Thai or Swedish Massage  

Thai Massage: Yoga without Effort

Maybe the first image that comes to mind when someone mentions Thai Massage is a slim, Thai lady walking all over your back. However, there's much more to Thai massage than meets the eye.
Developed in Thailand, Thai massage is a system of massage that has been influenced by the traditional medicine systems of India, China and Southeast Asia, as well as by yoga. For centuries, Thai massage was performed by monks as part of Thai medicine.
More energizing and rigorous than more classic forms of massage, Thai massage is like doing yoga without any work for some people. In fact, this massage resembles yoga to the extent that therapists use their hands, knees, legs and feet to move you into a series of yoga-like stretches.
Thai massage might be known for being energizing, but it also has relaxing effects as muscle compression, joint mobilization and acupressure are also used during treatment.
When you get a Thai massage, you usually line on a mat or firm mattress on the floor. You should wear something comfortable. Typically, it lasts 60 minutes to 2 hours. It includes rhythmic pressing and stretching of the entire body, which may include pulling fingers, toes, ears, cracking the knuckles, walking on the recipient's back and manipulating the receiver's body into many different positions.
It can be done solo or in a group of 10 or so patients in the same large room. While the receiver may be positioned in a variety of yoga-like positions during the massage, the practitioner leans on the recipient's body using hands and usually straight forearms locked at the elbow to apply firm rhythmic pressure.
Among its benefits, it relaxes you, reduces stress, improves circulation, increases energy, increases flexibility, improves range of motion, and centers the mind and body.
 

What is Swedish Massage?

 

Swedish massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West. If it's your first time at the spa or you don't get massage often, Swedish massage is the best place to start.

If you want deeper work and can tolerate more pressure to get relief from chronic muscle pain, it's better to book a deep tissue massage, which is another form of Swedish massage.  If you have pain, it will likely take a series of massages to get results.
Swedish massage and other types of therapeutic massage are performed by trained, licensed massage therapists. A Swedish massage can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the therapist's personal style and what he or she is trying to achieve.

During a Swedish massage you are generally nude underneath a towel or sheet. The therapist uncovers only the part of the body he/she is working on, a technique called draping. If that gets you out of your comfort zone, you can keep your underwear on, and many newcomers do.

You usually start by lying face down with your head in a u-shaped face cradle so your spine stays neutral. The therapist generally starts by works your back, using various massage strokes that include effleurage, kneading, friction, stretching and tapping.

When he's finished with the back, he or she works the back of each leg. When done with the back side, he or she holds the sheet or towel up and looks away while you turn over onto your back and scoot down; then he or she quickly covers you again.
The therapist then massages the front of each leg, both arms, and generally finishes with your neck and shoulders.

Some therapists work in a different order, and all have their own style and techniques. If you only have 50 minutes, you can also ask them to spend more time on a certain area. If the pressure is too light or too firm, you should speak up and ask the therapist to adjust it. Swedish massage usually includes some deeper work on areas of specific muscle tension, but if you truly want deepter, more intensive work and firmer pressure, book a deep tissue massage.The cost of a Swedish massage will vary, depending on whether you go to a day spa, resort spa, destination spa.

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