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Thai Massage vs Deep Tissue Massage: Which One Is Better for You?

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

A Thai massage offers more movement and stretching plus a combination of gentle and medium pressure. However, you might want to consider a Deep-tissue massage if you’re looking to relieve muscle tension or persistent muscle pain.

But which type of massage therapy is the right one for you? In this blog post, we decided to save you some trouble by delving deeper into the Thai Massage vs Deep-tissue Massage debate.

The Differences Between Thai Massage and Deep-Tissue Massage

There are several key differences between Thai massage and deep-tissue massages. There are also varying degrees of differences between the two.

What is Thai massage?

Thai massage originates in, you guessed it, Thailand. It draws on traditional medicine, yoga and Ayurveda elements to give you a unique massage experience. It is also known as the massage table Nuad Thai, Thai yoga massage or lazy man's yoga massage.

Thai Massage Techniques

Thai massage combines yoga-like poses, compression and rhythmic pressure along the body's meridians of chi (Sen Lines). Massage therapists use their hands, elbows, knees and feet to apply pressure and apply long, deep stretches.

Thai Massage Benefits

Here are the health benefits of Thai massage:

Increase your range of motion, improved movement and joint flexibility with the assisted stretching techniques used in traditional Thai and other massage therapies.

● Thai massage balances the body's energy through yoga-like stretching and applying gentle pressure to pressure points and along the energy lines (sen lines). It can boost your energy and enhance your overall well-being.

● Thai massage blends stretching, deep pressure and rhythmic, flowing strokes to create a calming effect. It places the entire body into deep relaxation by naturally relieving muscle tension.

● Thai massage can help relieve stress by reducing stress levels and improving circulation. It may also help reduce high blood pressure.

● Thai massage focuses on movement and mindfulness practices that improve mental and physical health. All these benefits of Thai massage ensure maximum well-being.

Thai Massage Process

Thai massage is made up of several essential components and procedures. If you've never experienced a traditional Thai massage before, here's what you can expect before giving it a try:

  1. The first step in the preparation and assessment process is a brief consultation between the client and the licenced Thai massage therapist. The massage therapist may enquire about any specific problems, ailments or causes of tension to be addressed. This enables the therapist to fulfil the patient's particular needs better.

  2. Unlike many other massage styles, the clients remain fully clothed in Thai massages. You should wear loose, comfortable garments that won't limit your movement. The session takes place on a futon or a floor mat. You must be in a relaxed position to allow the therapist to touch the deeper layers of your muscles.

  3. In Thai massages, the typical starting position is with the client lying supine or on their back on a massage table. The therapist starts with light pressure and light stretching to promote relaxation and get the client's body and muscles ready for more intensive work.

  4. What distinguishes Thai massage from other massage therapies is the combination of a wide range of stretching techniques, compression and yoga-like stretches. The therapist guides the client through a series of positions and stretches. Hands, elbows, knees and feet are used to apply pressure and assist stretching, which can help improve your range of motion, reduce muscle stress and raise your vitality.

  5. In Sen Line Work, the therapist applies pressure along the body's energy pathways (or Sen Line). It is thought that doing so can help the body's energy flow more freely, thereby bringing about a state of equilibrium.

  6. During this session, additional stretching and more pressure can be applied to different body parts by moving the client to a side-lying or prone position. The Thai massage therapist works on trouble spots or areas where chronic pain is felt. Sometimes, they may apply strong pressure to relieve tension.

  7. The therapist will then assist the patient in deep relaxation and close the session. Relaxation and well-being can be achieved using acupressure, rocking rocks and other forms of soft touches. After the massage session ends, the patient is allowed to relax for a short period.

It is critical to always speak your mind about the session. Tell your Thai massage therapist if you find the pressure or stretches too intense. Tell them if you have specific preferences so they can tailor their approaches to your comfort.

Remember, your Thai massage therapy experience may differ from others, and it may take more than one session for you to feel its full results.

What are the side effects of Thai massage?

Whilst a licenced massage therapist can properly perform a Thai massage and other types of massage, there will still be some adverse effects. Thus, you should be aware of the following possibilities:

● After receiving a Thai massage, it's normal to feel temporarily painful or uncomfortable, especially if it includes deep pressure or vigorous stretching. The muscle stiffness you’re experiencing usually disappears in a day or two as your body adapts and the muscles relax.

● Deep pressure or stretching techniques in Thai massage might occasionally cause slight bruising or brief skin redness. Typically, this is minor and should pass quickly.

● Thai massage encourages deep relaxation; it provides a calm and relaxing experience in a peaceful environment. Feeling tired, at ease, or exhausted is normal after a Thai massage. It is best to relax and allow your body to recuperate before conducting any physical activities.

● Massage helps improve circulation and the body's natural detoxifying processes. Specifically, Thai massages can make you thirstier than usual and make you urinate more often. So, drink plenty of water after your first massage session to stay hydrated.

● In some cases, massages can make you feel various emotions as your body unwinds and is relieved from muscle tension. A Thai massage session can make you feel relaxed, happy or sorrowful. But no worries, these feelings are normal by-products of your body’s recovery process.


Be upfront and honest with your Thai massage practitioner. Tell them about any current medical condition, wounds or trouble spots. Depending on your situation, they can adjust the session's intensity as needed.

If you have specific health concerns, talk to your doctor about them before getting a traditional Thai massage or any other type of massage therapy. They can assess and advise if there are other massage therapies around that are not right for you.

Here is a comprehensive article about Thai Massage: Thai Full-body Massage What to Expect

What is a deep-tissue massage?

Deep-tissue massage, or sports massage, focuses on the deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. In comparison, regular massage focuses on applying strong pressure and slow strokes.

Deep-tissue massage is often used to treat injuries, chronic pain and muscle tension. It is more therapeutic than Swedish massage, which concentrates on relaxation and relieves superficial muscular stress using more gentle pressure.

Deep-Tissue Massage Benefits

Deep-tissue massage has numerous health benefits, including the following:

● Deep-tissue massage promotes relaxation as well as releases tension in the muscles. It also promotes good circulation and reduces inflammation by increasing blood flow.

● It helps soothe stress, anxiety and chronic pain. It also improves mobility and range of motion.

● It boosts the immune system and reduces stress. It also helps with posture, lower back stiffness, headaches and migraines.

● Regular deep-tissue sports massage helps prevent sports injuries by maintaining good muscle and connective tissue conditions.

What are the side effects of Deep-Tissue Massage?

Generally, Deep-tissue massage is often safe and well-tolerated when performed by a skilled and competent massage therapist. But it is better to be aware of the adverse effects that may happen to some people.

Here are some Deep-tissue massage side effects:

● You may feel delayed-onset muscle soreness, pain or discomfort in massaged areas since a deep-tissue massage involves applying strong pressure.

● Sometimes, a Deep-tissue Massage may cause slight bruising, especially when there is too much pressure, or you have sensitive skin.

● Some people experience momentary weariness or lightheadedness after a deep-tissue massage. You should get some rest and drink water after a massage session to heal quickly.

● The massage therapist might focus on some trigger points throughout the session. Consequently, you might feel a little discomfort or pain. Be honest with your therapist if you feel the pressure is too intense.

● Deep-tissue massage also causes emotional reactions during the session. This is normal and will also be experienced with other massage techniques. It is common for massage therapies to release the tensions, and some emotional baggage, that people have been holding onto for years.


It's crucial to stay in touch with your massage therapist the entire time. Remember to give feedback about the pressure and any discomfort you may feel so they can change their approach as needed to ensure your comfort and safety.

More importantly, you should speak with your doctor to see if getting a deep-tissue massage is right for you. You may have some ailments or health concerns that make you unfit for this type of massage therapy.

Deep Tissue Massage Process

Here is a general summary of the deep-tissue massage process, albeit there might be slight differences in the procedure as therapists and clients have their individual preferences:

  1. First, there will be a consultation between the client and the massage practitioner before the session begins. In this stage, both parties discuss health issues that need to be addressed during the session.

  2. The therapist prepares the client by taking off their garments and helping them lay down on the massage table. Typically, oil or lotion is applied to the client’s skin to ensure optimum glide, especially for high-friction massages. The therapist warms the muscles with gentle strokes to relieve tension, stress or discomfort.

  3. To ensure safety and comfort, the therapist speaks with the client about specific needs and preferences. The approach may be adjusted according to such preferences. For instance, the therapist may perform a full-body deep-tissue massage, or focus on massaging specific areas instead.

  4. In the later stages of the session, the therapist switches from deep tissue massages to lighter strokes. This technique allows the muscles to relax after that deep-pressure work. The session ends with relaxation and post-massage care recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Thai massage, Swedish massage and deep-tissue massage?

Traditional Thai massage involves a yoga-like treatment and applying medium to hard pressure on the muscles. A Swedish massage focuses more on getting the client relaxed with oil and applying soft to medium pressure. A deep tissue massage focuses on relieving muscle tension and pain by applying slow, deep pressure to specific areas of the body.

Is deep tissue massage the same as "massage"?

Whilst both target the muscles and connective tissue, a full-body massage, or what is generally called "massage," will typically focus on the big muscle groups and tendons. For instance, a regular massage can relieve hamstring strains and shin splints. A deep tissue massage, on the other hand, focuses on the deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues in a specific area.

Why Thai massage is the best?

Thai massage promotes better blood flow and helps with digestion. It can help reduce body fat and make you feel stronger. It is an excellent option if you want a more interactive type of massage therapy. Thai massage incorporates yoga-like stretches that make you participate or move instead of lying down.

What to do after a massage?

After a massage, you must get plenty of rest, drink a lot of water and eat healthy tucker.

What not to do after a massage?

After a massage, you should avoid smoking, strenuous physical activities and drinking anything with caffeine. You should also avoid having hot baths. If you doubt what to do, always consult your massage therapist.


Different methods of massage therapy have many health benefits. Interestingly, some can make you fall asleep during the session and others can keep you awake as you feel every strong pressure in your entire body.

Generally, massage therapies reduce stress both physically and mentally. They loosen stiff muscles and strengthen muscle tissues. Further, they can break up scar tissues as well as break down muscle knots.

Choosing between Thai massage and Deep Tissue massage depends on what kind of comfort you want to achieve, what pain points you want to ease, and what health benefits you’re aiming for. Consider also your health condition. Additionally, other factors to consider are your pain tolerance and what muscle layers you want more pressure on.

Get a Massage Now!

At Siam Soul Thai Massage, you'll realise there is more to a massage than meets the eye. Discover deep relaxation and calmness of body and mind and be revitalised.



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