One of the most common questions I am asked is how often should you get a massage? This is a great question, however, it is not a simple answer. I will give you some different scenarios.
THE AVERAGE JOE – If you are coming in and you have a healthy diet, you are exercising about three days a week, you are coming to see me with a minor issue that just started, you may be the perfect candidate for the 4-6 week range.
ATHLETE- If you are a serious athlete, you are goal-driven, competing on a regular basis in high intensity activity, you will benefit the most from 2 times a month or every other week. Massage helps during your recovery weeks and also helps develop body awareness which is crucial for injury prevention. Once a week is common amongst elite athletes, but not necessarily in the budget for everyone.
SPECIFIC INJURY/CHRONIC PAIN OR INJURY: If you have been dealing with a specific issue, such as a whiplash injury, migraines, frozen shoulder, chronic lower back pain, etc., you may need to have a specific treatment plan which will entail more frequent treatments at the start (once or twice a week depending on the severity) and then a gradual tapering with self-care suggestions to prolong relief.
PREGNANCY- There is a common myth that you should not receive massage therapy in the first trimester of the pregnancy. As long as you seek out a provider that is certified in prenatal massage (like me), you can have it any time during the pregnancy, right up to the very end. It really depends on your comfort level and how the pregnancy is effecting you, but there is no danger unless you are on bed rest and can’t leave the house. All the same rules apply. Most times when I see expecting moms, they come about once a month until the last trimester and in the last trimester, they usually bump it up to every other week or once a week.
The general answer to the question “How often should you get a massage” is about once a month. However, if there is a specific injury, waiting a month and not practicing any specific self-care or working with another preventive practitioner, the problem or injury will be back and we are starting the process all over again.
Think about exercising. If we exercise once a month, we really don’t get too much of a benefit. Every time we go back to exercise, there is no development left over from the last time you worked out. How about if you were trying to lose weight? If you eat a healthy meal once a month and the rest of the time you are just doing what your normally do, the results will not be that great, right? If you can dispute either of these scenarios, let the world know and you could be a millionaire since we are all looking for the easiest and quickest way to health.
Massage is a preventive approach to health, similar to chiropractic and acupuncture and for massage to be effective, you should try and follow the recommendation of the massage therapist as to what the frequency should be. Personally, I would love to see all of my clients on a weekly basis, but I know this is may not be possible for everyone. More and more research can be found on the benefits of receiving massage on a regular basis and with the changes in the health care system in the United States, it makes more sense to be proactive, and feel great while doing it.