The Differences between Thai Massage and Swedish massage


There is a difference between Swedish massage and Thai massage. The first two are vastly different in the Swedish technique as it focuses more on deep tissue whereas the Thai Massage is more about stretches. This article will explore the difference between the two is and if you should consider getting Thai massages or Swedish massages.

Modalities and Physiology

Thai massage, also known as hard massage or lazy yoga massage. It is based on the Eastern understanding of anatomy and physiology. The principles are based on the body’s energy paths. Thai physiology believes that disease is the result of blocked energy pathways associated with spiritual beliefs. Therefore, Thai massage is mainly aimed at improving the energy flow in your body. The better your energy flows, the better your body works.

Swedish massage, which is most commonly seen and popular in the West, often known as classic massage, relaxing massage, or soft massage, is based on the Western understanding of physiology and anatomy. The aim is to promote relaxation and, to some extent, heal the body.

swedish massage position


During a Thai massage, the masseuse will stretch or fold the client’s body into several yoga-like positions in order to focus better on specific areas and increase the effectiveness of the massage.

yoga like position in thai massage

Swedish massage rarely needs any position changes. It’s like those typical stereotyped Western massages that are shown in many movies or the photo below. The client is undressed and covered by a towel. He/she lies on the massage table on his/her stomach with his/her back exposed to the masseuse.


Thai Massage

1. Thai massage works on your entire body. The masseuse uses every part of her body, the hands, elbows, forearms, knees, shins, and even feet, not only to stretch you but also to apply pressure on your muscles and loosen your joints.

2. Stretching. The masseuse places your body in various positions to apply pressure on various zones and trigger points of your body.

3. Technique for blocking the blood flow.  The masseuse will apply sustained pressure on your blood flow for about 30 seconds; then, when released, the flow of blood enhances the effect of the massage.

Swedish Massage

1. Stroking and gliding: These are long, sweeping strokes, which are usually used at the start and end of a massage.

2. Kneading and rolling: just like kneading dough, the masseuse kneads the muscles to release any pain and to stretch them.

3. Friction: Friction and the application of deep pressure to particular spots are done using the fingertips, knuckles, and thumb.