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How often should I get a massage?

If you ask a massage therapist this, most of them will say “As much as you can!” This is because they know the amazing benefits of massage. Our goal today is to help you clarify and decide how often you need a massage based on your needs. Because every-body is different the answer to this question is going to be a bit different for everyone.

We look at each client we come in contact with as an individual before answering this question. Today we will look at a few important factors to take into consideration when answering this question.

Chronic Pain

Massage is very beneficial for chronic pain. By relaxing spastic muscles massage helps the structure of the body return to a neutral position. Massage addresses stress points in the body that affect structure and cause chronic pain.

In general, if you are dealing with chronic pain, shorter sessions more frequently render the best results. A 30-minute massage once a week can be more effective, and overall less expensive, than a 60 minute massage every other week. Often with chronic pain too much massage can make things worse. Shorter sessions allow the body to adapt slowly, greatly reducing the chance of a flare up.

Injury Rehab & Post-Surgery

Massage can be applied to an injury or surgery site as soon as swelling has begun to receded and any open wounds have healed. Typically about 24-48 hours after the injury occurred. You will want to wait 6-8 weeks after surgery to schedule your massage and always wait until you have clearance from your doctor post-surgery before getting bodywork.

Massage can speed up the healing process almost twice as fast as healing without massage.

Treatment varies depending on the injury. A low back injury that began two weeks ago will respond much quicker to massage than a low back injury that happened 2 years ago. Typically your therapist will want to see you for 30 minutes for 3-4 treatments and then reassess your symptoms. The goal always being getting you to preventative/maintenance care as soon as possible.

Athletic Training

Sports Massage can be tremendously beneficial both pre and post event as well as during training. If you are competing massage can give you an advantage over your competitors by helping to recover from challenging workouts quicker, improve muscle performance, increase oxygen delivery to tissue as well as prevent injury.

If being active is more of a hobby for you massage delivers all of these same benefits, but also allows you to do the things you love to do by maintaining flexibility, addressing potential areas at risk for injury and reducing soreness after activity.

Athletic Massage, or sports massage, has four major components: pre-event, post-event, restorative and rehabilitative. Pre and post event can be applied during training as well as immediately before or after an event.

During training, massage applied after 12-24 hours after your big training day will help you recover faster, building muscle and endurance more efficiently. During this period, as you are building strength and endurance, a 30 or 60 minute massage once a week is ideal.

In the off-season, a 60-minute restorative massage is generally good every 4-6 weeks. *See Injury Rehab for massage suggestions for rehabilitative massage.

Preventative Care

Preventative or maintenance care is possible the most important type of massage. People that wait until they are injured or in pain before getting a massage often spend twice as much annually as those that commit to a maintenance care plan regardless of pain or injury.

Just like working out, eating well or visiting your chiropractor it is regular care that really makes the difference. Every 4 weeks is optimal for the body. Some bodies prefer to come in every 2 weeks; some can wait 6 or 8 weeks. It is the regular care that keeps your body healthy and functioning at its optimum levels. Your therapist can help you decide what works best for you body and your wallet.

Regardless of if you are an athlete, desk jockey, busy parent or retire massage should be an essential component of your health care plan. Therapeutic massage, when applied correctly is more than just an hour of relaxation. It is necessary to move through life with ease and free from pain.