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WendyChoponis Thai Rocking Course notes
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Wendy Choponis
Seymour, Iowa, USA
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February 9, 2020 - 2:49 am
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Module 1  Foundations of Rocking Techniques

One of my favorite classes in massage school was a Pulsing and Re-balancing class that taught a lot of rocking techniques that will be shown in this course.  And I use a LOT of those techniques in my massage practice no matter the modality.  They not only relax clients and their soft tissue but they're very fun and easy to do.   I wanted to take this course to get more rocking technique ideas and because I just LOVE taking the Thai Healing Academy online courses.....CEU credit or not.  

About the 5 types of rocking.....when I learned of the circling and wiggling techniques in the Complete Thai course I didn't think of them as being rocking techniques but it makes sense.  I use them often now.  

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Shama Kern
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February 9, 2020 - 11:12 am
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Welcome to another course, Wendy. I think it is your 12th course so far. Smile

When I originally came up with the Thai Rocking Massage course, I really agonized over how to name it. I wanted to have a descriptive and attractive name which includes all the different kinds of rocking motions. But I could not come up with anything better, so I just stuck with the rocking name.

I know, vibrating and wiggling don't seem to naturally fit under the rocking category although you could look at them as a mini-rock. Well, I could always pay an advertising agency a million dollars to come up with a better name. NOT! Laugh

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Wendy Choponis
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February 10, 2020 - 1:02 am
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Name is just fine.  The name told me right away what it was going to be about.  

Module 2 Chi Machine and Traction

Since massage school I’ve loved doing the Chi machine on clients..... usually using it when I’m ENDING a massage session.   Clients have mentioned how they really enjoy it.  Most massage therapists don't do anything like it.   After taking the Complete Thai Massage course I learned to START some treatments with it. You mentioned an actual chi machine…..my husband and I even bought what is essentially a chi machine made in Branson, Missouri called the Jigglin George so we “rock” ourselves every day.  Yes, you do experience a tingling sensation which is evidence of energy moving and improved circulation.  

 

I hadn’t ever learned the traction technique so I’m glad to learn that.  (If you had it in the complete thai course it isn't something I've remembered to use)  At the time that I practiced that technique my husband was in the middle of his basketball officiating season and was having trouble with his legs cramping and getting tired.  So I had to do Thai stretches on him often before games. I added the traction techniques and he liked the stretch. As usual, they’re easier to do on smaller clients than on him.

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Shama Kern
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February 10, 2020 - 1:47 am
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The traction technique is not in the Complete Thai Massage course. There are a bunch of techniques in the rocking course which are unique.
Some techniques are in both courses, but in the rocking course they are explained more in depth and shown with more applications and modifications. It's definitely worth it even if you have the Complete Thai Massage course already.

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Wendy Choponis
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February 13, 2020 - 12:23 am
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Module 3  Hip Evaluation and Leg Rocking

I’ve never felt confident in analyzing a person’s posture to figure out which muscles might be tight and need attention, but looking at the angle of the feet is an easy method of identifying possible restrictions in the hip which can also affect other parts of the body.   My husband didn’t have any complaints of pain but his right foot didn’t angle out as much as his left. After I performed some of the leg rocking and hip rocking it angled out more like the other one.

The leg rocking will be an easy technique to add to any modality whether it's after the lubrication for a Swedish or bamboo massage or just to add to legwork in the Thai Massage.  

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Shama Kern
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February 13, 2020 - 11:04 am
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Many of the rocking techniques work for all kinds of modalities. It works especially great for Thai Massage because of its traditional linear nature which is why so many people complain that Thai Massage is too strong. The rocking mellows it all out and makes it even more effective.

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Wendy Choponis
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February 13, 2020 - 10:26 pm
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Absolutely agree.

Module 4  Leg Rocking traction and compression

 

I really like the positioning for this straight leg work.  The simple rocking back and forth is easy enough to do, but the circling and the twisting and pulling the foot technique just doesn’t come easy for me.   I ‘ve had other classes that teach a similar technique and I’ve always struggled with the twist where I’m to place my hand across the top of the foot and round to the outside of the foot.  Even if I have a lady with small feet I can’t make a smooth motion out of it. I blame my hands being small. So I adapted the hold so I can still replicate the motion for the foot and ankle.  

 

The pull up and rock technique is new for me and I like that one.  You’re right, it is much harder to do on people with large legs and big muscles (my husband).  It is a lot more smooth at performing this on my smaller women.  My yoga techer client REALLY likes how it stretches the lower back.

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Shama Kern
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February 13, 2020 - 11:29 pm
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My advice is to focus on what comes to you easily and what you really like doing. If there are some techniques that you don't resonate so much with, don't worry about them. You can refine them later, or skip them altogether. For example, there are several Thai Massage techniques which I never do nor teach because I just don't like them for various reasons. There are plenty of techniques available, and there is nothing wrong with skipping some for the time being. The main thing is that you enjoy what you are doing and not struggle to do it.

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Wendy Choponis
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February 15, 2020 - 2:10 am
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I totally agree.  The best massage instruction is that which allows one to develop her/his own style, sequence and technique development.  

 Module 6  Hip rocking for whole body

Don’t have much to say about this module except that these fun techniques are even easy on a big guy.  I also practiced these on Rich after his complaining of slight hip pain, and I’m sure that adding these to the techniques from the last module also helped balance and stretch his hips out.  

I really like the hand on rib/ other hand on opposite hip rocking even though on a wide body it’s more difficult to get the momentum going.  The rib rocking is a unique new technique that I really like, too. I have a customer that once had CPR that cracked his ribs and suffered with a stiff upper body, so I’m looking forward to maybe gently introducing that technique the next time I work on him.

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Shama Kern
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February 15, 2020 - 9:35 pm
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Good idea! Let me know how this works out with him.

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Wendy Choponis
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February 19, 2020 - 2:34 am
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Module 7   Abdominal Rocking

Even though they look amazing for a stretch, I didn’t feel comfortable trying the first technique but the second technique I tried on two ladies smaller than me.  I couldn’t seem to get the technique to work so I decided that my thighs aren’t long enough to be able to get the right angle in their legs. I’ll keep studying your demo some more and keep practicing on other models when I get a chance.  

 However, my yoga teacher client  and another model just loved the 3rd technique with their legs hanging over my bent leg.  They both thought it was a great stretch for their lower back. I couldn’t try it on Rich because his legs are too long.  

The stomach push/ pull  technique is something I plan to add to any type of massage because it can be done through the sheets or clothes when transitioning from lower body work to upper body.  Usually I’ve done circles on the abdomen through the sheets. I have a lot of women that are self-conscious about their belly but they’re okay with me doing a little abdominal work through the sheets.   I really like abdominal work myself.  

 The sandwich method with hands above and below the body will be difficult to do on heavier clients but I really like the smooth rolling motion of it.  

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Shama Kern
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February 19, 2020 - 10:03 am
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True, the sandwich method is something I would not do on very heavy clients. The rule is always that if something is too hard to do on someone, just skip it. There is no way that we can move any kind of client, regardless of size and weight, all over the place. This is why we need more discretion in Thai Massage than in table oil massage where you can do pretty much everything on everyone. This doesn't work in Thai Massage. We have to choose if a particular technique works on a particular client or not.

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Wendy Choponis
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February 22, 2020 - 6:56 pm
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Module 8  Upper Body Rocking

 

This module has a lot of great techniques for the upper body and some that I want to try the next time I see the guy I mentioned who has a stiff chest due to cracked ribs from CPR.  I really like the rocking the rib cage move and think it will help him. I worked easily on my large chested Husband.  

 I’ve been doing the wiggling and circles up the sternum since the Complete Thai course and many have commented on how good that feels and how no other massage therapist has used that technique before on them.  

 Both rocking the shoulders moves I’ve been using a lot already.   In fact, the teachers at our school had to make up a school day cancelled because of a snow storm, so they scheduled President’s Day as a self-care day for staff.    One elementary classroom was turned into a spa room and I gave chair massages almost all day. I added in a lot of shoulder rocking and circling and it kept me from having to use a lot of energy massaging with my hands and fingers.  

  The Figure 8 move is a great technique but not one that I’ll use but on certain people.  I can see people who are sensitive about their personal space might have a problem with it.  I’d rather do the circling of the shoulders from the sides like the last technique that you showed.  I’m starting to use that type of technique a lot, too.

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Shama Kern
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February 22, 2020 - 9:10 pm
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Yes, that's one of the great things about rocking - no stress on the hands and fingers.

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Wendy Choponis
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February 23, 2020 - 11:58 pm
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Module 9  Arm Rocking and summary

 

More good techniques that I tend to use a lot now.  It’s funny how some people like to stick their arm out straight when you pick up their arm for arm work, but these swinging and shaking techniques force them to “let go” of their arm tension. 

 I think the rolling arm technique was demonstrated to an extent in the Complete Thai course and I had a little trouble making it a fluid movement.  In this video, however, the technique shown seems to be much simpler and easier to administer. I like how rolling the upper arm helps give a little  stretch to the front shoulder and pecs.  So it's a good technique for all who have the bad habit of slouching forward and need those front muscles opened up.   

It’s fun to be able to smoothly transition from one technique to another and from one part of the body to another which is so possible in Thai Massage and your summary demo shows that. 

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Shama Kern
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February 24, 2020 - 1:24 am
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It IS fun to transition smoothly, although I noticed that this is rarely taught in most Thai Massage schools. I never learned this when I originally studied it. But I was fascinated with figuring out how to do this because it makes so much sense to flow through the sessions. And in the end I figured it out and got good at it. Smile

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Wendy Choponis
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February 28, 2020 - 7:25 am
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Yes, I'm always trying to find ways to make smoother transitions in my other massage modalities but Thai  

Module 10  Sacrum and back

I’ve included sacrum circles in regular massages since the Complete Thai massage course, and this module gives me a lot more ideas to work that area.  In fact, watching all the pushing and pulling on the sacrum, waist and buttocks, I wish I could find someone to do these techniques on me! I think they’ll be great ways to get the back loosened up before deeper work in the prone position.  

The knees to buttocks techniques are some that I do feel comfortable doing on a bigger body.  The rocking sideways was easy enough but the figure 8 move was too hard on my knees. I also couldn’t seem to get the leverage.  I have a smaller person in mind that I hope to try it on the next time I see her.  

I also REALLY like doing the combination of rocking the sacrum along with the erectors up and down the spine.    I’ve often rocked just the erectors but not at the same time as the sacrum.  It really gets the spine whipping and will be an additional helpful tool at loosening up the back.  

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Shama Kern
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February 29, 2020 - 7:13 pm
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I also wish someone would do all this on me...

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Wendy Choponis
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March 2, 2020 - 2:01 am
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Module 11  Back rocking , scapula, and spinal twist

The majority of massages that I give are still on the table and I spend ⅔ of my time when a client is prone working on the back.  This module has some great techniques that I’m already adding to that work.

I love wiggling up the erectors and side back with the palms and the big circles on the scapula with stacked hands.    Instead of straddling the body for the finger wiggling, I stand at the head end and do side of the hand wiggles on the upper body.  I'll prefer to do it that way for Thai massage, too because I feel I can use better body mechanics.  

I've got so many clients with "glued down" shoulder blades that I'm always looking for more scapula techniques to loosen them.   I really love your rocking the scapula technique.  I adapt that technique to table massage by putting my knee or a rolled up towel under the shoulder.  

Oh, and that last technique of putting the leg across and pulling back on the shoulder and rocking will be one of my favorites to use.   My models and clients are really liking that one.

This has been another worthwhile class, Shama.  I learned a lot of new stuff and got some good ideas.    Can’t wait to get started on another course...probably the back course. 

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Shama Kern
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March 2, 2020 - 11:27 am
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I am happy to hear that you found the class worthwhile. It seems that you have found ways to adapt the material to your table work - great!

You own the back course already, so it is waiting for you in the membership site. Smile

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