Shiatsu and Thai Massage Video
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Video:Shiatsu and Thai Massage

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Shiatsu and Thai massage are very similar types of massage but are indeed different because of the angles and pressure. Watch this video to learn what makes each unique.See Transcript

Transcript:Shiatsu and Thai Massage

Hi, my name is Kate Hamilton, and I'm a nationally and New York state certified massage therapist. And I'm here for to explain the differences between Shiatsu and Thai massage.

Thai Massage

So we’re going to do a typical Thai massage protocol for the leg. Stretching, opening the channel. Thai massage deals with channels that go throughout your body. Right now I’m walking up and waking up the channel, clearing out any blockages that are happening within the channel. You can see I’m pumping back and forth, which is different than other modalities. A typical Thai session will last an hour to an hour and a half and will have these same techniques applied to each of the limbs and the abdomen, neck, and back. A nickname for Thai massage is “assisted yoga” so there’s a lot of stretching that incorporates breath so I would ask the person to “breathe in” and then on the stretch, “breathe out”. And this will loosen the muscles and help with joint mobility.

Shiatsu Massage

With Shiatsu massage, it’s very similar to Thai in that it takes place on the floor and the the client is fully clothed but the application of pressure is a little different, so there’s always a stationary hand called the mother hand and a moving hand called the sun hand. And what I’m doing as I go down the channel to open it up is just creating like a constant current, a nice stretch, and the way I’m applying pressure is different because it’s more at a 90 degree angle, whereas Thai was more like at a 45 degree angle. Shiatsu has a similar focus on stretching and joint mobility but it’s more passive for the client. Thai is called “assisted yoga”, whereas Shiatsu is much more passive. This is a typical Shiatsu joint mobility technique. Right now, the low back is being stretched while the hips are becoming more flexible and open. Similar to the Thai stretch that we just did, but a little bit different in theory. The idea with both of these modalities is to allow the body to heal itself. For more information, visit

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