How often should I get a massage?
Massage Therapy is not only relaxing, but it is extremely therapeutic! Some of the benefits of Massage Therapy include increased range of motion (joint and muscle flexibility), decreased stress levels, reduced pain, reduced muscle soreness, increased productivity, increased athletic ability, improved muscle tone, and much more! Many people receive massages on a monthly basis or once every few months, but is that the best for their musculoskeletal needs? Here we are going to give a brief overview of how often one should get a massage.
Every week: Receiving massage weekly sounds like a luxury, but in most cases someone we would recommend weekly appointments for would be one who is in need of more work to create a new muscle holding pattern. That’s right, muscles have memory and will fall back into an older not so postural friendly pattern. With appointments closer together we are allowing the body a shorter amount of time to rewire into the relaxed holding pattern and preventing the muscles to go back to how they were prior to your first massage. This helps create better posture and better circulation along the body.
Some of the people who could benefit from a weekly massage include persons with chronic pain, a new injury (wait 72 hours after new injuries to get massage), someone who is looking to increase flexibility due to an injury, high stress jobs/hobbies (lawyers, teachers, etc.), one wanting to heal an old injury who has decreased flexibility. Or persons with lots of scar tissue build up that needs to be broken down. This one is great for athletes who are doing intense training! Those with underbites, cross bites, lip and tongue ties or who clench or grind their teeth would benefit most from this length of time between appointments.
Every two weeks: When we recommend someone to come back in two weeks, this like our weekly patient is a person who may have high stress levels or needs more work but we are testing to see how long the body holds the new muscle holding patterns. By waiting two weeks we give the body more time to settle into the newer holding pattern but not enough to go back to the original pattern we are working against. This amount of time is also great for pregnant women to help reduce stress and bodily discomfort especially during the end of the second trimester and throughout the last trimester until delivery. Everyone we mentioned for weekly massage will eventually fall into this category depending on if there is progress being made and it is easier to get their body to move into full range of motion. If there is little to no improvement then we might suggest going back to weekly appointments or do an hour every two weeks with a half hour in between to see how the body responds. Persons with underbites, cross bites, lip and tongue ties, or who clench or grind their teeth would benefit from this length between sessions too if their jaw is starting to hold a more relaxed pattern.
Every three weeks: This amount of space between appointments is great for maintenance as well as for those who are working towards flexibility but need more down time between appointments. This is another great time in between appointments for those who are doing self-care and find that waiting a month in between is too long of a wait. This is also great for those who have been trifled with migraines or those healing from a bone break. This amount of space between sessions is also great for those who just found out they are pregnant from the beginning to delivery as long as they are not experiencing many aches and pains or are under high stress. In the case of higher stress levels or increased discomfort it would be suggested to return to every other week.
Every four weeks or more: Maintenance is one of the main reasons why this time space would be suggested. Regular massage helps decrease stress or help us move more smoothly through stressful situations. Helps us have less intense injuries, speeds up injury recovery time, and much more! Reasons why we would increase the time length between sessions are if the muscles are easily manipulated, they have full range of motion.
Even though we have made some suggestions as to how often you should receive a massage it is your choice! Your practitioner will make suggestions on how long of a session you should have as well as how often they feel you should return to help you get back to a more functional you!
About the Article's Author
Rachel Tice, LMT, 200 RYT and Holistic Wellness Practitioner
Rachel is a Massage Therapist, Yoga Instructor, and Holistic Wellness Practitioner working through her business Sacred Transcendence. She has been teaching yoga for about 6 years and has been a LMT for 10 years. With her background in Kinesiology, Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology she possesses the ability to assist her clients in increasing range of motion, restore relaxation and decrease stress.