Adult or child, everyone loves a massage. What is important is getting the type of massage that provides the results you are looking for. There are two popular massage therapy options – Swedish massage and Thai massage. Knowing the difference between them will enable you to make the right and most benefiting choice between the two.
Swedish massage is based on the Western understanding of physiology and anatomy. The aim is to promote relaxation and, in specific instances, healing of the body. It uses six main techniques – stroking, gliding, kneading, rubbing, pounding and shaking. These are applied in various combinations, depending on the results that are aimed for. Oils and lotions are used to soothe the skin and increase the effectiveness of the massage. Because of this, the client is normally required to be undressed and wear only a towel. The client lies on a special massage table while the masseuse works on the body. The client lies either on the stomach or back and little change of position is required. It is an established system of massage and, when done by a professional, can produce good results.
Thai massage is based on the Eastern understanding of anatomy. While many of the techniques used are similar to those of Swedish massage, the Thai system also uses acupressure points in the body to stretch and loosen up muscles and relieve joint tension. A technique of blocking blood flow to specific parts of the body for a few seconds is also used. When the pressure is released, the flow of blood enhances the effect of the massage. During a Thai massage the client may change his or her position multiple times. This is done to allow the massage to focus on specific areas and thus increase its effectiveness and improve the flexibility of the body. Since oils and lotions are not essential to the Thai massage, the client may, if so desired, remain fully, or at least partially clothed. A special massage table can be used, but it is not essential. The massage can be given on a mat or even while sitting in a chair. Thai massage is often referred to a “lazy yoga” because the client is placed in yoga like positions (the benefits of yoga are part of the massage) without the need to make any direct physical effort.
Which One Is For You?
Both systems have their advantages. Swedish massage is aimed primarily at relieving muscular and joint tension in the body. Thai massage incorporates this but goes further in that its aim is also to promote inner peace and tranquility. The eastern philosophy places great importance on the strong connection between the mind and body and the Thai system works to relax the mind by relaxing the body. Research proves that a calm peaceful mental state helps in relaxing the body and in treating physical problems and making the recovery faster. Before beginning a massage a Thai massage therapist will usually start with a prayer that enables the masseuse to focus clearly on the needs of the client and maximize the relaxation and healing that the massage produces.
If you have not had a Thai massage from a certified massage therapist, you are missing out on an experience that can help you feel rejuvenated, both physically and mentally.