From reducing muscle tension to relieving postoperative pain, massage therapy has tons of health benefits. A consumer survey posted by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) concluded that 67% individuals claimed that their reason for getting a massage was either medical (41%) or stress (26%) related.
With about 200 different kinds of massages and sub-techniques—like deep tissue, hot stone massage, herbal steam room, Thai, Swedish massage and much more—choosing a massage therapy that best suits your needs can be overwhelming; that’s why we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about the two popular massage styles: Thai and Swedish massage.
What’s a Swedish massage?
Swedish massage—known as a “classical” or “relaxing massage”— is a Western modality as opposed to the Eastern Thai massage that can be dated back to about 2,500 years. When people talk about massage, a Swedish massage is commonly what they’re referring to.
Swedish massages are a combination of the following main techniques:
- Stroking and Gliding: The massage therapist uses long sweeping strokes—called effleurage—at the start and end of the massage.
- Kneading: A technique known as Petrissage focuses on kneading the compressed underlying muscles to treat muscle knots or spasms.
- Pounding: The Tapotement technique uses rhythmic tapping movements like chopping and pounding. However, this technique is slowly fading out of Swedish massages since a lot of people find the fast percussion movements—similar to karate chops—quite distracting.
- Rubbing: The therapist uses friction to apply deep pressure to a particular spot with the fingertips, thumbs or knuckles.
The techniques use Western physiology and anatomy to achieve healing and relaxing effects—resulting in reduced joint stiffness and pain. Swedish massages are ideal for people who are trying out massages for the first; they are also best for releasing cramped muscles and couples massages.
Swedish massages require clients to lie on their back or stomach for most of the time—fully undressed—which is why they must be done in private. Plus, these massages are well-known for their use of essential oils and lotions for added relaxation.
What’s a Thai Massage?
A Thai massage is just what you need for overall health and rejuvenation. Also known as the “lazy massage”, Thai massages use a combination of acupressure, yoga positions and Indian Ayurvedic methods.
As one of the most invigorating massages, the therapist rigorously manipulates the client’s body with yoga-like stretches. They use every part of their body to not only stretch but also apply pressure on acupuncture points to loosen tightened muscles and relieve joint pain—get ready to even get walked on!
Thai massages use an effective technique called the block and release of blood flow. This involves applying pressure particularly to the area where the torso meets the legs and arms. Once the therapist releases the pressure, you feel a wave of heat as the blood rushes to the limbs. This massage, however, is done on a mat on the floor—fully clothed.
So if you’re looking for a massage that energizes and relaxes you at the same time, we offer a traditional Thai Massage in Edmonton that effectively improves blood circulation and reduces muscle stiffness.
The wide range of massage therapy services at Soul2Sole Massage Therapy and Wellness Studio include Prenatal Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Hot Stone Massage.
Contact us today for a relaxing massage experience.