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Wendy Choponis Thai Massage for Sciatica
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Wendy Choponis
Seymour, Iowa, USA
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July 6, 2022 - 5:17 am
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Module 1  Intro of Sciatica concepts  

 Back again for another great Thai Massage course!  I chose this course because I have one regular client that deals with sciatic pain.  She comes every week and finds that frequent massages really help to alleviate her pain, but I’m interested in additional techniques to try on her.  She’s excited that I’m taking this course since she’ll be one of my main models to practice techniques on.

  I also thought that this course can be a beneficial next CEU course because it seems I frequently have other clients that complain of leg pain that could possibly be from glute problems. 

I knew that the sciatic nerve was long but didn't realize it was so thick.  No wonder it gets compressed easily.  

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Shama Kern
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July 6, 2022 - 5:29 am
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Welcome back, Wendy. You know how the forum works, since you are one of the all-time top posters in here! Smile

I am glad that you found another course that fits your needs.

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Wendy Choponis
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July 13, 2022 - 7:34 pm
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Module 2:  Big Picture of Sciatica

   There’s a lot of information in this module.  I’m glad to learn the different ways to diagnose sciatica and the different possible methods of treatment.  This will be helpful when interviewing clients that suspect sciatica or have been diagnosed.   I saw my client with sciatica today and used suggested questions from this module to ask her about how she was diagnosed and treatments she was referred to.  Someone had recommended massage and that seems to be helping her more than anything.   

     I tried the straight leg lift and dorsiflexion tests on her but she didn’t have any pain sensations from either.   I asked if she’d ever tried to support her top leg when she slept on her side and she hadn’t ever tried it.  I should have showed her how to do that but I’ll see her next week so I’ll try to remember to show her.  

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Shama Kern
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July 14, 2022 - 7:26 am
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"Someone had recommended massage and that seems to be helping her more than anything."  -  I have had clients with sciatica who tried all kinds of medical interventions, and nothing helped until they got Thai Massage for sciatica.

"I should have showed her how to do that but I’ll see her next week so I’ll try to remember to show her." - There is an entire module all about self-help exercises at the end of this course.

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Wendy Choponis
Seymour, Iowa, USA
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July 18, 2022 - 8:05 pm
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Good to know! Now I'm tempted to peak ahead to the last modules.  

Module 3  Hands on sciatica techniques for lower back

Forum:  HaHa…I like the analogy of comparing joints to a rusty hinge.  Working the muscle first warms it up which goes along with the principle of never stretching a cold muscle.  

 

Doing massage using the feet is very familiar to me since I do massage Ashiatsu style with about all of my regular customers.  They love it.   I call my treatment massaging with my feet the “Wendy’s Walkabout” even though I only use one foot at a time.  

 I usually start a massage with compressions over the backside of the body using the feet, but now I like the idea of adding in the rocking the erectors, sacrum and glutes with my foot before I start massaging.  Before working on the back I usually place my foot straddling the sacrum and rock back and forth but I’ve never rocked it from the side using my foot.

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Shama Kern
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July 18, 2022 - 8:42 pm
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“Wendy’s Walkabout”  -  I like that, good soundbyte. Smile

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Wendy Choponis
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August 16, 2022 - 1:50 am
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Module 4:  Lower Back and Sacrum Work

 

Most of the info in this module I already learned from other classes of yours but it's helpful to be exposed to the techniques again because it shows how useful they are whether in a regular massage or when doing therapeutic work in a specific area.  

I’ve got small hands so using elbows as much as possible on tough muscles helps save them.  But when working on the erectors the fingers do work better on my smaller-bodied people whereas larger bodies like my husband's need the elbows to work those muscles. 

I love doing percussions.  I usually do them in a more sports massage as a way of stimulating muscles for activity, such as when my husband wants me to work on his legs before officiating football or basketball.  However, I agree that it makes sense that percussions can be useful in getting deeper in muscles other than just on the surface layers.  

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Wendy Choponis
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August 29, 2022 - 2:20 am
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Since posting my last response I had the opportunity to work again on a small body and a larger body within the same week to compare Module 4's techniques on both.   I will say that the elbow in the groove and roll down across the back is awkward for me and I’d rather use the elbow in the  groove parallel to the erectors. 

Module 5:  Rocking and Transitioning Techniques

  While on a 3 week vacation my husband and I got massages every week and the last week his therapist found tightness in his sciatica.  So after we were home I practiced the last 2 modules on him, especially this last module and he commented how it really loosened him up.   Leaning into the buttocks with the knee was very productive for his big body.  

     I also practiced this module’s techniques on my client that battles sciatica and, even though she was used to the traditional massage on the table, she liked how these felt even though they were different.  

   The only technique I had trouble with in this module was the transitioning from one side to the other.  I just can’t squat low enough to make it smooth so I have to semi-stand up and keep rocking the body. 

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Shama Kern
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August 29, 2022 - 7:55 am
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Well, you got good feedback. Once you have the entire course 'in your system', I imagine that you will have more success stories.

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Wendy Choponis
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September 6, 2022 - 4:55 am
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 Module 6 Power technique, hamstring work,  hip rocking

 I definitely agree about what you say about linear pressure.  Sometimes I wish more of the therapists that I get massages from on  vacation would use more of your rocking techniques and rely less on linear pressure.  

   I really like using the knees on the buttocks and hamstrings now.  I can really get deep into those big muscles but it's a broad pressure instead of a pokey deep pressure that can be painful.  Also another way to save my hands.

Rich liked how his legs felt when I used these techniques on him before he officiated football one night so those will have to go into my toolbox of sport massage techniques for him.  

   The hip rocking is always fun to do.  

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Shama Kern
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September 6, 2022 - 7:31 pm
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"I definitely agree about what you say about linear pressure.  Sometimes I wish more of the therapists that I get massages from on vacation would use more of your rocking techniques and rely less on linear pressure."  -  I have had the same thought many times myself when I got massage sessions. Even in Thailand they don't use rocking motions. That's something I added into my style.

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Wendy Choponis
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September 10, 2022 - 11:26 pm
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Your students benefit from the fact that you did.  I took a class in massage school named rocking and rebalancing but you took the idea to another level w more techniques.  

Module 7. Stretches for Sciatica

I'm already familiar with most of these stretches because you  showed them in the complete Thai massage course plus they're stretches when doing yoga..... why Thai massage is also called Thai Yoga massage, right?

My husband used to teach yoga in physical education class when he taught so he recognized the spinal twist and the knee pulls. 

My client that has sciatica troubles was impressed how good the stretches felt.  She usually requests the traditional table massage over the thai on the mat but I've started adding some of these stretches to her treatment.  

It makes sense to balance the leg stretches with opposite stretches.  

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Shama Kern
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September 11, 2022 - 6:04 am
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"I'm already familiar with most of these stretches because you showed them in the complete Thai massage course."  -  True - this course is not meant to introduce all new techniques, but to extract all the techniques that work well for sciatica and put them in context.

The Complete Thai Massage course is a huge selection of techniques, but without the specific therapeutic context of issues like sciatica. The sciatica course is a framework for filtering out a specific set of techniques for a particular purpose and show the application within this context.

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Wendy Choponis
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September 18, 2022 - 8:00 am
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Module 8. The elements of a sciatica session and self-help exercises.  

As a teacher...my main profession until next May....I understand the value of educating clients so they understand the benefits and limitations of massage and giving advice to possible solutions.  

My client that has sciatica problems is small and quite active since she's in a home health career.  So my best advice for her was to have her receive the complete Thai massage and show her the stretches & exercises afterwards.  She told me that her doctor had suggested similar exercises before she started coming to me.  At her last appointment she confessed that she's too busy to do them very often but when she feels that pain flaring up she does the knee and leg raises and notices how much the pain subsides.  Awesome to hear!

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Shama Kern
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September 19, 2022 - 6:00 am
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That has always been my experience - most people won't do the exercises that I suggest unless things are so bad for them that they don't have much choice. And then there are some who actually do the exercises and follow through and benefit, and just for them it is so worth it despite the many that don't follow through. You just can't have 100% success all the time.

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Wendy Choponis
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September 25, 2022 - 1:27 am
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Module 9. Other holistic treatment methods

Now that Im about done with this course,  I recently found out that another regular client has had sciatica trouble before and my sister complains of it now.    So now I have more people to really zero in on with techniques from this course.  

These are the tools and methods from this module 9 that I'm most likely to use:

Herbal Balls:  I learned how to make my own in an Asian Spa class in massage school.  I use chopped ginger and dried herbs from in front of my massage house.  It is very messy so I don't make them often but they smell and feel heavenly.  I made up a couple for my sciatica suffering client for her last trxmt and she really loved them.  The room smelled so awesome afterwards!

Massage Hammer: I bought a massage gun after you advised taking advantage of technology in another class.  Back class? Until this course I've been forgetting to use it on customers but I tried it on the same client and she thought it was great too.  Used it mostly on the glutes because her back is too boney.  

Energy work: It's really not my thing but I do try to "talk" to my client's tissue in my mind and to my own when I receive massage.  I have on occasion asked clients to mentally talk to their body.  

Another course enjoyed!

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Shama Kern
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September 25, 2022 - 3:49 am
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"It's really not my thing but I do try to "talk" to my client's tissue in my mind and to my own when I receive massage."  -  That's energy work in my book. I have a very broad definition of energy work.

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