There are over 200 different types of massage style and technique so it can be hard to know which to choose and which one is right for you. At Glow West, I offer both Swedish massage and Thai Yoga massage to my clients. Both of which have very different techniques and provide a very different type of massage complete with various benefits. To help you decide which one is right for you, this article will explain more about both options and the benefits of each.
What Is Swedish Massage?
When you think of a massage, a Swedish massage is probably the first one that comes to mind. A Swedish massage is usually soft and relaxing. It is the ideal massage if it is your first time. This is because you lie quite still (apart from turning over once if you have a full body massage) and you let the therapist melt away your stress.
Your masseuse will use a range of relaxing techniques such as identifying knots in the muscles and using a kneading approach to stretch the knot out. The therapist will usually begin and end the massage with long sweeping strokes that are incredibly relaxing while also helping to improve circulation around the body.
Depending on your preferred pressure, the masseuse may use a chopping approach or use their thumb and knuckles to work slightly deeper into the muscles.
What Is Thai Yoga Massage?
Thai Yoga also works to relax you but in a very different way to Swedish massage. It provides pain-relief and releases tension whether it is in your muscles or your mind. It is an ancient practice that incorporates stretching, yoga, acupressure and also Indian Ayurvedic methods. Due to its complexity, only fully trained therapists should conduct the massage.
It is called a yoga massage because your therapist will manipulate your body and put you into different positions which are similar to yoga positions. It is also known as lazy yoga as you don’t have to move yourself or do a yoga workout. Instead, your therapist will take you into positions, so you can just lie back and let your therapist do all of the hard work for you.
Some of the techniques involved in a Thai yoga massage include blocking which is where the therapist will put pressure on certain parts of the body to block the blood flow. After a few seconds, the therapist will then release the tension which gets the blood moving, helping you to feel energised.
What Are The Main Differences Between Swedish and Thai Yoga Massage?
Clothing – In a Thai yoga massage you remain clothed (sportswear is generally preferred so that you can move with ease), sometimes the therapist will give you a costume to wear. However, with a Swedish massage, the masseuse will use oil on the skin. So, it is best that you only wear the bottom-half underwear during a massage. Again, the masseuse may provide disposable underwear, or you can wear your own.
Setting – A Swedish massage will usually take place on a massage table which is elevated so that the masseuse can be standing while massaging. In contrast, a Thai yoga massage is completed on the floor or on a slightly raised large bed or mattress that has plenty of room so that you can stretch into different positions.
Movement – A Swedish massage is deeply relaxing, and you will typically be lying still on your back and your stomach, depending on the body areas the masseuse will focus on. In contrast, a Thai yoga massage requires movement throughout the treatment as you will adopt several different positions. While it needs a little bit of flexibility, don’t worry if it feels slightly uncomfortable, it is meant to! This is because the stretching and manipulation of joints help to release pain.
Time – While time will vary depending on the therapist, you can typically expect a Thai yoga massage to be longer than a Swedish massage. More time is needed because as soon as a sensitive or painful area is found, the therapist will take their time to fix it, or at least ease the pain, before moving on.
Total Relaxation Or Blissful Pain Relief?
While both treatments can help with pain and relaxation, they both have very different approaches. A Swedish massage is great after a long day at work or a stressful week as you can lie back in a blissed-out state and let your mind drift away. However, a Thai yoga massage offers a different kind of relaxation where you need to be active and flexible to make the most of the pain relief.
After a Swedish massage, you may feel in a dream-like and sleepy state; a Thai yoga massage should boost your circulation and make you raring to go. Both are excellent ways to unwind, and it is well worth trying both depending on when you need pampering or pain-relief and energy.
At Glow West, I offer both types of massage. I have trained closely with Kira Balaskas, the founder of the School of Thai Yoga Massage and one of the only traditional style teachers in the UK, which ensures I deliver the most effective and traditional massage possible. Whichever massage you choose at Glow West, you can be confident that you’re in safe and well-practised hands.