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Wendy Choponis Heavenly Head Massage forum notes
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Wendy Choponis
Seymour, Iowa, USA
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September 5, 2017 - 8:01 am
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 Module 1 Introduction:  I tried these techniques on a couple of people on my homemade Thai mat but usually I will be doing heavenly head on my clients on the table.  My husband needed two towels to get his head level, but my other models didn't need any padding.  

I agree that it's nice to finish a massage with nice neck, head, and face work.  I've had massages in Mexico that didn't do face at all and I've also received a massage in a trade with another local therapist that ended with me sitting and getting tapotement on the shoulder.  That was just weird.

I really like doing the shoulder technique and the rhythm that can be developed doing it.  My husband and a regular client really liked it because of the stretch they felt.  My niece who is thinner and bonier thought it to be somewhat painful so I learned to always ask for feedback and adapt to the client.   

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Shama
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September 5, 2017 - 11:10 am
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Hi Wendy, welcome to our forum and the Heavenly Head Massage certification program. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure that it is all organized correctly:

Certification Check List

I know you also own the Complete Thai Massage course. Now you have the perfect course to complement it. Smile

Actually it is very typical here in Thailand that the therapists end a Thai Massage session in the sitting position with tapotement which they call 'chopping' here. I never liked this at all, and that's why I replaced this weird ending with parts of my Heavenly Head Massage system which sure makes a better ending than banging on people's back. Laugh

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Wendy Choponis
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September 7, 2017 - 10:14 am
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Module 2:  Sternum.   I first practiced these techniques on my husband who is a big guy.  On him I had a more difficult time synchronizing my breath and presses with his breath because I couldn't see his belly moving but he slowed his breath down, probably because he realized what I was doing...as you said, then it go easier.  On women clients that I've tried this on since it was much easier.  

On the sternum he preferred the hand circles whereas the thinner women liked the rocking or the wiggling hand.  I like that move a lot.

I'm glad to learn that tapping along the top of the sternum can energize the thymus gland.  Good to know as cold and flue season is coming up.  

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Shama
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September 7, 2017 - 8:01 pm
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That happens - that you just can't see someone breathing. For big muscular men the chest elephant walking would probably be a better technique. I have found that more subtle techniques sometimes don't work as well on large men. Not every technique works equally well on everyone, and the art is to use the right technique for the right person. Smile

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Wendy Choponis
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September 11, 2017 - 7:40 am
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I like doing the Elephant Walk technique, too!  I'll try it more on him.  

Module 3: Chest

This thumb pressing and rolling technique is more difficult on him also, and was hard on my wrist and thumbs even if I'm using my body weight to press instead of arm strength.  It's easier though on the women I tried it on. They also liked the pec squeezing technique.  Pecs are sore on most people due to slouching so I think this is a great technique to use when a client is in the supine position.

I really like the double-hand circle above the breasts.  Everyone enjoys this technique.  One lady said that it made her realize how much she slouches.

The first part of the collarbone technique seems to be easy enough on the anterior part of the chest, but I find the path of thumb presses from the shoulder depression to the C6/C7 area a bit awkward.  Maybe I just need to practice that more.  

My husband really loved the upper body twist.  He commented the good stretch it gave him.  Even thought he's an athlete he's a rather stiff guy so it takes a good technique to give him a good stretch.  Seems like this technique is best for people that aren't the most flexible because my niece who is thin and very flexible didn't feel much from it.      

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Shama
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September 11, 2017 - 9:30 am
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You are right - people who are already very flexible don't need this stretching move.

Regarding the pressing and rolling - this should not be hard on your wrists and thumbs. If you don't get anywhere with this move on your husband, just skip it and use more broad and powerful moves on him. Never do anything if it hurts yourself. If it is too hard to do on someone, don't do it.

Actually there are some amazing power moves that would probably work great on your husband's chest where you use your forearms and knees to work on the pecs. However they are outside of the scope of Heavenly Head Massage, and they are covered in other courses.

For this course, just do what works on him, and take it as a learning experience that not everything works on everybody.

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Wendy Choponis
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September 14, 2017 - 9:58 am
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Module 4: Neck 1

Even though i'm used to massaging with my feet, using them as part of the "wave" feels rather awkward and clumsy....difficult to make it seem like a smooth motion.  However, everyone that I used this technique on really enjoyed it.  I even tried it on a client on my massage table and it worked fine with me sitting on a stool even with the table.  Probably had better leverage to get under the shoulder that way, too.

The neck warming techniques are similar to some I've used before, but this session introduces a lot of variations such as circling at the same time versus alternately.  It feels like a neck massage to the client whereas it's disguising the fact that you're palpating for knots at the same time.

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Shama
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September 14, 2017 - 10:43 am
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You are the first one to ever try the "wave" on a massage table to my knowledge. Smile

Since this is the most complex move of the entire course, it will take some time to make it feel natural for you. But this will come - I can do it while I am sleeping almost! Laugh 

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Wendy Choponis
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September 17, 2017 - 10:36 am
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Module 5:  Neck 2

This is one of my favorite videos not because it covered a lot but because the techniques are simple, profoundly effective and easy to remember to do.

 Everyone loved the "getting the hair out of the way" technique even if they didn't have long hair to move around.  This is a lovely technique and seems like one of those core techniques that one can go to when you've lost your place in the sequence or trying to decide what technique to do next.  

The lifting neck pulls are fun to do.  At first they seem like they could be a little rough but everyone really liked them.  One person was a client after a regular massage so her neck was already lubricated with my massage oil which contains jojoba and it worked just fine.  

The first stretch is similar to a move I've already been doing for neck work....gently rotating the head with one hand underneath and using the other hand to gently massage.  It's a nice precursor to deeper work.  I like how it's broken down into two movements:  squeezing and sliding on skin vs circling the skin.  

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September 17, 2017 - 10:27 pm
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You are right, the 'getting the hair out of the way" move fits in anywhere and can give you time to figure out what to do next if you get a bit lost. That was a neat way how you categorized this! Smile

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Wendy Choponis
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September 22, 2017 - 10:48 am
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Module 6:  Neck 3

I had more trouble trying to figure out these moves despite studying the transcript and the video.  I decided that they're similar to some I already do as far as stroking the bottom side of the neck and pulling to stretch the neck without lifting the head.  The small neck roll is something that I've never tried before on the occipital ridge.

 I REALLY like doing the strokes up with the neck with index finger extended along the spine.  When I try this technique I wish I could have someone use it on me so I can experience how good it feels.  Next time I get a massage I intend to suggest it.

The second technique is similar a one I learned in a lymphatic drainage massage class.  They always comment how it really gets those sore places under the occiput.  

I have very small short hands and don't feel comfortable rolling the head on my index finger at the occiput so I'll stick with resting the head on my fingertips instead.  

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Shama
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September 23, 2017 - 12:46 am
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That's fine. We all have to work within our capacity. There are plenty enough techniques in this course so that you don't need to do every single one.

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Wendy Choponis
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September 24, 2017 - 12:13 am
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Module 7

My models really loved this first technique!  It's similar to one I've learned before except that the head stretches to the left and right instead of just up and forward toward center.  I didn't do it correctly at first but after more study I figured it out and it's a really fun move to do, especially the head circle. 

My husband has a short stiff neck so his head didn't move very easily in the figure 8 but the other head twist with the hand on the face and pulling with the other hand worked great for him.  

I discovered that the vertical neck stretch is difficult for me to get the upper body to lift too.  At first I attributed the difficulty to my husband's torso being heavy and me not being strong.  And it was impossible to do on clients on the table.    But I finally tried it on my lighter niece on the mat and her upper body still didn't lift with the stretch.  Maybe it works better for taller therapists.  I'll keep trying on others.

The sideways stretch is similar to another technique I've used but using the knee to block the head from moving while I stroke the neck with both hands is a great new trick.  That technique is just so awesome on the neck.  

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Shama
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September 24, 2017 - 12:56 am
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I suspect that you can't get the vertical neck lift to work because you are not leaning forward enough. Watch me in the video and you will see how I lean forward. If you stay further back, you cannot get the upper body to lift.

You can do this on a table provided it is set to a very low position, around knee height or a little higher. However I admit that this is harder to do if you are quite short, and easier if you are taller.

You could replace this technique with a similar one (on the table) where you first lift the head a little with one hand, and then you use your other hand to push the head forward. But you need to make sure that you push the head in a slightly upward direction, not just forward. If you only push straight forward, you won't get any upper body lift and it just feels like you are crunching the neck vertebrae.

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Wendy Choponis
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September 24, 2017 - 6:21 am
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I think I did try to lean forward.  I have done a technique where I push the head forward and up like you said.  I've got the best lift with my arms crossed behind the head and my hands placed on each shoulder....very similar to the technique at the beginning of this module but with the head more or less centered .  Then I cradle the head, switch arms underneath, and repeat the stretch.   People really like that one because they feel a stretch down their upper erectors.  

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Shama
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September 24, 2017 - 1:46 pm
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I am familiar with the 'arms crossed' stretch, and yes, this is another option. There are several ways of doing this, and you should do whichever way works best for you. 

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Wendy Choponis
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September 25, 2017 - 5:12 am
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Model 8:  Neck 5

I can use this wiggle technique a lot because I often have clients that have difficulty surrendering their neck to me. I often use pulsing on other parts of the body to try to relax them.

At first I felt clumsy trying to figure out this figure 8 move but I figured it out.  A lot of my clients have stiff necks so I'll probably use the up and sideways stretch more for them.  

The middle finger slides and the neck squeezes will be nice new techniques to add to my sequence.  People really like those and I liked doing them.    

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Wendy Choponis
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October 3, 2017 - 3:59 am
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Modul 9:  Ears

This segment really does seem to put people into that trance-like state.  I've usually massage the ears but not in so many different ways.  Some that came for a regular full body massage commented they were surprised to have so much done to their ears and really like it.  One client even asked for the benefits of it so I had to show her my reflexology poster.    

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Shama
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October 3, 2017 - 7:21 pm
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After the neck work the clients usually go into trance-land easily while working on their head and face. I have had plenty of clients who didn't even notice that I worked on their head and face. They were too far gone. Smile

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Wendy Choponis
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October 5, 2017 - 8:24 am
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Interesting!  I've had clients that were mad at themselves for falling asleep during massage because they felt like they missed the enjoyment of it.

Module  10:  Head 1- sides

These head videos have a lot to remember and I'll never remember to use all of them in one session and I understand that you're not expecting me too.  I do like the idea of varying pressure in circular moves and alternating strong invigorating moves with gentler more relaxing moves.  Never thought about that before.  Wish I could experience this for myself in a massage but I can imagine how great it feels.  I also like the midline work on top of the head to transition to top of the head work.

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