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Do You Know The Exact Difference Between Thai and Swedish Massage?

Thai Massage and Swedish massage are very different both in their techniques and in their approach or philosophy.

While many people have a general idea about what distinguishes these two massage therapy systems, few really understand the specific differences.

This massage video breaks it down for you in detail through a graphic comparison that makes it really clear and easy to understand.

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The author, Shama Kern, has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for 20 years. He is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy and the creator of 20 Thai Massage online training courses.

9 thoughts on “Do You Know The Exact Difference Between Thai and Swedish Massage?”

  1. Excellent comparison
    I’m giving a talk next weekend on this very same topic.
    Duplication is a form of flattery, so consider yourself VERY flattered !!

    Changing topics…..
    I WILL be taking BOTH of your video courses, heavenly head and rocking…which do you suggest i take FIRST ?


    • Hi Dale,
      thanks for your comment.
      I suggest you start with the Thai Rocking Massage course and then follow up with the Heavenly Head Massage. I think this will work best for you.
      Glad to have you with us, I am looking forward to working with you if you ever need any assistance with the courses.


  2. Hi Shama,

    I found this video instructional and enlightening. I am qualified in Swedish massage and interested in Thai massage but did not realise the flexibility required so will do Yoga first.Thanks again for another fine video.



    • Hi Terence,
      thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it.
      Thai Massage does require some flexibility to get around on a floor mat, but you really don’t have to be a yoga expert to do it.

      Also quite a few therapists adapt many Thai Massage moves to the table. So if you are really interested in it, I don’t think you have to study yoga first. You can always do some helpful yoga exercises or simple stretches along the way. That should work just fine.

  3. Great video and simple explanation.

    I prefer giving Thai massage because it benefits both, the receiver and the giver.

    However, some beings can’t relax in their mind while being stretched so they rather go for Swedish massage. I love to give Swedish and mix myofascial release techniques for upper back and low back. In this way I never get disconnected from the receiver since I use momentum. My core is stronger and I am wrist and elbow pain free.

    I couldn’t agree more on practicing yoga regularly. It does makes a big difference to the energy we can transmit. When I massage Thai then I usually fall into a deep meditative state.

    Thanks for sharing Shama

    • Good for you that you are wrist and elbow pain free – you must be doing something right!

      Here in Thailand Swedish massage is often combined with some Thai Massage techniques, so the two are not totally different as is generally the case in the western world.

      Also it is worth mentioning that Thai Massage can be done without stretching. I have done many such sessions and received many sessions which involved little stretching.

      There is a lot of flexibility in Thai Massage. Some people are under the impression that Thai Massage is basically a series of stretches. While this can be done, the opposite can be done as well.

      As you mentioned, not everybody likes being stretched. One very effective solution is gentle rocking applications which are generally well liked by clients. I have created a system called Thai Rocking Massage which is a more gentle version of the sometimes vigorous Thai Massage stretching.

  4. clients always fall asleep when I massage them by rocking as you say.
    I call it elephant walking.
    Thank you again for sharing your knowledge!


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