We have all read and heard about the numerous health benefits of receiving massage therapy. The list is quite long. Massage therapy can help reduce stress, tension, anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, pain, headaches, muscle spasms, and increase your circulation, range of motion and flexibility, and boost your immune system. Massage therapy can also help in relieving sore muscles, and reduce recovery time from overworked muscles and aid in the healing of an injury. The list goes on. Massage gives you, the client, such great relief and you leave feeling amazing after each session. So if massage therapy does so many great things for your overall health and well-being, and you feel wonderful afterwards, how often should you be going in to get a massage?
How often you should get a massage varies from person to person, and it may even change for each person over time. There are two main factors the will help determine how often you should be getting a massage.
If you have an injury and your doctor or chiropractor writes you a prescription for massage therapy treatment, you will often start with one or two times a week and then eventually decrease in frequency until it is on a monthly basis or deemed “as necessary” in your recovery. How long it takes to get down to once a month or as necessary is determined by how serious your injury was, and how quickly your body responds to the healing treatments. Again, everyone is different, as is every situation.
If you are a training athlete, doing intense exercises and training to gear up for a big event, it is usually recommended to receive massages 1-2 times a week, while you are in training mode. It is especially a good idea to get the massages on your rest days or after you are done training for the day. You do not want to work out after you received a massage. Training your loose and relaxed muscles could cause injuries and prevent you from participating in your event. When you are not training for a big event, it is a good idea to keep massage incorporated into your routine for recovery and flexibility. Usually 1 or 2 times a month is great for maintenance for an active athlete.
If you are not recovering from an injury or an athlete in training, how often should you still be getting massages? Generally, for maintenance for your overall health and well-being, it is recommended to receive a massage at least once a month. If you can afford to get more massages, do, especially if you have high levels of stress or anxiety. The massages will help you calm down and help you cope with what is going on in your life. I would just not recommend that you receive massages more than a couple days in a row, especially if you receive a deep tissue type of massage. Your body will need recovery time between sessions to adjust to the bodywork that was done. If once a month is too expensive for your budget, aim for a massage every other month. Still having a hard time swallowing the out of pocket cost? See if your massage therapist has any package deals to help reduce the pricing for your massages. If that is still too much, talk to your therapist to see if they can work anything else out to allow you to get your much needed massages.
When determining how often you should be getting a massage, take into consideration your reasons for getting the massage, what your budget can afford, and what makes the most sense for you. It is very individualized. The more often you get massages, the more you will be aware of your body and its needs. Learn to listen to your body and book a massage when you need it. Pre-booking your appointments out in advance is the best, so you do not end up feeling the desperate need of a massage and not being able to get in with your therapist. It also helps reduce your stress levels by knowing you have a massage coming up.
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.