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Wendy Choponis Thai Back Massage Therapy responses
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Wendy Choponis
Seymour, Iowa, USA
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June 30, 2020 - 7:04 am
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Module 1   Spinal Analysis

I'm glad for this module because my massage school covered visual assessment of posture as a clue to possible muscle imbalances, but I've never felt very confident at it.  Now I find myself people watching in public and studying people's posture for lordosis or kypohosis and other visible problems that massage can help with.   

So glad to learn hands-on techniques for me to use to analyze the spine.  I often use a technique of pushing fingers down each side of the spine and have noticed the curves of scoliosis.  

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Shama Kern
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June 30, 2020 - 9:47 pm
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I remember I did the same thing when I discovered this - watching people in public. Actually I still do it to this day and can often instantly see what issues people have.

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Wendy Choponis
Seymour, Iowa, USA
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July 3, 2020 - 1:35 am
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Module 2  Spinal anatomy, problems and solutions

Studying this video was like taking another anatomy/ physiology class..... a lot of information about the back and causes of pain and problems.

I'm glad to learn a list of more questions I can use to interview clients regarding their back complaints.

I agree that sometimes you have to be realistic and accept that there will be customers with unrealistic expectations that we can "fix" their problems , often problems that they've been tolerating for a long time.  I recently had a man complaining of extreme side pain, had given up on doctors and hasn't seen a chiropractor for years.  He asked if I could put his rib back in place because he was sure that was the problem.  I had to explain that I only work with soft tissue, not bones, and that it can take time to correct problems that have gone on for years.  I compressed the legs and did what I could to soften the QL and muscles in his back and glutes (a lot of rocking and wiggling techniques learned in Rocking class) but he was overweight and doesn't get much exercise. 

I like the idea of explaining cell memory to clients.  That's a nice way to explain how soft tissue remembers trauma and needs to be retrained to a new normal.  

Spine structure:  haha...it's easy for me to remember the number of vertebrae in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine because my little town has a fire department siren that goes off a 7am, noon, and 5pm every day.  

You're right....I have a lot of customers that complain of lower back pain so I appreciate the list of causes that I can refer to when interviewing to get a feel for what their cause might be.  

You mentioned a list of other helps beside Thai Massage.  I always recommend chiropractic care to clients if they aren't getting it already.  I like to refer them to my chiropractor who does accupuncture and Touch for Health energy work.  I also recently started doing Restorative Yoga for myself and getting clients interested in that.  It's not as strenuous as some other types of yoga.

Looking forward to learning and practicing many more of your Thai massage techniques for backwork!

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Shama Kern
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July 4, 2020 - 1:19 pm
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I guess you have to tell this client that you charge extra for miracles! Laugh

We certainly cannot undo years of neglect and abuse of one's body in a couple of sessions. That's why I am a firm believer in educating clients so that they realize that they have to do their part if they really want to get better.

Your restorative yoga should be really helpful for that. At least you can try to get them interested.

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Wendy Choponis
Seymour, Iowa, USA
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July 6, 2020 - 8:21 pm
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Module 3 The bigger picture of Thai Massage Therapy

This module makes me realize that I need to do more to encourage my clients to use better posture and self-help strategies to alleviate and prevent  their muscle pain issues.  I've encouraged stretching, yoga, and chiropractic care but I need to teach more than I have.

Most of my clients come for some modality of massage on the tap.  I have several older clients.  But I do have a few that like to "mix it up" and schedule a  thai massage on the mat occasionally.  Using the pillow props under the chest and ankles in the prone position work well.   I often turn a face cradle around and have them rest their forehead on that because it's very firm.  

I do barefoot deep tissue (asiatsu) so I'm very familiar with using feet, heels, knees, along with my elbows and forearms in my treatments.  It really saves my hands and wrists and allows me to give deeper pressure without being pokey.  Clients love it.  

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Shama Kern
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July 6, 2020 - 11:51 pm
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You are way ahead of the game with your familiarity with non-hand techniques. That will make it much easier to follow this course! Smile

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Wendy Choponis
Seymour, Iowa, USA
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July 8, 2020 - 7:25 am
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Module 4  Rocking motion and back warming

I just really love using rocking techniques....often find myself doing them without thinking about them.  Back work is the prime time to implement rocking techniques, especially to relax the back before massage work.  I typically start table massages in the prone position so I start a treatment with gentle rocking of the entire body before rocking the back.  I've usually used the back and forth motion the most but the circles, slow and fast, and the other versions will be fun variations to add.  I can see myself doing these for several minutes on someone who is very stiff.  

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Shama Kern
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July 8, 2020 - 10:48 am
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Rocking is definitely an addictive way of working. Once you have done it, you can't imagine working without it anymore!

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Wendy Choponis
Seymour, Iowa, USA
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July 9, 2020 - 7:46 am
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Module 5   Sacrum 1

I’d agree that I don’t like to use the butterfly back palming technique much because it does stress my wrists and it’s an example of body mechanics that I was taught NOT to use. 

I think it’s important to always incorporate some of these warming techniques for the sacrum.   It starts the process of relaxing all of the tissues attached there.  I use my hands at first, but later in my barefoot deep tissue massage I  like to straddle the sacrum with my foot and wiggle it back and forth before work on the legs and back.  I do like the idea of adding knuckles on bigger clients.  However, I still have trouble locating the groove on some people.  

I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone address that area when I’ve got a massage so next time I intend to ask the therapist if they can work there so I can experience it for myself.  

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Shama Kern
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July 9, 2020 - 8:32 pm
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You will probably have a hard time finding a massage therapist who has good sacrum techniques in their repertoire, in my experience. I hope you find someone because it feels really good to receive.

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