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4Hands1World Touring the world, one massage at a time.

Prepping for massage exam

THAILAND | Thursday, 13 November 2014 | Views [331]

Our massage classroom

Our massage classroom

Today we finished learning our final segment in the Thai massage sequence: the face massage. Not usually a big fan of face massage, both as giver or receiver, I thought this would be not much of a highlight of the training.  I said to myself, "Well, this isn't even going to ...zzzzzzzzzz."  So ridiculously relaxing. Everyone is getting face massage now. Watch out. Especially cool combined with the preparatory step of washing our hands in fresh bergamot water first. 

After finishing the instruction for today, we have completed learning what could amount to probably almost a four-hour traditional Thai massage.  Our task now is to perform a two hour to two-and-a-half hour massage on Friday to pass this course. A "lottery" was conducted to pair us up with the partner we will have for the next two days to plan, practice, and finally give our massages. We are expected to learn any physical restrictions our partner may have, including injury history and personal preference for perhaps one type of spinal twist move over another. There are quite a few exercises that I will be unable to receive due to my shoulder dislocation problem, which my partner will have to safely work around. This will give her more time for my new favorite: face!! I'm in good hands though; she's an Osteopath!  Aaron and I went over the general sequences this evening after class, to start to reduce dependence on the manual we've been using, that includes sonething like 140 illustrated positions and options. We will not be able to use any notes during our final test. I'm figuring I'll be ok as long as they don't care too much if I switch some orders around a bit and look confident no matter what. 

Tomorrow after class, many of us have arranged with one of our teachers, Dot, to get away into the countryside to a hot springs to relax before our exam. A fifty-minute drive to get there and a thirty-minute drive back home (less traffic later), and should be back by 8 PM. Plenty of time for us to go over a few things again for the test should we be so motivated. It's a great group of people, and it will be really nice to spend time together outside of class a last time Before we all go our very separate travelling ways. 

This past week and a half of class has really been amazing, in no small way even just for me on a physical level. I have felt significant change in my lower back and hips, after a couple of good lower back tweaks the last year or two when I've felt pretty crooked. I can sit through a whole day of work on the floor with only minimal stiffness now. Amazing. I had one morning of intense emotional release: just a very heavy feeling of grief that prompted emails to family to check on everyone's well-being. Also, due to either this hip shifting or to the amazing thickness and density of the pillows here, I seemed to have partially dislocated my jaw. I could not touch my back teeth together on my left side. Disconcerting and painful, and very difficult to eat for a day or two. I spoke to one of the master teachers here, Yan, who agreed to take a look at my jaw the next morning before class. So we showed up early to school, and I had one of the shortest but most intense bodywork sessions of my life. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I felt very achy and intense radiation up into my jaw and head from points on my shoulder (the left/non-dislocatey side).  At the end of the session, I could click my back teeth together again. Took another day and a half, but I feel pretty much back to normal again. Wow. 

Last night, Aaron and I decided we just wanted some Western-style (translation: American-ish) comfort food. We ended up at a place called the Chiang Mai Saloon, where I proceeded to order the most white-girl dinner ever: a club sandwich and white wine. Half-way through the sandwich, I realized that I was breaking one of my Cardinal rules of traveling in Asia, which is Thou Shalt not eat Mayonaisse. Fortunately, I did not get sick, so crisis averted. My other Cardinal rule of travelling is Thou Shalt Not Pet Strange Animals. (I'm still ok on that one, thanks to the example set by my friend Doug while we were all travelling in Tibet several years ago and a strange dog decided to bite the crap out of him. After Lets-Get-Rabies-Shot mission, I added that rule to my repertoire...but that's another story.)

Anyhoo, it's hot here: about 90 degrees this week.  Hard to concentrate through the sheen of sweat that coats me during class. I look forward to getting out of the city tomorrow. Aaron and I are trying to decide on some concrete plans for our post-training Chiang Mai time. We are thinking about doing some kayaking down this flat lazy river from up in the hills north of town. 

Hope everyone is well.  Your emails are always appreciated. It's been fun sharing this with you all. We are enjoying our time so far!!

Tags: massage class

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