There is quite a bit of confusion around the terms deep tissue Thai massage and a Swedish massage. While you may think you know what the difference is between these techniques, you may be surprised by the reality of it.
When you ask for a deep tissue Thai massage or Swedish massage, what you think you’re requesting and what I as your professional therapist is trained to know, may be very different.
Before any treatment it is important that we discuss what you expect to get from your session and what goals that you want to achieve as that will help me to tailor the correct treatment for you. During your treatment if you ever experience pain or discomfort, please tell me immediately so that I can adjust the pressure accordingly.
Every massage therapist is different, but basically there are four common movements in Swedish massage, namely (1) a smooth, gliding stroke used to relax soft tissue (2) a squeezing, rolling, or kneading motion (3) Friction which involves movement in opposing directions that cause layers of tissue to rub against each other or separate and (4) a short, alternating tapping motion done with cupped hands, fingers, or the edge of the hand.
These combined with gentle stretching and/or mobilisation of the joints is generally what you can expect during a typical Swedish massage. All of these Swedish techniques can be done with light, medium or heavy pressure, although generally it’s just a medium pressure.
Deep tissue Thai massage is used when there are specific areas that may need a little more attention due to soreness, stiffness, or injury and involves more focused pressure and pinpoint techniques and mobilisations. While I may apply deeper or more targeted pressure at times, that is not the main difference between these two common techniques.
Swedish massage is meant to relax the body and mind, while deep tissue Thai massage is focused on relieving tension and helping with muscular injuries in specific areas.
The key here is knowing exactly what pressure that you actually need and please never be frightened to let me know if you feel that the pressure is to little or too much, don’t ever be afraid to speak up.
Remember, everyone’s body is different and this is why each session is different and must be tailored to your individual needs. There are those of us that don’t feel as if we have had a good massage if the pressure during the massage was ‘too light’ leaving them still feeling stiff or somewhat sore. In this case, a Thai Deep Tissue Massage would probably be best. Others may prefer massages that simply relax them without any other goals and a Swedish massage probably best serves this.
No session, no matter what it’s called, should be painful and there is a clear difference between something being uncomfortable, so you may tense slightly at first but then can breathe through it pretty easily, and that which is painful, so you're unable to breathe and relax through it, as this may well cause more harm than good.
Know your body and know the signals that your body is sending to inform you of what feels uncomfortable and what is detrimental. Remember that I am trained to assess what treatment is best for your needs so please feel free to ask me.
The main point is that I want you to gain the very best benefit from your session as it is your session and I want to provide you with the best possible service that you are completely happy with. An open line of communication between us is essential before, during, and after your treatment and this will ensure that you not only thoroughly enjoy your session but that you will walk out of my treatment room feeling much better than when you came in.
I hope that you will visit me soon.
With my very best wishes,
Posted by Noi McIntyre on July 14, 2021