them all day.  Just curious, is there such a thing as table Thai massage?

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walter.schmeck
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February 6, 2015 - 3:40 am
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Module 18

You make the transitions look so easy!  I’m going to have to find a larger place to work to practice this maneuver!  Maybe if I do a session that is only upper body, then we can start with the feet almost to the end of the mat, then that would hopefully provide enough room.  I’ll keep you posted :\

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Shama Kern
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February 6, 2015 - 11:04 am
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Regarding the shoulder techniques in module 16, you are right when you say that it is better to work directly on the skin for this. Even a loose Tshirt will do as long as it's not tight around the neck. I always have some pants and Tshirts available for my clients to use in case they show up dressed in a way which is not conducive for working.

There is such a thing as Thai Massage on the table. It is basically the same thing with some modifications. Doing Thai Massage on the table has some restrictions since you cannot get right on top of the clients, and some techniques just cannot be done on a table. Also the ergonomics are easier on a floor mat.

Here in Thailand Thai Massage is almost always done on a floor mat, however in the western world many practitioners do it on a table, including quite a few students of mine.

Regarding transitions - yes you do need some room around the client's body. A spacious work set up would be ideal for Thai Massage in general.

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walter.schmeck
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February 14, 2015 - 6:21 am
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 Module 19

I’ve been playing this module’s video over and over.  I have the ability to play and pause when needed while practicing.  So far I’m doing ok.  In practicing lately, I’ve been trying to combine the first summary video and this one.  Keep them coming :D

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walter.schmeck
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February 27, 2015 - 5:48 am
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Module 20

Using elbows sure are a great relief for the tired ole fingers and thumbs.  I’ve noticed in your videos that there are usually three lines that get worked on.  Is there a reason for the three lines?

Thanks for the great tip on placing a pillow in a way that the head / neck are more comfortable.  I have a body cushion that I’m thinking about trying.  I guess there is no harm trying.  If it gets in the way, I’ll know!

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walter.schmeck
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February 27, 2015 - 6:13 am
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Module 21

This module is pretty much the same as the module that we did on the anterior side of the legs.  You are correct that a lot of the techniques are fairly similar.  The hip work went well with my wife’s current issue.  She says that I could do that all day!

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Shama Kern
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February 27, 2015 - 4:57 pm
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Yes, there is a reason for the 3 lines. In the sen (energy) line system of Thailand there are 3 lines on the back and the front of the leg, and the same goes for the arms. And sometimes it just makes sense or is practical to divide an area into three lines.

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walter.schmeck
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March 23, 2015 - 11:08 pm
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Module 22

Options are good!  It is nice to have different tools to accomplish the same task.  In this video, you mention that you shouldn’t stretch a muscle unless it has been warmed up first.  I agree with that statement.  There was a stretch that would stretch the quadriceps, so I am assuming that somewhere along the session you warmed up the front side of the leg.  In your opinion, how long will a warm up last prior to stretching?

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walter.schmeck
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March 23, 2015 - 11:34 pm
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Module 23

This module working on the sacrum and glutes remind me of a lot of the work we did during shiatsu training.  I’m glad to see that many techniques have made their way across the different modalities.  The poor SI joints are put through so much torture during everyday movements.  When one is out of place, you sure can tell it!

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walter.schmeck
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March 23, 2015 - 11:55 pm
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Module 24

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thumbs will thank you later :D         

What can I say about this module?  Rhythmic mobilization at is finest?  Rocking with a little pressure is still getting blood flow to the area.  It won’t work specific points, but overall it should relax the muscles in a different fashion.

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Shama Kern
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March 25, 2015 - 12:31 am
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How long should warm up last before stretching? In some cases I only do the warm up work without stretching. That's for very stiff people or people who can't handle stretching well, or people who don't like it or whatever.

If people are quite flexible or yogi types, you need little or no warm up. The stiffer they are, the more warm up you need. So it's really a case by case situation without any hard and fast rules.

The word "warm up" is actually easily misunderstood. The warm up is not just a prelude for stretching, it is a fully valid therapy on its own. For example if someone has a tight and painful spot somewhere, a real knot, then you are better off working non-stretch techniques until you get that spot to release and relax and soften.

The stretching is great for muscles and ROM, but it does not release specific painful areas as well as the warm up work. So I don't want to pin this down to a certain time frame or percentage. Just make sure to do warm up before stretching and let your feeling and your intuition guide you (or the client's feedback) as to how much is needed.

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walter.schmeck
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April 18, 2015 - 8:55 am
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Module 25         

I really like Thai Massage as it is allowing my hands and wrists to get some much needed rest.  The technique of using both elbows and rocking back and forth has been a big hit with those I’ve practiced on.  It seems that everyone’s lower back are SO tight.  Afterwards, the ESG’s are more relaxed.  All without killing my hands.

Working with my knees on the back is going to take some practice!  Balance is the key here…

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Shama Kern
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April 18, 2015 - 1:47 pm
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This is the big reason why Thai Massage therapists don't burn out as easily as other therapists because they can use so many body parts besides their hands. Here in Thailand I have seen many therapists who have been working since decades, and their hands and wrists are fine.

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