What’s the Difference between a Thai Massage and a Western massage

by | Feb 1, 2023

A massage, no matter what kind, is a pleasurable experience. Most people don’t put too much thought into the type of massage they choose when looking up a menu at a spa. While it’s true that any form of massage administered by a skilled masseuse is therapeutic both mentally and physically, Thai massages also work on the flexibility of your body.

What are Thai Massages and how are They Different from Western Massages?

The origins of Thai massages have been lost to time with historians agreeing that the practice was probably developed more than 2500 years ago. It is believed that they were developed in Buddhist monasteries as therapeutic methods for monks to maintain their health. Today, the art of the Thai massage has become popular globally with spas offering them all over the world.

The Setup:
While all forms of massage have similar goals, i.e. the healing of the body and mind, techniques vary. During Western deep tissue massage or Swedish massages, individuals lie on a massage table which allows the masseuse to move around their client while working on different parts of the body. Thai massages, on the other hand, are carried out with the individual lying on a padded mat or futon on the floor. This gives Thai masseuses a wider range of movement while carrying out a massage. We’ll discuss this more in a bit.

Western massage methods need the aid of various oils to help rub the kinks out of muscles and joints. This means clients are either fully or partially unclothed during the process. Traditional Thai Massage, there are no oils or lotions used so clients wear ‘pyjamas’ (supplied by us!). There are variations and a lot of people book ThaI ‘Hot Oil Massage’, or combination for example traditional thai massage for the legs and oil massage for the back.

Use of Hands and Arms:
Western masseuses typically use their hands, knuckles, arms, and (sometimes) elbows during the massage. The pressure during the massage is concentrated on small patches of the body which can feel painful especially when knuckles and elbows are being used.Thai masseuses use their hands, and forearms (the same as RMT massage) but also feet and elbows. Also a wooden stick during Thai foot massage.

The stretches carried out during a Thai massage are another unique feature. A Thai massage engages you actively as the masseuse gently stretches out your arms, shoulders, back, hips, legs and feet leaving your body invigorated and energized.

Energy Meridians and Flow:
Thai massages are based around the concept of free-flowing energy throughout the body. It is believed that energy flows through the body in through 10 ‘Sen Lines’. These Sen Lines are related to your body’s energy chakras and the masseuse uses various pressure points and stretches to unblock the flow of energy through the body. While the strokes in a Western massage help stimulate blood flow throughout the body and relieve tension, they do not specifically target your body’s natural energy meridians.

To sum it up, Thai massage involves the application of pressure and gentle stretching of muscles, stimulating energy meridians, resulting in body flexibility to energize you for the week ahead.

Treat your body with the care it deserves at the Organic Thai Spa. Our massage therapists are trained and certified in the art of Thai massage therapy and the healing traditions of Thai culture, so you know you will be getting a Thai massage from highly trained professional therapists with oodles of experience.

Book your massage therapy with us today and watch your life change for the better.