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Willow Weir- thai Back Massage Course Notes
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WillowWeir
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April 2, 2018 - 6:29 am
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 Module 1

 

I was excited to dig into the material and even though mod 1 didn't contain physical movement it was definitely helpful. One of the things I feel that are missing from  my current practice is the ability to diagnose, I can go through the flow but have some weakness at finding the weakness. This was a great start for me. Looking at the body will take some time and I will have to rethink my initial intake with clients which involves more conversation and less observation when they first walk in. I think noticing subtle issues in the spine will be more challenging such as mild lordosis.

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Shama
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April 2, 2018 - 8:16 am
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Welcome back to another course, Willow! I think this course will help you with your diagnostic abilities, and it will certainly give you all the techniques you will ever need for working on the back! 

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WillowWeir
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April 4, 2018 - 12:11 am
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Module 2

 

There was a lot of information here and I really appreciated having a transcript to refer back too.  The anatomy in relation to thai massage is so helpful to me as the most frequent question I get is "can you fix my xxx pain" and it is such a complicated issue! However you addressed it perfectly in understanding the other benefits that they can receive and it correlates with the feedback that I get from clients.  I am looking forward to techniques and being able to use this new knowledge and add on knowledge so I don't feel like I am going through a routine

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April 4, 2018 - 10:16 am
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I am glad that you appreciate that this course is a bit different and doesn't jump into techniques right away. For good therapy work we need a good foundation under the techniques in order to use them effectively.

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WillowWeir
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April 4, 2018 - 9:34 pm
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Module 3

 

Great information again. I appreciate all of you talk about the limits of thai and focusing on lifestyle changes. This can be a real challenge as the issue of weight comes up a lot in my studio and for many of my clients weight is a core issue why they have some of the issues that they do. However it can be a sensitive topic, especially when we are talking food.  On another note my husband had the same problem with his wallet causing him hip issues.

The statement you made on the butterfly press, is there any long term reason not to use it if it causes you no pain? From handstand work I have very flexible wrists so I never saw an issues with those type of palm presses. 

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Shama
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April 4, 2018 - 10:34 pm
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If you can do a handstand, you can do butterfly palm presses all day long! I am just pointing out areas where some people might have to be careful, if they don't have such flexible or strong wrists. 

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April 11, 2018 - 5:28 pm
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Module 4

 

My first thought when watching this content was how often do you use these methods on the back and forth how long? Would this be a typical warm up in all back work? Are there certain back issues that you would spend a significant amount of time warming up the back with circling and rocking ? The biggest issue I am finding ( and I apologize as I will probably say this again ) is I feel like that I am running out of time in each session and want to get to more therapeutic stretches but I think that I may be falsely equating BIG stretches with being better in some way. Anyway I need more practice on these techniques to avoid muscling in on them without thinking about it. I used some of them yesterday as I did a big event at a company and gave Thai massage samples to the employees as a paid vendor . A lot of big guys as the company makes trucks. This was Thai table due to the type of venue even though I primarily work on a Thai mat. So I really only had 10-15 minutes, the rocking moves were so great. I couldn't do anything extensive but the requested back work got up from the table looking like they were in a trance! 

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Shama
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April 11, 2018 - 6:45 pm
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I always use these rocking methods as a warm up. Without them big back stretches can be ineffective or even counterproductive. Muscles need to be warmed up before stretching. Actually I have found in my therapy work that the muscle work (aka warm-up) is often more therapeutic than the stretches. If you work on the back (non-stretch work) you can find the problems and the specific tension areas a lot easier than with stretching. I do a lot of circling and probing with my fingertips to find the trouble spots, and then I do very specific and pinpointed work there.

Of course the stretching is excellent for increasing range of motion and general flexibility. However the warm-up is not "just" warm up, and then the stretching is the "real thing". That's not how it works. They are both equally important and equally therapeutic. A lot of this will become very evident throughout the course.

Another thing is that if you do a one hour back therapy session, and it consists of mostly stretches, you can wear your clients out rather quickly. This can feel like a real workout for them. The yogi types might enjoy this, but most regular massage clients can't handle one hour of stretching. After all, it is called a Thai "Massage".

Another consideration is that people with serious back issues often cannot handle any stretches at all, at least in the early stages of a series of treatments. It is very important to be able to do gentle back work.

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April 15, 2018 - 8:00 pm
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Module 5

 

It took me a couple days to have some practice time with this one.  After practicing with the thumbs in grooves I could definitely see how it could be too much on your thumbs within a short amount of time and why massage therapist often have a very short career.  My partner really like the horse gallop, however in general preferred steady pressure with hands in the lower back and then more movement in the mid and upper back. As far as the sacrum  I initially had been using thumbs to work on the groove without warming up as I was just playing around while watching the video and it was slightly uncomfortable for him. But once I used all the warm up techniques it was much more comfortable. I can't say that I feel completely comfortable figuring out where the thumb groove is though, it seems like it should be more obvious than it was?

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Shama
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April 15, 2018 - 8:31 pm
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With most sacrums it is rather obvious where the grooves run (after you get used to it), but with some sacrums the grooves are hard to locate. The same goes for the grooves next to the spine. If someone is quite skinny without well developed erectors, or very overweight, those grooves can be hard to locate, and it can be harder to stay in them without slipping out, especially when doing elbow work.

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WillowWeir
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April 25, 2018 - 6:26 am
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Module 7

 

I took some time to respond to this one to give myself some time to practice.  I am still not sure I am "getting" fixing the sacrum vs the roll off and rolling on and how this is affecting the body differently. I have been doing the techniques totally on one side and then working the back and switching sides vs using the moving from one side to another as you show. Is there any benefit to working the sacrum and glutes in totality before moving on to the back? 

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Shama
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April 25, 2018 - 12:07 pm
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Yes, there is a benefit to completing the sacrum first. The sacrum is what creates the equilibrium in the body. It redistributes the weight and the leg balance from the upper body to the lower body. In this way it functions as one unit. It is not like the legs or arms where you can work on one leg or arm and it feels right. The sacrum is not like two parts - it is one unit. Therefore it just doesn't make much sense to work it on one side only, then work on the back, and then work the other side of the sacrum.

From a receiver's standpoint it feels better if you complete the sacrum and then go on to the spine. The glutes are another story. They really are two separate parts and could be worked as first one side and then later the other. However my personal feeling is that it would be kind of strange to work one side of the glutes, then the sacrum from both sides, then the back, then the other side of the glutes, skip the sacrum, and then the other side of the back.

I think it flows better if you work both sides of the glutes, then do the complete sacrum and then go on to the back. However this is not such an important issue. I can just say how I like to work. You might create a different flow that works well for you, and it might be just as good.

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WillowWeir
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April 25, 2018 - 5:27 pm
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I didn't think about it that way. Thank you!

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May 7, 2018 - 5:18 am
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Module 8

 

I think this is my favorite video so far in the back series. I like seeing the mini sequences as they really help me put it all together in a logical way. I've enjoyed using the rest of my body and have found myself using my knee a lot more often in the glutes. I have been using the knee press into the glutes often while pulling the opposite hips and I found that it seems to be effective and enjoyable even in smaller clients. The ability to press into the periformis in several different ways is very helpful

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Shama
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May 7, 2018 - 10:35 pm
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Great! You might get some more 'favorite module' experiences, I hope! Smile

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WillowWeir
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June 10, 2018 - 11:10 pm
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Module 9

 

I really liked the soft finger work although as you stated despite using it as a diagnostic technique it is very enjoyable to the client. Additionally I am using a lot of these techniques on my small children before bed and they are finding it very relaxing to fall asleep too ( rocking techniques in general also).  I also noticed that the techniques in this module really create a whole routine in themselves as part of a treatment  on the whole body.  

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Shama
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June 11, 2018 - 9:10 am
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I always love hearing that course students use the techniques on their children. It is wonderful to expose kids to massage early on. I have good memories of my mother massaging me until I fell asleep.

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WillowWeir
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June 19, 2018 - 5:08 pm
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Module 10

 

I appreciate the additional information about the energy lines. In my area it is very rare that you have anyone request this work specifically or even understand it. In fact I am seeing more and more people talk about stretch therapy vs thai massage and they are removing the energy component out entirely. 

 

The added reminder about working softly was very appropriate in this section, while working on my partner it was definitely easy to accidentally hurt him when working with the elbow. However when you hit the sweet spots it was perfect! My client base is at least 65 % men so I am often working with bigger bodies and so the more power work I have available the better.  

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Shama
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June 20, 2018 - 12:20 am
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I have also observed that there is a gradual pressure or shift to try to fit Thai Massage into a western mindset. This is a pity since a good part of Thai Massage will get lost in the process.

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July 7, 2018 - 5:40 am
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Module 11

 

I have found myself transitioning to using knuckles a lot in my thai practice, they are so versatile for big or small body and with the size of my hands I feel like I can still do pretty delicate work if I need to. I am still practicing putting my leg/knee under the shoulder and feeling comfortable and getting the correct angle. I find it differs so much for different body types and I sometimes cannot access how it will work until I get them into position

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