I have written about the benefits of receiving massages before. There is no secret that massage has many health benefits. It helps to relieve stress, to manage pain, to lower blood pressure, to speed up recovery, to boost your immune system, and the benefits go on. We have all heard, read, and probably even experienced the amazing effects of receiving massage therapy. You are aware of why you should get massages and how they may be beneficial to your overall health and wellness.
I have been asked numerous times by clients if I get regular massages and how often. My answer, of course, is yes! I like to practice what I preach. I know the benefits and the effects that regular massages have on my mind and body. I get monthly 90 minute massages, and when I can, I try to squeeze in another massage (even if it’s a quick 45-60 minutes). I use my body physically on a daily basis. From giving massages, working out, to cleaning the house and taking care of an energetic dog, my body gets used. I know when I have gone longer than 4 weeks without a massage. My mind-body connection is off. My body feels more tired and achier than usual. My brain feels slower and I have less focus and clarity of thoughts. I also notice by receiving monthly massages, I am better able to handle stress and am able to stay healthier during the cold and flu seasons. Even allergies seem to be a little more manageable for me.
I like to say that the perks of receiving regular massages on a monthly basis, at the least, is about balancing, enhancing, and maintaining your overall wellness. To improve your wellness, you must be diligent in taking care of yourself. Frequent massages are an enjoyable way to promote your health and to counter balance the poor posture and body mechanics of day to day life that causes pain and tension. It also helps alleviate your sore muscles so that you can continue living an active lifestyle. Whether you are hitting the gym 3 or more days a week, frequently gardening, playing golf or tennis with your friends, or exploring the many hiking trails that surround us, these day to day physical activities become more difficult to do if we do not rest and recover. Everyone wants to stay healthy and active, especially as they get older. By incorporating monthly massages (more often if you can), you can help improve your overall wellness to maintain an active and healthy life.
So why do some many people not come in for regular massages then? Despite our awareness of the positive effects massage has, it seems that there are two main reasons people give for not receiving regular massages:
Cost too much and do not have enough time are simple excuses for not making yourself a priority, and thus your health and wellbeing a priority. Sometimes we lose sight of how much time and money things take up in our lives. Sometimes it is all about perception. Here are a few things to think about:
Cost and Time for Medical Services
I would say that the majority of us do not enjoy going to the doctors, getting sick, getting injured, having surgery, or taking medications (prescribed or over-the-counter). Now receiving massages will not prevent the medical expenses and missed work due to them, but by getting monthly (or even more frequent) massages, you can reduce your chances of these illnesses and injuries, as well as have a healthy alternative to pain management and avoid taking opioids.
Regular massage can help ward off colds and flus and help reduce the severity and duration of the symptoms when you do get sick. Massages also help increase your range of motion and flexibility, as well as reduce muscle tension, all helping to prevent injuries. They also help reduce and manage your stress levels, which will help reduce your chances of developing stress related illness.
Is receiving a monthly massage worth the time and money to prevent and/or reduce your medical expenses?
Costs and Budgets
Let’s be honest, we all set priorities when it comes to spending. There are the essentials, such as gas, groceries, utilities, rent or mortgage, etc. Then there are the “nice-ities” as I like to call them, such as getting coffee shop lattes, the impulse buys “because it was on sale! Such a great deal!”, to satisfying a craving, and the buying of a new gadget, toy, accessory, or outfit, just because you want it.
Now if you took that money you spent on those “nice-ities”, you could afford a massage every month. Simply making your coffee at home every day, rather than buying it at a coffee shop could save you enough for one massage every month. Make dinners at home rather than eating out at a restaurant and you’ll save more than you may realize. I’m sure there are other items you can go without in order to improve your overall health and wellness. Take a minute to look at your spending habits and see if you still cannot afford to get regular massages.
Too Busy, Not Enough Time
It sounds almost silly when people say that they are too busy or do not have enough time to relax for at least one hour each month. It makes me want to do the head tilt and say “really?”. Have you ever looked at your phone’s battery usage reports? It can show you how much time you spend on various apps, whether that is emails, Facebook, playing a particular game, or any other app over the last 24 hours or 10 days. How much time do you “waste” on your phone or tablet that is not work related? How often do you flop down on your couch to watch TV or a movie? In the amount of time it takes for you to watch a movie, you could drive to your massage therapist, get an hour massage, and be back home, maybe even before the movie is over.
Massages give your mind and body the much needed break that it requires. It is a way to disconnect and to recharge. It allows you to relax, release, revitalize, and give you the healthy energy and mood boost to keep you going. Too much stress and go-go-go mentality will only wear you down and lead you to become less productive and more agitated. You need “me” time. You need down time to restore. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Saying that you are too busy for an hour once a month, is saying that you do not prioritize yourself.
Whether you view it as part of your self-care plan, as a medical health care option, or as part of your overall wellness program, adding a monthly massage into your regime should be on your list of things to do. You rarely hear anyone say that they regretted getting a massage. The benefits you will reap from regular massages are enhancing and improving your quality of life. Make massages a part of your monthly routine. The time and cost will be well worth it in the long run.
Courtney Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.