How often should I get a massage?
There are a lot of questions I get asked before, during and after a massage. But the most common one is, “How often should I get a massage?
This is a difficult question to answer because the best response varies from individual to individual. Before you or I can answer that question, we need to ask another question, “Why are you getting a massage in the first place? For everyone the answer is different. Is it for overall wellness? Stress relief? Are you an athlete looking to maintain or enhance performance? Do you exercise regularly and want to get the most out of your workout? Or do you have an injury or chronic condition that could benefit from massage?
If you are looking to receive massage for overall wellness you probably want to aim for a frequency of about once or twice a month. This allows people in generally good health to receive all the health benefits, and allows each massage to build upon the last so that you are not essentially starting over from scratch each time.
If your answer to the question is for stress relief, it has been proven in multiple studies* that one of the benefits of massage is help in combating stress. Massage has also been proven to help with anxiety and insomnia related to stress. If you are going through a particularly stressful situation or leading a high stress lifestyle you should aim to get a massage every one to two weeks.
Athletics have another answer to the question. Massage is a necessary support mechanism for athletes to maintain muscle health and flexibility. If you are heavily involved in sports, you should have a massage as often as two to three times per week during periods of intense training and less often—perhaps once or twice a month—during the off-season. Massage has been proven to help athletes in reducing muscle tension and to help athletes monitor muscle tone. In addition athletic massage promotes relaxation, increases range of motion, improves soft tissue function, decreases muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise, improves exercise performance, decreases delayed onset muscle soreness, reduces swelling, reduces breathing pattern disorders, and enhances athletic performance**. A massage helps athletes reach peak physical fitness while giving some protection from injury.
If you exercise regularly you may want to consider following the athlete off-season schedule and get a massage once or twice a month. A massage provides all the same benefits listed above for athletes to those maintaining a fitness regimen. By combining your exercise routine with massage therapy, you will be able to train longer and harder and make the most of your workout.
A massage for the treatment of a chronic condition such as migraines, neck aches and backaches is one you'll need to receive one more frequently to see relief. It is recommended to start off with twice weekly massages for the first four to six weeks, and then gradually increase the time between sessions as symptoms improve. While chronic conditions are generally not solved in a single session, most can be well managed by regular, effective massages. The bottom line is that people who wish to treat specific medical conditions will need to have massages more frequently than people who want massages strictly for enjoyment and relaxation.
During times of increased stress and pain associated with physical and mental conditions, you may want to schedule therapy more often. If you know you have an increase in your daily stressors heading your way or you have an event such as a big move, a new job, or a wedding approaching, scheduling regular massages will help you stay ahead of the tension buildup. If you are training for a marathon or a long bike race you will want to consider getting a massage more often to help in the training.
So as you can see there is no set formula for massage therapy frequency. It varies and it depends on you and your lifestyle. I believe that you know your body better than anyone. If you listen to yourself and ask yourself, why I am getting a massage to begin with, I believe you will know the answer. I can provide a guideline but ultimately, you know the answer. I do, however, definitely recommend that you receive regular massage at least every four to six weeks. To quote Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It is also my opinion your health and well-being are worth at least an hour once per month on a massage table.
Take time and invest in your health.
Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you. – Robin S. Sharma