Updated: Apr 26
Swedish & Thai Massage are both wonderful treatments, but they differ in many ways. Learn what to expect from your session and their main benefits & discover what's right for you!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A THAI MASSAGE AND A SWEDISH / DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE?
At A to Zen therapies, we offer a wide variety of massage types and one of the most common question we get from our clients is “What is the difference between Deep Tissue & Thai Massage? What is best?"
Even though they are both super effective treatments to release muscle tension and improve range of mobility, these massage therapies differ in many ways, such as in the techniques used, the philosophies, the use of oil, how clients dress, and some of their benefits.
In this article, we’ll explain to you their key differences to help you choose what treatment may suit you best!
THAI MASSAGE VS SWEDISH / DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE: PHILOSOPHY
Thai massage, also known as “lazy yoga massage”, has been taught and practised in Thailand for thousands of years. Thai Massage therapy is based on the concept of the body’s energy lines and the belief that blocked energy channels can cause disease. Therefore, Thai Massage aims to restore the energy flow in the body and it does so by using movement and stretching to adjust the body’s physical structure, as well as stimulating specific acupressure points and energy channels.
On the contrary Swedish / Deep tissue massage is based on the classic Western understanding of physiology and anatomy. It targets specific muscles groups and improves blood flow to your muscles by stimulating the circulatory system with deep compression massage techniques, trigger points and stretching. It aims to restore the mobility of the affected muscle, promote relaxation and help the body to heal itself.
THAI MASSAGE VS SWEDISH / DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE: PRIVACY
If you don't like to undress for a massage for any reason, it is good to know that a Thai massage is usually done with your clothes on! The reason is that, unlike Swedish / deep tissue massage, which uses oils & lotions, Traditional Thai Massage doesn’t necessarily include the application of any oils, so you can stay fully, or at least partially, dressed. You will need to wear comfortable clothes, such as sportswear, to allow your therapist to move your body without restrictions due to your garments.
During a deep tissue massage, you will be undressed, laying on a massage bed and you will be covered by a towel.
THAI MASSAGE VS SWEDISH / DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE: TABLE
Traditional Thai massage is usually performed on the floor (on a thin futon) and not on a massage table like Swedish / Deep tissue treatment. Although a Thai Massage can be also performed on a massage table, we do suggest you receive it on the futon in order to allow your therapist to stretch you thoroughly in all directions, without worrying to fall off the table.
THAI MASSAGE VS SWEDISH / DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE: POSITION
Thai Massage is often referred to as a “lazy yoga session” because the therapist will use her hands, knees, legs and feet to apply pressure and move you into a series of yoga-like stretches. Thai Massage is a very dynamic form of therapy and you are likely to change your positions multiple times as conducted by the masseuse. You won’t need to put any effort into the movement, just relax and let go of your body, and let the therapist take control of it. The masseuse usually moves all around and above the client to access a wider range of angles over each part of the body.
Conversely, during a Deep tissue massage, a client usually lies on the massage table on his/her stomach for most of the treatment. Sometimes he/she may be asked to turn over facing up or on his/her side depending on what kind of issue the masseuse is treating. For example, if you are experiencing a restriction in your shoulder joint, a masseuse may ask you to turn on a side to perform some extra stretches and mobilise your shoulder joint from a different angle.
Again, you won’t need to do anything but just relax and enjoy being stroked.
THAI MASSAGE VS SWEDISH / DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE: BENEFITS
As mentioned above, both Thai and Deep tissue massage are beneficial to a client’s overall health and well-being as they relax muscles and relieve aches and pains, let the body recharge and allow the client to feel energetic.
The main focus of Thai Massage is "enhance movement". The techniques are all designed to improve your overall range of Motion and Flexibility and to leave you feeling truly energised. The masseuse uses every part of her body (hands, elbows, forearms, knees, shins) and may even walk on you, to stretch, push, press, rock, and vibrate your entire body.
Deep tissue massage focuses more on providing effective and immediate relief from unwanted muscle tension in a particular area of the body. It usually targets and works thoroughly the specific low-lying muscle groups, which are the principal causes of persistent musculoskeletal discomfort. Therefore it is a fantastic therapy to find effective and lasting relief from acute/chronic pain, sciatica, repetitive strain and sports injuries. It is great to prevent and speed up injury recovery while enhancing your performance in order to achieve your sports targets injury-free.
WHICH ONE IS BETTER FOR YOU? THAI MASSAGE OR SWEDISH / DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE?
At A to Zen therapies, we do love both these treatments. Our usual approach is to mix elements of both and adapt the treatment to suit your needs in the best way.
So whether you love an oil massage, prefer to not undress, lack of flexibility or instead you are dreaming about being stretched out, rest reassure that our therapists will be able to tailor the treatment depending on your preferences and needs.
We hope you have now a better idea of what to expect and what are the main benefits of Thai Massage and Swedish massage! We bet you’ll love both!