Thai Massage and Sports Massage are two different massage treatment modalities, and both can promote flexibility and range of motion, reduce physical and emotional tensions, alleviate muscle pains, accelerate recovery and healing processes, and improve general health and well-being, to name some of their possible health benefits.
When Thai Massage and Sports Massage are combined (i.e. integrated or blended), it’s often called Thai Sports Massage (a term also encountered as Thai Sportsmassage).
Sports Massage as known in the West is a modern massage modality, and involves the manipulation of soft tissue of a person who does regular physical activity (for instance, athletes and martial arts practitioners), commonly performed as a Deep Tissue Massage using Classic Massage techniques and oils or creams. It’s usually carried out on a massage table.
Thai Massage is the traditional massage healing modality from Thailand, and applied fully dressed and without using oils or creams (traditionally carried out on the floor on a massage mat), further defined by its wide range of assisted Yoga-like stretches, acupressure and pressure techniques, and the application of Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Indian Yogic concepts.
Nevertheless, it’s usually Thai Massage that is integrated into Sports Massage treatments (on the massage table) to enhance the latter modality, and not the other way around. Typically, massage therapists would use one or more of the many advanced stretches and acupressure techniques from Thai Massage to treat the client during a Sports Massage session.
On the other hand, Thai Massage was (and still is) also used as a kind of “Sports Massage.” That is, in many Asian cultures and countries, such as in India, China, Korea, Japan, and also in Thailand, massage therapy was applied to prepare martial art fighters and soldiers for action, and to relax or heal them after combat. This also counted for Thai Massage.