April 4, 2019
I resonated with the idea of our energy as the provider being part of our connection and exchange with the client; it felt familiar to me from providing Reiki treatments. Becaues I am not a massage therapist, I am less familiar with the dangers of becoming to exclusively technique-oriented/mechanical, but deeply appreciated your enthusiast explanantion about the importance of feeling into the flow and art of the practice. I am also looking forward to working with clients on a floor mat, and just ordered one, as I am more comfortable being closer to the ground for such work. I have noticed that when I receive Thai massage treatments, I tend to do long inhale and exhales that mesh with the practitioner's movements, so I figure that my body was intuitively sensing into that natural flow. I look forward to trying it out from the other side in future lessons!
Welcome to the Complete Thai Massage certification program, Zosie. Please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification checklist to make sure that it is all organized correctly:
I made one adjustment by changing your name in the forum to match your name in your certification registration to make our record keeping easier, but I can still call you Zosie!
By the way, although the majority of our course students are massage therapists, there are also quite a few who are not. There are many yoga teachers who want to add to their yoga classes with Thai Massage, we have some chiropractors, some energy healers, and some who just want to have a useful skill to help their friends and family.
One good thing about not being a massage therapist is that you don't have to unlearn certain habits like muscling people or being attached to working on a table.
April 4, 2019
I really appreciated the discussion about static 'tradition' versus innovation; it seems clear to me from my work as a psychotherapist that even when practitioner's have ingested the same theory base, we are all channeling work through our subjectivities and thus the work is inherently shifitng and adapting through any individual's provision of it. Though I receive traditionl Thai massage as a client, I am excited about learning your innovations, especially as they seem related to more gentle access points like rocking.
Chi machine--though I was trying not to use too much of my own muscle power and make sure that my partner's ankles were resting in my hands on my thighs, it still felt like the dead weight of the legs was heavy, and it took some doing to get the motion going in her hips. I definitely got motion to the point where I could see movement in her midsection to ribcage, but not her arms or face. I am also guessing that if someone were receiveing a full massage, they would be more relaxed and migh tmove more. My partner found it soothing. I will keep practicing this one.
Yes, I am glad that I have less unlearning to do! I always prefer to sit on the floor rather than a chair or couch, and I like the intuitive process of sorting out how to position my body to give Reiki...
You have an interesting background with psychotherapy and Reki. I noticed that you did not fill in the bio section in your forum profile. Could you please put something in there - where you live, what you do, etc. This helps us all to relate better to the students who are posting in here.
April 4, 2019
My partner had rather stiff/tight feet, but enjoyed this series of exercises very much; her feet seemed to gradually loosen as we went along. The priniciple of using my body weight (circular motion, rocking left to right, etc) made sense and felt good, but I did find myself coming up from a kneeling position during the circular exercise to complete the top of the circle--I assume it is important to stay rooted in sitting on my heels?
I was more hesitant about pushing her foot up with palm of hand on sole of foot than pushing it down due to stiffness of the foot. I assume proceeding gently is best.
I plan to continue practicing this series, as I can't imagine remembering all the exercises without notes (!) and I think I will learn best by doing. This makes me really appreciate the video format, so I can review as needed.
Thanks for writing the bio - I love reading those!
Regarding the circular foot technique - the principle is to always work with as little effort as possible. Since it is not necessary to lift yourself up during this technique, you are using more effort than necessary. Try experimenting with sitting a little further back and then a little closer to the feet to find out where it feels most effortless and easy to do. Sometimes a little adjustment in your body positioning can make a big difference in how it feels to you.
While it is true that being gentle is always the right thing to do, it is very difficult to overstretch someone with this technique where you push the foot up. Get some feedback from your partner. Most people feel that they barely get enough stretch from this move. There are plenty of Thai Massage techniques where you can easily overstretch someone if you are not gentle, but this typically isn't one of those.
April 4, 2019
Thanks for this very useful feedback. I realized that for the circular alternating motion, I need to kneel with my legs farther apart to establish a more stable base for circling my torso. And good to know about the foot's capacity for being pushed back; you are correct that she did not find it painful.
I was really grateful for this lesson, as I had been feeling overwhelmed by the number of moves, taking repeated notes on Module 3 and trying to memorize the sequence...! I know that the sense of flow is actually much more important to the client's experience, so will focus on doing various motions with the foot intuitively as I practice. (My partner is happy that I need lots of practice..!)
The new kneading the underside of foot with thumbs reminded me of kneading bread, which I love to do. This association helped me to approach it from the state of feeling rather than technique. I like that, in addition to feeling good for the client, these motions are also fun to do. I plan to experiment with the foot massage with a few different friends this week to get more feedback.
April 4, 2019
My partner's thigh muscles were quite tight for the initial butterfly move, and she could tolerate very little of my body weight pressing down in that postion. How should the practitioner gauge how much to push re: wanting to warm up the client's muscles versus causing too much discomfort (verging on pain) for client?
I found the foot lock awkward when I needed to position myself to work on the inner thigh rather than the calf. It was hard to have one of my feet that far down under my partner's foot and then arrange my body to kneel farther up. I think the body positioning will require lots of practice. Also, despite rocking and using my body weight for the thigh moves, I felt like I was using a good deal of muscular effort in my thumbs and fingers...?
The foot massage positions are feeling a bit more fluid and rhythmic with practice, so I am encouraged that eventually the leg warming postitions may as well.
There is an easy and effective method for gauging the level of intensity which clients can handle. It's called the 'one-to-ten-method', and it will be coming up in the course shortly.
Body mechanics take some figuring out and adjusting until it feels right, but they will be your most valuable asset in the long run. I talk about it in almost every module, so no doubt that rather sooner than later you will get used to it and feel quite comfortable with it all. You are still at the very beginning of the course, so don't expect too much of yourself. This is quite normal, and towards the second half of the course it all starts falling into place.
April 4, 2019
I enjoyed this module, as it was much easier to use my forearms and body weight than fingers and thumbs. The initial rocking motion felt comfortable and easy; my partner really liked the rocking motion as well.
I am seeing how some movements feel quite natural and I take to them easily, while others feel odd. I liked the lean and roll forearm on thigh and am really feeling as I practice how much more flowing the movements are when I coordinate my breath.
I struggled with a few of the latter moves re: my body position; I just couldn’t figure them out. I will keep going slow and start with positions that feel more intuitive to me. My partner’s calves were too tight for the elephant walk, so we appreciated the gentler calf massage you showed at the end.
Good idea - focus on what comes to you easily. For those techniques which are more challenging for you, re-watch the video. Chances are you might have missed something. Also reading the transcript might help. Then 'play' with it. Try to change your position around until it feels more comfortable. And if that doesn't work, set it aside until later in the course when you have developed better body mechanics, and then things will fall into place more easily.
April 4, 2019
The hip assessment will come in handy--my partner has very tight hips, as her feet reveal! Once again, the rocking worked very well for her ( as opposed to the elephant walk, which she could not tolerate.)
A few moves were super-enjoyable to do (walking on the thigh and leaning back, clasped hands pulling in thigh) and after watchng the video twice, it was not hard to feel into the movement. My partner loved both of these moves.The positioning of my legs when I do positions using my arms remains more confusing--reminds me of being in a dance class learning a new step and trying to just look at the instructor and follow their position. I tried reading the transcript--that may help to intersperse with the video. Also, I feel the energy and flow of the stretches, while my static body positions to do them feel more wooden, like i am trying to do them correctly. (Eg--my feet and legs did fine when they were involved in the walking stretch!) I am also figuirng that I may be learning in layers--first the contact and movement with the client, and later my body mechanics/exact postioning. I have tried to sit in ways that are comfortable and achieve the goal of locking the client's limb when called for.
This is all quite normal in the beginning. It takes time until it starts to feel more natural and flowing. I always use the example of learning to drive a stickshift. First the car bucks and jumps, and you kill the engine. And after a while it becomes second nature, without even thinking about it. That's how it works with Thai Massage too.
As long as you get some techniques to work well, and you notice progress, you are doing fine.
April 4, 2019
Thanks for the encouragement--boy, do I rememebr learning stickshift!
The hip pie visual helped me greatly re: having a clearer sense of the angle of the thigh for every stretch. My partner struggled some with the calf massage re"calf tightness, but loved all the thigh hip openers. I felt like I exerted my arm muscles a good deal doing the side of the knee rubbing, even though I did more my body. Maybe with pracatice I will fidn the least amount of muscle effort needed?
The positioj with the client's leg near my groin and rotating was surpirsinlgy comfortable to me, but I remain a bit physically uncomfortable with moves where I am blocking the client's foot with my leg--it feels like our bones hit each other...?
it is hard to imagine stringing together a series of stretches organically in repsonse to client need, but I may be getting ahead of myself. I will go with practicing what feels fliud adn enjoying it for now!
You are right, the knee rubbing is one of the few techniques where you actually need some muscle power.
Otherwise yes, you are getting ahead of yourself. Very soon there is a module coming up which puts it all together, a summary module where I show how it looks like in an actual session. That will clear many things up for you.
April 4, 2019
Thanks so much for the gentle rocking variations for many 'hip pie' positions; those are a great fit for my tight muscled partner.
At first I was struggling with exactly how my foot should block the client's foot when they cross their leg over the other and rest it by their knee--my partner was experiencing pain of her knee hitting her ankle. When I more assertively partially covered her foot with mine, she did not experience that pain.
The 0-10 was extremley useful, in that my partner might seem very tight to me but report only 6 out of 10 re: the stretch, while on another exercise, she seemed more physically limber, yet reported 8 out of 10 intensity, so I backed off.
I have returned to the foot videos, and now feel comfortable enough with my hand and upper body movements vis a vis the client to also track more carefully how you are showing us to kneel or otherwise position our lower body as the provider. So, it is more possible to imagine feeling this way abotu leg stretchces at some point down the line.
April 4, 2019
I really enjoyed this lesson. I was glad for 1-10 on the 270 degree stretch, as my partner felt it at an 8 (as you said re: this stretch being intense.) Surprisingly, I found the position of provider ankle holding up client leg at ankle quite smooth/easeful for the last two moves. I really liked walking my foot up gradually to give my partner a stronger stretch; it almost had a sense of subtle rocking to it.
I always find the femoral artery 'block' intimidating when I receive it from my profesisonal Thai massage practitioner (she holds it quite a long time), but it was much clearer than I thought it would be. I immediately felt the pulsing and my hands got warm quickly--my partner was also ready for the release of the hold on exactly that time frame, so it worked out!