Thai Massage Vs Deep Tissue Massage: Which Should You Get?

Are you in the market for a massage? Do you know the difference between Thai massage and deep tissue massage?

In this short post, we’ll take a look at the key differences between these two types of massages and explain when you might want to choose one over the other.

Key facts:

  • Thai Massage: Thai massage, often referred to as “lazy man’s yoga,” involves stretching, pulling, and rocking techniques to relieve tension and improve flexibility and circulation. The therapist uses their hands, knees, legs, and feet in the process.
  • Deep Tissue Massage: Deep tissue massage focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It’s beneficial for chronic aches and pains and contracted areas such as stiff neck, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders.
  • Intensity: While both can be intense, deep tissue massage is often perceived as more intense due to the focused pressure on specific areas. Thai massage, on the other hand, involves more movement and can also be intense due to the stretching techniques used.
  • Clothing: In Thai massage, you usually wear loose, comfortable clothing. For a deep tissue massage, you typically undress to your comfort level, covered by a sheet.
  • Choosing the Right Massage: The choice between Thai and deep tissue massage depends on your current physical condition, personal preferences, and wellness goals. Discussing your needs with a professional therapist can help make an informed decision.

What Is A Thai Massage?

A Thai massage is based on the principles of energy balance, relaxation, and preventative medicine. It is often referred to as “the ancient art of healing.”

They are typically performed on the floor, using pressure and finger strokes on various areas of the body. Often, Thai massages also include a variety of stretches.

Thai Massage

Traditional Thai massage is done by a masseuse who uses her hands, elbows, knees, and feet to stretch your muscles.

This is said to help improve flexibility, circulation, and energy flow.

‘Sen lines’, or energy lines, are also worked on during a Thai massage.

Traditionally, it lasts a lot longer than a Western massage – sometimes it can last for up to two hours!

What Are Sen Energy Lines In Thai Massage?

Thai massage uses sen energy lines to help unlock ‘energy blocks’ in the body.

The idea of sen energy lines is that when these blocks are released, the body starts to feel more balanced as energy ‘flows’ more easily.

In fact, this is often referred to as Thai yoga.

What Is Deep Tissue Massage?

A deep tissue massage uses firm pressure to work out knots and tension in the body.

It can be used on any part of the body, including the neck, back, shoulders and feet.

Deep Tissue Massage Therapy

Deep tissue massages can also be used to relieve pain from sports injuries or chronic pain.

You can check out our full post about deep tissue massage here.

Which Is better? Thai Massage Or Deep Tissue Massage?

It’s not really a case of one type being ‘better’ than another, they just focus on different things.

In general, Thai massages are best for people who are interested in lighter massage, with general muscle tightness to work through, or those who just need a relaxing treatment.

Deep tissue massages are better for people who have chronic pain or sports injuries and want to get relief from specific ‘problem areas’ of their body.

The differences between Thai and Deep Tissue Massage

The main difference between Thai and deep tissue massages is that Thai massages use more superficial pressure and touch, while deep tissue massages use more intense pressure and pressure throughout the entire massage session.

Both forms will use oil and take place with you laying down.

Thai is generally longer than a deep tissue massage (unless you are especially brave!).

Benefits of Thai and Deep Tissue massage

There are many benefits to both types of massage.

They can help to stretch and loosen muscles that are stiff from overuse or injury.

Thai massage specifically can help to improve range of motion and flexibility, as well as reduce pain and stiffness.

And of course, some of the health benefits and principles of Thai are more spiritual in nature – especially around energy flow.

Deep tissue massage can also help to relieve tension headaches and promote relaxation.

Overall, both can offer a variety of health benefits.

Who shouldn’t get a Thai massage?

If you have very tight muscles, you might want to think twice about this kind of massage

As it’s meant to loosen up these muscles, if you’re really (really) stiff you could find it uncomfortable – especially as it lasts so long.  

That said, if you can tough it out, you’re likely going to feel a lot better for it!

Additionally, if you have a lot of scar tissue or bruises should not get a Thai massage as it can be difficult for the therapist to find specific spots that can be treated without causing you discomfort.

Who Shouldn’t Get A Deep Tissue Massage?

If you’re looking for a massage that focuses more on the superficial layers of your skin than on the deep tissue below, then a deep tissue massage is probably not the right choice for you.

It’s specifically designed to work out knots and tension in the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue.

If you’re someone who experiences pain regularly or if you have any kind of structural issue, then a deep tissue massage may not be the best option for you due to the deep pressure involved.

So which one should you choose?

Of course, at the end of the day, it’s up to you. Both kinds are great in their own right and can offer incredible relief from tension and pain.

But if you’re being picky, then we’d say:

  • If you’re just looking for a relaxation massage, then go for a Thai massage.
  • If you have specific muscle pain or injury that needs relief, then go for a deep tissue massage.

Either way, you can’t really go wrong – and you’ll be glad you chose one!