Japanese Massage vs. Thai Massage: How Are They Different?

Japanese Massage vs. Thai Massage: How Are They Different?

For most people, it is unfortunately quite common to experience various amounts of stress, tension, and physical discomfort - even pain.

Such is the world we live in nowadays.

Everyone is constantly "plugged in" and not able to relax.

If you can take some time every day to relax and unwind, maybe meditate, more power to you! However, many people deal with a lot on their plates every day and find it almost impossible to do this.

This is where massage comes in.

Massage refers to the practice of kneading and rubbing various muscles in the body, using the hands.

When different muscles, especially muscles that hold a lot of tension, are rubbed and gently manipulated, they release this tension and allow blood to flow through them.

As a result, you feel calmer and more centered.

Two popular types of massage techniques are Shiatsu and Thai massage.

You've no doubt seen those wonderful little Shiatsu massage pillows around.

Below is a discussion about their histories, what they have in common and, lastly, Shiatsu vs Thai - how they are different from each other.

What Is Shiatsu Massage Therapy?

Shiatsu Japanese Massage Therapy is a fairly new practice, about 100 years old.

It emerged ultimately from Chinese acupuncture, the age-old therapeutic method.

The traditional practice of Japanese massage called anma came from acupuncture and used much of the same guidelines.

It is speculated that anma was informally applied beginning at 200 BC.

In the early 1900s, shiatsu became prominent in Japan as a separate healing practice implemented with its own individual concept and approach.

Because Japan and China are in such close proximity to each other, Shiatsu Massage Therapy is closely connected to traditional Chinese medicine and draws much of its influence from these practices.

zen shiatsu

What Are the Benefits of Shiatsu Massage Therapy?

Shiatsu massage is ideal for individuals who want to feel relaxed and alleviate stress, soreness, and tense muscles.

It's a very versatile therapy that can be performed on all ages and health levels.

It helps to relieve the following issues:

  • Enhances emotional and physical tranquility and peacefulness
  • May help alleviate headaches
  • Eases stress, nervousness, and depression
  • Helps with digestive tract issues
  • Helps sinus congestion
  • Helps alleviate insomnia
  • Decreases muscle stress

How Is Shiatsu Massage Practiced?

Shiatsu massage is applied to your entire body.

However, your massage therapist may concentrate on regions of your body that require additional attention.

He or she will apply their hands, palms, and thumbs in a pulsing or rhythmic manner to massage specific places of your body.

You can remain completely clothed during this procedure.

What Is Thai Massage Therapy?

Often referred to as Thai yoga massage, this ancient therapy dates back several thousand years and has been handed down through families over hundreds of years but has just recently been studied by Westerners.

A Buddhist monk, who was said to have been the Buddha's personal physician, brought this practice to Thailand and imparted it to the other monks to help them meditate for longer periods of time.

In the Thai dialect, it is normally termed nuat phaen thai; meaning 'Thai-style massage' or nuat phaen boran; meaning 'ancient-style massage', although its formal name is nuat thai.

This therapy integrates acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and supported yoga poses.

female shiatsu massage

What Are the Benefits of Thai Therapy?

Thai therapy is optimal for individuals who prefer a more vigorous form of type of therapy and want to decreases pain and stress.

In addition, this massage therapy can also help with the following:

  • Blood circulation
  • Flexibility
  • improves mood
  • Improves energy levels

How is Thai Therapy Practiced?

This type of massage therapy works the whole body using a series of motions that are related to yogic stretching.

Like Shiatsu, you can be fully clothed during this session.

Your massage therapist will apply strong pressure to your body with their palms and fingers while also twisting your body into different positions.

How Are These Therapies the Same?

Both Shiatsu and Thai massage are primarily conducted through clothing, which is the customary method for both.

They are also both done on a futon or other similar mat on the floor.

Both massage therapies use a style of pressure where the therapist pushes into the recipient with their body weight, using their arms to push their weight down into the body and then into the floor.

This action opens up blocked energy lines that traverse all through the body and therefore enables the energy to flow.

These therapies both emphasize working pressure points all through the body so as to stabilize the body, resolve a particular problem or affliction or correct some form of energetic shift.

How Are These Therapies Different?

Obviously, these techniques come from different respective countries.

While Thai therapy is thousands of years old, Shiatsu therapy is only roughly 100 years old.

The heritage from which each type of massage hails from has had an influence on the approach of the procedures.

Japan is a rather inflexible, traditional culture with many principles and rules and it is displayed in the way that this massage therapy is practiced.

Thailand is a more open and laid back society which is also revealed in the manner of their massage technique.

Shiatsu has a tendency to be a lot more about applying a strong, deep thrust on the points and meridians, while Thai therapy has more of an emphasis on flexing and loosening the joints.

The approach to the energy lines in each therapy type is somewhat dissimilar in each one.

The Thai technique tends to have a more extensive emphasis on expanding the meridians/Sen lines, while Shiatsu tends to concentrate on thumb and elbow pressure to the energy lines.

The length of time committed to each practice also varies between both therapies.

Shiatsu is usually an hour long but may also be as brief as 30 minutes or as long as 90 minutes.

However, Thai sessions can last 2 hours or even longer.

Shiatsu vs Thai - Which Is Better?

One massage technique is not better than the other; it essentially depends on what your specific needs and preferences are.

If you only want pressure applied to different points on your body to relieve any pain or stiffness, then Shiatsu Japanese massage therapy would likely be best for you.

On the other hand, if you like a more active approach where your entire body is stretched and manipulated, you may want to go with Thai therapy.

Either practice has many benefits to your mind and body.

Explore with assorted kinds of massage and with various massage therapists to identify the style and practitioner that is most suitable for you.

Always discuss your intentions and objectives with your massage therapist and let him or her know if a specific movement makes you uncomfortable.

Also, consult with your physician prior to receiving any form of massage if you have any health worries or ailments.

Whichever massage therapy you choose, prepare to become hooked on it.

The resulting mental, physical, and spiritual relief are quite intoxicating.

You will enjoy a peaceful, less stressed life. Who doesn't want that?


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